Arts and Farts

This week – a lot of firsts. Today, my first attack at work. (First seemingly unprovoked attack – no triggers as far as I can remember.) My first time shopping for art materials to make a dream map to sort out my head. Yesterday, my first class of a free writing course which I am rather excited about; it’s good to be back in a learning environment, especially at a real university this time, where I can glean as many new skills as possible. Also yesterday my first time with sole leadership of the drama group I now facilitate at a local mental health charity. Bumpy but acceptable; room to improve. As my head is really lagging tonight, I hope it will suffice to post the product of the Speed Writing exercises from the class. The first, we were given Corridor of the Asylum by Van Gogh as stimulus:

A man moves, and I wait. I stand, and wait, and long for sides. Shade. Frozen in the open. Perhaps if you close your eyes hard enough and actually believe you disappear, others won’t be able to see you. Like that trick in the book about the devil – invisibility via imagination – if someone doesn’t expect you there, they won’t see you. But somehow I know this man expects me. What then? Stand and wait, and let it happen. I start to hum to myself. No more point in caution. Always question whether it was my mistake, whether I could have overcome myself, but still just still. I wait, I stand. I open my eyes and he has turned to half-face me. His eyes still, they wait for movement, confirmation. I try so hard to give him absolutely nothing. His inner business can be felt, almost heard, but not seen. Whatever lurks inside that thing awakes today to taunt me. It will get me in its own time.

For the past couple of weeks I have felt the urge to write a short film about this feeling, this whole period in my life. Still watching lots of Imogen Heap on Youtube, I feel inclined to use ‘love love immi’ as the title, albeit just a sign-off. I like it, and I don’t like making sense. Logic is not for art, although sadly my writing teacher disagrees. Cue more painstaking analysis of poems, dredging up meaning from nowhere, digging into poems by people who clearly have no knowledge of Van Gogh’s life and definitely shouldn’t be writing double entendres, or what turn into double entendres in the eyes of farty professors, about a dead artist and his sexual life. Maybe he was lonely and had a wank every now and then. But that’s for him to say.

What I am

Reading Creative Visualization, I am tickled. One of the three necessary elements of your self-assigned goals is Acceptance.

“Are you really willing to have what you are asking for?”

I look back and laugh at myself yearning for things and people that actually, if they happened to me, I would run away from. Boys I’ve been embarrassed to admit I liked – warning sign, maybe? Clothes that wouldn’t suit me. I am so unaware of my true self and style – people see what they want suiting me, and decide who I am, and I always feel I should rebel against those judgements. Recommendations, ‘Hey, try this’, fine. Implications, ‘You’ll love this’. Will I now?

Here’s a list of things I know I love, and am. This girl has been: an acrobat, a pianist (albeit only for a few lessons), a writer, an editor, an actress, a director, a producer, a good listener, a masseuse, a life model, a dancer, a singer, an A student, one of a few writers of an underground magazine.

This girl will be, whatever comes to her when she gets her head on right. Taking each day as it comes.

I try.

I stand in the shower and let the heat pound on my front until I feel exquisitely nothing. I think of the French, imagine I want to be everyone else, and yet no one. Everything and nothing fight for my heart, and I wonder which it will give in to. So many things buzz in my head today. I feel overwhelmed every time something positive happens – I get so excited and trip over my own thoughts as they spiral in the hope of something wonderful, and they bring me back to this. I imagine things in time with songs, wonder how much belongs to me and how much is just implanted from things I’ve watched other people create. Imagine that my tears might be important. You can’t make a film out of just anything.

I went to Mind last night and stood at the door for a minute. The depression support group night. Walked round town for an hour to kill time before the lights came on, and finally the door opened, but then there was a person there. It was real. Suddenly I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t feel like sitting in a high-exposure circle of strangers and having an ‘informal discussion’ about how my head doesn’t work. I made my excuses, and left. One more lifeline for another time.

Priorities

With Porn Week on mute as I listen to a new fan’s band, I begin to question my priorities.

I have planned to go to a depression support group tomorrow night; another avenue, I thought, problem solved sooner. I also planned, in my forgetfulness, to see a friend at the same time, and then when I remembered, told her I couldn’t. I can’t help feeling I’m missing the point somewhat by putting a frightening circle of strangers before a comfy night in with some French films. Perhaps this is one lifeline I can leave on hold for now.

I think I am coming close to seeing my share of naughty things, and possibly then my nervous curiosity to be educated will be satisfied. I never had a crazy phase; no wild one-night stands, no orgies in church pews, no holy popcorn boxes in the back row. Perhaps consequently, I have always been a bit curious. I don’t like porn, I just have to watch things. I need to read about it, need to hear stories about red-light experiences from real people, even though they depress me in an underhand way that hurts without justification and leaves me wholly fragile, I have to do it to myself. It’s like a hankering for knowledge that I don’t really want, and can’t learn that fact. Maybe I do know that, but won’t accept it yet, because I just don’t want to be that naive. I feel like a lot of things are a competition in my life – if I value someone, I have to find out everything about their favourite band, buy a T-shirt, and choreograph a dance to the hit single before I see them next. If they can cook, I need to read up on allergies and preferences and seasoning suggestions, so I feel in the know. It’s my nature. I hate it, I do things I don’t enjoy at all, I convince myself I like things because certain people have recommended them, and I go off things I’ve loved for years because someone makes a flippant derogatory comment about them. Exhibit A: Old boyfriend said “Women aren’t funny.” Of course, I know this is not true, even I make people laugh. But in my head, the statement rings out like gospel. It is physically impossible for me to classify women as funny, especially over men. They will never win. This person is long gone from my life, and stopped being important years ago. Sadly, the damage is still done, I have learned a new prejudice.

