Tag Archives: disappointment

Perfect Love / Exit Bag

"Perfect Love / Exit Bag." 10/31/12. Tempera, colored pencil, oil pastel. 12x18".
“Perfect Love / Exit Bag.” 10/31/12. Tempera, colored pencil, oil pastel. 12×18″.

“Perfect love” (to me) isn’t just unconditional love; it’s bigger than that and it’s greater (or wider) than any kind of romantic love. It’s a total respect for the entirety of another human being. It doesn’t have any room for jealousy or anything like that.

I really like the word “cupidity.” Technically, it’s an excessive desire to possess something (like money or materials things). Given the connotations of “cupid” though, I like to think of it as more of an excessive desire to possess someone. It’s sort of the opposite of perfect love. When I meet a girl, I have a tendency to go from one extreme to the other. One minute, I might be totally enamored or infatuated with her and then – the second I fear that she might not reciprocate (if she’s paying more attention to someone else, for example) – I’ll totally shut off absolutely all feeling and cease to care about her in any way at all. And then – the moment my fear is somehow allayed – a switch flips and I’m one-hundred percent invested in her again.

I’ve never been what you’d call a jealous or possessive boyfriend. I’m not bothered by my girlfriend going out without me, having male friends, or anything like that, but I think that’s because – once she’s “officially” my girlfriend – my cupidity is sated. That’s all the “possession” I need to feel okay, but that’s still a problem. It’s still not okay with me that I (feel like I) need that at all.

Last October, I was in treatment and I liked a girl but I knew it was a bad idea for me to get involved. So I was trying to have a genuine friendship with her. I was trying to practice this concept of “perfect love” that I had in my head. I was trying to be real and authentic and honest, and to value and respect her as an independent human being. It was a totally different dynamic (and experience) than my usual approach of (still trying to be honest but primarily) trying to get her to like me (or want to be my girlfriend or want to sleep with me). I wanted my behavior to reflect perfect love, which meant acting without any expectation, desire, or even hope of receiving anything in return.

On Halloween, she was having a problem and – after coming to me for help – she went to someone else. “What – I’m not enough? My help wasn’t good enough? What’s happening!?”–I thought. I didn’t show any of this outwardly, but the switch flipped and I immediately ceased to have any interest in this girl. My feelings were hurt so I was going to stop caring. …Because I wasn’t the only person that she shared her problem with…

And it’s worse than that even. In these situations, I don’t usually stop caring about the girl alone – more often than not, I also stop caring about myself. Suddenly, I’m a worthless unlovable piece of shit and there’s no reason for me to be alive. (My attempt at perfect love was an abysmal failure).

This all happened just before expressive art therapy group. An “exit bag” is a homemade suicide device. To make one, you need a helium tank, an oven bag, a piece of string, some tape, and a tube. I felt like I wanted to die, but I knew that I didn’t really and I wasn’t ready to talk about my feelings because I probably wasn’t ready to feel better. I needed to punish myself by stewing in misery for a little bit longer. Writing “helium, bag, string, tape, and tube” here was my way of saying “I WANT TO DIE” without having to deal with anyone’s response to a statement like that.

Because so much of what I was experiencing as I made this piece so perfectly exemplifies (/is symptomatic of) borderline personality disorder, I came to see the ghost that I drew here as sort of a stand-in for BPD. He’s in at least five of my pieces (including a tattoo). Once I have more of those online, I’ll probably do a special post just to feature him in all his different forms. (That sounds like fun to me). : )

Out All Day

I sold a lot of my stuff online today. Some leftover distro stock, but a lot of personal stuff too. Tonight, I borrowed Heather’s car to scrounge up cardboard boxes to ship these things in. At the gas station where I found most of my cardboard, I also found a couple. Homeless, fucked up. Not totally unlike me a year or so ago. They wanted money and I told them I had none. I gave them a couple cigarettes and used my food stamps to get them something to drink. They wanted a ride and I told them that it wasn’t my car. They had a pretty great sob story about why they couldn’t walk. I told them I’ve fucked up too many things in my life. That I was sorry, but I can’t give strangers a ride in a car that I’ve been trusted to borrow.  I can’t take any risks.

It was sad and it sucks but it’s also [whatever]. It just is. And it’s not a big deal. But I’m proud of myself for saying “no” and for being honest about the reason why.

“Out All Day.” 6/18/13. Marker and pen on canvas board. 8x10".
“Out All Day.” 6/18/13. Marker and pen on canvas board. 8×10″.

Says, “I was out all day. No one told me I had paint in my hair ’til 11 pm. I had a shirt with me in case I went to the library. I couldn’t be happier.”

This was only my second piece done entirely with markers. My first was “Powerless Over Flexeril,” but since then I’ve done more. While on tour, I made “Lost in St. Louis” and “Fear is Killing Me” and more recently I made “Still Sick,” one of my largest pieces to date.

A couple hours before I made this, someone told me they liked my outfit and I thought they were making fun of me ’cause I barely wear any clothes. She was serious though. It made me think about how I really like the fact that I have the sort of life that rarely requires a shirt (and even more rarely requires a shirt with sleeves or a collar). I like the fact that I have the sort of life where I can have paint on my hands, on my arms, my face, and my hair, and – not only is it not an issue or a problem but – it’s not even something that anybody comments on.

As anyone that saw my painting from last night (“Blueprint For a Successful Evening“) can probably guess, things were a little off when I got up this morning. But I went about my day, did my own thing, didn’t stress about it, and everything worked out perfectly.
I’ve said it before, but it’s still true – so long as I’m cool, so is everything else.

By the way, it’s not easy leaving white space on the canvas. So – you know – be REALLY impressed by that AMAZING feat.

(This next part – don’t get me wrong: I’m not majorly bumming out or anything like that but) I am feeling just a little bit sorry for myself tonight. Or I was earlier today anyway. With all the traffic to my webstore today (people buying records and books) I’d have thought that I’d have sold at least a little bit of my artwork. But I didn’t. I can think of a lot of reasons for that (some are a little more disconcerting than others) but like the couple I met tonight at the gas station, the reasons don’t really matter. It just is how it is. And my life is still pretty excellent. And I need to remember to be grateful for that. I need to focus on all of the good things. Lucky for me, there are a lot of them so it’s not all that difficult.

And if there’s something in my life that I’d like to be different, then I need to be bold. And brave. I need to take healthy risks and I need to take responsibility for actually making change happen. I don’t just get to have the life I want. I have to be the person I want to be and do the things that… that I need to do. I have to work at it. Whatever [it] might be.


Signed and numbered 9×11¼” prints of “Out All Day” are available in my webstore. The original sold in November 2013.