Showing posts with label important. Show all posts
Showing posts with label important. Show all posts


motherhood on the killing floor

A mother gives birth on a slab of concrete lackered in the blood and placenta of other mothers and their newborns. Layers of dirt and pus. And when the child comes it is sometimes not quickly enough so the baby is pulled, her wet and knotted body yanked ankle- or knee-first to the ground, until she falls where her mother and hundreds of millions of other mothers have fallen. No father but a mechanized arm and stolen seed. No bond that won't soon be broken, for this baby was born to a place that abolishes motherhood, that forever bans it from its dry and flaking tongue and thieving hands. This baby's milk does not belong to it or its mother but to the stranger in the bloodstained galoshes. This baby does not belong to itself or to its mother but to the strangers in the nearby town who loathe the smell of their living and murdered selves but demand the production of lactate, veal, and beef (so long as the killing floor remains under quarantine, hidden from eyesight, a blight to be forcefully forgotten with each new birth, billions of times over).

Another mother, her pink skin streaked with bruises, her hips a parabola of cattle prod burns, gives birth to eleven children that she may never nuzzle without the interference of an iron gate. She would kiss them - she, the mother, would bat her babies with her ears and let them run over and under her expansive belly if she could, but she is disallowed from even seeing them or standing upright to show them her true size. Two weeks, maybe three, and they're taken from her. The stranger who keeps the keys at the gates of her cages does not call her mother. Sow, bitch, cunt, dumb fuck, pig.


What has to happen for a mother to be denied her motherhood? She is made into a not-person, an abject thing - not she the subject but she the object. Body, function, product. And what do we do when two hundred daughters can be stolen at once from their mothers, schools, communities? When another daughter is shot through the eye, another kicked in the ribs, another kept in a crate?

Let this Mother's Day see the definitions of motherhood expand. Let it be all-inclusive: all mothers must have equal access to the respect demanded by some. Rape will forever be rape; exploitation, exploitation. No more forcible motherhood and no more exclusion based upon gender, sex, ethnicity, or species. As many ecofeminist mothers have been saying for a while now: all oppressions intersect one another.


sea upon sea

Amoeba Records on a rainy mid-week afternoon in Los Angeles: one of the only idiosyncratic experiences I've found to come close those of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Those infinite snaking subway rides with book in hand, a bodega on every block with Goya cans on shelves and chia-infused kombucha in sliding-glass refrigerators. Conspicuously homeless chessmen and hula-hoopers in Washington Square Park.

I don't suppose it's difficult to tell I am missing it.

On Saturday mornings like this one, where I wake up late (8:36 AM) after returning (1:52 AM) from a night out dancing and feel as fatigued as if I had never slept at all, I settle down into the discomfort of not really wanting to do anything. No, I don't really want to finish that draft right now. No, I'm not going for a run yet. Eventually.

I've gone and forgotten the damn coffee. Eighteen minutes stewing in its own acidic juices in the french press. Well, I will not waste it all. Just a little cup. After all, I am only just returning to drinking it, after months of plastic "illness" that led me to further demonize coffee along with bananas, peanut butter, wheat, red wine, pillows, the couch, and consciousness itself. Really only the keyed-up version of consciousness, the one split multiple and over-invested in a hundred directions. As suspicious as it is messianic.

Well, the coffee's not utterly ruined, if it's any consolation.

Increasingly I've been thinking of Stanley Kubrick. Imagine my surprise when I came upon a chapter in Jon Ronson's Lost At Sea titled "Stanley Kubrick's Boxes." Putting aside my unease about journalists plundering Stanley's horde, cabinets, barn-stables, and folders (all the while making me an accessory to the crime, wrought as it was by way of an un-killable curiosity about the manias of our artistic heroes), I was happy to read Ronson's transcription of an acceptance speech for the D.W. Griffith Award pre-recorded by Stanley in order to avoid, well, all of us:
Anyone who has ever been privileged to direct a film also knows that although it can be like trying to write War and Peace in a bumper car in an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal the feeling.
 photo of a subway station in New York taken by Kubrick in 1946


sneaked (!)

