Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fearlessness and vulnerability

One of these health shows on the radio gave me good advice, the announcer was talking about how people are so afraid of collapse, they’re always keeping themselves upright and sometimes you need to just give in otherwise you fall apart. That was really helpful when I got sick -- to remember to get back in bed, and I'm trying to take that advice into my everyday life too -- how do you recover if you never collapse? I mean I collapse all the time, but I'm always fighting it. Thinking one more thing, one more thing before I get away from the computer -- this same announcer added that when you say I'll do one more thing, one more thing before you go to bed -- that's adrenaline and it kicks in and then you can't fall asleep. That happens to me every day.

Today I wake up to the sound of metal pounding on cement, over and over and over again -- why don't I have this setting on my white noise generator? They’re installing new carpet in the hallway, I guess they figured I didn't already have a toxic overload -- there's nothing like the poison of new carpet to bring joy to the beginning of every day. Even though I'm wired and verging on panicking rage, the key is not to get out of bed anyway, I mean if I can just get past this annoyance then maybe today will be okay. Even if the sleep just lasts a few minutes, I'll still feel much better. And yes -- I finally get there, just past the border and then back again but then past again and then back again and then past, when I finally decide it's okay to look at the clock it's already 4 p.m. but I don't feel terrible, yes that's the key -- I don't feel terrible.

Lately I've been prioritizing personal writing over everything else, and it's been great -- great for my writing, at least. I mean I always have a rule that writing comes first, but sometimes that means a paragraph and then a manic overload of checking email, by the time I'm done my whole body hurts I can't do anything else. The threshold between creative engagement and overwhelm is so delicate these days, I mean I'll write for a half hour and then my whole body hurts, have to do something else until I can write again and then my whole body hurts. That's why sometimes it's useful to go out to the Nob Hill Theatre or a bar, to go out somewhere where I'm not engaging my body in the same ways as writing or editing or reading, sometimes this brings me out of pain. Then I get back home and I'm crazed to write, sometimes it's too late my brain grasping into knots, not bed yet not yet but really it's time. The adrenaline, I guess, that's the adrenaline and I want to break that pattern but also there's so much to get down first.

I want to exist in a space of fearlessness and total vulnerability, both at the same time I think that's what it means to integrate my politics and dreams and sexuality beyond that place where I feel like sexual liberation is something I did in the past and now I just want it back. I mean I want something more. I don't know when my body will stop feeling like a limitation, but I know that I can channel attraction into something that feels like choice, not just the I’m-12-and-I'm-going-to-die, no I just need to get out of here. I don't always have to pay attention only to the fear because it's more trustworthy. Instead: this attraction can be more than a dead end. I mean, it may very well be a dead end -- sometimes I'm filled with a longing so deep for someone I'm certain I'll hate, I can watch the way he enters the room, the way he treats other people around him, the way he’s dressed and the way he laughs or refuses to laugh and I think I know everything. But what I know most is my fear.

There are places where I've learned to negotiate my sexuality -- backrooms and parks and cruising areas where I know that everyone’s there for sex and that means it's okay to make the move because even if they are uncomfortable and sending mixed messages I know why they're there. It took me a long time to learn this, I mean years but that was years ago although sometimes this doesn't prevent me from walking around in circles trying to find that guy who I saw for a second but instead I froze. I mean it took me years to get past that place of freezing sometimes I still find myself all desperate with the pain of missed opportunity anyway.

Sex work is probably where I’m most confident, it's about their desire not mine I'm good at that. I mean I developed the skill to make that my desire too, to move his hands to the right places, get him off before me so I could decide. Then there's the new space which is an old one too, the bar is where I’m trying to cultivate the skill of fearlessness and vulnerability, I mean to further that skill -- something I'm already doing with writing, something that gives me so much awareness and hope sometimes I breathe in and I can feel the changes inside my chest. Somehow I believe this may change everything.

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