When I was younger I always wanted to disappear. It became an obsession. I was going to pack my bags, change my name to Anne and just leave. No goodbyes, no turning back. I must have been no more than 10 years old. When I grow up I want to be nothing. And then I lost my grip on that dream when I disappeared behind loss and became a ghost just like them.

I just want to keep walking until I don’t feel sad anymore. To keep moving is to never really allow the chance for visibility; the chance to become fleshy and real. Present.

One always speaks as the stereotype of the person they think they are.* The more we caricature ourselves the more we lose ourselves. We let others befriend the personas we adopt. What a fraud. Perhaps that’s why friendships leave me feeling so lonely. A sad acknowledgement that you made people love characteristics that do not even belong to you. I just borrowed them, see. They just decorate this otherwise transitory soul. And the more I reveal the less real I become.

Realness feels weighty. That moment when someone looks at you and you know that they know what you are. You are depressed, crushed, trapped inside the gap of place/time. A participant in something real at last. Or those lucid moments in practice when the pain, tiredness, strength, feels so very vital (and bodily in a way that cannot be articulated). Or this white page where I routinely lay my soul bare. And dreams. Dreams delve into the layers of being. Memories. Reliving memories over and over. This is the tapestry of you. I.S.M.M. It will never change. Home. Home. Home.

Freedom is always light, freedom is a glorious Mysore practice and 3am walks in the darkness. Freedom is forgetting your own name. Freedom is disappearing and no phone calls from home. Freedom is stealing from others the ways to exist in this world. Freedom is always being a bit absent, freedom is being a fraud, freedom is myriad identities and an open road and walking until your feet bleed. Freedom is having no responsibility, no accountability, having no borders. Freedom is a tiny speck and the infinite abyss at one and the same time. Freedom is truths and masquerades, freedom is loneliness, and detached and never quite part of. Freedom is illusions and utopian and dumb and beautiful and full of hope and idealism and contradictory and believing and it is love and home and it’s in my palms and it’s shining brightly and I close my eyes and it’s a warm, familiar embrace and it is everything.


*paraphrased from the words of my academic hero Gayatri Spivak. Listen to her here:

Saying Something.

There is an order to words. They require a certain moment in which to be spoken. Sometimes though we say things out of turn. And it all comes tumbling out, messy, and the order is broken. The order can be temporarily repaired through denial and suppression. We pretend so we can retain the sense of reality we had known; the forms we had made. Saying something violently uproots our precious securities.

Saying something has always been a favourite poem of mine. Carol Ann Duffy’s beautiful words blew my 15 year old mind as I peeled back the sensational nature of her language to pick out the styles and metaphors in my GCSE English exam.

I see you turning on the lights.

I remember this line being a point of contention. What could it mean? Surely it means more than someone was clicking a light switch. No it is a double-layered symbol. Turning on the lights: light of my life, relight my fire, you’re my flame – love and light, the cliches are endless.

For me I was always curious about those last two words: saying something. “This does not necessarily just refer to a verbal expression” remarked my English teacher. And true, the things that are said rarely capture the intent. Love poems always border dangerously between the cliche and tacky.

It dawns on me I should really stop writing about love. Try my hand at something I actually do know: death, loss, darkness. Let me describe the absence for love is always an excess; grotesque and greedy.

Saying something. Words tend to caricature the emotion, the experience. And so we are left with the silent bodily sensations, the indecipherable, the formless, the transitory. And now I see it all just seeping away, a pitiful death, it never happened, I never knew you, it was only ever a lie. Exhausted the language, no codes to express. I’ve already said too much.