Manipulating Pain

I get obsessed with one thing, or one idea and I go where it leads me, or maybe that’s just how inspiration works within me.  I don’t know really, and I try not to think about it. My obsessions used to upset me, stifle me, and frighten me. Now I take my obsessions, and I channel them, and use them to examine myself, and other things, other people, and the worlds they come from.


My obsessions come from a place of pain that creates more pain; they are pain, or perhaps, it just hurts to be me.


This pain that I have always felt, it attempts to twist, deform, and disfigure me, and indeed, I am disfigured thanks to Cancer, but the ugliness of my Cancer scars has made me more beautiful because now my personal story has deepened, and I am more empathetic, even if it has made me harder to relate too for some people, but ultimately, those people are unimportant.


Sometimes the pain I feel makes me an ugly person. I get angry, and I will rage, and blame, and threaten, as all of the hurt of so many years traps me in its tangles, ties me down, and tortures me.


But then, at other times, I am able to take this pain that I constantly feel, and that I have always felt, and I find that I am able to untwist it, thus smoothing out all of the ugliness, and then I find that I can colour it, and give it a name. I can make it dance and sing. I can make it my little bitch, and when I do this I make it mine, and it stops controlling me.


I have learned to manipulate my pain, and make it beautiful, instead of allowing it to make me ugly, and this is where my art comes from. It is a place of sadness, anger, and melancholy, and I have to revel in how glorious it can sometimes be.


I have a boat out on Lake Lachrymose, you see, and I fish for dreams, and I am trapped inside of my head, and there are all of these seemingly impossible dreams, and fantasies, and things that I want, and want to do, and make happen. There are people I want to love, and from whom I want love, and in these dreams I have, I say the funniest things, and people adore me, hanging on my every word, and there is no loneliness, or rejection. Maybe we all do this kind of self-worship, where we invent these dimensions within our minds, the whole purpose of which is to nurture our fragile egos.


It hurts to travel to this dimension, and it hurts when I have to leave, but this galaxy of dreams within my mind is so much better than the one I physically reside in. I’m just so very sad most of the time and my life has been such a disappointing affair, that sometimes I need the escape.


All of the pain I feel is usually so raw, then at other times, it’s like an ache that slowly blossoms into a deep stabbing pain, and I have to get it out, so I make art. I have wept tears while creating the loveliest paintings, and I have done this always. Since I was a little girl I would weep, and draw unicorns, and I remember that the reason I was so sad when I drew unicorns is because I knew that they weren’t real, and that no amount of wishing, and prayers to god during Sunday Mass was ever going to change that, and maybe that’s when I knew that their god was false, and stupid, and a fucking lie, and that surely I would be fine without him.


Happiness is boring anyway, and I know this because I’m not always sad, things do make me happy, but when I’m happy, I know why. There is no complexity to happiness, or joy, they are like simple minded children. Sadness has layers, depth, and intricacies that can be traced to their painful sources, and mapped through the creation of art. Sadness can destroy joy, and happiness within a memory, and when this happens, it is permanent, at least, this is true for me.


Happiness is a terrible thing for me to feel, because I can never fully exist in any joyous moment, because I know that sadness is only out for a cigarette, and will soon return. And so even when I am happy, and laughing, there are these rats that live my belly that pitter patter about, and gnaw at my insides until I feel as though I’m being eaten from the inside out, and it’s moments like these that I remember why I was an intravenous drug addict; heroin made it all stop, and when I remember how drugs made the pain go away, then I want to get really fucking high, and forget about all of this, and remain in that self-generated dimension that exists only within my mind, my exclusive daydream resort.


But I can’t do that, no matter how much I really want to, and when those urges try to shove me around, I take a deep breath, and, mustering all the willpower it took me to quit using drugs, I say to myself, “Not today.”  My son needs me. My friends need me, and I’m artist, so the world needs me. Someone I don’t even know is going to read the things I’ve written, and look at my artwork, and feel connected, and fall in love with me, and whoever you are, I want you to know that I love you too.


If reading this while you are sad has helped you to process your pain, and feel less alone, then I have done nearly everything that I have ever wanted to do, and I thank you for fulfilling that in me, and I love you. I really, and truly love you.







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