Act of Disruption and Resistance
September 29, 2018
12 noon-1 pm
Across from the Empress Hotel
All welcome to witness or participate.
|Atrocity Cheer. Aug 26, 2018.|
I signed up to do a fun thing but I woke up that day and I felt shitty so I cancelled. Cancelling also felt shitty.
Aside: I have a confession to make. I almost never go back and read past blog posts so I probably repeat myself and for that I apologize for anyone who reads this stuff. Anyway, I do know that even before the schmancer, I have often written about my susceptibility to illness and emotional pain. And I've written about it in relation to the MOST DESTRUCTIVE CULTURE THAT EVER EXISTED that I live in and am complicit in creating. That's what this post is also about but I hope I'm covering some new ground.
In the last week or so I've had two very vivid dreams. Dreams from HELL (i.e. EARTH), you might say. You would think you cannot make this shit up. But here is my brain...
The first dream consisted of me sort of accompanied by what could hardly be called a following, maybe like a small loosely organized class, or even just a random raggedy group of people who had nowhere else to go and looked even more lost than me. Except for being near each other, we seemed to have no comprehensible connection. For the duration of the dream, which felt interminable, I was trudging around a cityscape with few open spaces; where the spaces available were cramped and the ground was all ditchy or really steep. Everywhere, I had some sort of entourage and it was very difficult or impossible to stand without slipping or needing to find new footing.
And, I'm not kidding, for the WHOLE dream as we painfully wandered in this way, I kept asking myself: Why am I here? Why am I here? Why am I here? Why am I here?
If there is a distillation of my struggle in this existence this dream is it. Thanks Mr. Sandman.
Dream number 2. Definitely the work of the same auteur. I went to bed, disappointed with myself that I felt so unwell and would probably not be able to attend the thing that I had to cancel.
Again, this dream had the interminability and repetitive qualities of the previous one. In this case, the "star" was a woman I am acquainted with who bears a strong resemblance to the neighbourhood mother of my youth who, in my critic brain, represents the apex of judgmental, white, upper-middle-class, Calgarian, 1960s-1970s, NARROWNESS that I grew up in. And she played this role in my dream simply by showing up with her harsh, crabby face (a resting bitch face, as the lovely expression goes and as I, myself, at the age of almost 57, now sport as well or, perhaps better, than Mrs. X. ever did.)
I'm not kidding about this dream, either. For almost the whole dream, I was crying and apologizing to this apparently unyielding lady for missing an important event I had promised to go to. For a LONG time. This one had more of a conclusion, however.
Somewhere in my desperate remorse, literally sobbing on her bosom, her shirt came off (no, of course, it did not turn into a fun sexy dream) and exposed an atrocious sight. Her breasts were there but covered or simply composed of red, raw-looking scar tissue, as if burned with oil or acid. Her nipples no longer existed. Witnessing the brutality of the damage was traumatic!
I know I am often a buzzkill kinda gal. You should get into my brain people! Never a buzz!
It's challenging to find a nugget of hope from these "messages." But what I have gleaned is an ever deeper and pointed groundedness in the grinding here and now. (I know I wrote that alliterative phrase last month, but it still rings my writing bell.)
And by GRINDING, I still mean, as I have written about and spoken about for years: in my body and self. I.e. I get sick a lot, whether it's mental illness or physical or both or I can't tell the difference. Many days I feel like I have a cold in my head, which also feels like I have no energy. Or, as I tell my kids, I am not able to function as an adult today. I will make you macaroni and wieners and watch Netflix with earphones. They don't want the macaroni? I have no idea what they eat. We have food.
Have I mentioned my low bar, which I need to remind myself of now and then? Keep the kids alive. (Living pets are a bonus.)
"Grounded" is an interesting word. It often means that someone is stable and functions well. But I wouldn't describe myself that way. I use extreme amounts of emotional energy in the adult functioning and interacting that I either have to do or choose to do. More than anything, that's why I get sick a lot.
It's not that I have to interact with awful people. On the contrary, I am fortunate enough to interact with many lovely and engaged people. It's just that I don't know how to do it in a way that works for me in this language and culture. My inside me is wide open and vulnerable but also filled with rage and grief and my outside me has resting bitch face and Canadian-English conversational and relationship skills honed in the excellent years of the latter decades of the 20th Century, i.e. crusty and awkward.
I'm grounded. I'm just grounded in a parallel reality.
I saw this video of Zoë Dodd speaking passionately for thousands of people dealing with the opioid crisis, especially people who are disadvantaged. It spoke to me so deeply.
If the link doesn't work, basically a woman named Zoë Dodd is speaking with authentic emotion, as well as intelligence, clarity, and volume, about the urgency of acting on the crisis of people dying on our streets in the thousands. A roomful of people not used to authentic communication looks on awkwardly and a platform of politician-types gaze out uncomfortably and respond with platitudes.
This is how I feel about everything. I feel like I'm grounded in an emotional reality similar to what Dodds is expressing in the video. URGENCY. And those people on the platform are not necessarily evil or unfeeling, but they are probably grounded in a different reality.