I feel like “letting go” is the kale of life philosophies. Supposedly it’s super good for us, but it’s remarkably goddam hard to integrate into our daily lives.
But let me elaborate on that.
Being as troubled as I am, I’m what you’d call an old pro at self-care activities, ranging from the mundane to the esoteric; from wheat/dairy/sugar free cooking and getting enough sleep to transcendental meditation, yoga, and gem and flower essences. I’m a piece of shit hippie like that. Layers!
Anyway, so recently there was this rose quartz meditation being held to benefit the ACLU, and I signed up because there’s value to be found in the group experience and also I could give $20 to the ACLU and get a nice new mantra or something from it. Cool. So as I’m arriving and walking up the stairs, there’s a young woman standing at the top of the landing, and she makes eye contact with me and smiles. YOU KNOW, LIKE A NICE PERSON. I’m really sensitive to people’s energy and I can tell something is off with her. Her intensity hits me like a wave, and I feel this neediness and infirmity coming from her that has a pull to it because it’s so RIGHT THERE. Like she’s silently asking me to validate her. I just had this wave of “you’re pathetic” hit my brain like a tidal wave. So like, a couple of things going on there - I probably sense a lot of MY OWN shit in her, so of course I immediately hate it, and also I’m just auto-adjusting to the patriarchal, misogynist thread with which I was raised - which taught me that feminine vulnerability is “weak,” and I’m in competition with other women so when I sense it I have to identify it and validate MYSELF that I am STRONGER and less weak and pathetic than her, and I’m a cool girl who is never weak and I am ALWAYS HAVING A GOOD TIME BECAUSE I AM SO COOL AND NON-EMOTIONAL AND NEVER WEAK I CAN HAVE IT ALL AND I WOKE UP LIKE THIS AND NOTHING PHASES ME HAND ME MY PRELL AND MY LEE PRESS ON NAILS AND LEMME TAKE ON THE WORLD on and on and on and on and fuck-me-cakes.
Ok so the meditation leader asks us if any of us want to share why we came to the meditation. And a few people talk, but then this weak woman who has offended me so fucking much apparently tells us a story. I’m paraphrasing obviously, but she says that ever since Trump took the oval office, she has been kind of a wreck - she feels unsafe and really shattered internally. Her boss at work took notice of this, and just a few days prior, had taken this woman into her office and informed her that because she was too “overly emotional” at work, she was awarding a promotion that has previously been promised to her to a different coworker instead. She was devastated by this on a lot of levels, and came to the meditation to see if she could work some of that out.
Two things happened to me, immediately. First, I broke into big, floppy, sputtery, sniffle-puss elephant tears and buried my face into my hoodie like a coward. I felt like my esophagus and stomach had filled with rainwater and my entire diaphragm was spasming, like old, old crying was coming up. Crying I hadn’t done when it needed to be done. Crying for all the times I had been passed up in the workplace for being too “crazy” or “emotional” and others had succeeded for being better at keeping their mouths shut and not speaking up for injustices in the workplace. I cried for being raised to think that my emotions were shameful and something to be hidden away, that my wild, unbridled emotional energy and naked, barbaric creativity was something that embarrassed my family and was a dark secret that needed doctors and therapists in back rooms to “fix,” so that I could be poured into a Ralph Lauren suit and a sensible Rachel haircut and shuffle off to the office and be a good drone with a steady income.
But the second thing that happened was pure rage. RAAAAGGGGEEEEEEEE. In that moment - and still, as I write this - I wanted to hunt down this woman’s boss like the original slayer and punch him or her in the throat chakra and grab her by the collar and pull her close and look her in the eye with my crystal blues and show her how fucking serious I am that she will never cross me again. NEVER. NO. I pictured looming over her with my 5’9” 200lb frame with giant hair and leather and tattoos and five inch hoop earrings and intimidating the shit out of her sensible gray slacks and blouse and puffing myself up like some kind of jungle bird and showing her how scary I can be when I’m angry so step down, punk. I pictured her boss as a woman as she told the story, envisioning this moment of girl-on-girl crime as all the more egregious because we are always at each other’s throats, us women, but she didn’t specify and she certainly could have had a boy boss too. I wanted to grab this woman who I had hated ten minutes earlier and let her curl into a ball on my lap and pet her hair and tell her, girl, I fucking get it, I GET IT, and throw on some Adele and just let her cry about it and then, when she’s ready, I want to go get drunk with her and possibly get into a fist fight with some bitches with her too. Or something, I don’t know. Probably just take a kickboxing class so no one goes to jail or gets disfigured. I’m not an animal.
