Phoenix

I’ve been away, I know that. My psychologist is saying it might be a good thing, and brings up how much pressure I put on myself. It’s interesting to see, the balance of pressure and of letting go; cycles of contract and release that fill out inside my head. I’m not sure how much I’ve done in the last little while, if it could be considered a lot. I spend a lot of time and energy catching up, moving into the recent past and trying to catch sight of the webs of movements, to then sort them out. I don’t want to say I have decided anything, figured it out to move into the future. Life is how it is. I thought, just now, of all those things people tend to regret when they die, that they’ve run out of time for. What am I sorry for? Having just finished To Kill A Mockingbird, it comes to me that children know something, they know how to fill out their days and not dwell on it, not think of having wasted time. I have spent a lot of time, and I have also gotten a lot done. These are two different scales in my mind, and achievement isn’t something to be measured against time. Time does its own thing, and achievement is measured against the self.

I won’t ever be a reliable person, in regards to deadlines and checking off lists and knowing what to do when. Recently, I was overcome with shame at a stupid mistake I made, a place where I miscalculated the world, and it complicated things for me and made me both disrespectful and irresponsible. Loki came back then, and it was comforting to have my god, a love who had disappeared from mind for a few months, stepping in to assure me. Moving forward is good even if my trajectory is wavering and I struggle.

It is not hard to be a person. Looking forward, I don’t fear the coming year. I don’t fear my prospects or my sanity. I believe in my ability to talk, to make acquaintances and develop friendships. I believe in my psyche, that I can go alone and enjoy as much with myself as someone else. I believe that the friends who now surround me are strong, are good, and offer something.

There’s an odd incompatibility in what I am saying and what I have been. I can be volatile, I can despair, I can obsess and lose control from obsessing. I don’t know how to stay happy. There is great strength for me in the idea of the Phoenix, a creature that burns up, and falls away, and is then reborn. I don’t know that shape of my life, or who I am within it, but there are two things I am aware of: that in some way, I’m always trying, and that I never cease to come back to a place of possibility.

Possible

(This is a very long piece.  Writing it has made me proud to be myself, and to share it with the world)

There are a couple of things that have been on the back walls of my mind lately, feeding me answers that I haven’t decided to look at yet.  I’ll look at the first one now.

It is more of a feeling than a language-based articulation.  This notion that the time – now a month – that I passed through without writing out what was happening, and posting it, is a time that I don’t have and can’t reach.  While I have been a writer most of my life, that life is fed together in scraps of paper left in piles and boxes and bags and notebooks and files all around – this house, USB drives, and computer cloud systems.  Yet, despite having little hold on any of these scraps of the past, their existence is vital to continuing to be myself.  When I have felt strongly, overpowered but what is being mixed into my mind, I have written those feelings out.  When I have become empty and without, I have tried to write from beyond that, from the self still inside crusts of apathy.  When I have had ideas of how to change my own vast/minute world, or the farther spreading earth; when insights that have arranged themselves, my knowledge becoming a beacon, opening up discourse into further dimensions of possibility – I write this all down.  I share myself with ink and paper, and the invented computer monuments to ink and paper – twitter as post-it notes, deviantART as homemade and unedited chapbooks, my blog serving as a less private journal, while 750words has been a more private one.  Finding inspiration on weheartit.  In this haphazard way, I have recorded myself.  I have found myself by putting it down on paper and showing it to the world, re-evaluating, and trying again.  Perhaps the time that I have not written about feels to me like being stuck in the things I felt a month ago, unable to reach out until I paint over it with what I have recently gained.

In the early months of high school, I grew attached to a teacher, who was in charge of English, and of twisting my personality into good writing and the right kind of forceful energy.  Every conversation I had with him, I imagined beforehand, mapping out possibilities right up until I began to speak.  With his brilliant blue eyes and teasingly hard tone, everything I had thought melted, to his design.  When the grade nine year was over, I began a diary.  It was something I hadn’t successfully done on a long term basis before then.  This time, driving away from summer camp, I managed to write out endless pages describing love and admiration for this teacher, and then continuing as I described friendships, sadness, wants and possibilities, and the start of beliefs.  I wanted this teacher to be witness, in my imagination, to the person I was and would become.  I spoke, and I had enough of his ideals in mind to answer.  I exhausted myself describing my life, as though I needed to mold it in porcelain, to be one day read of and fully appreciated.  I filled in the spaces of my life with my recollection of what went on, and what I sought.  I drew a path to myself.