Hi, my name is Darcy, and I am over porn.

A little less creative, but valid.

Need to realise that when listening to music on Youtube, it is allowed not to watch the video as well. I can physically get up and do other things. If the curtain being open after dusk bothers me that much, I can go and close it, and Ed Harcourt’s ‘All Of Your Days Will Be Blessed’ will not cease to exist.

Santa, if you’re listening, I would like some clothes that used to belong to Imogen Heap or Zoey Deschanel.

I have my role model, I have my mentor. I am now keeping a diary of food, mood, and physical changes, to identify the causes of my meltdowns so I can target them.

Down to two-three really bad attacks a week for the past two weeks. New instructions from doc – self-help books. Maybe meds, if I change my mind, or if things don’t progress in the next month.

Realisations: I am not alone, in a number of ways. I have a wealth of support from all of you, my devoted lovely friends and family, and a few regular readers – hello! But also, I cannot heal on my own. I am a co-dependent being and need those around me to be good and happy and moving forward too. I am going to surround myself with positive influences, including people, like my good Finnish friend who introduced me to the Cheese Girls phenomenon.

… and Imogen Heap, whose old video blog is giving me something to do for a little bit of time each day that makes me smile.

I am here for all of you as much as you are for me; I need you to heal and develop with me, which is why I am such a busybody sometimes, and I apologise for when that gets annoying, but it makes me what I am.

Ha Ha and Boo Hoo: a work in progress

Everybody knows that everyone is someone. But what only some people know is that everyone is actually someone plus one. We are never alone. We all have another someone in our heads. They may be a different size, or race, or age, they may take different sides in arguments. They make different decisions. Their lives go to other places. They are the ones who didn’t get made because it wouldn’t have made sense. We are the ones that fit in. We are the livers, the lovers, the fighters, we get to eat and shop and sleep and they get to watch. They know they are there, and really, we do too. If we think about it, we talk to them sometimes. We take long, hard looks at them and think, ‘No thanks.’ What we need to remember is why they are where they are. These someones go by many names, they don’t get the privilege of only having one. One is easy to remember. One means something. My someone has been called Pierre, Princess Annabella, Doctor, Huff and Madam. Currently we call her Boo Hoo. Boo Hoo doesn’t care for friends, or food. She wakes up too early, or too late. People stay away from her because she stays away from them. She never calls on anyone because, she says, they do not want her to, and if they ever called on her she would say so little they would never do so again. She looks down when people she knows walk by, instead of up. One Christmas Boo Hoo ran away to Heaven so she wouldn’t have to thank anyone for their presents and have them not believe she meant it. Ha Ha is a very different someone. Ha Ha drives at one hundred and thirteen miles an hour at all times. In fast lanes, in slow lanes, when parking. Ha Ha makes sleds out of duvets, puts garden snakes under pillows, pushes friends into rockpools, spits at strangers from rooftops and then hides before it hits them. Ha Ha is my lover’s someone. And you see, if Ha Ha and Boo Hoo had ever been made instead of us, had ever come to meet, something very important would have never happened.

No. 7

After a night of howling and whimpering like a beaten dog because my boyfriend bought an X-box rather than elope to marry me in Bordeaux, (That post-it’s been on the fridge for ages, surely he knows that’s next on the list) there are too many parts of me that ache to name. The face I have to look at every morning and tell ‘I love you’, is blotchy from mangled sleep. Birds are still tweeting outside. Life goes on without you. I feel so very lost and trapped in myself. So many things scare me that used to be no enemy to my thirsty hedonism.

I don’t like the dark, I don’t like alone time, I don’t like travelling, I don’t like showers, I don’t like theatre (don’t worry, I’ll take that back), I can’t keep potplants, I don’t like food. At all.

Today’s questions: Am I in danger of starving myself? Am I making all this up? Should I fill my time with as many different people and activities as possible, or rest and be delicate, take it easy, take comfort in familiarity. Is that to put too much pressure on a few shoulders?

New thought: Don’t exhaust every avenue at once. Take what you can from one thing at a time, give it due attention and recognise what makes you better, at what point. Perhaps some things are better left until another day.

Right now, I will try the diary of physical and emotional changes, and continue with the books. Today’s entry will include a homage to my role model, to remind me of the essence of the good things I hope to move towards.

I have finished reading ‘Taming the Black Dog’, and am going to refer back to the exercises over the coming weeks. I must say the format and some of the feelings described in the book give me hope – not only do I feel normal but I got through the lovely short sections in a reasonable amount of time. So far I have buggered the diet suggested with some pasta and bread – I will not apologise for being a carb monkey. They are tasty. So, I move on to ‘Creative Visualization’ – meditation, positive thinking and the law of attraction.

As an afterthought, exercise will be confined to lovely natural, real-context things such as walks in the forest, swimming, or running away from monsters. Forced stretches make me feel like my back is on fire. The Crab is no longer my party trick. This is coming from a girl who used to be an acrobat.