So now I’m in it with her. We’re sisters in this thing, though we don’t know each other. And the meditation begins. And because rose quartz is the stone of love, the meditation focuses on love. “Breathe, let go, I am loved, I am loving…” etc. But here’s the thing: if I were this woman, I would have been SCREAMING INSIDE. Because you don’t just get to go from devastation, from having the rug pulled out from under you, to loving and loved. There’s a lot of rough road in between, and much of that road is anger and hatred. Pure, raw, unadulterated emotion that is almost always considered “bad.” You can’t forgive without going there. You can't just "let go." It’s like putting jacket on with no pants or shoes. You’re still going to be left out in the cold.
I say that anger and hate are not bad. We need anger and hate. I am so fucking angry and hateful right now, I mean I am just the worst, please do your best not to be around me at all right now. When I go through a news feed or hear from someone who espouses these right wing or alt-right ideals, I mean I just go ballistic, internally. It’s so ignorant. It’s so fucking incredibly willfully stupid and illogical, I mean I just cannot stand any of it. And so what I’ve done - and what I suspect a lot of you are doing as well - is to let that anger and hatred be a driving force for fresh activity, for pursuing things that I would not have pursued before: more consistent writing about this subject, art that addresses this subject, standing up for what is right and good in public and when it is even threatening, and being the person that I should have been this whole time. Don’t get me wrong, you probably won’t see me out marching any time soon, that kind of thing is very overwhelming to me and depletes me to the point where I can’t do basic stuff. Plus I get hives. I KNOW, I KNOW. I get goddam hives from stress, ok? Mine is a quieter resistance, and I’m over here influencing in my way, and practicing something that I am hoping I can help teach others when I’ve gotten better at it: admitting I’m wrong, admitting that I don’t know a thing, admitting that I make snap judgments that are harmful, admitting that I am scared of vulnerability and threatened by feminine energy despite being a feminist, and that I have to consciously make choices, deliberate well-thought-out choices, to dismantle the mess of an anti-logic, anti-reason, patriarchal, racist, anti-woman, fascist society we’ve constructed. I’m on detail duty. One conversation, one moment at a time. Tiny details. You guys keep shouting and marching and broadcasting and going for the macro. I’ll be over here working on the subtle level. Hating in a positive way. Using my anger as a fine needle under the fingernail of our world.
Friday March 3
I don’t have enough time to go through everything this weekend, so check the calendar if you want a comprehensive list of all the crap that’s crappening. But I will recommend this: Yonatan Gat with Friend Roulette and Diva Cup at SPACE. Yonatan Gat destroyed it at Geno’s when he was last here during Waking Windows. I hope that he plays on the floor again and not on the stage - that really made the experience for those of us in attendance. Pure beautiful chaos.
Also can I say that Greg Martens has really outdone himself with not one, not two but FOUR event invites for his Go Big For Hunger event tonight? This trend of multiple fb invites has got to stop.
Saturday March 4
This Sunaana thing is happening at Thompson’s point. I’m sort of sick of fellating brewery culture, so this feels tiresome to me, like do we need another event with “85 breweries with craft beer in one place with tasting menus and fucking drink tickets and beer infused with artisan poopies from dogs born and raised on the East End - true Portlanders - who have eaten only Eventide oysters their whole lives”? I just feel like we don’t. The lineup is cool. Can we get one of these events with maybe wines instead? What’s that you say, New England isn’t known for it’s wines? WELL WINE NOT?
Hold your applause, please.
Sunday March 5
Sorry, The Head and the Heart at the State Theatre is sold out. You can still get tickets for Melvin Seals playing Jerry Garcia Band covers, though, if you have to see some live music tonight.