old fears are still valid.

'Old fears are still valid' by Marlene Dumas.
‘Old fears are still valid’ by Marlene Dumas..


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: http://culturemachinepodcasts.podbean.com/2009/05/07/hope-i-gayatri-chakravorty-spivak-whitechapel-salon/

re: something about loss, love and friendship.

One knows love somehow only when all one’s ideas are destroyed, and this becoming unhinged from what one knows is the paradigmatic sign of love. – Judith Butler, Doubting Love.

I want to write you a letter. A letter in which I tell you everything. I want to share it all. For it is not mine to own anyway. Take it from me. Live it with me. What can I give you with my words anyway, or my mind, or my body for that matter. My secrets, they are not me, they are not who I am, just temporary fragments of a person. I can give you all this if you want, it will not diminish me. For sitting here in a new strange room the self suddenly feels empty and vacant though the mind floods with recent events and happenings that somehow feel as though they are occurring outside of this self I am inhabiting. A year of happenings which I cannot comprehend and so they filter through my consciousness in the form of anxiety attacks that seize me every morning in the grey drabness of public transport.

I’m still sat on those steps in the dark thinking what the hell is going on with my life. Though as I find myself spending an increasingly large amount of time sorting out the lives of friends I wonder if I have somehow arrived at that plateau of mundane capable adulthood.  But what is that sense of loss that lingers in my pores. I’ve forgotten something. Or maybe it is this life. This city. There is a joyless feeling. All less. I’m detailing what it is not but not what it is.

To describe experiences always simplfies them and yet still I forage for the words to express what happened. What is happening. How is it people enter our lives at certain points. It all feels so arbitrary. I am missing out on a whole circle of friends I could have had if I lived in a different area, if I took a different job, if I went to India three months earlier or later. How trivial a basis for the people that become our best friends, confidantes, lovers, husbands, wives.

As for me, I don’t really do relationships. My solitude clings to me – my comforting plague, so threatening to others. But here’s the thing: I care about people too much. In last year’s humid winter I made a vow. I even wrote about it, to myself: I had given up on the hope for love. And then a series of seemingly fated meetings and partings and a revolution in my beliefs. It was true: some moments were better shared. I have no clear sense of myself apart from you, and with you I merge and get confused. To whom do I belong? Who am I?  I’m nobody. Then what does that make you, to befriend me, I only reflect back your personality to yourself.

Keep moving, in transit I am at home. This is where the freedom lies. Only a suitcase to my name, objects I can give away, 5 pairs of shoes, no fixed address, no occupation, no partner. Only this blank page is mine, and even then this page doesn’t exist, just lost into the chasm of the internet, no physicality to hold, these words transitory, malleable, and endless…

Here’s where you can find me – falling in and out of the slippery lines, clumsy adjectives and amateur metaphors.

Just grab me and take me. I’ll follow you (down, down, down….).