the dangers in cartography.

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the terrifying thing about choosing your own context for mental illness is that you often end up hurting/scaring the people closest to you, and hurting/scaring yourself.

it is not like an outwardly manifested affliction in that- no one would say to you, just stop having cancer. get up from your wheelchair. get your vision back. look how much everyone loves you- stop dying.

no one makes you feel like- you are doing it on purpose. you are willing it. you are purposely isolating, not picking up the phone, disappearing, not going to work. no one makes you feel like what is happening to you is wrong. like it’s your responsibility for failing everyone you love, for failing yourself.

what IS the same, though- is how people react upon choosing an alternative path to healing. in a similar way you would in choosing a raw food diet instead of chemotherapy. a visit to a shaman instead of a hospital. time communing with yourself, your spirits and guides, and your rituals- instead of a trained professional. this is the hurt that everyone who chooses a different way feels- that what they are doing is dangerous. that no one trusts them with their own healing. that maybe they should not put so much trust in themselves.

mental illness is particular in this fashion. and once you choose not to follow the paradigm given to you- that you are broken and need to be fixed, that you have a chemical imbalance that endangers your life- the road you proceed to traverse has no map.

and in making the map for yourself, sometimes, like last night, you will find yourself in willing seclusion. hiding like a child, getting as small as you possibly can in the darkness, while three of the most important people in your life stand on your doorstep, on three separate occasions- ringing your bell, scratching your window, calling to you. txting and calling, communicating to each other, in increasing alarm.

sometimes no disappearance is enough disappearance, for the hurt you feel. the hurt that washes over you, primordial and unending. you are told you are loved. you are told you have a place to go. you are told you can have anything you want. threatened, even, by this immediateness, franticness, of affection- you get even smaller. but the space is opened up, somehow- in which to trust.

how do i know which impulses to listen to? sometimes the path leads you away but it is only so you can trust enough to find your own answers. you know the path is true if it leads you back to your community, to the people you love.

despite how much you anger them. hurt them. how much you don’t make rational sense- it is not isolation indefinite. it is isolation to hear the answers- so to heal. so to return.

today i understood why i am creating my next show, PROVENANCE.

to show how this instability is the key in the lock to the power of my origin story. to show what it looks like, in actuality, to choose to create your own map. to hurt yourself, hurt the people you love. to bear the guilt and shame inherent in your affliction. to want to answer, open up, speak, accept an embrace, receive help- but simultaneously be completely unable to.

to dance at the edges of death, creation, eternal life. to find safety in the perceived danger. growth and fecundity in the darkness. so to understand- your holy wild self. so to ascribe sacred meaning to- your finite moments on earth.

i look forward to continuing this journey.
and sharing with you, in three dimensions, what i’ve learned.

XO

a.

Author: audrey dimola

MY NAME IS AUDREY AND I AM A WILDFIRE. // My work catches flame at the intersections of multidisciplinary art, ceremony and ritual, community and connection, improvisation and radical vulnerability. I am a Queens, NYC born-and-raised poetic alchemist, performer, curator, and sacred space-holder; author of 3 poetry and prose collections; Director of Public Programs at Socrates Sculpture Park; and creator of original event experiences such as Nature of the Muse, Church of the Sacred Body, and How We Create & How We Cope: Intersections of Art & Mental Illness.

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