There's a famous self portrait of Edgar Degas, the guy who sculpted and painted ballerinas. He painted himself in searing accuracy, until you get to the bottom left corner. He left it blank. An open, empty space of white canvas (now faded into pearl white).
I think to myself it must have some greater meaning. But maybe that's the meaning of what he did, leaving it blank - he wants you to wonder.
It is art, after all.
When I started writing on this website in April 2020, I had no idea what I was doing. Instead of being a masterful painting with one blank space, I was a blank space with perhaps one small space of mastery. I wrote apology letters to my sister, who had banished me, and wrote about the men who had hurt me. I wrote a piece about the walls talking to me for a challenge, and got some good feedback. Perhaps I had found my niche.
Sometimes I reflect on that period of time. Why did I write?
I needed a self portrait, I think. Something to sustain me. I was in lockdown with two other people, both men who wanted nothing to do with me, and vice versa. At one point I only had champagne and eggs in our fridge, which one of the men commented on in disbelief, and the only way I could combat his words was to write about it.
April 2020 needed some kind of definition, and I was happy to shatter any illusions I might have had about normalcy. The world wasn't normal, but neither was I, and I finally had a way to get it out in a constructive way. (Cooking the eggs and getting drunk on the champagne at 2PM wasn't the constructive way, as it turns out.)
As I typed out responses to each challenge, I became more and more myself, the blank spaces disappearing.
But of course, or perhaps, every artist leaves some illusion, some mystery. I hope I have a blank space, some piece that's missing, that only I can harness - perhaps for my art, perhaps for myself.
Why did I even call.....AT&T?
Hello, thank you for calling ATT, how can I help you today?
Me: Hi, I am calling to request more time to pay my bill. I recently lost my job and my mother in law was diagnosed with cancer and money is just tight right now. Can you help me with this?
Yes, Ma'am, I am sorry to hear about your situation, but let me tell you about this... we have an iPhone 14 that you can have for just $5.00 a month. It is brand new and you could also get a Samsung Galaxy the newest version for $5.00 also.
Me: Oh wow, Okay, I can do that......
Hanging up the phone as I realize how f***ked I just made myself and still didn't get an extension on the bill! (eyeroll)
I seriously don't understand how you can tell them you are broke and they sell you something anyways.
This is why I procrastinate the heck out of calling Att- TRUE Story
I wonder why I have done anything. I have spent days crying to my mother asking why I had to have been born. Why she would dare birth a child with demons nipping at her soul.
I wonder why I was so mean, so young. Why I had bestowed so many adult issues onto a child, though how could know? I was a child myself.
I wonder why I have broken so many hearts, tossing and turning at every hopeful and aching silence I offer.
I wonder why misery claws poisonously into my flesh, tearing and shredding until my flaws spill endlessly onto the tiles like a gutted fish upon a boat.
I wonder why I continue to be timid and ill-fitted in every interpersonal turn. Why every friendship and relationship of mine billows like ash in my palm at the first sight of strife.
How do I answer these? When I have lost my mind, lost control, lost all I am wondering the same? I was born and early on traumatized by an adult. And it is my curse that continues to get worse as I grow. Only now I can drink, drive and drive everyone away drunkenly, deflatedly.
There is no why. I was born with original sin, and continued collecting every sin I could until I felt absolved of wasting space and time. I was told to stop making excuses, so therefore I am.
A cursed child.
Smooth, steady pressure (a drabble)
Five and a half pounds is the standard pressure required to fire a Glock.
Ma'at, keeper of the scales, will measure those five and a half pounds against a feather’s weight.
How will I balance?
That's a problem for tomorrow. Meantime, I'll accept "no bill" over "true bill."
Ain't juries grand?
I could lie; say I didn't have a choice. I could've thrown him back, but I knew he’d hurt people downstream.
Front-sight diplomacy failed. Threats were only promises I hadn't yet kept.
I'm a man of my word.
Why did I?
There's a better question.
Why didn't I sooner?
Why did I give my best years to people who could have cared less if I remained in the frame?
Why did I lap up the smallest pools of attention when I know I deserved so much more?
Why did I barricade my heart against anyone who wasn’t toxic?
Why did I wait so long to show myself the love I desired all along
and why did I wait so long to open the door for a true love to enter in?
I... I did try, you know.
Oh? And then what?
The tapping began.
Do you hear yoursel-
Shh. The tapping. I know you can't hear it, you'd have to block your ears enough to go internal rather than external but let yourself be, then. Focus. Really focus. Can't you feel it?
This can't possibly be the reason you left.
I walked away for the same reason I didn't return that day. The same reason I smiled politely while crying and smiled politely while being used like a mop and broom and smiled politely while in the midst of a panic attack because someone caught me-
Sorry. Mop? And broom?
Grappled around for a bit, tossed aside like nothing. Useful for cleaning up what needs to be and not much else. It's funny but I remember being abandoned to clean the class alone in primary school and doing it all... Mopping, sweeping, windows... Do you think that's connected?
Hey. Hey. Focus.
Hey. Hey. Snap out of it. It doesn't matter! The why doesn't matter because you already know! You've known the whole goddamn time and yet you ask me question after question, expecting answers you already have because you have this idea that once you understand me enough you can fix me. Fix us-
That's not what I'm doing. Not what I'm saying, either.
You never thought of that, did you? Well, here it is now. The thought's there. Are you seeing the reason now? Is it all making sense to you?
Why? Just say why. It doesn't require this much talk.
No. I guess not... My gods, I'll never be enough for you, will I? Or for them. It's ridiculous, I know, to feel the world revolves around me so. To worry I'll be called out among dozens of students. To worry I'll be harmed again when I'm trying so hard to stay out of everyone's way- but I used the same tactic then too, remember, and look what it got us?
You didn't do enough.
Yeah. I didn't. I never do. I never will. Give up. Give... Give it all up. Feel how the energy has slipped from your fingers, now? The burst of... Whatever that was... Rage, colliding memories, emotion... All of it. Pissed away. Burnt right out. Knocked off the face of out teensy planet-
No, shit up, shut the fuck up because I'm not done. You don't get to tell me to focus like you aren't just as tired of it all as I am. If I could flip a switch and make us not care, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But I'd regret it. Because I want to care too much about the good and not at all about the bad but everything overlaps here. This world, this mind. You switch it off, it's off. Five four three yer outta here, you know exactly how this works. We've been there many times, that smooth empty pocket of space with no stars and other shiny things in between. I will not let you take us both down. I refuse. So let's work together. Try not to die on this never-ending journey. And try not to murder each other first all the way through. Alright, self?
Okay. But answer the question. Then I'll let you go. I still don't... Fully understand it. I felt your feelings. I was there through all the emotions. The energy flowed away from my fingertips, we balled them up and gave into the emptiness. The memory is there but no reasonable breakdown will suffice. So just... Try to explain in... Words for me? Please?
It didn't feel necessary anymore. It was the slip-away. The... I set an alarm for 6:30 but left too early even though I had a different plan. I left because it didn't matter anymore. Because it didn't make sense to stay. Nothing makes sense anymore, Captain.
Till the very end, perhaps?
Till the very end.