keeping it at bay

I went to a concert on Saturday, and as usual I walked away a little bit better than I was before, I am a hard believer that allowing yourself to destroy the wall for just a few minutes before having to build it back up. I am not good at being vulnerable, but when I’m at a show or participating in art I can let my guard down, and then immediately after there was healing through kinship, mutual kinship, so the guard could stay down a little longer, enough change my heart, even if it was just a tiny bit. I think I might be getting better at being honest when it calls for it.

I was reminded more than once during the show what it was like to lose my grandmother and the extremely complicated relationship that I had with her, because just because a person has died does not mean it takes away the toxic aspects of your relationship. There were not many, but there were some. Instead of dwelling on this when I was reminded to let the show take me on the journey it needed to, I allowed the catharsis of the music and musicians work its way through . Open yourself up and then let it heal right I guess, I don’t know how many times it’s going to take for it to heal right, but I think I’m willing to lean in to the process.

I’m learning so much about myself from this process, but it’s also allowing me to be a better listener, it’s changed me as a friend. I’m learning more about the people I love because of this process.

I’ve started to believe it when people tell me they love me. I never used to believe it.

I think I might be on the way to truly loving myself, even if it’s a slow slow process. There is a darkness in me that will never go away but I think I’m getting better at keeping it at bay, or at least directing the anger in the right direction.

This was a bit more introspective than I intended to be, but it’s been an intense few days. In a positive way but it’s been intense

best

bri

My Telltale Heart

my heart has had some fights lately
leaving it bruised and battered
most of the time it is a quiet scream
it needed to be ripped open again
surgically repaired with kindness
so the jagged edges turned to small scars
so it started, it stings but it itches
so it is healing, i am impatient
but i’m reassured it will heal
i will heal
my heart will be unbruised
it is already so full
that i no longer doubt that

Pat

i changed my hair today
you always liked it when it was different
prided your own short hair
a rebellion against strict parents
even when mine was funny colors
you’d joke about the color of the week
even when you forgot it’s name
you even liked it when it was almost gone
patting me on the head because it felt funny
you always smiled when i walked through the door
with a new strange haircut or color
except when it was blonde,
because i was in the middle of bleaching it
your laughter echoes in my head
my hair was blue after you were gone
i wore it that way for you
even with the mild side eyes
my own act of rebellion i guess
i changed my hair today
it made me think of you

October 11th: Coming Out Day

It’s coming out day, My queer identity is not a huge part of who I am, I am privileged enough that that identity has been safe for me to express since I decided to start coming out my Junior year of high school, and again when I came out as gender fluid, and pansexual much later on in my life. The people in my life do not care, they respect my pronouns even though I am not super strict about it, odds are I won’t correct you, but it’s so nice to have people get them right.

In fact the first time I came out I was at a friends house staying over. I couldn’t keep it in any longer, I told her that I was afraid she would kick me out of the house. She didn't. She was wonderful. She told me “I love you no matter what…in a completely platonic way. She was horrified, I thought it was hilarious. We still laugh about it to this day. I am grateful for that kind of unconditional love, and I have experienced it over and over again.

I told my best friend that I was a lesbian (since then my identity has evolved) who I was 100% sure would be supportive, and nothing would change, in the hallway at school right before first bell. I knew it wouldn’t matter even one bit to her. I did it before first bell so I had an excuse to run. Of course I didn’t have to.

I told my parents and I did get one gentle “are you sure?” and then there was no judgement.

My coming out story is the luckiest they come. Sure, there have been comments every now and then, but they do not hurt, because the people I love do not care about my gender identity or .sexual orientation.

I am privileged in my experience, and so many LGBTQ youth are not as lucky as I have been, they are brave persistent human beings fighting for the rights and safety in their own homes. I can tell you from other life experiences that are not LGBTQ issues that fighting is worth it, it is hard and it is long and sometimes abandonment feels like the absolute end of the road. It isn’t. There is family everywhere. There are people ready to hear you. To lift you up.

To those of you who are out, keep showing the world how awesome you are. For those of you who are out to your friends but can’t be out to your family, hold those friends tight. For those of you who aren’t out yet, there is time, and you can take as much of it as you need. For those of you who are scared, stick around, the world needs you. Reach out for help. Friends, check in on each other, build a network. Learn your history, continue to be bad-ass.

Coming out is not just one thing, it is every new person, every job, it is determining safe spaces.

