I have recently become aware of how incredibly lucky I am to know so many people who identify as mad, who identify as accidental visionaries, who know exactly what it means to have a deeply personal relationship with the forces of synchronicity, metaphor and myth.
I went through a period of time during which I had very little contact with people and all I really needed was someone who understood what it felt like to see the world as an outsider, an insider, always existing as person in between here and there.
Now, my life is full of those folks, people who know what it means to have taken the testing of reality a little too far and found themselves full of ideas amongst the tangle of threads and the rubble of walls, books splayed beside the bed like birds in flight.
I am finding my community and I am grateful for that.
I have been thinking (though in a way that seems to quickly culminate in “meh, whatever.”) about identity and politics lately, as I have realized that when people search my name on the internet, I appear as…well, who I am: an activist, a slapdash essayist, a person with a dead-on look in my eye, a person that is occasionally prone to wandering off into left field.
Yet, as I have said here before, those things are not all that I am and it is irksome that people make up their minds so quickly about who I am and what I am about. I do not write for them, the ones who are quick to judge and quick to dismiss. Such dismissal does not bother me in a “taking it personally” way, but in a way more rooted in pragmatics and power dynamics, because I do not like the thought that I must appeal to gatekeepers in order to do what I would like to do.
At this point, in addition to writing for myself, I write for the people who have, in their way, been where I have been or who may find themselves there someday, by virtue of their humanity, their longing for home, and their inability to forget.
Of course, it is most unfortunate that in order to try to make my voice big, skilled and stealthy enough to reach the people I’d like to reach, I must (in other compositions and presentations) bend the notes a certain way and make an effort to cozy my thoughts into accessible and linear form.
Statement of Fact: I see and believe in the beauty of shipwrecks and sails in low-wind on boats built of scraps…I find diamonds in the jumbled shards of language, and hear poetics in the silence of staring off into space and the sense that an outburst may make.
At a talk that Will Hall gave at an Occupy APA rally, he said that there is a part inside of us all that was never hurt by trauma, a part that is untouched and I pictured it as a part that shines and glows, waiting to be seen and to be believed.
I think my ideal occupation would be to sit with people and to look at them and to talk with them as they see me seeing them clearly, I would like to let them find nothing but love in my eyes, not a heavy handed love, a swooning and dramatic love…but, just a very simple appreciation for who a person is and was and might be.
I am able to do some of this, in modified forms, through my work as a peer and in informal, happenstance ways. I think, however, I want to do more and to do more intentionally and with acknowledgment and disclosure of the process. I want to sit down with people and have them be aware that my heart is open to see them and to have them know that I picture in my mind every scene that they describe and, in ways, I feel a little of what they feel in ways that are simple and human.
This is not complicated work. I think that it is this same sort of work that is done by most healers and guides. I don’t want to be a healer, because I believe that people ultimately must heal themselves with the help of what light is in them, the light we’ve learned to forget and ignore. I don’t want to be a guide, because I don’t know where it is that anyone must go…but, I do know that if given the chance to trust the way in their hearts, they will figure it out.
I do want to work more specifically and more intensively with people who are journeying, or who are making their way back from where they have been, trying to find their way forward, feeling their instinct to live with a purpose and trying to figure out what that purpose is.
I feel like almost everything I have ever done or been or seen or learned and unlearned has been toward this end, this work that is still developing.
Yet, I am endlessly caught with ink on my palms and an old scar on my wrist, my indiscrete use of the F-word, the G-word…all these words, words, words that I cannot and will not erase, because they are my story.
However, rejection by those who orient toward sanism, sycophantism, and the rubrics of normative institutions will not cause me to rewrite myself for them. I can be excluded from conferences, I can be erased from a list…but, I have faith that my name will find its way to the ones I write these words for.
By the way, this looks like a interesting book: