if we’re lost, how can we lose?

While editing this zine, it seems that the most common remark I’m noting to myself is: “you said that already.” I wrote the drafts in huge chunks, like intensive six-hour writing days every few weeks or so, where I’d start with some handwritten or voice memo’d notes I’d made during the down times as I’d remembered particular stories I wanted to tell, and many of those stories would end up referencing a handful of choice overarching themes which then contained the same repeated phrases… I’m struggling a bit with this for a few reasons: I don’t want this to ultimately read like a laundry list of grievances, I don’t want it to read like a compendium of shit-talk — partly because I live in a small town and while it’s one thing to write this knowing that I will change all the names and this will be mailed out to people who don’t even know me, it’s a whole ‘nother mess to consider that a lot of local people will probably read this, and I’m scared about it even though one of my inspirational mantras is Anne Lamott’s quote, “If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

I’ve been reading Mary Karr’s memoir, Lit, which is about her own descent into alcoholism and subsequent recovery. She writes in a very casual way, often inserting parenthetical comments about whether or not she’s remembering an event correctly or if she was too drunk at the time or projecting her own emotions backwards onto the scene, or if her recollection would match her now-ex-husband’s version. So I’ve been feeling some kinda way about unreliable narrators and what is actually important here — the “facts” or how I feel about them now? When I talk about how it’s rare that I recall a pleasant memory from that time, is that unfair? (& to whom?) Am I the only person who can recognize that while I may be smiling in a lot of pictures from that time, my lips looked tremulous and my eyes were sunken and nervous and my skin was paler and I was too skinny?

& mostly I don’t want it to make me out to seem like a helpless victim but this is sort of cognitive dissonance-y. I always railed against the idea of victimhood despite having explained to people things like, “did I really have a choice available to me when one time I said I was moving out and while I started packing he went out and then came back and said he’d bought a gun at the pawnshop down the street?” (This turned out to be a lie but I didn’t realize it at the time.) & I was very stubborn, I didn’t want to think of myself as a person who had been trapped, manipulated, trained to act a certain way, forced to sublimate most of myself — I told myself again and again that I was staying because of love, because I was being brave, because patience is a virtue, and because I was a “strong woman” who knew how to handle his outbursts and suffering and violence and torment. I think that admitting or acknowledging that in some ways I might have been a victim would imply that I had no control — and I don’t mean control in the sense that, say, “if I do x, y, z, then he will stop drinking,” I just mean no control over anything: my actions, my thoughts, where I wanted to go, who I wanted to talk to, what I wanted to do, how to tell if someone was telling the truth… One “realization” I had during an argument was that I perceived the alcoholic not as a person but as a series of behaviors, and now I’m feeling like that could apply to me as well — not a person but a series of reactions. & again, in AA they say alcoholism is a kind of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” Now I think that I was being the same way, even though I was mostly sober during those times: so what the hell was I thinking?

I went to the doctor for my one-year follow-up and he told me if I want to, I could have surgery to remove the wires in my knee, but there’s no guarantee that would reduce the soreness or swelling. So there’s that. & it doesn’t really hurt a lot — it’s worse when it’s cold or raining, and I joke that I have an excuse to be cranky now — it’s just always there, reminding me that I’m “damaged.” I remembered the time when I was dating the Photographer and someone gave him a box of metal parts leftover from a crematorium — replacement hips, pacemakers, metal rods, what remains — to use as props. Property. He photographed me holding casket rails like angel wings.
"how many soundchecks can a man ignore ‘til he turns into a shadow of himself?"
When I get angry about this pain I get angry about my drunk ex even though he had nothing to do with that accident. When I was laid up in bed recovering I felt safe — I felt like I was under no obligation to attend to his emotional fallout because I had more important things to deal with, and I told him so, on the phone before I blocked his number: listen, I can’t walk and I can’t go to work and everything hurts and I’m facing a huge amount of medical debt and I don’t have time to deal with your drunk anymore, I am traumatized. & he said, well, I was traumatized, too, I thought you were dead and now you’re gone and won’t even talk to me and it’s like you’re dead! & then I hung up on him.
Sometimes when we were together I would wonder what would happen if I got really sick, what if I had to be hospitalized, what if I got into an accident? & bitterly I would think, that would show him, that would make him realize exactly how much I do around here & what I’m worth, this house would fall apart, then he’d appreciate me. But he could only appreciate my trauma in terms of how it affected his own self. “I would never hurt you,” that’s what they all say.
"i get the point of missing you, no one else will do it for me."
He still sends me messages and I keep ignoring them. Each time, I feel guilty. I read what he wrote and overanalyze it — maybe the correct punctuation means he’s sober? Maybe I’m being too mean to act like he doesn’t exist after having spent five years together. Ultimately I don’t respond — haven’t for months! — because I repeat to myself, you are under no obligation to be friends with a person who pushed you into a wall. I have to tell it to myself to remember that it happened.
"i think the name belongs to me but someone else is living with it."
It’s strange to me that an entire year has passed. In my paper journal I record all kinds of things that p. & I do together, things we talk about, what he says to me, little mundane things even — I have to remember that this happens, that I have had an entire year without crazed drunk arguments (actually an entire year with practically no arguments), an entire year without that paranoia, an entire year without dread. I am really happy to come home to him after work every day and I don’t think I ever knew what that was like.
My therapist asked me how I view the relationship now because in many previous sessions I would talk about how it’s really good but I was scared of everything — scared to get involved with another man so quickly, scared at how well we get along, scared to trust someone even though I felt comfortable and had no reason to doubt, terrified at the idea of moving in together even though we spent so much time together. I told her my favorite story about my parents’ marriage and how the way I’ve measured my own relationships is by remembering watching my mom & dad do household chores together. Folding the bedsheets is a two-person job and they don’t even have to talk about it to instruct each other, they just move their arms in the right direction, stepping apart from and towards each other and simply doing the work. That’s what I always think is important — that you can work together doing all the things you need to do to have a home and you don’t need to tell each other how to do it. I told my therapist that story and I said, we don’t exactly have that now but I feel like it’s approaching that possibility, and I haven’t come anywhere near this close ever before.