Coming out is brave

.love,

bri

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mollasses

molasses,
thoughts come slow tonight
that the periodic poisons are
eating at my brain
molasses
but i am a superhero
i walk through it like water
cooling and renewing
thoughts come slow tonight
but they are wrapped in comfort
for i have been here before
and survive
patience comes with
age, and years are gone for me
i am older than i look
the faster the molasses gives way
to clouds, still far above safety
but cold and free

Vivamus pellentesque vitae neque at vestibulum. Donec efficitur mollis dui vel pharetra.
— Claire C.
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6:59 pm

the sun is a memory
we could be moving backwards
we might be moving backwards
quiet in our cabins
alone but together
wishing we weren’t moving backwards
wishing we could be stopped
eyes watering with the day’s smog
brain stuck between the nine to five
and a dreams dripping down our faces
but the cabin quiets, the locks snap shut
we emerge, ready for the rest of our day
dark, quiet, ready to do it again tomorrow
ready to move backwards again


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October 9th

humid, but cold
we are walking through
thick air, suffocating air
fall finding, it’s summer love
too hard to forget
we revel in the decay
the damp leaves
making way for bare branches
to hold up the grey powder
the world smells different
hot asphalt, salt air, give way
to earthy musk and spice
hours slow, but darkness creeps
a chill
some browns and reds
bells ring in the distance

flowers.JPG

I’m bored, which means I’m finally feeling better. I want to do things, but I still don’t really have the stamina (got winded unpacking today). At least I can see straight and sort of make thoughts again. I’ve got no sweeping generalizations today, but I do appreciate what a little cleaning can do for my mood. It makes a decent size difference, to declutter, which everyone knows, but of course self awareness does not always mean action on my part. I am so very self aware from years of therapy and art making, but I still don’t make decisions based on all that self awareness. Sometimes I see myself making a bad decision or no decision and I can tell you exactly when it’s going to bite me in the ass later on, yet I still let it happen. I’m working on it. I will probably be perpetually working on it.

This little unplanned vacation from my life was kind of a good thing I think, it’s time to start moving again, and time to start making stuff again.

Breathe

I really don’t want to write today, I am tired, I worked my first full shift since getting sick, and to be honest I don’t really have much to say. However I realize that part of this project is pushing myself even if it means putting out something I’m not happy with, even if it means typing in a stream of consciousness until there’s something on the page. Usually I like to plan, but the whole not being able to take a deep breath thing is really messing with my meditating skills. I don’t think I realized how much breath comes into my creating process, I don’t think about it, but when I plan I have to slow down my thoughts, and the only way I know how to do that is to steady my breath. Take that away and you have a very anxious, very scattered Bri. Or in this case a very stuffy very hoarse Bri.

That’s all I’ve got tonight. Just breathe.

A Sort of Appropriate Reaction

This is day three of opening this up and trying to type something out, we’ll see if it happens. I’ve been sick with pneumonia, and I made the mistake of trying to go back to work yesterday. Bad idea.

I feel pretty much nothing at this point in reference to the shit show that is our country. Angry and tired, but mostly nothing. I would like to thank the cough medicine and low grade fever for taking the edge off this one. That’s pretty bleak. Yet, I feel a sort of appropriate reaction to what feels like a very hard (not surprising) blow to my future and the future of everyone I love. I’m not going to pretend there’s a silver lining on this one, because there isn’t. I hope there will be in a few weeks on Tuesday November 6th, where we vote. Please go to the polls, and bring your friends, and tell them to bring their friends. Please vote.

I’m tired and breathing still kind of hurts. My heart hurts even beneath all the numbness. Today I think we are allowed to feel this pain. We have to step through it and mobilize though, we have to get to the polls.

that is all

take care of yourselves

bri

Specific Kind of Uncomfortable

Well, I’ve won myself some pneumonia, which is going to make for a very uncomfortable couple of days. It also might be my body telling me to slow down for just a minute. On my drive all around the state today I was thinking about how uncomfortable I was. I couldn’t really take a deep breath without it being painful, and when I tried I would cough, but now I’ve got a pile of medicines and inhalers and I’m not as uncomfortable as I was before.

