audrey dimola[art for the wild]

Posts Tagged ‘vulnerability

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‘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]

some more events coming up: [here]
and my latest book of poetry & prose, WILDLIGHT, is still on sale [here] !

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,

XO

a.

“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

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today is my beautiful little sister’s 18th birthday. man! time is flying. why do we always say that? i’m grateful to be here in this moment.. so grateful.

this past summer has been one of, if not the, most important of my life. i have learned that you cannot fight or force your feelings. every bit of anxiety, restlessness, electricity, emotion- comes from somewhere. and it’s up to you to stop resisting and start listening to what your body and your emotions are trying to tell you. the resulting journey may dismantle you, make people worry a lot about you, question your every move, and fracture the very ground you stand on. but i promise you- it has a purpose.

someday you’ll know why you were never satisfied.

here i stand, in the knowing.

i’ve started a journey to becoming a wilderness guide/educator and also realized how much i love talking to the newer generations about positivity, potential, and the power of words and thoughts. there have also been many moments in the months since the summer that have been downright pitch black. dizzying. soul splitting. but you realize that- this is the point. to push ourselves to our edges and then find the strength to push right PAST.

speaking to a room full of kids, exploring with new souls, sharing my art, taking risks, putting my process on display, going into the woods, learning brand new tasks, trudging up a mountain.. it’s all destroying the parts of me that aren’t golden. aren’t infinite. stripping the useless husks of ego.. to the eternal bloom of light that lies within.

i feel so grateful to everyone i’ve met on this path, whether still with me or not. whether long-standing or brand new. i feel like the universe is placing my steps.. and as scared as i get. as much as that darkness beckons. as much as the questions and the uncertainty whisper to me from the edges.. i know i have to push. and keep pushing. for myself, for everyone. choosing energy. choosing passion. choosing self-expression. choosing wildness. CHOOSING LIFE.

i wrote the piece below for the WORDS WITH WINGS show at THE GRIND on 9/30 that was my first step back into curating and performing after the summer. i also performed it for 10 classes in a row at my high school recently, and its meaning was solidified..

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i am walking forward, INTO THE WILD. events are coming up including MASHUPS on 10/28 at queens council on the arts, a wild rumpus night of new work and free creation featuring visual art, music, poetry, dance, and a wildcard theme of tarot! i will be pushing my own edges this night and we will be responding to each other, to the themes, to the audience, in the moment.

my third book is breaking its own edges.. i’m looking at early 2016 to heal wounds and honor this stretch of the journey since the summer. the process is beginning..

words are going up around my neighborhood and beyond as i re-embrace my duty as messenger.

i will keep challenging myself. and i will stay free. as my family has said, time and time again.. NEVER A DULL MOMENT. but how could there be?

‘without enchantment, the rest is useless’ (borges) —

XO

a.

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***

this. is. for. you:
it doesn’t matter how old you are
what you’re deathly scared of
what is hurting your heart.
it doesn’t matter how many times
you wake up feeling anxious
how many times you reach for
the pen, the camera, the brush, the computer,
the door- and feel it’s pointless.
you. must. go. on.

I BOW ONLY TO THE FIRE INSIDE ME &
THE WINGS ON MY BACK.

even when your palms are bleeding- open your hands. you must go on. your search for meaning amounts to this- above all- it is whatever you create. whatever meaning you ascribe, you are the scribe, the wild messenger. plunge your restless fingers into the dark and with all your heart, pry yourself from what you cannot belong to. put your paws in the earth, hang your fears on tree branches, and go.

if you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror, smash it. if your key doesn’t work, put your fist through the door. if your heart can’t possibly shatter any further, put a lantern in your chest. light a match in the endless tunnels twisting inside your head. IMAGINE a way out, the way you did when you were only a child- you had it right. all those monsters run away if you can shine a brighter light. so SHINE ON, my friends. as bright as you can. conjure your own spell for resurrection, believe again in your alchemy, necromancy, turn the blood to gold and gold to armor, you will live again to fight another day.

wander the desert. pick through the bones. sing in the forest. keep anything that echoes. let the ocean beat against you, let the steepness of the cliff dismantle your ego. and start again. and again. and again. and again. this is the wilderness codex, the code of living forever. dying as many times as you have to. the moment you hit the ground is the first breath that you heave again. if you can’t get up, can’t go on, can’t walk another step, just WILL YOUR WINGS TO WORK.

