Defecating Gurus

Last night in my dream I went to a very open cabin in the middle of the city to a woman who was my chiropractor. She was a voluptuous large-bodied white woman with long straight blonde hair. It looked like her name was Caroline.

Her home or office was decorated in a hippy wood nymph design. I laid on the table covered only by a sheet and waited for her to come into the room. She started to work on my back but I just kept getting distracted by everything around me. She kept asking why I couldn’t calm down, relax. I told her I just wasn’t feeling this today even though I know I needed it.

Throughout my entire time on her table I felt the need to defecate and thought I’m just not in the right situation. A friend of hers came in, another client, and she went to help them with something. I felt this would be the perfect time to use her bathroom.

The bathroom was very open plan much like her entire office or home. The door to the bathroom was wooden with windows in it and a faint loose curtain on the other side. There were windows on each side of the door, those windows did not have any curtains. I felt very vulnerable as I didn’t think it was proper to be using the toilet at my chiropractor’s office, especially if she could simply look in the window and see what I was doing.

I paced the floors waiting for her to be too busy outside that door so I could do my business. I remember repeatedly washing my hands and wondering if I could get through the day, through her session, without having to go and use the toilet.

I decided I may be able to use the toilet as she seemed pretty busy with her friend. I lifted the lid of the toilet and it was filled with clear clean water but it was right up to the brim, and there was seaweed and water lilies floating within the water. On the top of the water sat two medium sized honey bees. They were very much alive.

I was startled by the bees and at the same time I thought to myself that bees are supposed to be rather friendly. The one bee immediately lifted off into the air and flew around me. It quickly flew away from me, but the other bee slowly flew towards me. I stepped away quickly trying not to startle it and was hoping it would not sting me. I feel that it may have stung my right upper arm but I’m not sure that I noticed as I was distracted then by my ankle.

At the same time of dealing with the bee I noticed that there were some sort of small flea like bugs that were on my left foot and ankle. A smattering of them, they could have even been very tiny spiders. I felt very interrupted throughout this process. After all I had just wanted to use the toilet and now it seems that this was not going to be possible due to it looking as it did. There was too much water in it and then there was the problem with all of that seaweed.

One of the bugs on my ankle bit me and immediately drew blood. I remember exclaiming “Jesus! That could be poisonous.”

I felt as though now I was in a worse situation than when I had entered the room. I needed to finish my session and I was concerned that our time had actually run out without fixing me. I still felt like I had to defecate, but now I was bleeding at my ankle and I didn’t know what these bugs were. I continue to repeatedly wash my hands in the basin. Over and over with a heavy feeling of worry in my stomach. I can still remember how that felt right now.

The chiropractor was waiting outside of the bathroom very patiently. It seems like her next customer had already arrived and she was concerned about me. She began to look through the window to see if I was okay, I remember saying that I would be out in just a little bit.

I remember that I eventually did exit the room and lay back down on her table. Actually I laid down on top of her, I was face up so as if she was holding me but somehow manipulating my back with her fingers from behind. She claimed I just could not get comfortable, and I agreed.

She suggested that we might want to have sex and that it could get my mind off of things. However her next client was already sitting to the side waiting, watching us with a confused look on his face, and we decided there just wasn’t enough time left to do anything. I must note that the conversation and the feeling wasn’t of concern that her client would be watching us as we had sex, but simply that time had run out. Neither of us would have minded an audience. This woman possibly named Caroline was very open in her nature, just like her home was this big open airy wood nymph cabin. There was a constant breeze blowing through everything, curtains everywhere moved gently.

The last thing I recall was walking away from her home or office. I felt unfulfilled. My back still hurt and I felt like we really could have had good sex in front of her client. I remember feeling strongly that I really could have had a better session. But on the other hand I was thankful that I was able to finally get out of there and go home to take a shit.

A Recent Cookie, November 2018

A Recent Cookie, November 2018

Advertisements

Authenticity Gone Missing

The problem is a lack of authenticity. But has there ever been any authenticity in the first place? Has there been anything new since the postmodernists?

New age is old age. Since the new guard became the old guard. We have surpassed the neo-postmodernists and they didn’t even know they were neo. We are members of the rearguard awaiting the changes.

I come from the underground, but where is that?