(Waterhouse, Mariana in the South)

A preview of my thesis-writing. Still not working as much as I should, but I am writing, and reading, reading. The following comes from a section about the Institution, post-diagnosis. Unsure of the tense. Unsure of the voice, but, there's something there there:
I never understood drugs – which is to say I’ve never taken them – but that was all before close quarters and after learning of several plastic-bags’ worth of secret vomit. Before, I cringed to think of needles mapping-up veins, hands, elbows, feet; I imagined bottles and tin cans distending a multitude of stomachs, miles of bloodways clogged with ether and dust. Detox, I’m discovering, never knows difference, doesn’t care for it. I watch many of us shake during communal daydreams. My hatred and misunderstanding give way to pity, then shame. Our collective sickness stops up my nose and solders my esophagus at the mouth-end. Constant and willed self-conditioning delivers and keeps us here, biology finally asserting itself over our scheming minds, and all of us, the addicts, liars, cutters, bingers, purgers, restricters, depressives, insomniacs, over-exercisers, children, girls, old women – all of us then suffer bodily and beyond any sense of will or direction. We have been wrong. Mind is matter; control provokes atrophy. Duped by consciousness.
Do tell me. You know...what you think


- - - the always-open conversation

"My son, I have a fourteen-year-old. See it's funny you say it. They diagnosed him with anorexia a year ago, after I realized what'd been happening. He was very thin, you know, but it wasn't until I realized, he wasn't drinking the milk anymore. It was backpiling. And then I knew that the only meal he was eating was the one he ate with us."

// always ready for these exchanges,
   reinvigorating my purpose.
   you know,
   like whenever you have those moments
   when you understand
   that what you've chosen to do
   this time
   was so right.


countours, bits

The most recent "entry" in the handwritten journal that is to become my memoir and graduate thesis, as it is, unedited:

23 MARCH 2012

...I feel so intensely

   I cry at everything, at the completion of a lie or the parsing of truth; or maybe I cry because all of that feels the same and I need the dichotomies I've always believed

   I wonder "why" about all of this

   I put everything about myself and my non-existent world (space without a limit) ahead of the self that falls and gnaws through hangnails, before the blood that pools there and only seems to harden

   I make myself do many things and never ask, or explore, within (my guts?) myself, the body and ever-growing (by fractions in material and not imaginary terms) brain always coming first, winning out, testing the discipline I myself exact

   I live by discipline

   I live by another falsehood

   I shit and call it evolution; I bawl and call it my deteriorated modern condition

   I soften and yearn for hatred

   I soften and remember life before I recognized how life happened

   I operate only and always retroactively

   I wish for fulfillment but recoil when it presents itself because that means something closes off

   I recall certain measures of control and lament their toxicity

   I am toxic

   I remain, aware of the use of poison and the need for violence, and then I really never cry

   I cling to times when I'm crying and know, as much as I can even know anything, that it's for my own loss and here I am allowed the vanity that opposes my life

   I fantasize about drawing-and-quartering

   I dream of all-over nerve damage

   I can't sleep because I forget how

   I move constantly to ward off hunger and poor circulation and hate every way that my body figures, not just in mirrors but in rooms without chairs or windows

   I always, as a rule, assume the worst

   I feel so intensely that I've died X times and can't wait to let it happen again.


ici ici ici!

---I have been putting off writing in your book because doing so reminds me of the selfish reasons I wish you would stay.

---I love your fire, your light, your life, your will to fight, your gusto! More than anything, I love how free I feel when I am with you. Use others as your mirror when your eyes fail.

---You have made my experience here better than I expected and could have imagined. I had such a difficult time on my first day, but even listening to you talk and play games with you at the dinner table that night made me feel somewhat okay. You have such a powerful voice and I think you've used it extremely well. I hope you continue to use it once you leave, but I have no doubt that you will be able to. I hope for myself that someday I can use my voice like you have used yours.

---So many times since I've been here you've spoken the words in my heart that I've never been able to verbalize.

---I know you fight so much with the idea of perfection or failure, black or white, but to me, Jackie, you bring so much color and life into everything you do. You've seen how much you've touched people here, so obviously it doesn't matter if you're perfect: you're at an eating disorder clinic.

---I've never seen anyone want recovery as much as you do. You reject negativity so strongly and that is just one reason I know you will find happiness, health and whatever you set your mind to. I love you.