It’s something, to have this comfort of understanding there is a past.  It’s something, too, to bring this past into the present, to drag it out into the open, and look back over what has happened.  To speak to who I have been in another time, to whom I have trusted and loved.  To try to pick out, from thoughts in grade six to transcribed Skype conversations just months ago, what still directly applies to me, what is fused to my subconscious – what pumps in veins that I don’t go slicing through [much] anymore. 

I’ve changed a lot, see.  I went back to visit my high school English teacher recently, as she is someone I appreciated having when I did, and whose company is the sort of light advice-giving amicability I don’t mind.  A friend of mine had told her I’d come out as trans, so she knew who I now was, and she was expecting me to talk about all the changes in my life.  When she asked, I realized that, to me, not much was different.  I lived through six months of work at the largest restaurant corporation worldwide, a three month personfriend with small ambitions, and four months of university in a city where I knew no one.  Coming back at year end, I experience a two-fold perception.  At one angle, I feel as though my life is on the same track, and bound in the same way, as it always has been, and that there is as much distance keeping me from standing dead centre in those goals as there always has been.  On the other side, I can sometimes see the bridge, my passage from there to here.  It is in the way I flinch when my parents call me by my old name, and how unfamiliar it is to eat dinner with my family, to sing grace with a fluttery voice I’d forgotten I possessed – I pick apart the word “unfamiliar” and know that this oddness I feel is in being my own person, in departing from the design of this house and these parents.  I have come to a place where I am not anybody’s person, save my own.  This isn’t a change, per say, but it’s becoming a jumping off point.  It is where I go to figure out my life, it is the lists I make that are interspersed with notes that read calm the fuck down, Kell, I love you, and it’ll be okay.  It is knowing that, though others are beside me, I have to come back to myself to move forward as a person.  This thing is nothing more than growing up, in coming back to what I can trust and love first and foremost.  Who we are as people is who we are to ourselves.  The world turns by each of us discovering what makes us truly happy, what is important, and accepting it within our beautiful world.  Knowing ourselves.

It is interesting to note that I don’t think of or refer to this as independence.  When I was younger, I did find myself to be independent, and I worshipped the idea.  It was wrapped up in the solitude I sought above the company of the small-minded.  I was also aware that most people who tried weren’t acquainted with or supportive of who I deftly was; the interests that had light, influence, and drive for me made a unique melange that kept me distanced from others.  Finally, I so strongly wanted to be successful, and to rise away from the confines of the world I lived in. 

That was my independence, and it is a keen thing to notice now.  Never before have I understood, in this exact way, that I wanted these things more strongly than people, wanted them before I knew to want people.  As I went through school, I was always the smart one, and I was often the odd one, based more on my personality than on my out-of-place skin colour.  I was set apart from other students by my level of intelligence, and my subsequent ownership of that intelligence.  I became who I was through my identity as an intelligent person, and that gave me a sense of depth from early on, as well as a sense of loss in realms that didn’t involve school-based intellect.  It meant I had fewer friends over time, and less idea of how to socialize.  It turned into scrabbling for purchase when my intelligence couldn’t hold me up– searching for jobs, doing projects, figuring out human connections, organizing classes and appointments, and finding any kind of motivation.  I have stuck by the same loves for years, the main one simply being learning.  I was asked recently how many topics I knew a lot about, and assessing it, there aren’t many.  I read a lot, and I care about the books I read.  I take in everything, so long as there’s a good story, and it stays in the back of my consciousness, if not my areas of expertise.  That will never stop mattering to me.  It may be the only thing I’m really good at.  Going back to university, where I am thrust into a group of people whose life skills are often above mine, but whose learning is striving to pick itself to the rung below, I’m remembering how good it feels to be at the top, to be in my element, learning what fits my mind.  My mind fills like my belly, when, hours after I became hungry, I finally eat.