Have you been alive long enough to remember when people used to add people to their friend’s networks? To be friends. When the phrase was “go hang with your friends” instead of “go network.”

I can’t tell you the last time I got “followed” by a person. I mean, a real person who just exists in this world and wants to read my thoughts.

Everyone is a business these days. “I’m not a businessman,” we used to joke. “I’m a Business, man.”

Now that’s no joke.

For a decade or more it’s always another content creator trying to add me in order to network with me. It’s no wonder Corporations are considered people. Everybody is a business.

Friends with benefits. I’ll be your friend if you buy my makeup, my CD, my oh my my. The modern day Avon salesperson.

The neo post Avon salesperson.

Remember when friends with benefits just meant we were also getting laid?

Those were the days.

We are not friends. We are network partners. We are a bunch of artists, musicians, and writers adding other artists, musicians, and writers so we can bolster our numbers and network towards success.

“Wow, I really liked what you wrote there. Have you seen my Patreon?

The innocent and naive question that stirs often is, “Where are all the people who are just people?”

Everyone has to be somebody and I can’t blame them because since birth I have been very busy being somebody. I feel stupid even wondering why anyone would just want to be an observer or a consumer. I wouldn’t.

And yet if you look out into the crowds of the world all that seems to be there are consumers! But look into the Interwebs and I don’t have an audience. I have a network of networkers. Except for my old friends. The friends I made when we had friends lists and observed each others work, as friends.

Where are the new friends? Where are the couch surfers and the bohemians looking for love? (Sure, where have all the cowboys gone?)

With every “add” I receive there is another message asking me to please “Like” their page or “Try” their wears.

“I follow back!”

Can’t we just have a conversation? Can’t we just travel through and get drunk together? To share a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Can’t we take some pictures for our personal photo album and not share it with the world? Polaroids, perhaps.

When life was a great night out ending with a great story. Instead of a great night out ending with me subscribing to your Youtube channel. Of course, you already had subscribed to mine.

But what’s wrong with that? Why can’t we have an unbalanced superstar vs. civilian relationship? Why can’t the consumers just give adoration, adoration, adoration?

Why can’t you give me the respect that I’m entitled to? Why can’t you treat me like I would be treated by any stranger on the street? (Mommy Dearest, 1981)

Because everyone is out for their 15 minutes. Because Mr. Warhol promised.

The Artist D, November 2018

The Artist D in the Red Room, November 2018

Self Mythology

I never really expected that I would get to be myself all of the time, every day. That goes along with my gender too.

I think as a child I decided that I fully disagreed with everything my family told me I was. Since we were in total disagreement I would need to be the opposite. That or I would at least have to ignore the person they told me I was. I really didn’t like that person, because it wasn’t me!

Never listen to other people’s stories about you. There’s a good satisfying piece written about this in Thee Psychick Bible. It goes beyond doing or being what your parents tell you. It truly spotlit for me that which we already know about (parental expectations, guidance, and rule), but there are these stories that we are told by the society around us. And they go beyond the usual “you’re going to be a Doctor when you grow up” or “you’re going to marry a beautiful woman, have 12 babies, white picket fences.”

These stories go deeper than those blatant expectations. The stories are actually what we believe to be our first “memories.” These memories are actually hand-me-downs from other people. Amusing anecdotes passed back to us about ourselves. These stories are from a time in our lives we cannot recall ourselves and dastardly enough we actually begin to build ourselves from these fables.

“Usually, without much consideration of veracity or motive, we assume those original stories (whose source is usually parental) are true, rather than separately authored and constructed mythologies. Yet, with the best will in the world, they are edited highlights (and lowlights) from another person’s perspective, interpreted by them, and even given significance and meaning by their being chosen to represent the whole of us, before our own separate SELF consciousness sets in.” *

That was the paragraph that set off an explosion in my brain. It sticks with me years after first reading those lines. I had fought for most of my life to not be what I was told I should be, almost out of spite, but I never considered what foundation had been put down before I even consciously arrived on the scene.

My family told me that I would be like my father and I would follow in his footsteps. That meant to me, a Sun Sign and wild egotist, that I would never be my own person and forever live in someone’s shadow. I have nothing against my father or his chosen lifestyle, but you don’t tell someone that when they practically have marched from the womb with mighty delusions of grandeur.

