I do love drowning in my human sea of emotions. Here is a product of one time.
Let’s start with the surroundings, shall we?
I am sitting in a fluorescent lit strip mall with buzzing, nonsensical music that would play out of a plastic you’d receive from the McDonald’s Happy Meal…the generic left over ones, when they ran out of the seasonal toys in the plastic wrapped packages (this analogy is an anthropological illumination to my own self: I grew up in the American 90s). This music is awful and is literally the most abysmal robotic melody I’ve ever witnessed. It is so melancholic to me and is now reminding me of the music you’d hear on the early games of the original Apple computer…you know the tiny box with copious little multicolored squares that bore shapes of characters and palm trees alike.
My senses are inundated, but my spirit very much dead, like a withering brown potted plant that once glowed bright with a cellulose green…in fact I have one of these in my own house…the brown one.
The scrapping noises of plastic bottomed metal chairs at the nearby McDonalds, the blinding brightness of this indoor plaza that holds all of these mega stores…in a town in the countryside of Kyoto…a town that once held small family owned shops, only to be consolidated under this huge roof of, again, blinding fluorescent lights, disgusting linoleum floors, and tragic fucking music that attempts to add a jovial, moving spirit to this lifeless consumer place.
But tonight, it is the closest place to a refuge.
I walked here tonight from my beautiful quaint house of tatami mats, candles, and ginger cinnamon scents. I left because I always seek refuge at this home. I stay inside, sometimes leave via car, but usually stay in the comforts of this system that is life here in Kyotanba.
I don’t wish to explain myself. To myself or anyone. I always create knowing that this will be shared with another person. That I will share this with another person. Such is life of a self-proclaimed artist.
As I was walking here, I noticed the dim lit streets, the shadows of every building, the mysterious magic that dusk held. I felt the rawness of my teeth by sweet rot, I felt the almost uncomfortable warmth that existed from my bloated belly to the crevices or folds between my vaginal cavity skin and thighs, and the crisp air occasionally pass by with this wonderful mild weather that reminded me of summer. I was trying to comprehend my surroundings, my relationship to the surroundings, my surroundings’ false effects upon myself, and my own relationship with myself.
After eating about 4-5 pieces of the fluffiest and softest white bread that was so heavenly in its texture it seemed almost like plastic foam, I sat yet again with that feeling of shame, guilt, hatred, and irritation I often channel to my own self for my own choices and behaviors I unfairly label as erratic and wrong.
“I should exercise”, “I should have exercised”, “If I exercised or worked harder at life, maybe I would feel jovial like I know I would and could”, “I feel the pouty swollen pouches hanging tight over my pants and seams of my underwear”, “I feel disgusting and gross”.
Really all of these thoughts I must remember are the life comments of the ever-familiar dimension of myself…the same part of myself I have been giving into and fighting against for maybe the past 10 or more years…or maybe it has been forever. I can’t tell or care. It is just here, now and that’s enough.
This same alter of myself controls in fact every facet of my daily life. Speaking to me majority of the time, unless I have a cup of coffee, witness wonderful people, travel to a new foreign country, run a couple of miles or maybe just one, or have an out-of-body experience or reach a rare meditative state. All I know is that this is the same voice that cages my imagination - strangles it from inhaling radiant, glittering life and exhaling brilliance, flying through the cosmic forests beyond. This is the same voice that tells me to create art. This is the same voice that tells me to create art to keep up with the demands of society, to establish my “career”, to be extraordinary, to make something of myself and my privileged existence, to make money, to gain financial security for my future. But that dead, tired, strangled part of me doesn’t want to give in, doesn’t want to toil just to toil for the ends that I can’t even say I truly understand or want.
I don’t want to create for the sake of creating. I don’t want to write just to make my story “known”. I don’t want to be an artist just to be an Asian-American womxn artist that made herself and her narrative and her life visible. I don't want to write poems and prose just to make sure I am apart of a legacy, to be known. I don’t want to. I don’t want to. I have ideas, I have damn good ideas. But I don’t want to create. I don’t want to. Not right now, not for a while.
I don’t love myself unconditionally. I don’t appreciate myself at all. I don’t know myself. I don’t know what makes me tick. I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what I am doing. I don’t know how to navigate this existence in a way that conforms to this matrix, this structure, this society, this global metal framework that lies behind the very large sheet of fabric.
I am wedged in this tiny space, existing amongst fear, anxiety, dread, misunderstanding, disempowerment, anger, self-loathing, hate, apathy, and exhaustion.
I don’t want to pull myself out right now. I really don’t. I don’t want to rally myself to run. I don’t want to cheer myself on and get up and make the art that’ll make my ancestors proud. I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to. I don’t want to. I just want to sit. I just want to roll through this silent melancholy…mouth dry, body swollen, head full. Feet hitting the lifeless cement, the dead Earth, the man-made excavations and hacks and scars upon the sacred female body.
Right now I find myself loathing every fucking male that traverses this shiny linoleum floor that screams the palest creamy white. I despise every man that walks by and immediately looks over his left shoulder to glimpse at my sour ass face. I loathe every ounce of ownership I think and perceive they feel of this damn space, of my damn space. I disdain the fact that they think they can look at me without question or care of my feelings, my story, my experiences, my fucking choice. But we don’t have a choice here do we? None of us do, do we?
We never asked to work in toxic factories with a small wage or perhaps no wage; we never asked to be raped by our uncles at the age of 5; we never asked to be beat by an electric cord and plug of an iron and put in solitary confinement by the ever so white patriarchal American government at the age of 8; we never asked to have no choice and set sail on a sinking boat across the Mediterranean for a new life of perceived human rights and resources; we never asked to be the cashier at the nearest chain restaurant and be treated with haughty language and arrogant disrespect; we never asked to join the military to be sexually abused by our supposed comrades and have these comrades protected by some foul exceptions in our law; we never asked to work 3 janitorial jobs so we could give our beautiful children that we can barely afford to see food from the only accessible grocery store that only contains toxic materials; we never asked for bombs to drop violently from the sky and shell our little sister, our father, our mother, our grandmother to death, leaving us alone, broken, deteriorated, and nearly insane from agony; we never asked. Or did we?
We cannot explain, can we? It just is. This all just is. And those that are “lucky”, what does that even mean? What is lucky? What is not? What does it mean to be alive? To exist? Are we even truly alive?
I wonder day in and day out what I am doing here. I try to give my life meaning, when I know in many ways there is none. But perhaps that’s the point. I am apart of a larger beautiful cycle. And I felt the beauty. And I sense the unexplainable suffering and pain. But what to make of it. What to do with it. But to go through it. But to swallow it. But to live with it. But to go with it. But to just listen. And maybe say. And maybe say. And maybe say.