---You have been a strong and positive leader and role model in the community. I am so glad you "tell it like it is" - we all need a little of that to shake us out of our complacency.

---Whether you express yourself through art, writing, or music, your soul is so greatly appreciated by all those around you. I'm amazed by you Jackie and hope that we stay in touch forever.

---I remember my first day at Renfrew and how, during lunch, I sat at a table with you and thought you were a counselor (which I believe I've already told you). I think this is because you exude such confidence and poise - characteristics I honestly didn't believe people in an eating disorder treatment center would have. I resisted coming into treatment for so long in large part because I really believed that these places were full of weak and voiceless people who didn't have the strength to make a stand in any area of their lives except in regards to their disorders. I definitely saw some of that voicelessness(?) in myself and probably didn't want to see it in others. In short, I didn't expect to find people like you here - someone who entered treatment because she had the desire and strength to confront a difficult situation. You have become the voice of the community.

---Thank you so much for all your contributions to your peers. Your words and wisdom were truly inspirational to all of us; including staff. Listen to yourself.

I do not represent all of us - I only fully represent myself - but my voice holds all of theirs, yours. To write them is to write myself, their bodies up against mine, their silence fracturing mine. In the two years since I left them their sounding has gone all into one and how am I to make anything out without this contact book? So many things I forgot. It goes that you forget, and then you write, and then you remember. They'll read me and remember.


right now,

perhaps from now on,

"For that reason, confronted with ethnic hatred and violence, one should thoroughly reject the standard multiculturalist idea that, against ethnic intolerance, one should learn to respect and live with the Otherness of the Other, to develop a tolerance for different lifestyles, and so on - the way to fight ethnic hatred effectively is not through its immediate counterpart, ethnic tolerance; on the contrary, what we need is even more hatred, but proper political hatred: hatred directed at the common political enemy."
-- Žižek, The Fragile Absolute


best light

another shot by Tanya Dakin, who's convinced 
me that "no makeup" might never mean "plain"
-- and that it is not impossible to find my own
best light

In my quest to love myself, bodily and otherwise, I have found that in the past I refused the suggestions of others because my then-schema would only have allowed for them to be critical or unduly judgmental. Always on the defensive. My own thoughts were themselves over-filtered, in the way that dirt particles are made to separate from gold in sifters (only later it would be discovered that more than half of that "gold" was fool's gold). It now seems that I was afraid of so much about my own mind that I responded with an unremitting resistance to external ideas about myself, and even if a friend had intended to introduce "me" as a topic in our conversation in a minimal or harmless way I couldn't have helped but to assume the extremest of intentions - inwardly I scoffed, almost would always choke, and only at the mention of my self, which I exploded to mean various hypersensitive things: nerve damage, exercise obsession, eating deficiencies, etc. Certain, specific things that most of my friends would never have known enough to mention. Those that did had permission, but not really. Eggshells.

This deprecation went on before during and after Renfrew, though from different vantage points and with varying degrees of violence. I can't even say when I first began to think of myself as lesser. Maybe it was that first "polished" drawing of mine, dad's table saw, with the one leg longer and fatter than the other three, when I couldn't have been older than four or five; or I'm thinking of my mother pregnant with my sister, us at the glass door to our second home and watching dad out in the yard doing something manual, and my feeling of extreme smallness in the company of my three closest family members which also might have had something to do with my inability to really reach the door-handle and help my mother, with child, into the Ford. That afternoon she wore her brown, ankle-length fur coat. Her hair was as big as her glasses frames.

Either way I've found it impossible to say what it is that spurred my lifelong affair with perfectionism and resulting self loathing. When I realized I was sick I toyed with the possibility of my being bipolar (an excuse) or even just manic depressive (another excuse). Neither of these has proven to be the case but they still retain small bits of truth for me. This from a girl who used to regularly tuck her shirt into her brastrap, stand in front of full-length mirrors, and punch her ribs and stomach with such hard fists as to make herself wince and approach nausea. Circular motions, repeated, idiotic, so real. And I never thought doing this would fix anything about me. I distinctly remember thinking that it was one of several just punishments for the failure that was my life, re: my body, re: my slippery mind. One of several. You've heard before about people hurting themselves before anyone else could continue to hurt them without their permission. This applied to me, albeit partially.