I remember the type of anecdotes mentioned above most from a grandmother. If anyone was a fan of the mythology of me, it was she. She would observe me acting in a way she felt was “not me” and then go through great pains to tell me how the child I could not recall would have never done whatever I was doing. When I think about it like that I can see how that really did hurt me. To think as a child that you are not who your people know you to be. It means something different than it would mean now. Because as children we believe that these grown mature people towering over us surely must know something about who we actually are. Surely their time on Earth has been longer and they must know something.

We should all be able to remember a time when we were told, “This isn’t like you.”

How is something not like you? If you are doing it, then it must be like you. What they meant was that it did not match the myth that they had constructed of you in their own heads. I’ve always been the person I knew me to be. The only reason I did something unlike me was because it happened to be a trait I had that they ignored. Until they could ignore it no more.

I now know that these myths, anecdotes, and the common built-in expectations harmed me. They somewhat stunted my progress as a human. I hated things about myself because of what they represented to other people. My name was not just my name. It was a label indicating that I was secondary and “like my father.” It did not speak to the individual I insisted I was. And due to that it expected me, a flamboyant homosexual, to be strong and manly. Therefore I hated my label and therefore my gender. I hated its connection to masculinity and shunned anything presented in the masculine tense. This hatred stopped me from experiencing and learning normal everyday things. For example, as an angry teenager I refused to change my car’s oil or pump my own gas because the society I was raised in said it was a man’s job. I refused to do a man’s job because I refused to be a man if being a man meant everything I was told it meant. To me at that time it meant being something I wasn’t.

I created the persona of who I knew I was and I made sure it was very distanced from the mythology of “a normal boy from a poor farming community.” Instead I would be a glamorous transgender woman (looking back it was more transvestite), an individual, an artist, a raconteur and provocateur. It would service my ego, my lust and sexuality, and banish who they insisted I must be. That person I was before I could even remember being a person.

There was rarely a time throughout all of my youth (0-30) where I ever considered that I would have to acknowledge my birth identity or any of those masculine labels society had placed. I went to school, but that wasn’t really me. At home behind closed doors was when I was me. I went to work at a normal day job but when I came home the wigs flew out of the closet, the martini was poured, and I was living My Authentic Self online for millions of people to adore. Picture the story of Bat Girl from Batman. By day she was Barbara Gordon, the police commissioners quaint daughter, and at night she came home to a closet that secretly revolved to display a wardrobe of masks, spandex, and “interesting implements.” She was not really Barbara Gordon. She was Bat Girl.

Part of my ongoing transition from whatever I was to whatever I am now was the realization that it was all based upon a myth I accidentally believed. We are impressionable children being told stories about our past and our future. What the hell else are we going to believe?

When I legally changed my name it was on the heels of slowly acknowledging that I was going to be the person I knew myself to be, 24/7. I came to the horrifying realization that I might always have a day job and that I wouldn’t be prancing around in stilettos for the rest of my life. I wanted to build relationships with people from the world of daylight just as I had from my preferred world of darkness. And I could not do that while carrying around labels I absolutely knew I was not. There is this invisible barrier when you have to explain who you’re pretending to be vs. who you actually are. Then you’re friends adopt that same policy. They start to explain you to their friends as this great person who has to pretend to be this other person. Bat Girl never talked about Barbara Gordon and vice versa, it was a smart move but it really put a damper on her social life.

People from the streets could not get to know me when there were dozens of labels standing in my way. It’s like living a public double life. There was nothing private about it. And society told me I had to wear all the labels, unless I officially changed them. So, I stripped a few off so my authentic self was a bit more clearer by day as it was by night.

This marked a great psychological change over time. To have people call you something that you want to be called is a game changer. To be treated as the person you display yourself to be instead of the person people were told you were. This is why, among many other things, I can completely understand a person’s need to change their gender, name, identity. It’s not about them hiding who they are. It’s about them becoming what they’ve always been. To shed the mythology is exquisite. It is a psychological breath of fresh air to let a little more of yourself out of society’s bag.

Out of that journey is how I fell in love with being a man. I learned to love myself because I was able to figure out who that actually was. Then I learned to love others. Then others loved me. I learned that men don’t change oil. People change oil. The mythology I bought into as a youngster was that the world I would enter was black and white. Men did one thing. Women did another thing. And growing up in Pennsylvania during the 80’s it was clear that Men were boring and Women were interesting. So, who would want to be a man?