I BOW ONLY TO THAT FIRE INSIDE ME &
THOSE WINGS ON MY BACK.

so many of us are walking around powerless. i am calling to you, my sisters & brothers, my wild souls, my rebel poets, my warriors of the light.

wear no shoes, climb up to a roof, speak to your city, ignite the mic and as long as it comes from your burning heart don’t regret anything you have to say.

stop disappearing into a faceless army. stop going back to your apartment, doing your job, going to sleep. that tingling in your throat, it’s starting something. it may come out hoarse but it’s a beautiful beginning. the messenger gave you a legend, a scripture, a tale to tell around a fire the way we did in ancient days. your words can turn ash to ember.

BELIEVE it. NOW BLAZE.

***

EVENTS COMING UP:

10/28/15 – Audrey Dimola presents MASHUPS! performance & workshop at Queens Council on the Arts in Astoria [Facebook]

11/12/15 – Nature of the Muse fireside reading/live writing series returns to LIC Bar [Facebook]

11/18/15#neonrebellion kickoff with Nick Neon arrives at Q.E.D. in Astoria [Facebook]

{{thank. you. one. &. all.}}

i wish i knew, i wish i had a way – to take you away from yourself.
the tricks your mind plays.. the sadness. the darkness. it’s hereditary. maybe.
i remember when you told me, that night in the car – i hope that doesn’t happen to you.
i never even realized you thought about those things.
and i told you i’d fight it, fight the darkness, but you said – you can’t. why do you think i can’t work?
so every day, i guess – i’m fighting. for both of us..
and you don’t even know it.

28 years later and i’m still trying to scale your walls.
– excerpt from THE WILD PAPERS

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the darkness has crept up on me recently.

it’s funny how we get so entrenched in our own situations, worlds, societies, histories, genetics, pre-dispositions, habits, etc. that we forget it wasn’t always like this.. and we don’t have to be bound by it.

this is a strange time to be alive – one in which my heart tells me to be wild. but everything else pokes and prods at me – to stay connected, update my status, check my notifications, my messages, my comments, my likes, my invites.. share, share, share, check, check, check.

the mind has a fantastic capability.. that has been whittled down to infinite scroll and obsessive checking, reporting, observing, comparing.. everything. i am specifically talking about facebook/social media and i am specifically talking about myself..!

i made the decision a week or two ago to quit. for anyone who knows me and how interconnected i enjoy being, especially as an extra-visible media person/artist/party animal/scribe – this is strange and drastic. however – i feel my mental state was far stranger and more drastic.

i have lived on the internet since i was 12 or 13 years old. what about us internet kids, coming into our identities as early teens at the BOOM – we grew up like this, yet we have enough of “life before” to make us wistful.. is this always why i feel like i’m living in two worlds at once, pulled by both? and what about “kids these days” – who have nothing to compare it to? you’re born with an ipad in your hand.. my friend’s baby knows how to tap and swipe and she’s not even 2 years old.

there’s nothing wrong with the internet. it’s a beautiful thing. i’ve been connected to friends from all over the world – some of which i’ve still never met in person. you have a myriad amount of information at your fingertips. the ease of sharing moves at lightspeed, like life itself..

i remember fondly the days of AIM chats and ICQ, angelfire and geocities. message boards, RPG’ing, and writing stories. teaching myself HTML, the satisfaction of skinning a scrollbar or making a photo into a clickable button. endless xanga entries, lyrics, photos, and chat excerpts. all the zillions of ‘about’ statements you write as you grow, change, get older.. myspace. collecting internet friends and comments. and now facebook. and all the rest. we grew up with the rise of the internet. we remember the excitement! the addiction. all of a sudden – everything is meant to be documented and shared, and easily. there’s a whole other WORLD that exists out THERE – in internet-space. and there’s nothing in us – or in me, specifically – that knows how to turn it off.

until now.

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“If science could see freedom, what would it look like? If it wanted to find the will, where would it search? [George] Eliot believed that the mind’s ability to alter itself was the source of our freedom.

i started reading a book i found tossed around the apartment – “proust was a neuroscientist” by jonah lehrer. i didn’t start reading it until now, and – like many things in my life – it arrived when i was ready for it. sometimes you need a reminder of our inherent ability to learn, change, grow. literally the way we’re wired.. literally the way we evolve. the randomness. the chance. the mistakes. the oddities. the way we sneak out from under the thumbprint of concrete rules and regulations.. to be this strange being that was made to change. inherently – we are made for freedom.

this invigorates me.

to look back into history and see people emerging from their ages of anxiety. twisting and turning through theories and speculations, what stuck, what didn’t.. to be reminded that everyday – we have a chance. we have newly born parts of our brains. we can create new pathways. new patterns. and break them. and make them. again and again and again.

