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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

...it’s love that does us in. Over and over again...

February

BY MARGARET ATWOOD
Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,   
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries   
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am   
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,   
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,   
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,   
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here   
should snip a few testicles. If we wise   
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,   
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over   
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing   
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits   
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries   
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

goggles

I went to McDonald's to eat dinner by myself (a bit of getting away, peace and quiet, headspace. no room and no desire and no need for thinking). As I finished and got up and put on my jacket to go, I saw a little girl run into the bathroom. She might have been at a costume party because she was dressed in a normal jacket with a pair of trousers that looked straight out of Aladdin. In a horrible moment my vision transformed and I saw her retreating form from the perspective of a pedophile, probing and I think understanding what it would be like, to find her small body desirable. That's what it does to you (or is it just... to me?). It transformed the way I look at the world, giving me a double vision, a constant awareness that this is how it is for some, that this world of the unspeakable exists in parallel to us, quietly.

I know you would want me to not think these thoughts but there is no unknowing this knowledge. I know you'd rather I were happy and carefree but you are delusional. I don't understand what kind of luck it would take to grow up with no significant trauma, and when I meet people who appear that way I wonder if they really have been so lucky, or if I just don't know them well enough to know what's festering inside them, eating a hole inside out the way it does me.

The only thing I know that brings me peace of mind is not having to pretend. If I know and think these thoughts, I do. If it weighs heavily on me, it does. If I want to cry, I cry (while a sliver of myself is happy and grateful to be able to feel, at all). I've made my peace with that and I hope that you will too. If it is true, I can live with it. It's all I ask.

This morning lying in bed I asked you to ask me about me. I spoke of how every man is a safe harbour. I form these intense bonds, looking for safety, making sure that you can't hurt me because once you love me, to hurt me would be to hurt you. I drop these little anchors to secure myself in uncertain storms, knowing where I could run to for protection. Protecting from what? I am healthy, sane. I have financial means, higher education. I live in a society ruled by law. To feel the need to be protected is like feeling pain in a fantom limb. Some part of me that doesn't exist hurts in an incoherent way in a past life somewhere that isn't a place, and sometimes there seems to be no way to reach across to it.

If I had infinite time and infinite resources, I would probably spend even more of it forming these pacts with almost all the men I meet. Carefully excavating who they are and exchanging my vulnerabilities as an offering to fulfill a contract. If it should all go very badly, hide me. Wrap your arms around me as I vanish into nothing.

But that is not how I want to live. I wish I had a well of strength in me so deep that there would never be any more thoughts of hiding. I wish I could look on those who hurt me with equanimity, and not feel a trace of bitterness at their lives carrying on just as before. 

Friday, 13 February 2015

Between wakefulness and sleep

I had a fantasy of being back in that car again driving up that road with him. When he reached over and touched me I transformed into a wolf-headed creature, licked his face with eager anticipation. He shivers in pleasure, and then I eat him, tearing him into chunks starting from his cheek.

I wish I had gotten old enough, right before his eyes, until I could threaten him (if only I had gotten old enough and wise enough to gather evidence). We would sit closely together one day, at a family dinner in some restaurant. I'd put my hand on his thigh under the table, lean in close to him and whisper, I could destroy you and everyone you love.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Someplace

... Right now the sun is shining someplace, where our desks are lined up side by side. I'm walking over to sit down at mine, and wait for you to arrive at yours. When you get there, we'll make coffee and sharpen some pencils. Nothing bad will happen at all that day.

Please don't.

I had an argument with my mother on the phone. 

She called to ask about the dog. But we got on to talking about what to do when I go home to Taipei. My grandmother is going to be staying with my parents, and I said I'd go stay with Ben. My mother wanted me to stay at home, but I really dislike my grandmother and I said I didn't want to see her. 

The reason I really dislike my grandmother is because she's very close to my aunt Judy (the one whose husband abused me). When I was in Toronto, just after I'd pressed charges against my uncle, I saw my grandmother. I took her downtown to do some government paperwork, and on the train she told me how she wanted me to forgive my aunt and forgive my uncle. 

I hate it when anyone tells me to forgive. I don't know if they realize that it's not something you can just do. I don't know why they think they have the right to advise such a thing. However well meaning, it just makes me want to stab myself to prevent myself from stabbing whoever it is said it.

In contrast to my grandmother, my grandfather never mentioned my uncle's name in front of me again. I respect that more. It bothers me when people used to talk about him normally in front of me, like I wasn't there, or like I MUST be ok by now, since it was SUCH a long time ago. 

