The other new piece from Thursday night. The one that’s mean and shitty and makes me not like myself.
“Diaper Baby” by Sass Dragons seems appropriate right now…
I don’t care. I want attention. It doesn’t matter just where it comes from.
I’m as needy as the day I was born. Like a crying baby.
SOMEBODY CHANGE ME.
Before I went to bed at 8 AM, I uploaded the new high-resolution photos of 28 and Eradicating the Threat of Happiness.
Both are available in my webstore, as are prints of my newer pieces.
The good people of the Wunderground collective have been sweet enough to include me in their quarterly event at 1904 Music Hall. If you’re in/near Jacksonville, come hang out with me on January 11th. Art, music, burlesque, spoken word, food… IT’LL BE AN EVENING.
It’s not my favorite thing to acknowledge but I hit the reset button on my clean time over the summer. I was up to eleven months (which shattered the old record of thirty-one days). In any case, I’m back up to 103 days now and, today, I went to my “usual” NA meeting. It’s the only one I’ve ever been to in Jacksonville. As I sat there, I scribbled on the cover of my text.
“This is my first meeting in five weeks. Did I mention yet that I haven’t seen my counselor since September? How strange that I forgot to mention that…”
I was listening to this song on my way home tonight. It’s got a couple lyrics that’ve always stuck out to me. I don’t always relate to them as much as I used to, but I still love it.
I can see the question across your face: “How can you live so trivially?” I’ve got my ways and I’ve got my techniques… Our lives are built on hurt and shame; it doesn’t mean they’re not okay.
I just finished my most impressive work to date. (Our futon pillows don’t fit in regular pillow cases so… needle + thread + two pieces of fabric leftover from when I made “Gift Horse” + fabric marker = “Case For Pillow”).
In between addressing it and sticking it in the mailbox, I scribbled some shit on the back of an envelope while smoking a cigarette. Seven months ago, I wrote a note in my phone that said, “I’ll get to that landfill one day.” I don’t remember what the fuck that means, but I remember that it was really funny at the time! Now… not so much. Eh.
Core beliefs are the things we believe about ourselves that guide and influence all of our behavior. This week’s spirituality group assignment at Tranquil Shores was to list ten core beliefs. I did it on the same page on which I was also scribbling (and using to write notes to the girl sitting next to me).
I am ugly.
I am a problem.
My perceptions are wrong.
I am smart.
I am only tolerated.
I am almost good enough.
I’m not like other people.
Number three might not actually be a core belief as much as it was a new belief that had been developing in response to everyone telling me how wrong I was (when it came to my core beliefs).Number four is the one positive item on the list. Number six was misinterpreted by someone in the group as positive but “I’m almost good enough” is an acknowledgment that I might not be thoroughly awful (when it comes to [insert anything here]) but I’m not good enough to actually succeed. Which is maybe even more frustrating because it puts me in the position to think that I might succeed “one of these times.” It keeps me going and sets me up for more disappointment. [What I failed to recognize up to this point in my life was that I had succeeded many times at many things: I have a fucking law degree from Georgetown! I released records by some of my favorite bands! I’ve done all kinds of cool shit in my lifetime].
Number ten is my favorite because it’s the one item that I held on to – but spun in such a way that (rather than eat away at my fucking soul) it frees me.
That sounds lame and I’m okay with that.
After we wrapped up core beliefs, we were told to make a list of core values. Values are inherently positive though. And having just reviewed my ten core beliefs, I was emotionally drained and feeling sick to my stomach. In that state, I wasn’t about to acknowledge anything even remotely positive. Not to mention that – while I knew what my core beliefs were without even having to think about it – “my values?” … That was a little trickier.
I had to bring my scooter with me because I was going to be in south Florida for the next month. When I loaded it into the back of her car, I accidentally scraped the bumper. She was angry.
The document verifying that I had completed my community service was due with my probation officer that afternoon. I asked if we could stop somewhere to print it out before we left town. That was also a problem.
We were in no hurry and my probation was on the line. This was important to me. Why was it an issue? I didn’t understand. I was hurt so I didn’t insist upon it; I just got in the car, dejected.
We had a four-hour drive and in that time we didn’t speak at all. Eleven days after moving in together and just two days after the explosion of sunshine and fucking rainbows that was “Out All Day,”this is what came out of me… In bits and pieces, it says:
FUCK EVERYTHING. I’m ready to be dead now. This is a drain. I failed today. Can I say “everyday?” Fuck community service. Fuck being a responsible human being. Fuck the scratches on your stupid fucking car. Fuck our apartment. You make me a worse person. I’ll feed my negativity and roast in my fucking hate.
[If you’re not familiar with borderline personality disorder, that’s what it looks like]. Here’s what I wrote about this piece when I was done with it:
I don’t wanna share this ’cause I don’t wanna give people the impression that I’m unhappy. But fuck that. Real life isn’t a simple narrative on a straight trajectory in one direction. My art can say, “I couldn’t be happier,” one day, and “fuck everything, I’m ready to be dead now” on the next. That’s reality and I’m not into painting a picture of my life that’s any less honest than I’m capable of being.
This scribble isn’t exactly “art fully realized” but I held on to it like I would a photograph. It’s a document, an artifact, or a memory – and not a bad one. This was cathartic and it was an opportunity…
I didn’t have my website yet but I was already regularly sharing my artwork and (sometimes) related writings through my Facebook page. To that extent, my day-to-day and my emotional process had become a public spectacle of sorts. I always feel awkward acknowledging this but my art has come to mean something to people (friends, fans of my old record label, even total strangers). I’ve received more than a few emails and messages from people telling me how powerfully they’ve been affected by something I made or wrote. I’ve been regularly called “an inspiration.” [I feel especially awkward acknowledging that]. But it’s been amazing, encouraging, and – in turn – has truly inspired me. One consequence, however, is that I feel like I have a responsibility now. With this piece, I had a choice: Did I want to be some icon of hope or did I want to be honest about what my life, in recovery, is really like? In sharing it, I opted for the latter, and I’ve done my best to honor that decision every day since.
When I first added this piece to the website, there was a journal entry from that day (9/22/13) along with it. I later decided to make that a separate entry.