“…human freedom is innate, for we are the equation without a set answer. We solve ourselves.”

i guess what i’m trying to say is – it’s beautiful to be human. this freedom i am constantly grasping for – freedom from my habits, my patterns, my addictions, my anxieties – is literally in the fiber of my being. for me, it’s come through resolving to stay wild and keep away from the things i feel are WASTING my brain cells. scroll, scroll, infinite scroll – and endless DISTRACTIONS. i want to read books like these. i want to climb trees. i want to live without documenting every single moment as it happens. i want to live without so much STUFF. and i want to feel – like i have lately – that there are no longer four walls encasing me. that there is more than constantly having to keep up. more than constantly feeling like i’m missing something. more than the knee-jerk reaction to grab my phone or open up a tab for facebook or figure out a filter for instagram at every spare moment, between every task..

yes, this is our world. our gorgeous and troubled age of anxiety, our age of everything and nothing, our culture of scarcity, our over-information age, our over-stimulation age. but this is also me – having grown up with the internet, being prone to anxiety and distraction, having a past of OCD and fixation.. letting my patterns get out of control.

“Eliot was fond of quoting Tennyson’s In Memoriam: ‘There lives more faith in honest doubt,/ Believe me, than in half the creeds.’”

we fall into these pits so we can dig our way out. there is no other way. there is no learning that comes from walking on a straight road, straight into nowhere, knowing it all, seeking nothing. the learning comes from the sweat and the dirt under our fingernails. the blood and bruises. the ache. the digging. the getting up. the walking on.. the doing it again. and doing it differently.

our so-called “mistakes,” our contradictions, our doubts, our duality, our paradoxical nature, our “reckless swings of animal will” (i LOVE that phrasing).. it. is. part. of. us. the blessing of chaos and the randomness that literally allows for our evolution..

the fact that “the mind ‘is not cut in marble – it is not something solid and unalterable’ […] As Eliot wrote, ‘we are a process and an unfolding.’” this is seeming so absolutely riveting and electric to me right now. the fact that – not only is this okay.. it’s how it’s supposed to be.

i think i love this idea so much because it’s literally saying, in science, in our very BEING, our very BODY, written INTO US – is hope. we are malleable. “the soul ‘may be rescued and healed.’”

i am being reminded – by words, by nature, by my contemporaries, by science, by art – that everyday we have a chance to decide. it is MY responsibility to rewire myself, rewrite myself. that a possibility for something ELSE exists every single day, every single moment – and it’s not just new age gospel or self-help fodder. not just in our souls. but inherently – in our bodies, in our blood.

“To accept the freedom inherent in the human brain – to know that the individual is not genetically predestined – is also to accept the fact that we have no single solutions. Every day each one of us is given the gift of new neurons and plastic cortical cells; only we can decide what our brains will become.”

only WE can decide what our brains will become.

“…to be alive is to be ceaselessly beginning.”

and let us never reach the end.

XO

a.

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ps: i picked up a four of clubs / four of wands on the street the other night, and now i know why. (ever find cards on the street? google them. playing cards translate into tarot meanings..). four of wands?

“seeking freedom
getting out of an oppressive situation
breaking free of bonds
cutting loose
opening to new possibilities
escaping unhappy circumstances
claiming self-determination
letting go of limitations”

“If you feel trapped or restricted right now, use the energy of the Four of Wands to launch you into freedom. Do not be afraid to claim the open vistas that are rightfully yours…” [more?]

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A photo my boyfriend took in Hawaii.. :)

Strangely, as a writer.. I am always after the wordless.

Especially after chasing words and meaning your whole life – expressing it in poetry, in prose, in speech, on paper, with a pen, with computer keys – tangible.. There is something so interesting in taking it OFF the page. In making it move.

In going forward in my work I am so excited about playing more with this.. This spirit of freedom, of movement, of cross-genre collaboration – of how the arts inform each other and each express something the other can’t. They fill in the cracks. Inspire the other to break open a little more. Breathe a little more. STRETCH a little more..

