‘and what do you wield, warrior?’
‘the sword i pulled from my own heart.’
‘but you do not wish to carry this weapon,
onward, for your journey?’
‘i only wish to carry a prayer.
to see and be seen.’
hello out there my beauties,
i wanted to let you know that the most honest thing i have written on the internet has just been published by an amazing site called REBELLE SOCIETY- it’s called “how my experience with mental illness helped me trust my darkness.”
A wise and wild coyote once told me, “It is in happiness that you will find the seeds of sadness. And it is in sadness that you will find the seeds of light.”
When I was a kid, I couldn’t bear to be in complete darkness. Even as a teenager, there was always a light somewhere: a nightlight in the kitchen, light in a window next door, streetlight outside. My journey has been to find that light in myself, instead of always seeking it outwardly.
I didn’t know what true freedom was like until I lived through this story. I had a conception of freedom and a lot of daring cliff-jumps, but the darkness remained a sign and a trigger.
Throughout my whole life, this specter of the idea of darkness chased and chased me. Or maybe it never actually moved — just stood, luminous and unending — and I kept running. I have messages written all over my body, to remind myself of the truth — about the dark, about myself.
I have always been a personality of extremes. This is my gift, in my new legend: to be able to viscerally feel, process, move through ecstatic heights and drastic lows, with not much in between.
The “not much in between” though was my own conception. The instinct to keep running, searching for higher ground, safer territory, more abundant provisions, without realizing perhaps I could, with time, just stay here. Grow these seeds of my own planting. Take some time, gaze into the night, into the earth, into the darkness, into the silence, into myself, and not only see and receive what is there, but to trust it.
This is not just a story about struggling with mental illness. It is a story about what every man, woman and spirit is here to grapple with: personal freedom and personal truth, and how they are inextricably intertwined.
YOU CAN READ THE REST OF THE ESSAY [RIGHT HERE] …
it’s powerful and unnerving and surreal to be able to have clarity on this journey- and to be able to share it in this way, in a way that undercuts the usual disempowering narratives about mental illness and provides an entry point into radical recontextualization and reclamation of your own legend.
thanks to my fierce and wonder-full friend shafina, on 11/16 i will be telling an off-book, organic version of this story at my first storytelling show, HOW TO BUILD A FIRE, at open source gallery one week from today. the theme is RESILIENCE [more info]
i’m open to your thoughts, words, wishes- let me know if you have ideas for collabs- i’m all ears for projects you dream up and opportunities to speak the legend…
from wanting creature to
proclaimer of the word //
with biggest big love,
“and of course i am afraid, because the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger.”
“we can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. for we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us. the fact that we are here and i speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. and there are so many silences to be broken.” -AUDRE LORDE.
*tattoo image at the top is one of my latest, from karen glass tattoo XO