I went to the doctor for my one-year follow-up and he told me if I want to, I could have surgery to remove the wires in my knee, but there’s no guarantee that would reduce the soreness or swelling. So there’s that. & it doesn’t really hurt a lot — it’s worse when it’s cold or raining, and I joke that I have an excuse to be cranky now — it’s just always there, reminding me that I’m “damaged.” I remembered the time when I was dating the Photographer and someone gave him a box of metal parts leftover from a crematorium — replacement hips, pacemakers, metal rods, what remains — to use as props. Property. He photographed me holding casket rails like angel wings.

"how many soundchecks can a man ignore ‘til he turns into a shadow of himself?"

When I get angry about this pain I get angry about my drunk ex even though he had nothing to do with that accident. When I was laid up in bed recovering I felt safe — I felt like I was under no obligation to attend to his emotional fallout because I had more important things to deal with, and I told him so, on the phone before I blocked his number: listen, I can’t walk and I can’t go to work and everything hurts and I’m facing a huge amount of medical debt and I don’t have time to deal with your drunk anymore, I am traumatized. & he said, well, I was traumatized, too, I thought you were dead and now you’re gone and won’t even talk to me and it’s like you’re dead! & then I hung up on him.

Sometimes when we were together I would wonder what would happen if I got really sick, what if I had to be hospitalized, what if I got into an accident? & bitterly I would think, that would show him, that would make him realize exactly how much I do around here & what I’m worth, this house would fall apart, then he’d appreciate me. But he could only appreciate my trauma in terms of how it affected his own self. “I would never hurt you,” that’s what they all say.

"i get the point of missing you, no one else will do it for me."

He still sends me messages and I keep ignoring them. Each time, I feel guilty. I read what he wrote and overanalyze it — maybe the correct punctuation means he’s sober? Maybe I’m being too mean to act like he doesn’t exist after having spent five years together. Ultimately I don’t respond — haven’t for months! — because I repeat to myself, you are under no obligation to be friends with a person who pushed you into a wall. I have to tell it to myself to remember that it happened.

"i think the name belongs to me but someone else is living with it."

It’s strange to me that an entire year has passed. In my paper journal I record all kinds of things that p. & I do together, things we talk about, what he says to me, little mundane things even — I have to remember that this happens, that I have had an entire year without crazed drunk arguments (actually an entire year with practically no arguments), an entire year without that paranoia, an entire year without dread. I am really happy to come home to him after work every day and I don’t think I ever knew what that was like.

My therapist asked me how I view the relationship now because in many previous sessions I would talk about how it’s really good but I was scared of everything — scared to get involved with another man so quickly, scared at how well we get along, scared to trust someone even though I felt comfortable and had no reason to doubt, terrified at the idea of moving in together even though we spent so much time together. I told her my favorite story about my parents’ marriage and how the way I’ve measured my own relationships is by remembering watching my mom & dad do household chores together. Folding the bedsheets is a two-person job and they don’t even have to talk about it to instruct each other, they just move their arms in the right direction, stepping apart from and towards each other and simply doing the work. That’s what I always think is important — that you can work together doing all the things you need to do to have a home and you don’t need to tell each other how to do it. I told my therapist that story and I said, we don’t exactly have that now but I feel like it’s approaching that possibility, and I haven’t come anywhere near this close ever before.

marieyall:

alyssadehayes:

Why would anyone want to do this? Unless it was performance art? 

marieyall:

alyssadehayes:

Why would anyone want to do this? Unless it was performance art? 

likeafieldmouse:

Excerpt from neuroscientist David Eagleman’s Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

Read more from the book here.