Had they told me that I had a penis and everything else was negotiable, I may have been much more open to the concept of being the man I was. But people didn’t do that. People still don’t do that! “Your name is Joe. You are going to work in a Button Factory. You will have a wife, three kids, and a family. When you were born you were a good kid who loved Jesus Christ and you never cried in church, so you need to stick to that or else we’re going to fuck you up ...”

This alteration does not disqualify the times I wanted to be a woman (or thought I was). It only addresses a constant transition which all humans should be allowed. We are not the babies we once were. We don’t have to be the teenagers we acted out. We do not even have to be the young adults making the same mistakes. We should be allowed great sweeping changes if that’s where the waves take us. We should build our own stories and not believe our mythologies.

The Artist D, October 2018

The Artist D, October 2018

 

*Quote from “Being the First Part: Change the Way to Perceive and Change All Memory,” pg 277 of Thee Psychick Bible

To Sleep Perchance to Live

To have all the experiences that daily Waking Life restricts us from.

To travel to places we cannot afford and that the society will not allow us.

To love people we will never get the chance to love because they do not love us.

To rekindle friendships with friends long gone.

To have long-lasting meaningful conversations with The Dead.

To kindle friendships with the Unborn.

To sleep perchance to really live, and make life worth it.

It escapes the daily doldrums and sometimes it’s so much sweeter without the pain, without the discomfort or the embarrassment.

Perchance sleeping isn’t really sleeping at all.

For what is this Waking Life?

Wafting odors of trash that needs to be taken out, again. The pots and pans on the stove with leftover food in them rotting with more stink. The dishes that need to be washed.

The bug crawling across your chest.

The aching knees that remind you of things falling to pieces.

The Daily Grind of going to a workplace to barely afford your lifestyle no matter how much money they ever give you.

Twenty thousand, fifty thousand, 1 million, you’ll spend it all. You’ll need more. You’ll always run out! I promise.

What is daily life?

What is awake?

Is this awake?

Or is that awake?

To sleep is sometimes to be more awake than the zombies I see going about their daily lives.

They’re sleepwalking all day long.

Perchance to sleep may be better than perchance to wake. Dreams are a glory of which we are able to live through them.

You may never fly with those knees but you will soar in your dreams.

You may never love or be loved with what’s in the daily mirror, but you can have it all in Dream Land.

He’ll find you attractive there.

She’ll think you’re irresistible there.

You’ll never fall short in the sack while dreaming in your sack.

You get what you want, you experience pleasures and pain that you never would get the opportunity to otherwise.

You can soar and you can sink in dreams.

Perchance we’ll see you there when you’re done sleepwalking all damned day.

The Artist D, August 2018

The Artist D, August 2018

I Have a Reservation

Never be afraid to live your life alone. I swear to you that this may be one of the meanings of life. We emerge from the primordial goo all stuck together as a ball of molecules. We shape into humans. Alone as alone can be in this cosmic thing.

As soon as we leave the womb we start to seek a connection back into the goo. We have not been aware of singularity and are frightened by it. Perhaps that’s what all the crying is about. I believe this is why we forever seek our “other halves” and want to be around tribes. We are nostalgic for the goo we emerged from.

I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong before.

But I live this life alone. I am surrounded by lovers, partners, friends, and yet I am still alone. Sometimes I think it’s for the best because there are enough people in my head, any more people would be a crowd.

This is why I don’t hesitate to say, “Table for one, please.” At the fanciest restaurants around. The kind where the waiter tries not to look at you “like that” as he shuffles you to the small group of tables “for one.”

The overheard conversations of others keep my attention and I am not required to interact with them. That is an added bonus. I get dinner and a show all thanks to the theater of the living.

Sometimes I will glance over at the empty chair across from me and get that human twinge of self pity. How nice would it be if a friend was here with me? It would be nice, but it wasn’t meant to be at this time and in this place. Maybe a friend will join me next time.

Besides, if I was here holding court and entertaining a friend, I never would have got to listen to the lady at the next table seriously discussing aliens being trapped in volcanoes. Did you know that when the volcano erupted the bits and pieces of alien bodies blew everywhere? And since they had nowhere to go they absorbed into the humans all around them. Which is why, I assume, she thinks we are all made up of extraterrestrials.

