So to the great surprise of no one I’ve decided to get away from Tumblr/blogging in general. If you’re a follower from my earlier Tumblr days you may have seen this coming. I won’t post here anymore but I’ll be keeping this up for archive purposes and you can always email me. I love email that isn’t spam or work related. It feels silly to even make a post about this but it felt necessary. You’re the best.
Yesterday, after months of easy eschewing, I smoked. I didn’t fully realise it until after I leaned forward, the cigarette paper sticking to my lip, for my friend to light it. The movement itself is a habit. I don’t have many cravings for nicotine itself, but if it’s too hot inside and I want to stand outside, what am I going to do while standing there? There are a few other things I could do, but it’s as though I trained myself to stick to one. The smell is something that I never thought was unpleasant until I decided to stop. And now I chew gum when I’m bored instead of rolling cigarettes for later.
“I haven’t smoked in months,” I said, to my friend. “I can’t believe I just did that,”. I was slightly despairing, but not really.
A while ago I went on a really good date with a woman who teaches young children how to swim. She’s older than me and seems to have her life put together in a way that I always thought would come to me by now. She told me about the shallow and brightly coloured pool that she teaches her classes in, what it’s like to spend the majority of your day in water. “That sounds so good,” I said. I meant it. She spoke as if teaching children how to swim was the best thing she could do with her life. We were leaning in close to each other, as if we were conspiring. I was perched on the edge of her couch. I wanted to tell her that she seemed so genuine and it made me feel more tender towards her but I didn’t. It was as if she didn’t have that feeling of being secretly fraudulent, “the feeling of being an adult”.
Later on she touched her lips to the splodge of freckles between my collarbones. “I don’t think I saw a person with freckles until I was twelve,” she told me. She’s Japanese and came to Australia at that age, so it made sense. She slid her palm along the base of my skull to pull me in for a kiss. I felt like tissue crumpled against her. I let out a sigh that travelled to my toes.
In October my Mothers youngest brother committed suicide. It was something I kept meaning and meaning to write about but I never found the words. Or rather: I’d write something, then sift through it so much to the point where it was reduced down to nothing. He was older than me and quite a smart person but in many ways I felt older than him. He felt more like a friend that I took care of instead of my uncle.
Whenever we saw each other we’d talk about mood disorders, which run in my Mothers side. He was a librarian.
The last time I saw him we spent some of the day together- him, my brother and I. I took them to a slew of different galleries. At the flat he just hovered near my bookshelf quietly while I wondered out loud what I would cook for tea. I stuck my head in my bedroom to check on him. He was leaning sort of coltishly while he looked at the titles I had. I watched him for a moment. “I could make pumpkin curry…?” I suggested. I knew what his answer would be but I felt the need to make conversation. He made a non-committal noise in reply, waving his hand a bit. My brother was on the phone in another room.
The last time T stayed the night he chose a book to read before we went to bed. I saw him lean in front of the bookshelf in the same way that my uncle did, months ago. It jolted me more than I wanted- it’s the little things, always. I took in a breath that finished as a sob. I don’t think he noticed I was crying until he turned, book in hand. I was ready to bolt but I stayed.
I’m a little hesitant to link to it because it’s personal, but Alex wrote this and it is lovely.
Two nights ago he’d yanked me by my hair into a tight shape underneath him, my mouth open and pressed against my knees. I froze, not knowing if I should’ve wormed out of his grip, because I couldn’t figure out if I was really turned on or slightly afraid. There are moments where my body feels like it registers those two emotions as the same thing, with the same kind of physical manifestations. I sweat, my heart races, I shake and I don’t breathe normally. I’d just come back from working at the bar and I felt all grimy and sticky. It was very late and I felt coated with a film of dirt. My thumb was in my mouth and I was doing some combination of chewing and sucking on it, like I always do when I think. Months ago, when I’d found this, it wasn’t just for my friend. Although I figured that out later.
2012 was good, although I barely had enough time to breathe. Worked two jobs (both of which I still have), moved into a flat with one of my dearest friends, showed some art and sold some art. At some point I realised that T and I have been together for more a year now, although I don’t remember the exact date. I’m wearing a huge mans shirt as a smock and a dress, the front of which is spattered with all manner of paint and ink. There’s a funny horizontal shape at my waist is that looks to be a result of leaning against untidy tables. My messes are very organised, in that I mean there are shambles where I expect there to be shambles and nowhere else. Work spaces are tidy enough and cleaned regularly, where as rarely used areas are a neglected eyesore. After sleeping through the afternoon on January 1st I beelined for the nearest icy bath to stave off the heat. My lips were bitten to bits and my limbs ached until nightfall from dancing. I’ve been sort of quiet recently but it is not an indicator of inactivity.
You do not always know what I am feeling.
Last night in the warm spring air while I was
blazing my tirade against someone who doesn’t
me, it was love for you that set me
and isn’t it odd? for in rooms full of
strangers my most tender feelings
bear the fruit of screaming. Put out your hand,
an ashtray, suddenly, there? beside
the bed? And someone you love enters the room
and says wouldn’t
you like the eggs a little
And when they arrive they are
just plain scrambled eggs and the warm weather
- Frank O’Hara
When I was in high school my paternal grandmother died. When we went through her room and collected her things I took as much of her clothing as I could and spent a lot of time cutting and sewing her cardigans and light dresses so that I could wear them, even while they fell apart. Lifting them up to my face, inhaling the scent of her talc and berating myself for never really appreciating her, for not listening enough to her stories. I washed them by hand. When my dad saw me wearing her things he pointed it out to me. “You’re wearing your grandmothers dress,” he told me, looking me up and down.