If nothing is done, do injustices cease to be unjust because time passes? Not to me. It's not a matter of how much I hurt, and still hurt - though of course that is also important - it's a matter of what the fuck have you done to redress the situation since it happened.

And for as far as I can see no one knows what they can do. So I feel like not much has changed except we are getting older all the time. 

I'm sick of being asked to forgive. I'm sick of being told that I should get over it. I'm sick of being the bigger person. 

But of course that's exactly what my mother asked me to do. She said that my grandmother won't ever stop being my grandmother and I should stop tormenting myself. I told her that I'm not tormenting myself. I've just decided to cut myself some slack and not try to forgive everyone or pretend like I forgive everyone because I can't. 

She tells me that I'm hurting her by not getting over it. I told her that if we can change places so that she goes through what I went through, then maybe she'd do better than I did, and then she could give me some advice. I probably shouldn't have said that, but I really just wanted to tell her to shut up telling me what to do when she has no clue what we're dealing with. 

And it kind of broke down from there. We argued and cried and then my dad intervened and they hung up rather abruptly. 

If my pain is so unbearable to them, what should I do? Hide it? I did that for so, so long. Should I continue to try to shield them? Initially I didn't want to expose my uncle because I wanted to protect his children. I didn't want to reveal the extent of my trauma because I wanted to protect my family. 

Is that my responsibility? I don't know. 

Monday, 9 February 2015

You will...

not change for anyone but yourself. I hope you find that you are worth the effort. 

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Before I forget

One of the most confusing and terrifying things is: you know it's wrong but you can't stop your body reacting the way it does. That pretty much fucks you up for a good long while, associating all the worst of everything with what should feel good.

One of the saddest things is that I'll never know what it's like to be kissed for the first time by a boy I like. That gets me every time. 

I'm sorry.

I was so caught up with my own vulnerabilities that I forgot you might have those too. 

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Ulysses

Bloom was talking and talking with John Wyse and he quite excited with his dunducketymudcoloured mug on him and his old plumeyes rolling about.
—Persecution, says he, all the history of the world is full of it. Perpetuating national hatred among nations.
—But do you know what a nation means? says John Wyse.
—Yes, says Bloom.
—What is it? says John Wyse.
—A nation? says Bloom. A nation is the same people living in the same place.
—By God, then, says Ned, laughing, if that's so I'm a nation for I'm living in the same place for the past five years.
So of course everyone had the laugh at Bloom and says he, trying to muck out of it:
—Or also living in different places.
—That covers my case, says Joe.
—What is your nation if I may ask? says the citizen.
—Ireland, says Bloom. I was born here. Ireland.
The citizen said nothing only cleared the spit out of his gullet and, gob, he spat a Red bank oyster out of him right in the corner.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

I don't owe you a good time

When I first started dancing I somehow got the impression that it's impolite to refuse when someone invites me to dance. After some experiences with creepy men though I decided that I don't owe anyone a good time. Now I say no if I don't want to dance with someone. I don't make excuses, and I don't feel like I have to explain why (though if asked very politely and non-passive-aggressively I will often give the most honest answer that I can manage). I think real meaningful consent is very important and if at any point the lead or the follow (regardless of gender) feels uncomfortable, we should feel empowered to openly address that. How about we make this part of the new attitude in the lindy community?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

At last, at last...

At Last the Secret Is Out

At last the secret is out, as it always must come in the end,
The delicious story is ripe to tell to the intimate friend;
Over the tea-cups and in the square the tongue has its desire;
Still waters run deep, my dear, there’s never smoke without fire.
Behind the corpse in the reservoir, behind the ghost on the links,
Behind the lady who dances and the man who madly drinks,
Under the look of fatigue, the attack of migraine and the sigh
There is always another story, there is more than meets the eye.
For the clear voice suddenly singing, high up in the convent wall,
The scent of the elder bushes, the sporting prints in the hall,
The croquet matches in summer, the handshake, the cough, the kiss,
There is always a wicked secret, a private reason for this.
W H Auden

happy birthday to me

I talk about what I want to on my birthday. 