That has always stayed with me.  So, too, has wanting success.  It’s a strange combination I’ve chosen, that of writer and would-be well-known.  I know enough to know I have skill in writing, potential, as it were.  I know that if I am to become anything I need a good deal of training.  I do not ignore the reality that I may never be seen as great.  I know with all my heart that I do have the capacity to be great, though.  That capability is not what draws my wish for success, however.  That is another fruit entirely.  It is becoming clear that I can’t mold a world around wishes for the future.  This is another step in my becoming who I am today, and will be tomorrow.  I must walk up to the person I am now, and take that person to live out today.  I want to be able to accept who that person is, as I am him, and to work with one day at a time.

What I was saying, now far above, is that I’ve had a lot of occurrences fly past me in the months that have just gone, and I haven’t looked at myself in relation to them.  Now, as I do, I think for the first time in my life, I may have found solid ground.  Saying it, I’m overwhelmed with a sense of doubt.  The summer thus far has been fixed on my unlessening laziness, my failure to get a job with the high standards and medium effort I’ve given, and being still unable to feel continually happy or even partially at home. 

Searching for a home has been a struggle since shortly after moving away, when I realized I didn’t belong anywhere.  Living with my parents and wanting to move were in close correlation, with a feeling of suffocation being the closest association to staying in Winnipeg.  I felt closed in artistically, with nothing seeming to offer up much in the way of creative training or exploration– and I was beginning to feel closed in by the people I knew.  There were designs laid out, based on who I had been as a young teenager, of who I should be as I continued to grow.  If I stayed I would see myself in the eyes number of friends, and my parents, rather than my own perception.  Most apparent was that I was female, I was shy, I was silly and nerdy and I was small.  I wanted to be able to expand, to fill a vision so big that it wasn’t fully clear.  I wanted to become the haze of greatness that was palpable to me, for there to be so much of myself fully realized that I could only be a fraction of that world at an time.  I wanted to stop being plans and halves and partially jotted down ideas; I wanted to be a whole story, a whole creative, ambitious, powerful, real creature. 

And right now, as with then, I want to find a home.  Moving to Nanaimo, I came to know that I was simply on another stepping stone.  Or, I see that now.  At the time, it was tear-soaked heaviness, something I saw as failure.  I had failed to find a place for myself, and as I walked through the place I was in, I seemed to lose myself.  It is true that for much of my four university months, I talked to no one in classes, became no one’s friend, and sometimes, hoped that no one acknowledged me.  I didn’t join any groups or explore the city or become myself within Nanaimo.  We lived parallel to each other. 

It still feels as though no earthly place is mine, and that both worries and frustrates me.  However, this brings me to a different home, one made of people.  There are those whom I love, whom I can find comfort in, who I could imagine staying close to, and they holding me, for a long time.  There is one boy, far off both in distance and in possibility, who he is often there.  In order to exist for me, Adam would have had to weave through friends and websites and not entirely serious junctures, and open himself, unexpectedly, to me.  I would have had to accept him.  We would have had to trust each other, quickly, to be willing to listen and try to help each other, with very little to connect us.  Still, hope permeates both our lives, and we did find that bond.  His hope is to find some sort of sanctity in living, mine is to feel secure and find a way to give myself to the world.  Adam and I were, and are, searching for a way to be happy, in a world that doesn’t look us in the eye.  We have in common a position of uniqueness, and the misunderstanding this garners; but we have come to know that we are vital, we are important pieces in this world that doesn’t look at us.  I don’t mean we move with the importance of servants behind hidden corridors or workers in clothing factories – that those people have importance is triggered by a life of consumption, which is not a need, simply an excuse.  It is a way to live in the world without having to move it  We change ourselves with manufactured goods, and say it is meaningful to something besides ourselves.  And we use other people’s efforts to help convince ourselves that we are deserving of all the creations it is possible to consume, and to say that there is nothing we are required to add, nothing that needs our help to sustain a good world – we move with the importance of clouds to the water cycle, of angels to Jesus’ birth, of candle flame to midnight journeys during the crusades.  We are self-obsessed, internally rebellious, and chaotically wise.  We are only one piece, but we can shine.

Adam cannot see happiness; he has told me so.  He asks me, somewhat sheepishly, what happiness is.  I try to answer, but I don’t think he feels what I am saying until later in the night, when I flicker on a lighter in my dark room, and hold it so that, across my screen and his, all he can see is a glow against my soft smile.  It’s like you were saying, he tells me, happiness is the light that shines from inside you.  We both smile, and pretend not to know we are doing that to each other.