(via calisthenicswithwords)

(Source: testimonialyear, via )

298,400 notes

ineffableshe:

feral-bitch:

[img: a black and white floral print photo. white text over top reads, “memory loss, queer(y)ing growth, & teen advice // you’ve got a friend in pennsylvania #8.”]
you’ve got a friend in pennsylvania #8: memory loss, queer(y)ing growth, & teen advice
When working on a piece for Hoax #9: Feminisms and Vulnerabilities, I initially intended to take the queer advice framework of writing to one’s theoretical teen self and flip it on its head by creating a fictionalized direct dialogue with my ten-years-younger self. After taking much time investigating different ways to enact this, I scrapped the idea altogether—I had a lot of internal dialogue about why I didn’t want to follow the queer advice road much traveled and realized that I couldn’t give voice to myself in the past because I was almost totally estranged from my memories and feelings from that time period. In this zine, which is a much-expanded version of the piece featured in Hoax #9, I discuss the complications I have seemingly always had with remembering things, reconceptualizing the past to more adequately place myself in the future, and ideas to share with non-normative teens and young adults for navigating tough situations. B&W, 24 pages, & text heavy. US$1.50 + shipping. [etsy / well-hidden cash or other]
always a mentor, never a mentee / intro
As a teen, I relished the admiration I had gained from my friends for being emotionally strong, resilient, and refusing to back down from a challenge. I liked knowing that my suffering wasn’t somehow wasted, that others could find validation that they weren’t alone and had options for how to approach things like being constantly pressured into sex by a manipulative boyfriend or physical abuse by a parent or going hungry at lunch to save money for condoms or punk show tickets. I got so used to thinking that I was everyone’s sounding board, guidance counselor, and advisor that I didn’t want to seek those qualities out in others—I didn’t think I could find someone to provide me the same listening and support skills others looked to me for, and I didn’t want to burden someone else with what was going on with me. 
losses of personal history & writing to regain memory[working through issues with recollection]
Sometime in my teens, I completely lost my sense of safety and empowerment within my own words, with speaking Truth to what I had gone through. I noticed my handwriting getting lighter and lighter on each piece of paper I scribbled on, as if I was willing myself to write with invisible ink instead, unconsciously apologizing for expressing myself in the first place. 
former selves, role models, & queer aging narratives[growing up without access to non-normative advice]
As a lethal combination of Myers Briggs type INTJ and anxiety-ridden control freak, I wanted to know (in a laughably ironic twist) exactly what alternate adulthood looked like and what I was in for. I wanted to see where the potholes lay, blown-out chunks of blacktop and concrete strewn nearby, on the punk and gender-confused and not-straight road so I would have ample time to swerve out of the way. I ached badly for a sympathetic elder to hand me the blueprints to a satisfied life and successful aging scheme, as making it up as I went along left too many variables untested for my painfully rational and analytic mind.
(non)advice for non-normative teens and young adults[unsolicited tips for the journey]
When you are called a dyke by boys in your grade because of how inseparable you are from your best friend, laugh. Loudly and often. Half-heartedly try to tone down the obvious brooding stares at her and the playful touches given to her and amount of times you use her as a subject for your Intro to Photography class. Not because you’re afraid to be seen as gay, but because you’re afraid that her fears of the label will drive her to end your friendship. When a boy you start dating asks if you are jealous that he dated her before you, do not hesitate to show how genuinely surprised you are by the question. He’ll think you’re pretty damn mature for not letting his past get in the way of your present together, and you’ll be amused by his misinterpretation of the fact that you will forever and always care about her more than him anyway. After all, being in love with a straight girl isn’t often something you can fully explain to yourself, let alone other people.

best friends & their zines

ineffableshe:

feral-bitch:

[img: a black and white floral print photo. white text over top reads, “memory loss, queer(y)ing growth, & teen advice // you’ve got a friend in pennsylvania #8.”]

you’ve got a friend in pennsylvania #8: memory loss, queer(y)ing growth, & teen advice

When working on a piece for Hoax #9: Feminisms and Vulnerabilities, I initially intended to take the queer advice framework of writing to one’s theoretical teen self and flip it on its head by creating a fictionalized direct dialogue with my ten-years-younger self. After taking much time investigating different ways to enact this, I scrapped the idea altogether—I had a lot of internal dialogue about why I didn’t want to follow the queer advice road much traveled and realized that I couldn’t give voice to myself in the past because I was almost totally estranged from my memories and feelings from that time period. In this zine, which is a much-expanded version of the piece featured in Hoax #9, I discuss the complications I have seemingly always had with remembering things, reconceptualizing the past to more adequately place myself in the future, and ideas to share with non-normative teens and young adults for navigating tough situations. B&W, 24 pages, & text heavy. US$1.50 + shipping. [etsy / well-hidden cash or other]