Child sexual abuse: it happened to me. It happened to many around us. I wondered if it was my fault; if anyone would believe me; if I'd be stigmatized; if I'd be better off keeping quiet and trying to "get over it". But if we don't talk about it, we'll never know that so many of us are asking ourselves the same questions. We'll never know the prevalence and the scale of its destructive force. I speak out because I believe that it is the best way to empower myself and protect others. I hope you find the courage to do the same. (feel free to share) /// 兒童性虐待:曾經發生在我身上。我曾經懷疑這些事情之所以會發生是否是我的錯、如果我說出來我是否會因此被鄙視、永遠不提這件事會不會比較好?許多我們周遭的人都有過類似的經驗,也自問過相同的問題。但是如果我們默不吭聲,我們永遠不會知道這類的性侵犯多麼普及,傷害性多大。我決定在每個機會中揭發我的經驗,因為我相信這是我替自己平反並且保護他人的方法。如果你也有過類似的經驗,我希望你也能找到勇氣,替自己發聲。(歡迎分享)/// Sexuelle Misshandlung von Kindern: Ich habe es am eigenen Leib erfahren. Viele Menschen in unserer nächsten Umgebung ebenso. Ich fragte mich, ob es meine Schuld war, ob irgendjemand mir Glauben schenken würde, ob ich dadurch stigmatisiert sein würde, ob es mir besser ergehen würde, wenn ich einfach still halten und "darüber hinweg kommen" würde. Doch, wenn wir nicht aufstehen und darüber sprechen, werden wir nie wissen, dass so viele unter uns sich eben diese Fragen stellen. Wir werden nie von der Verbreitung und dem Ausmaß dieser zerstörerischen Kraft erfahren. Ich erzähle von meinen Erfahrungen, weil ich davon überzeugt bin, dass das der beste Weg ist mich selbst zu stärken und andere zu beschützen. Ich wünsche mir, dass du dazu ermutigt wirst dasselbe zu tun. 

余秀華

《穿過大半個中國去睡你》
其實,睡你和被你睡是差不多的,無非是
兩具肉體碰撞的力,無非是這力催開的花朵
無非是這花朵虛擬出的春天讓我們誤以為生命被重新打開
大半個中國,什麼都在發生:火山在噴,河流在枯
一些不被關心的政治犯和流民
一路在槍口的麋鹿和丹頂鶴
我是穿過槍林彈雨去睡你
我是把無數的黑夜摁進一個黎明去睡你
我是無數個我奔跑成一個我去睡你
當然我也會被一些蝴蝶帶入歧途
把一些讚美當成春天
把一個和橫店類似的村莊當成故鄉
而它們
都是我去睡你必不可少的理由

《一院子的玉米棒子多麼性感》
它的黃,僅僅是一種顏色?
此刻,我的敘述中斷,在一院子的玉米中間走失
我是它們其中任何一個都矯情
我是它們中間任何一個都居心不良
它們橫七豎八,漫不經心
好吧,這樣的高傲前我願意低頭
我粗魯地把它們想成男人的生殖器官
我把它們踢飛起來,或者把它們踩扁
沒有誰阻擋我成為一個女王
我善良地時候,也會爆米花
讓它們如花地觀摩
--------愛情或者,寂寞
其實今年雨水少,玉米長了蟲,發了黴
我確定那些蟲都是女性
所以我掐死它們毫無憐憫
被蟲蛀過的玉米棒子被我扔在一邊
------被惡俗偷過心的人
怎麼配進我的小院
《在打穀場上趕雞》

然後看見一群麻雀落下來,它們東張西望
在任何一粒穀面前停下來都不合適
它們的眼睛透明,有光
八哥也是成群結隊的,慌慌張張
翅膀扑騰出明晃晃的風聲
它們都離開以後,天空的藍就矮了一些
在這鄂中深處的村莊里
天空逼著我們注視它的藍
如同祖輩逼著我們注視內心的狹窄和虛無
也逼著我們深入九月的豐盈
我們被渺小安慰,也被渺小傷害
這樣活著叫人放心

那麼多的穀子從哪里而來
那樣的金黃色從哪裡來
我年復一年地被贈予,被掏出
當幸福和憂傷同呈一色,我樂於被如此擱下
不知道與誰相隔遙遠
卻與日子沒有隔閡

Saturday, 24 January 2015

capacities

This is a little embarrassing to admit but I used to have trouble making friends because I found it hard to share my experiences as a victim of childhood sexual abuse. This was a problem because it used to define a large part of who I am and I felt that if they didn't know this one thing about me, and couldn't share my pain, then we weren't really friends. Furthermore, I felt that I wasn't (and couldn't) really being genuinely myself with anyone, because such an important part of my make-up had to remain hidden.

Later on I realized that most people make friends by sharing some laughs FIRST, before moving on to the heavy stuff. Similarly, I have (in the past) been so caught up with how to survive that I forgot how to live. Now I try to remember that it's my capacity for joy that defines who I am, not my ability to take any amount of beating and get up again (though that has also at times come in handy). 

Thursday, 22 January 2015

just what the doctor ordered

Cake, soup, and Scotch: 
The cake is in the oven, 
The soup is on the hob. 
So com'on over and bring the bottle,
Don't make me wait up.