This is what I am trying to say, about home.  That I hardly know who Adam is, and he was drunk that night when we both said we wanted to be together, that he’s traipsed through a good deal of trouble that he doesn’t understand, that he doesn’t know how to feel, and he gives me a headache sometimes when he’s all caught up in something that doesn’t matter.  But he makes me feel like, whether or not we fit into each other’s puzzle piece fantasies, whether or not he grows into someone who doesn’t make me wish he’d change so many little things, he’s something.  He’s the closest thing to me, and someone I’d want to live with my whole life long. 

All I want to add is that what happened in the last month is that I grew.  I have a new sense of self to replace the one that was slugging around last month.  And there is more.  It’s telling me that I havne’t become nothing, that even while I’m been soaking in acidic pools of laziness and feeling lost and shameful for the shape of my life, I’m not nothing.  It’s telling me that a lot more is possible.

 

[14.06.10]

Song

We shall overcome, we sang. I was at a tribute concert, singing, my body rocking back and forth and the chair swinging in small motions as I sang.  Pete Seeger was a lobbyist, a unionist, a folk singer for the people, and he sang that we would all overcome, because of course, because people need, and have, so strongly have, hope.  But then…

We are not alone

I couldn’t sing it unless I believed it, because every moment of today I have felt bubbles welling up inside me, and there bubbles are empty, creating more space inside me, carrying emptiness inside my skin, filling me with loneliness that burrows tiny maggots into my skin, that expand into holes, that expand to take over my happiness, my creativity, my love, my energy. Any ability to be move, to speak, to take steps, forward, forward, to do anything but fall back onto my bed the moment after I awake, to fall back and fall asleep and fall away from everything, every moment of everyday, taken away from me, spaces expanding until all I am is spaces and anything that is me that is going out into the world is emptiness, emptiness, and there is nothing, nothing left. This all hit me in a second, the second before I had to sing it. I couldn’t sing it if it wasn’t true, but I had to, I had to sing it.

We are not alone

And so I did. I wasn’t thinking anything, there was nothing in me to think, and I didn’t know what was moving through me, but I sang.

We are not alone
We are not alone
We are not alone today
Deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome

My eyes became my life, and my life bled out onto my cheeks, and the world fed on my life. I could sing it, and it was true.

We are not afraid

Looking back, it feels as though everything had become nothing when the words took up into the air, and all that was left in the words and the spirit and life and meaning was there to spin into my mouth, spin out of my eyes, to pass through all that I thought was a hole, was an empty space, to twine thin, thin gold threads out straight to my soul.

We are not alone today
We are not afraid today

I didn’t do anything. I couldn’t do anything. My life was my life, my mind my mind, my heart my heart, my love my love, my world my world. But somewhere, deep somewhere that didn’t feel real through all the days I had to live and breathe and walk down paths that didn’t shine pure light or grow soft ferns or shed raven feathers or have beds of crinkling needles or feel anyway like home, but that still inside me, in me in the most real and true and angelic part of myself, of everyone, of the universe,

I am not alone
I am not afraid

Hug

A lot of my current problems could be solved with a hug. A hug to Radian to say we’re very good friends, and I’ll see you when summer is over. I love you. To Jj to make her feel better, to say it’ll be okay. I’m here for you until it is. To Adam when his parents and his world go against who he is, when he needs solace; to Adam because I love being with him and I’ll miss him, I’ll miss him. To my parents, because it feels good to have their arms there to hold me, even when I can go on without them for a while. I miss them all. A hug from any of them, to me, one that lasts a long long time and takes all my wait into their body, holds me up and comforts me, warms me until I’ve stopped feeling tears along the inside of my veins and I can keep moving forward.

[14.05.06]

Hi

I’ve been thinking of words to say
that don’t sound quite like the emptying
of my internal organs
all slicked out on the floor
that don’t sound like hollow skeleton eyes
and holes where skeleton flesh
has all been burned away
 

Words to say, that don’t
that don’t sound
don’t sound like this
 

I’ve been trying to find ways to express
how I feel, how I want you here
without saying how intangible things
touch intangible pieces
of us
and without saying I want something
real, this doesn’t feel real
                        sometimes
been trying to reach for something
without the allusion of an abyss
or any shadowlands
I want to touch you without silences
to say hi without the world all over it,
              breathing
 

I want you without needing
words to say
                              I want you
eyes to croon
                              stay with me
mixed up boringly poetic musings
to whisper
                              fuck
 

You’ve been my best friend
how did we manage that?
 