The thing is I think I need to be a pretty specific kind of uncomfortable to make work, I don’t know if it’s like that to anyone else, but in order for me to do something when it comes to making art or more specifically planning art, I have to be out of my comfort zone. There’s a balance though, the past year and a half of my life was the wrong type of uncomfortable, I was frozen from all the changes happening. However now that I’m somewhat settled and I know I’ll always have something to eat, I’m feeling more ready to make some stuff. This is piggybacking off of yesterday’s entry, if I don’t move around in a way that gives me time to work stuff out in my head I can’t really focus the creative energy anywhere. An artist’s muse is kind of an asshole if you ask me, not that I don’t appreciate a burst of creative energy, but for the most part it’s trudging through quick sand trying to get myself to a place where I create. I know not all artists are like this, many people are far more motivated than I, I know artists that can crank out a fully formed series in less than a week. I admire them. I am not one of them.

So I’m trying to find the sweet spot for being uncomfortable enough to make work but not too stressed out about food and housing and you know, basic human needs. I suppose changing locations enough when I write or plan is probably the right amount uncomfortable, change of scenery, change of pace, I do feel more motivated to make things now that I’m more surrounded by other artists. So here’s the advice to myself section of this blog: don’t be sedentary (unless you have pneumonia because running around with that is not a good idea), change locations to write or plan, and surround yourself with other artists. Baby steps Bri, baby steps.

I’m going to go pass out now if the steroids allow me to. Hopefully everything works as quickly as the doctors said it would and I’ll be back to my medium level of health in a few days.

-bri

sedentary writers block

My voice is gone and I can’t stop coughing it’s the beginning of my once a year horrible upper respiratory infection, they’ve gotten worse since I had whooping cough my last year of college. Vaccinate your kids people, or some sad sack in college will fall asleep on the train and miss their station (or the other millions of things that can go wrong from not vaccinating, but I suppose that’s a different post from a different blogger).

When I have days like today I rarely find myself with inspiration to write, it’s hard when I’ve done nothing but go to therapy and sit in bed, but I needed rest. The past two weeks have been exhausting, but you all know that. I’m much happier at my new place. It feels better and safer and I’m with good people. Also there are cats. Which I’m only now in the end of my 25th year realizing how great cats are. See I promised this wouldn’t be a diary, but that’s what this entry is turning out to be because if I don’t do anything all day I don’t have time to focus and write during my quiet moments. I know that doesn’t exactly work but commuting is prime time for thinking about lots of things. Mostly it’s “holy shit the parkway is a nightmare” but in between those thoughts I get some writing done.

Anyway, I feel like I need a way to ease back into something more focused this week, my mind and body are thrown from what’s happening in the government. Tomorrow the effort will be more I promise. I’ve got the regular 8 am and 5 pm traffic to deal with so I’ll have some time to think on it.

Day off

I had a real day off today. No moving no work. I woke up at the crack of dawn, drove to the train station and went to the city. It was nice. Quiet. Good company. I didn’t really do anything, I just walked around and watched people. I caught a “photo bro” making photos from his car of those of us sitting on the steps of the old Penn Station so when he turned his camera to me I made eye contact with it I kind of hope it creeps him out a little. Photographers can always spot the camera, which is probably why there are almost no candid shots of me. I was thinking about this dude all day, making photos of those of us sitting and waiting while sitting and waiting in his luxury sedan. It was kind of a surreal moment. I am a wall flower when I photograph, but I always am standing on the same ground as my subjects, and I make a concerted effort to not be the one in power when I’m behind the lens, because being the one behind the lens is already less vulnerable than being in front of it. I’ve got a pound and a half of glass between me and my subject, just like I’ve got a four foot table between me and any customer that comes in to have me design a frame for them, and while photographing someone can be extremely vulnerable on both ends, I’ve still got the protection of my camera.

I think power is something that’s on everyone’s mind lately. Can we even out power in our own small worlds in hopes that it will permeate throughout the rest of society? I don’t really have a thesis for this one, because I really really wish that we could, but I’m pretty sure that it’s going to take longer than Mother Earth will allow us to remain here. I think we can all do small things, like consistently checking our own privilege but the bigger picture stuff is so murky that I’m not going to attempt to untangle it in a blog entry that usually takes me between fifteen minutes and an hour to write, not enough research time, not enough hours in the day to truly tackle this one.

Anyway, the cat keeps stepping on my keyboard, I think this might be his least favorite part of me being home. He keeps trying to delete my work.

Goodnight.

bri

voice

i’ll give you
my nervous stomach
my keys between my fingers
the purple under my eyes
my shaking hands
my tender skin
my escape plan
my sleepless nights
my racing heart
my fight or flight
my fuzzy brain
my guilty conscience
in return
i’ll take your peace of mind
then we can talk about
my inappropriate rage


Sundays

I think I might start giving myself off on Saturdays for this project, I get home too late from work to write anything of substance. We’ll see, if I’ve got something I’ll post it.