The point is not to scare myself out of even wanting to remember that, before the last two happiest years of my life, I had lived twenty-two uncertain and sometimes horrible awful years without ever being able to know myself without a lingering hatred or misunderstanding. No, that can't be the point and it isn't. Very basically I have made the choice to investigate all twenty-four of those years, some of them more seriously than others, with the goal of finding answers to my questions and to continue fostering the curiosity about myself that, in my opinion, kept me from dying at the age of twenty-two.



Even though I have been crying all day (because I have been crying all day) I will take a photo of myself and post it here.

My eyes are pink and not from lack of sleep. They feel absent, not there, and my eyeballs itch. To have worn make-up today would have been frustrating for the inevitable running of my mascara and smearing of my eyeliner and then it would have been all too obvious and more difficult to hide, my coworkers only guessing at the downturn of my mood and what it meant, and so I left my face naked save the regular metal ornaments, although my septum stayed hidden as well. My morning mind was too full to remember lunch, and I still have not eaten. Nicky drove to get the pizza.

There is wonder in this situation but I struggle to understand why it has to be both bad AND good, why it can not just be one or the other, I would say black and NOT white - but my love of the binary and appreciation for my own resilience would have me relax and rewind and remember why happiness is always defined by gloom, and should be therefore appreciated for its complexity and worth. I want to rage against myself for feeling the remotest sense of contentment but I do not because it means I am adaptable and dynamic and LUMINOUS despite it all.

Even though I have been crying all day (because I have been crying all day) I have found a happy photo of myself and will post it here.

I have been adopted by the Morrs and greatly anticipate taking on their last name, Nicholas' last name, my last name. A mother, father, two sisters, mutt, and husband all my own and I'm all theirs and how about that?

How about that. I have fallen in love with an entire family. I have fallen in love with one man and am loved by him and his as much as Astrophil loved Stella, that sort of love WITHOUT conditions, a trust that is critical but never hesitant, and I am the happiest girl in the world because I give and am given so much affection - l o v e in its most honest form.

This is a love letter to me and Nick and Mama & Papa and Beef and Erin, Sully (my adoptive father) and Uncle Mark, all of my friends, and Burrito and Omar and Jasmine and me. Me.



again / enough

Obsessing over the width and shape of my ribcage. I can see them in the mirror, through my skin, in various types of light whether vibrant or dull, and according to the history of my disorder I would think that'd be enough, but again I trick myself. Thoughts come of their own volition. They say things like "the ribs are there but not visibly enough" or "you have to bend too far to even see them, and why only three or five?" and, well, I have to listen don't I? At the very least I can't ignore them. Accepting these floating suggestions as TRUTH would require an entirely different level of self-loathing and I overcame that shit ages ago but they still exist; perhaps they ruminate at the top of my spine perched like osprey in anticipation of a kill. Only the osprey does not know it hunts itself, it sees itself cowering in the wheatgrass and still lusts for that dive.

In my logical mind there is no question as to whether or not I'm healthy, because I am - this is the most fit I've ever been and also the happiest, mostly because of Nick, and also because of myself and our kittens and graduate school and veganism, and biking, all among several other things, typewriter included. I cherish my life and body as I should. It's just that, sometimes, like today and perhaps a few days running, shit feels heavy again. I look at photos of girls with enviable bodies and supplant my own, pinch the skin which covers my lower stomach and back and hate that it even exists, and remember the repulsion I've so often felt for food. Old photographs provide reasons for the extension of my shame (looking at the same pictures warrants positive reactions when I look at them in a different mood); suddenly I am not active enough. I should laugh at most of this because I know it to be ridiculous, and I often do, but somehow I still regress momentarily, like a child again - underdeveloped and helpless and soft-headed.

I can say everything and nothing about the violence I feel toward my Self and I've been writing about it (sometimes furiously) in the journal Nick gave me, wherein I am writing a framework for my fakie-memoir, only it won't be fake at all and that is why I named it so; it means something. Terrible terrible and important. Aside from everything else I suppose times like these afford more material for my narrative, which I often feel is too difficult to commit to paper, but it is necessary, real, and important, and it helps. Some times I sit cross-legged on the floor in adoration of my illness and simultaneously marvel at my ability to continually overcome it.