[14.04.29]

Drifting

At 6:30 I ate, the first thing today.  I’m not sure how, I spent the hours from 10 to 6 finishing the last school project – somehow, somehow.  Time faded into the walls and silence, making the bags all around heavier.  All the heaviness in my life is tangible heaviness, is represented in these stuffed full and bloating bags.  It tells me it is important, but I have urges to throw it all into the ocean.  It’s the same old question though, after that – what would I do with myself?  What is it possible to be, when one has nothing – except nothing?  Our traits do not define who we are, but they make it possible for us to continue having traits ascribed to us.  Without sheets and clothes and so many unnecessary books, I wouldn’t mean anything to anyone.  Look at all this stuff I own – I don’t want responsibility over it, I would not mind going off and putting on a uniform, having everything I own be part of theirs, having them control my every movement, having my life focused, bound to less and with a joint purpose.  I think, not in hyper masculinity but overall, training in the army makes it easier to be an adult, to be tough and strong.  Taken and thrown into everything, focused, focused on specifics, working together… learning how to get through being afraid, how to he responsible, how to use your entire life to fight, and see how much fight is in you.

I don’t know where I’m going tonight, nowhere my own to sleep, and worse, no idea what to do with all my luggage.  The sleeping I don’t mind.  I have a warm coat with me, and there are beautiful hillsides and Japanese gardens here, there’s an empty fluorescent library.  All there isn’t is somewhere to hand off all the items in my life – hand off my life, my need to eat and inclination to sleep instead of taking in the eerie transparent darkness.  Allow my soul to drift up into the place where the mountains meet the clouds, write down or send down all my words into a prophet to transport over earth.  I know though, that all those who would feel and would understand my words would be of my kind, the kind who long to fly away bodyless, us with souls that are the same thing as angels, us with lives that long for calmness and kindness and mind freedom.  Sometimes I am afraid to write because I know that writing has turned me into myself, and if I ever kill myself, that will be my own writing. I would not want to give someone such a beautiful tool that it will take them away from the earth, from the human world, the human world.

When I was younger what I was most anxious to read about was the afterlife, stories that took place after bleeding and purgatory had been completed, in the next place, death’s abode.  The Wish List, The Lovely Bones, Elsewhere; my favourite (still), Angels Unlimited.  There weren’t many. But I read them to take away my fear, the picture that would surface behind my eyes: of soil, packed tight and dark and smelling an odd sickening combination of musty and clean rain; pollinated, choking breathing.  And the sound, an endless ring like that which hits your ears in tiredness, in electric concentration, in the presence of fridges.  All there, endless, and torture in the endless drone and feeling like that of constant dripping water; a coffin, and staring until nothingness forever.

Writing now hasn’t helped anything, I can assure you.  Yesterday, the day was most fulfilled by the long routine of spraying and cleaning, wiping away.  I talked to Jj, reminiscent of the way I used to, when he was quietly screaming at the top of blood and mind lungs, not saying much, and I only sitting there, calming her.  Cleaning away the grime on the surface, anyhow.  Talking to her while I fell apart, inside, and my belongings fell, compressed and caged, together.  In that way, I fell together, too much, too much of me to fit all away.  So much of me unimportant.  That talking helped.  Not helping any problems, either mine or hers, just paying attention to her, just letting her be there, she letting me try to be there, to make it okay.

I’m not really sure what will save us, all of us.  I’m not certain anything is really all that important.  This may be why, in the back of my mind, some small will to join the army – then I would have someone else’s sign of worth.  There’s a negative to landing on your feet around those who are as flyaway and cynical, as much given to wandering in winter without gloves, along streets in the middle of the night, as much with paradoxical worldliness and distance from the world, as I have.  Landing on your feet, but there is no normalcy, no relief.  Relief.  Right now, I crave a cool bed and warm air, a book, someone to tuck me in and leave me there for a couple of weeks, trying to fix my mind.