I am reminded of this every time I move away from pen and page, from computer keys and screen – my time at The Yoga Room brought this to my field of vision and since then I have never been the same. One of my favorite yoga teachers (who is also an amazing friend) paraphrased Martha Graham and said – the body in motion reveals all. I came back to the mat to practice yesterday and felt it immediately. After weeks and weeks of not doing an actual yoga class – I slipped back into this realm. This LANGUAGE. That doesn’t require any planning or pretense or anything besides – showing up.

So much of life is like that, I realize.

‘Daring Greatly’ is inspiring me again this morning. The author has an amazing vulnerability prayer: Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen. SHOWING UP. LETTING YOURSELF be seen.. The incredible experience of being involved in the local literary community has taught me this, and hosting/performing at Inspired Word especially, every couple weeks.. Having the ability to see performers at work, being vulnerable, letting themselves be seen, trying new things, freely collaborating, being open – it has a direct effect on me. I recommend it to EVERYONE – to put yourself in situations surrounded by open-hearted, brave, creative people.. Even if you yourself are terrified, or don’t want to perform – there is so much to be said – as I always discuss with my lovely friend and fellow poet Valerie Keane – for just showing up. Being there. EXPERIENCING..

Back to the wordless: REMEMBER that this exists. That there is a whole other realm for you to tap into, especially if you are usually creating in a medium that “doesn’t work that way.” Inspire yourself to step out of the box we always find ourselves in.. Most of the time, we make the box ourselves. WHY do we have to do it this way? WHY can’t we do it differently from everyone else? WHY can’t we change the course of our own history? Be inspired by the work around you and in your surrounding culture, whether mainstream or local – be inspired, but not dictated by it. All it takes is ONE person to do it differently. It always works this way.. Who says we need to stay in the usual forms, and follow suit?

Ntozake Shange has an incredible book that pushes the boundaries called ‘Lost in Language & Sound’ that has been inspiring me so much. Even the way her words look on the page, even the way she spells things – are so different. Her ideas of the “choreopoem” fall in line with things I started to experiment with – the meeting of words and dance is pure POETRY to me.. She writes: & yes/ in order to think n communicate the thoughts n feelings i want to think n communicate/ i haveta fix my tool to my needs/ i have to take it apart to the bone/ so that the malignancies/ fall away/ leaving us space to literally create our own image.

This is exactly how it felt for me to work on “MIRRORS” with my beautiful friend Kym Nolden, who choreographed this piece for debut at my WORLD OF WORDS: QUEENS show at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center this past April. The whole process was an exercise in vulnerability and trusting.. Being so inspired and humbled and shaken up by the openness of the dancers, the craft of dance itself, the hugeness of the show, the fact that I hadn’t even written “MIRRORS” when we started, hadn’t performed with memorization in many moons, never worked with dancers before, and was struck with emotion every time I performed because the subject of the piece was still raw in my heart and mind..

I remember – in the midst of a solid block of other shows and curating craziness, putting together the show, my own jobs and life happenings, exhaustion, stress, nerves, on and on and on.. Finally getting the piece down in my apartment, practicing it over and over, THEN going to the theatre at LaGuardia, performing it with the dancers for the first time – and absolutely falling apart. I couldn’t remember the words or the cues. Here I was – the curator of the show, the author of the piece – the dancers had their choreography down and were so patient and beautiful and open.. And I was screwing it up! Oh, ego. So much I learned.. I had to get out of my own way. I pushed the ego out. I tried hard to let it go. And I went back the next day, a day or so before the show, and stayed in that theatre by myself for a few hours, running it and running it onstage, all alone in front of 300 empty seats. TRUSTING.. In the beauty of the vulnerability. Of the rawness. Of the uncertainty..

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability. To be alive is to be vulnerable. -Madeleine L’Engle

And at the show – this is what happened. The piece I am most proud of. The style that – god willing – you will see more of. Thank you endlessly to Handan at LaGuardia for giving me space for the show, and to Kym, Jacob, and Sarah for creating this unforgettable experience with me. My heart is eternally bursting with gratitude for your beautiful energies bringing these words to life..

More to come.