The only down side to listening to other people’s conversations is the usual social restriction of not being able to plunk myself down at their table and say, “Please, do tell me more!” Although in some cases this would be perfectly alright.

Don’t hold back from going it alone. Make the reservation, treat yourself solo. Take you and all of your imaginary friends out to dinner sometime. This may be the only time our souls, spirits, and molecules are alone together. Take advantage of that, do not wallow in it as if it were a prison sentence.

Be bold alone as you would be with others. We’ll all be together again soon in a big dump of gooey ooze anyway. Where, if I am correct about any of this, we will never be able to reserve that table for one again.

The Artist D

The Artist D, June 2018

The Damnable Hum

And I hear the sounds of silence. That which is not silent at all. The rustle of the trees, dry and crisp in true Summer. The birds and creatures making little noises. But no hum. No damnable city-like hum. Only the sound of the truth.

I’ve been driving for a little under five hours and it feels like I just left. All I can figure is that this is the sign of unwinding a very tightly coiled self. I listen to books, podcasts, and music as I go. And it really helps shake me back to who I really am. Or at least who I presume myself to be.

This time it feels like I could do with five more hours before arrival. Five more hours of podcasts and books. That’s how much coil is left within to be shaken. Either that or I’ve finally acclimated to traveling far distances, again. I had ceased distant travel many years ago and eventually became impatient with it.

It is hot, but delightfully so. I have missed this so much. This time it may take me four full days to fully explain. To rattle out the words onto the paper and into the typer.

I run into a lot of people here who have very strange conversations with me. They’re small town people and I think they can sense that I am just a little off. I’m not a tourist, but I don’t live here. They ask me if I’m from here. They ask if I live around here. I tell them every time, “No, do I look familiar?” And they say, “Nah.” Then I ask why they would ask in the first place and they add, “It’s nothin’.”

It is nothing. It’s the void that I have which most people don’t. It’s that I am so very much and I have depth, yet I’m hardly a functioning human. At least, I don’t function like most of the humans. I’m some strange observer from a distant land. It’s that extraterrestrial within me that shines to the people out here.

People stop me and have conversations about their slipped disks or their desire to be transgender. This is not with any previous introductions as to who I may be! They simply open up. I think they just know. I’m not like all the others and I’ll understand, “for some reason.”

The wind rustles through this bushy field. There are leafy trees, burnt trees, and those magical looking stocks with fuzzy things on the ends. They sway and they glisten in the sunshine like a slow motion dream. A bird with a super bright yellow belly is sitting on a twig staring at me. We may know each other from another time and place too.

I sit here like I am in a dream. My happy place. My landscape.

I was talking to my psychic this morning and she asked me what my landscape was. What geography do I connect with? I love the way that she put that. I connect with many geographies and this is one of them. The flat dry Wild West. The rolling red mountains sprouting up among all of these slow motion weeds. The empty horizon. The empty towns. The lack of people and the lack of that damned hum.

I also connect with the ocean. Raging and wet as it beats against the land, sanding it down slowly throughout forever after forever. I love the ocean. It’s safe out there. At least as safe as floating in space with no man or woman to burn horrors into your spirit.

I come here like I go there. I escape the humming city walls and go off to these places where I cannot, for some unknown reason to me, live permanently. The universe keeps me locked up in that damned city. But I come here or there or somewhere just like I drift off into another dream. In my mind I float to magical lands. In my meat suitcase I venture to them.

The Artist D

The Artist D, June 2018

 

Originally posted at Fourculture.com, August 22, 2017

Quentin Crisp and I in a Bunker

Last night I had a dream I was sharing an underground bunker with Quentin Crisp and a war was raging above us by two female armies.

One faction was a Nazi-like army of women and the other was an Amazonian type. We were in the underground bunker which was actually an underground stage floor of a dance club.

We decided there was nothing else better to do than sit around and watch the armies above. “The art of being,” Quentin chided.

I realized that I should take selfies with Quentin Crisp because in this dream I knew he was already dead. Since he was here with me and currently alive we took advantage of the situation. I took photos with my old digital camera from the nineties, a very small silver Nikon.

Eventually Michael Musto from The Village Voice showed up and then he took our picture too!