It’s a strange thing, nihilism, that it doesn’t count as a DSM disorder yet, that thinking everything is pretty well pointless and having no aim within that isn’t seen as something that would interrupt and get in the way if your life.  Depression, see, still thinks you’re a human being on Earth, and Earth at least matters.  The way I often live, nothing. Nothing does.

“Are you looking forward to it?” he asked, a revealing question, because my mind is a hard brown seed, a black box, a peeling gray metal safe, a portal-less plastic room, an empty gun cartridge.  “I don’t really look forward to anything.”  A truth that rode on the wave of a headache, cynic spores arriving and billowing explosions all over my head, an air raid on my intellect.  I do, in truth, feel lacking in intelligence often now, as if my intelligence is draining out in sleepless nights and smoking on trails at midnight, and loneliness.  Loneliness.  I am not lying when I say that life leaks out of my body, no barrier, no softness outside to protect and absorb my sound, nothing to hear my cry.  Wounded animal, tree falling in empty forest.  I have my own forest, and it thrives, it thrives, and nothing comes to chop it down, and no one knows why the trees are all dying, but no one minds, because no one is in the forest and no one can see what happens to the trees. 

If only I knew more why I was dying.

A tree in the forest, I would not need food, gluttonous food that sits five feet from hand, food that does not bring itself to mouth.  It would reach into me, food, would fall down on me, life, would breathe through me.

[I'm not sure, but it came to me]
“But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet.” ~W.B. Yeats

[14.04.25]

Consume

Easter Monday.

Yesterday I went for a walk in the dark, and began thinking about those things that remain when distraction is gone. A few days ago, I woke up with the realization that, in our consumer society, most of what we spend our money on is unnecessary to living. See, that may seem obvious, that hair dye and season football tickets aren’t keeping us alive, but we aren’t conditioned to thinking about what we take in without needing to. 

We have begun to think that what we are comes from outside ourselves. Beauty is made by makeup, attractiveness is made by constantly working out, health is made by diets, intelligence is made by grades, capability is made by training. That who we are is only anything when there are money and societal conditions layered onto it. 

It is recognized often that Western society is individualistic, as opposed to collectivist, and there is an importance placed on making the self great. But looking deeper into that, individualism is made by societal expectations, and in creating ourselves as our very own brand of a person, there is pressure to give up on our internal supports and drives. Thus, individualism is an institution that makes us all dependant on, and part of, mass society. While we theoretically respect all people as equal, in reality, there is a sense of what is to be strived towards, that has greater worth. This still is equal in a way, because what we value is more often than not unnatural- an unrealistic expectation if we do not change who we naturally are. Individualism is “no purchase necessary”, but in the widest sector of normal society, buying and consuming definitely helps. 

This is what I was thinking of when I realized most of what we buy, we don’t really need. I’ve been focused more and more on the inequality between the 2%, which is what any middle class North American is, and everyone else, and I’ve been thinking about what I take in that I don’t need to. What we all spend money on that we don’t need to live, to be happy. 

Hair dye
Tanning
All-inclusive vacations
Expensive costumes
Fashion magazines
Expensive cars
Designer coffee
The latest technology
Greeting cards
Air fresheners
Air conditioning
Dishwashers
Microwaves
Televisions
Hair straightners and curlers
Makeup
Expensive prom dresses
Cologne and body spray
Jewellery
Excessive clothing
Kitsch and throwaway plastic
Video games
Sports tickets
Figurines and collectables
 
It isn’t about throwing away everything we take in, but understanding how much we consume, and how much of it a) we truly appreciate, rather than just take in absentmindedly, and b) makes us happy and gives us fulfillment, and c) as part of what is in our core, and not a distraction. The third one, for me, includes books, writing, learning, music, dance, clothing that makes me feel good, and appreciation of art. The idea of this is, rather than taking away what we love, to remove the clutter and distraction. 
 
Society today is built on us not trusting ourselves, on falling into what we can be given, to see if it will make who we are better- we don’t have security or confidence in who we are without. The healthy world involves each person understanding that who they are as their own person is strong and able — and that they will need the support and strength of other people in their lives.
 
Perhaps we are not an individualistic society so much as we are a society that has looks for support from things rather than people. 

14.04.18