Infinitely,

XO

a.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Hosting COFFEED’s 2nd Inspired Word All-Star Showcase, 9/11/14 [Facebook]
Featured Performer in Canvas of Words’ Preserving Our Roots show, 10/11/14 [Facebook]

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“The colossal vitality of his illusion” – this phrase has always stood out to me in my favorite book since 8th grade, ‘The Great Gatsby.’ It’s becoming more and more clear to me – the colossal vitality of OUR illusion. I feel very lucky each time I’m led to a quote or book or piece of literature/music/art/LIFE that triggers that all-important A-HA! moment that helps to clean my metaphorical lens of this illusion.. And I want to share them with you.

Hence: DISCOVERY.

An effort to post more, reflect more, learn more, retain more.

I just started a new job which is strangely forcing – er, emphatically nudging me – to face a host of my fears. I just turned twenty-eight and the past year has been incredible, beautiful, insane, stressful, painful, amazing. And I’m realizing – as the author of this fantastic book, ‘Daring Greatly,’ realized – that so much of it comes down to VULNERABILITY. WORTHINESS. And this culture of SCARCITY – this culture of NEVER ENOUGH.

I didn’t even realize it.. How pervasive it all is. Now all of us in this rapidly paced, overly connected yet staggeringly disconnected social media/instantly updated/strangely voyeuristic society are constantly putting up boundaries and appearances, even when we don’t realize it. Should I share with people the fact that I get overwhelmed even though I’m an organizer and curator? That even though I’m a poet I deal with vulnerability or expression issues? That I’m a positive, emotional, love-filled person but am near-constantly living with familial guilt and separation anxiety? Anxiety in general? Fears of taking trains and elevators? Habits of manipulating my life, lifestyle, and opportunities due to FEAR? What about my… REPUTATION?!?!? What about how people see me? What about how I want to be seen, who I want to be, who I know I AM? How does it all get so MUDDLED?

There are so many causes we need to take the time to uncover with kindness, grace, and intelligence. ‘Daring Greatly’ illustrated this to me in such a crystal clear way this morning.. HOW can we heal? HOW can we open up? HOW can we appreciate the NOW? HOW can we ever embrace ourselves and THIS moment if we are constantly feeling we are not enough? It’s why we feel like we can never get ahead, aren’t ready, are inadequate in comparison with our peers, our sense of self, pop culture, where society says we should “be” at any given moment.. Author Brené Brown quotes a passage from Lynne Twist:

For me, and for many of us, our first waking though of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of… Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something…

The “REVERIE OF LACK.”

ILLUSION! That’s what it is! We are writing this script – all the while not realizing WE’RE pressing the keys or holding the pen.. Brown herself says: Scarcity doesn’t take hold in a culture overnight. But the feeling of scarcity does thrive in shame-prone cultures that are deeply steeped in comparison and fractured by disengagement. […] The greatest casualties of a scarcity culture are our willingness to own our vulnerabilities and our ability to engage with the world from a place of worthiness.

This, for me, is huge. We are constantly trying to kill the sound in our heads. Muffle it. Medicate it. Ignore it. Sweat it out. Burn it up. But we have to look deeper into the root sometimes. And this to me was so illuminating..

Thus begins this phase. DISCOVERY!

Onward,

XO

a.

UPCOMING:

Hosting COFFEED’s 2nd Inspired Word All-Star Showcase, 9/11/14 [Facebook]
Featured Performer in Canvas of Words’ Preserving Our Roots show, 10/11/14 [Facebook]


Into the wild wonderland…

Celebrated as “a wildfire in a world of fluorescent bulbs,” a “poetic force of nature,” and “inspiration incarnate,” Queens, New York City native AUDREY DIMOLA is a poet, performer, curator, messenger, local arts advocate, community organizer, and lifelong artist, as well as Director of Public Programs at Long Island City’s Socrates Sculpture Park. // Thanks so much for stopping by! You’ll find all my work on this website, past and present, as well as new blog posts. Poetry, prose, videos, events, photos, articles – it’s all here. // STAY WILD, STAY GRATEFUL!

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ABOUT
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POETRY & PERFORMANCE
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PROJECTS
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My Books

I have three poetry & prose collections for sale, proudly self-published. Like what you read? Support an indie!

Decisions We Make While We Dream (2012)

TRAVERSALS (2014)

WILDLIGHT (2018)

Compass Project Poetry Stickers

As of February 2012, I've been sticking my Compass Project poetry and prose stickers up around NYC & sending them around the world! Have you seen some? Want some? Find out more!