Later as the war waged on above us the shots began to fire through the windows. The bunker slowly morphed into more like a basement type of building, so there were suddenly windows up high near the ceiling. Sometimes bullets came flying through the walls at us.

Sooner than later I had to go up above ground to get some supplies. I remember climbing this long gritty stairway to a rusty basement door that swung open onto the surface. Amanda Lepore was there to greet me. She was dressed glamorously as she always is. I got the supplies and then took Amanda down into the club so we could all could take selfies with Mr. Crisp.

Quentin, Amanda, and I all understood this was a unique situation due to the dream space that suddenly had been provided. We knew we had to take advantage of this unique opportunity together.

The female armies were quickly closing in and the bullets were starting to nick our shoulders, arms, and legs. There was beginning to be nowhere to hide. Everyone in the bunker was now injured and bleeding. We knew that before long the underground would be dead.

All at the same time we looked at each other and realized the metaphor right before I woke up.

The Artist D

The Artist D, July 2018

Pulling Mother Earth’s Hair

I stayed in bed for hours pondering all of the things we ponder. None of it seems to get any clearer. Not with age or experience. It doesn’t clear up with sobriety. I can’t say that meditation does the trick. It certainly all does something, but it hasn’t done much else.

If there is one thing to be learned by any semblance of longevity it is that this has happened before and this will all happen again.

I look back into my archives of all the friends I have had. I look closely at the encounters we shared. I take the closest look at the photos of people now dead. I read their letters. To look into those eyes and remember the exchange while knowing how they ended it. To know you’ve surpassed a person’s time on Earth is like winning a very confusing race. I’m not sure if it’s actually winning, because I don’t know where they’ve gone.

Why do we do so many of the things that we do? More so, why do we spend so much time on all of this when we appear to know there’s so much better time to be spent on that. I don’t want to work on nothing. I want to work on something. I have a lot of something.

But then why do some stay up all night playing video games? Why do others spend the entire Holiday Weekend scrolling Facebook? What is with all of the “moral panic and outrage” when it accumulates to nothing more than exercises in irrelevancy? We all end up angling our lives in such bizarre directions. We seem to waste all the time we swear against ever wasting. We keep tumbling around a lifelong hamster wheel and we never seem to get it right.

I can’t tell you how many Sunday mornings I have lost to the temptation of sleep. I love sleep. I love dreams. Dreams are so delightful. As my body aches to awaken early and take brisk walks in the Summer dawn. I yearn to wake up “on time” but my body and brain have far more dreamy plans. They’d prefer to stay in the dark room and have another exciting adventurous dream.

My body and brain know all too well what awaits on the outside is nowhere near as exciting as what is to be conjured from the inside.

We keep doing it. I keep doing it. I keep plodding along looking for the path. A continuous debate regarding forks in roads. I think I know it. You seem to think you know it. There’s a reason for it. Somewhere there is a reason waiting impatiently to be unveiled.

The Artist D, May 2018

The Artist D, May 2018

Coyote Wanderlust

It’s 9 pm and no one has Liked my recent photo for the last hour.

I’ve been checking.

I’m reading a book about coyotes and I keep checking my phone between each chapter.

I didn’t know the book was about coyotes until I bought it. Now I read it uninterested yet oddly enthralled.

Some dumb author I found to be brilliant had recommended this coyote book to me. I guess he’s not that brilliant after all.

I keep reading this book. Like a badly cooked meal you’re too hungry to throw out.

This is the future. This is our 21st century.

I can’t get through a chapter or an act without checking. Feed me the Like. Like good drugs gone bad. Like drugs. The drugs of Like.

It could be worse. I’m not mainlining something that could kill me. Or am I? Likes are deadly substances.

Don’t snort too many Likes or you could OD. I learned that back in 2002.

They ruin our mental state. They take away from reading books and watching plays. About coyotes.

Back with the coyotes I go.

It turns out we’re all rummaging through the trash looking for things we Like. In cities we have no business being lost inside of.

The Artist D, May 2018

The Artist D, May 2018

Death of Passivity

I have always loved the ocean because it speaks to life. The ocean is a visual representation of life as I see it. I’ve often described the need to flow with the cosmic waves. If you become too stuck, too solidly stubborn against the waves, you will suffer more friction and destruction than if you were to just “go with the flow.” Much like how with struggle it becomes much easier to drown.