“I know that,” I said back, jutting out my chin. I wanted to burden him in every small and inconsequential way I could think of.
A few months after her death I came out to my parents. First my mother and then my father, who reacted in the way I’d predicted- as though my queerness was a final act of aggression against him. One day I said to my mother, crying, “I can’t live with that person any more,”. I remember my word choice because it was peculiar and dramatic.
“Where will you live then, honey bee?” she’d asked me. I cried even harder because I hadn’t heard her call me that since I was young enough to feel triumphant about tying my own hair. I didn’t know where I’d live, but I packed a bag and ended up staying at a friends house for nearly two weeks. On the morning of my second day there she told me how much I kicked in my sleep while I thought about my father and how maybe I wasn’t afraid of him, but I did feel alienated by him. I was trying to think of the point where it felt like he’d turned away from me but I couldn’t pin it down. I thought about my brother as well, his passivity. How he managed to stay so unruffled during it all. My friend and I made the bed together. I inspected her multiple tubes of mascara. “You’ve seen my make up now,” she joked later. “This friendship has become serious,”.
I still loved my dad, the feeling grating inside of me like a handful of marbles. When I returned home, my tail between my legs, he refused to speak to me, only breaking the silence between us after a few days. The love felt like something that was a part of my history, a worn path somebody had already walked. Pre-existing. You walk a known trail because it is easier and you know it’s worked before. You don’t know any other way.
Kissing my way slowly down the side of someones torso and feeling their muscles twitch under my mouth. I think that’s pretty divine.
Inexplicably, period sex still freaks me out. I’m trying to desensitise myself although there’s no practical reason to. It reminds me of a few years ago when I forced myself to look at Joel-Peter Witkin photographs because I was absolutely determined to write an essay on him instead of just switching to another artist.
Last week I nearly shivered in a surprising kind of revulsion when I saw his blood smeared cock resting on my thigh. I made a noise. I felt faint. That was my blood, and it was no longer in my body. “Do you want to stop? Tell me,” he said, sounding slightly bemused.
“No, no,” I managed. I was pried open. In the kitchen, the kettle clicked.
What is art? We just don’t know. Sometimes I need to write about art and I’m very tempted to just put down that.
Yesterday at work I found a bottle of wine right in the back of the fridge. It had been there for a while and I felt like a real snoop for finding it. When I saw my boss a few minutes later I pointed it out to him. “Did you know there’s a bottle of wine in the fridge?” I said. I’m sure I seemed a little accusing.
“Yeah,” he said, chuckling a little. “Sometimes I end up staying here far later than I’d like,”.
Months ago we both ended up staying late in an attempt to fulfil the rather demanding equipment requests for a solo show. My boss had received a bratty email from the artist earlier that day and it was only hours later that I had an outburst about it, complaining about how he never once lifted a finger to help despite his tall orders etc. etc. I was right but I was being bratty myself; I felt as though the person showing had personally seen to it that I wouldn’t be leaving at five.
I went out for a moment and when I came back he told me to read some essay on the Internet and to reread Seven Days in the Art World. I wasn’t angry at his reaction because he had a point, but later on I nearly wept. I couldn’t tell you why. The next day he told me about a time in his thirties where he helped a friend install their show overnight: Neither of them got any sleep except for the time where they napped in her car for two hours as they waited for an ice store to open at eight.
“Thus we perceive that it can be just as ironic to pretend to know when one knows that one does not know as to pretend not to know when one knows that one knows. Indeed, irony can manifest itself in a more indirect way through an antithetical situation if the irony chooses the simplest and dullest of persons, not in order to mock them but in order to mock the wise…”
Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Irony (1841)
This absolutely does your head in. You forget what the words like “know” and “irony” mean after reading certain passages. Last night he read this and some other parts out loud while we laid in bed and after a while I stopped listening and instead focussed on the sound of his jaw, which clicks sometimes when he yawns.
This particular bit is from the Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art.
It has been your skin
since May and I have nothing
to show for it except bruises
rising like electrodes
on my chest.
There is never
any sugar under my clothes
though I promised sweetness each time,
like my body could become
an epithet, could be repeated and so
lose meaning, as heavy as Dresden
or Chartres, China blue. When we wait
for each other we are
not modern, we do not know
the ship has sunk, the train has left,
the light has snapped.
Born overnight and not separated
entirely until morning; globes
dimming slower and slower;
new blood in new places.
The narrow stairs and the lock
I forget how to open.
I went to visit one of my old teachers the other day in his office with some banana bread I made. He looks like a wizard and his office has a view of the courtyard where I was groped by a security guard once. We talked for a bit about MONA, John Waters movies, my amazing baking skills and other things while he spun slow circles in his chair. The door to his office was closed and we saw a pair of feet stop in front of it; we could see them under the frosted glass. Suddenly he stopped swivelling and motioned for me to be quiet. We stayed like that for a moment, listening to the person knock and say his name. When they moved on, convinced he wasn’t there, he looked up at me sheepishly. “Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to see my students,” he told me.
I only realised I was doing it when I was halfway through, but yesterday morning on the way to work I felt glum so I googled mushroom pizza and just looked at the images. Some nitwit on a crowded train frowning and looking at pictures of pizza.
I regret not replying to every kind email I’ve ever gotten. They were so sincere; it intimidated me.