We used to speak so candidly. The world felt like a place that was safe to discuss the hypothetical, to ask awkward questions without any definitive answers, to question ourselves, to come closer to understanding our own desire. Was I naive? It’s been a year and half since he broke everything down, since I erased all memory of myself from the digital world, in a desperate attempt to kill off that part of me. The part that he, (and I) didn’t (fully) understand. But I so enjoyed asking those questions to try to find out, I enjoyed being the detective to my mind. But then my detective was muffled, silent. For fear he would unearth secrets and things that no one cared to see. That I should be silenced, that I should be ashamed, that I was sick, that my desires were unhealthy, that I was weak, that I needed psychiatric help, that I wrote an apparent S.O.S on the wall, that I was selfish, that I would bring shame to my family, that I exposed too much, that I made myself vulnerable, that I did not know the answers, that I did not love enough, that I was always running away, that I exploited people, that I did not tell the truth, that I was hiding things, that I never helped anyone but myself – it felt like I was on trial, a witch hunt. But who was hunting whom? I think I began to turn on myself in a desperate attempt to be loved. I emptied my pockets of everything that could cause offense and tried to redeem myself. But my mind was still fierce, and the warrior within wouldn’t go down without a fight. It made me stronger, to lick the bottom of my humanity, to squirm in my own shit, to believe in myself, and realize that I am the only one who knows my mind, that I am not an automaton, that my hands do not impart secrets that I know nothing about, that if I paint it black, it’s black not white like you told me.
I feel like I’ve been sleeping, that I’ve been producing but not reflecting. As if the creative process became something that had to be purged, and that once it was out I no longer wanted to look at it, almost abject. I’ve been making all this great work with my collaborator, and making progress with these characters that I’ve always wanted to explore and yet I seem to have left it all there, as if it’s no longer a part of me. I used to hold it all so close, with a wish to examine every pore. And now I’m sat here pulling all these pieces together, fragments and writings I hid from the world, and reading my thoughts, and my excitation and I am struck by how asleep I’ve been. But I guess we all need some time to lick our wounds. Am I tentative? Am I carefully sticking my neck out? Am I still afraid? A bit.
Image credit: Film still, Snow White, Disney