We creatures float through the galaxy like objects in the sea. All of the swirling, floating, and interweaving is critical for it to make a masterpiece. It’s a chaotic dancing stew, yet it all seems to work out for the best. The tide comes in and washes over the rocks to clear off some creatures while feeding others. If you happen to be one of these clam-like creatures you actually depend on it. You don’t really swim. You float, you’re buried, you’re uncovered, you live. It’s the Art of Being. Clams need not do anything other than be themselves while their environment carries them to live the life that they happen to live.

I think you will be taken care of whether you decide to swim or float in this universe. There is a place for both. However, we should not hold ourselves back when it comes time to paddle our feet to get us to the next place.

For most of my life I have often held myself back from swimming. I opted instead to float. I’ve let the waves of the universe carry me to some pretty great places. With that in mind I have always hesitated to start swimming in another direction.

I have feared changing course in life just about as much as I would fear changing course in the literal ocean. I am afraid to start purposefully swimming towards better land only to end up in one of those tidal wave storms which puts you farther away. Then you’re clinging to a plank, pissed off, and dying of hypothermia.

There’s also a big difference between swimming and flailing your arms violently until the ocean of our universe pulls you under into death. I see a lot of people confuse the two of these all of the time, literally and figuratively. Especially figuratively! There is an incredible amount of people out there struggling violently against the waves, gasping for air, and they have no idea. They’d tell you that they’re swimming. I’d tell them that they’re sinking.

If you float when you could swim you are being passive, possibly too passive. I am guilty of being passive at times when I should have been ravenously paddling. I’ve let people in my life just because they happen to have come into it. I’ve let a lot of things happen to me just because they were happening. It’s the pile of drugs you take just because they happen to be on the coffee table. It’s the sex you have just because the person happens to be all over you. It’s the job you take just because they hired you. It’s the first husband or wife you marry because they were the first one to put up with your cranky ass.

For far too long I was under the impression that this was the way it worked. In a lot of ways that can work, but it will not always be the way and you should not always accept it as such.

There is nothing wrong with making decisions. There is nothing wrong with saying “no” when you don’t want something. The same goes for if you want to say “yes” to something. There’s actually nothing wrong with asking for what you want! This is simple and obvious, yet completely unbelievable to a lot of people.

I was one of those people. That personality is still buried within me. If the opportunity came along then we might as well do it. If the opportunity did not come along then let’s forget about it. There wasn’t much push to obtain the opportunity. There wasn’t a lot of swimming against the current.

I deceptively resembled a person who took chances because I did take chances – passively. I blindly threw myself off of a lot of cliffs and hoped for the best. That’s where my faith in the flow of the universe stems from. That’s where I got terribly confused about being a drifter, never decidedly swimming to the desired opportunity.

This is why I had absolutely no understanding of college students. To put yourself in an eight year program with a belief that you are actually going to get to the end is as likely as swimming a straight line in a hurricane. Do you know how much can change in eight years? Do you know how much you probably will never want to do in eight years what you are doing today? I could not fathom the desire to do anything of the sort. For me, a one year plan was quite enough because I knew that at the end of that plan I’d be ready for a completely different map.

The only thing that has changed my mind about long term planning is finally capturing some realization about the hurricane in between. If we are open to changes of course during our plans then it makes sense. It turns out that most people understood this. I was far too black and white to see it until now.

The dawning realization has been that it’s OK to make hard choices. It’s OK to decline an invitation or disagree with an associate. We learn this even more when we are placed in management of others or owning a business. That can be learned from the corporate world or from managing an underground art magazine. Are you ready to have difficult conversations with people you may not like? Are you going to cope with the disagreement when your word is the final word? Are you OK with pointing out things that someone else may have absolutely no clue about? Would you be willing to fire someone for their shitty behaviors?

We do not always need to float. We are not all clams. We are allowed to decide on a course of action which may not be easy, but doable, if we have working arms, legs, or a giant propeller for a nose. The balancing act is to learn when to stop driving your boat into the Tsunami. The secret is to know the difference between swimming and flailing.

The Artist D, Autumn 2017

The Artist D, Autumn 2017, Beating a Metaphor to Death since circa 1997