always a mentor, never a mentee / intro

As a teen, I relished the admiration I had gained from my friends for being emotionally strong, resilient, and refusing to back down from a challenge. I liked knowing that my suffering wasn’t somehow wasted, that others could find validation that they weren’t alone and had options for how to approach things like being constantly pressured into sex by a manipulative boyfriend or physical abuse by a parent or going hungry at lunch to save money for condoms or punk show tickets. I got so used to thinking that I was everyone’s sounding board, guidance counselor, and advisor that I didn’t want to seek those qualities out in others—I didn’t think I could find someone to provide me the same listening and support skills others looked to me for, and I didn’t want to burden someone else with what was going on with me.

losses of personal history & writing to regain memory
[working through issues with recollection]

Sometime in my teens, I completely lost my sense of safety and empowerment within my own words, with speaking Truth to what I had gone through. I noticed my handwriting getting lighter and lighter on each piece of paper I scribbled on, as if I was willing myself to write with invisible ink instead, unconsciously apologizing for expressing myself in the first place.

former selves, role models, & queer aging narratives
[growing up without access to non-normative advice]

As a lethal combination of Myers Briggs type INTJ and anxiety-ridden control freak, I wanted to know (in a laughably ironic twist) exactly what alternate adulthood looked like and what I was in for. I wanted to see where the potholes lay, blown-out chunks of blacktop and concrete strewn nearby, on the punk and gender-confused and not-straight road so I would have ample time to swerve out of the way. I ached badly for a sympathetic elder to hand me the blueprints to a satisfied life and successful aging scheme, as making it up as I went along left too many variables untested for my painfully rational and analytic mind.

(non)advice for non-normative teens and young adults
[unsolicited tips for the journey]

When you are called a dyke by boys in your grade because of how inseparable you are from your best friend, laugh. Loudly and often. Half-heartedly try to tone down the obvious brooding stares at her and the playful touches given to her and amount of times you use her as a subject for your Intro to Photography class. Not because you’re afraid to be seen as gay, but because you’re afraid that her fears of the label will drive her to end your friendship. When a boy you start dating asks if you are jealous that he dated her before you, do not hesitate to show how genuinely surprised you are by the question. He’ll think you’re pretty damn mature for not letting his past get in the way of your present together, and you’ll be amused by his misinterpretation of the fact that you will forever and always care about her more than him anyway. After all, being in love with a straight girl isn’t often something you can fully explain to yourself, let alone other people.

best friends & their zines

Last night I sat in the yard for about 20 minutes with Puddles the cat and this was the first time since moving away from c. that this cat has allowed me to be close to him.

Read More

spaceshipignition:

baby’s first perzine dropped today. this is what i’ve been doing with all the trauma/memory/history stuff I can’t put anywhere else. let me know if you want a copy!

Y’all, I just received this and it is one of the most fantastic, beautifully-written, heart-rending (to me, in that I may be projecting/over-identifying) zines I’ve read in a long time.

spaceshipignition:

baby’s first perzine dropped today. this is what i’ve been doing with all the trauma/memory/history stuff I can’t put anywhere else. let me know if you want a copy!

Y’all, I just received this and it is one of the most fantastic, beautifully-written, heart-rending (to me, in that I may be projecting/over-identifying) zines I’ve read in a long time.

(Source: scribd.com)

14 notes

theparisreview:

“The city is being constructed by an old woman born in 1881 who wants to record all the important events in her life so that she can remember them. Each year that she has lived is designated by a street, and each week is represented by a door. The doors belong to places where important events occurred. The blank doors are for those weeks that she can’t remember. The old woman hopes that out of her memory and forgetfulness, as recorded in the streets of doors, a pattern or sign will emerge and she will one day see the story of her life. Every door opens on a small closet-like space. Only one door in each street of doors leads to the next street. It is therefore necessary to go from door to door searching for the entry door.”

Alice Aycock, from “The First City of the Dead: The City of Doors (1914)”

(via calisthenicswithwords)

veggielezzyfemmie:


Feminists Install Temporary Memorial to Rape Survivors on Washington Mall





by Sarah Mirk on February 15, 2013 - 10:34am


The National Mall got a new memorial yesterday, if only briefly. As part of One Billion Rising, Baltimore-based feminist group FORCE installed a temporary memorial recognizing survivors of sexual assault. The group created giant letters out of a statement from a rape survivor and floated the eight-foot-tall words onto the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

veggielezzyfemmie:

The National Mall got a new memorial yesterday, if only briefly. As part of One Billion RisingBaltimore-based feminist group FORCE installed a temporary memorial recognizing survivors of sexual assault. The group created giant letters out of a statement from a rape survivor and floated the eight-foot-tall words onto the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

(via problem-dogs)