I love Sundays. They’ve always been my favorite day of the week, when I was living college I had a “no coursework on Sundays” rule that forced me to finish all my work during the week so I could really have a day off. That didn’t last long once I started commuting to school, but I still tried to reserve the day for quiet events like the darkroom. Now I work Sundays, I still like the day quite a bit, I can get up later because the commute isn’t so bad, I usually only see customers that I like, because no one knows we’re open.

I had a different post about a different thing set up in my mind, but I just didn’t have the energy for that one. I am making my voice heard in a different way a tiny ode to Sunday, the quietest day of the week, even when you’re trapped in a windowless frame shop.

How are you doing?

I am not going to lie I’ve got nothing tonight. It was a long day, a long day feeling like the day after the election where I had to fake my way through a day of retail. But this is somehow worse?

So I’m going to leave this space either on the comments on here or on facebook for you all to either post your rage or cute pictures of your pets or anything in between.

I am Fucking Angry

I tried to write a different entry today, because I did not want to add to the slew of triggering posts that are filling up the Facebook world right now, but I could not sit in the rain long enough to stop thinking about this and write something else.

This is what Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had to face today. I don’t think any of us can accurately measure how much power is in that room, but it’s a lot. A lot of power, where more than half of the members of that committee were looking to discredit her, and she testified with grace and dignity, despite not getting due process from the FBI for which she asked. Make no mistake, the GOP is putting a survivor of sexual assault on trial here, she is not the one asking for the honor of being put on the Supreme Court of the United States. She had everything to lose and absolutely nothing to gain. Yet people still question. I am not someone who believes in grey areas in sexual assault, but according to her testimony there was no grey areas, she was assaulted. Her memory of it was clear.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rode Island mentions that “Never in the history of background investigations has an investigation not been pursued when new credible derogatory information was brought forward about the nominee”. Never. Dr. Blasey Ford asked for an FBI investigation, she took a lie detector test and passed, she has clear memories of the event, she has spoken about it more than once to more than one person over many years, she has named her attacker both in private therapy sessions and in public. This is credible derogatory information.

Here I will try to plea to the humanity of anyone still questioning her legitimacy, or people who are blindly backing Kavanaugh because you want to continue to blindly back Trump. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has literally put her life on the line to prevent this man from making some of the most important and permanent decisions that are made for this country, this is not a man that can be voted out of office if we decide that this was a bad idea (it is). Survivors all over this country and the world are ripping their hearts out on social media, begging you to understand, that reporting is traumatic, that sharing one of the worst moments in your life with people in power is terrifying and traumatic, that sometimes it’s easier not to report because the system is rigged so sexual abusers get away with it consistently.

If you were a victim of a crime wouldn’t you want due process? Wouldn’t you want a complete investigation into what happened? If you said no to either of those questions then your values do not line up with the values that this country was supposedly built on. That is what is happening right now, no due process, no FBI investigation, just a committee that does not have the power to prosecute, just to question.

What I really want to write about tonight is that the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and the fact that we have an admitted sexual abuser sitting in the White House right now has continually and painfully ripped open old wounds for millions of survivors. For every public facebook post of a survivor who feels they need to tell their story right now to try to make other people understand that sometimes things are not as simple as they seem. There’s millions of survivors texting their friends because they cannot talk about it in public. There’s thousands of posts in survivor and other private social media pages discussing how this treatment of Dr. Ford has brought back PTSD symptoms. This is hurting the American people.

Here’s the thing, we do not owe you anything. The extra emotional labor being put in is because people love this country and they do not want to have someone who has multiple credible sexual assault allegations against him, in a lifetime appointment voting on their Supreme Court. So when someone shares their story we should thank them, we should thank them for ripping open old wounds to try to make this world a little less shitty. We should be applauding the brave people who are coming forward and giving you their blood, sweat and tears to try to stop this from happening. They know how real it is, and how dangerous it is to have a man like Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, because they know a person like Brett Kavanaugh, so they are screaming at the top of their lungs to make this stop.

The court does not belong to the president, the court and the government belong to the people. The people have spoken. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has spoken, and yet, there’s still a vote planned.

So I’m fucking angry. Livid. Sad. Frustrated. I threw up today.

Tired. I am tired.

So for now, it’s a hot shower, some quality cat time, and The Good Place.

Take care of yourselves. Take care of each other.

love

bri