Tuesday, August 30, 2011

a new chapter

i have been given the huge huge gift of studio time for the month of september. i am about to embark on my first solo studio time where movement is the focus. why does such great fear often accompany the doing of that which you most deeply want, that which is most deeply fulfilling? the mind is a powerful thing...a master of self-sabotage.

i am so quick to tell myself i don't have any ideas, or any value where creativity is concerned. i can interpret and breath life into other people's creations with mastery, but that is where my contributions and abilities cease. wow. really, paris?

recently a new thought has started to emerge...
what if my struggle actually comes from that fact that i'm so creative, have great innate aptitude in many mediums and am actually overwhelmed by all i'm deeply inclined to do (vs. the exact opposite - which is what i've always felt about myself / told myself)...?

then the question becomes - what do put my energy/work/self into developing???

perhaps this 'great innate aptitude' refers to potential, or an ability to skim the surface with some satisfaction and ease...
i have a great fear of / aversion to working through something. i'm quick to meet the place where that innate aptitude reaches its limit, say, "i don't know how," and give up. i've realized pieces of this for a while, attributing it to a fear of not being good enough or able - what if i really tried and worked at something and was bad at it...? but what if it's actually a fear of making the 'wrong' decision, a fear of commitment to myself...?

i want to really sink my teeth into something(s) - i'm ready to really sink my teeth into something(s) - but that will take much time and effort. i'll have to choose.

what do i want to do (truly, deeply, at my core)?
what are just my ideas about what i want to do (based on surface / external influences)...?

and then: how do i stay present and push through the surface - face the difficulty head on, dive into it, swim around in it, let it be messy and clumsy and un-calculated.............?

i know one important part of the equation: keep showing up.

dear self / dear humanity -

suffering is a choice.
let go.


a woman puts on makeup
i see her reflection in the mirror.

a man looks for ways to dodge the system
get ahead
get ahead
get ahead.

impatience and anxiety.

new drivers anxiously await their tests - will i gain a new level of independence?

eye shadow.
eyebrow pencil.

i have dulse in my teeth.
do i smile for my picture?


her son waits beside her, his hat backwards.
the word original, embroidered.

they all leave with such lightness...

now serving 035.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

what do i value?

in humans
in life
in art
in art-making...

: the raw / real
: passion
: precision
: intention
: depth
: openness / vulnerability
: honesty
: true / deep sharing
: individuality
: being something (who you truly are) vs. trying to be something (who/what you think someone else wants you to be)
: courage / bravery (in the ways of facing oneself and taking risks - openness / vulnerability)
: the cultivation and expression of the genuine voice of an individual
: the willingness to build something from the ground up

august 13

magical nights on the black sea.
a reflection on freedom.
enter 27.
saturn is returning...
the balance between grounding into personal power and letting go.
butterflies chase each other.
a desire to love and own all of the self - step fully in.
a desire to create the life wanted with ones own hands.
a new glimpse of the web.

to carry forward: grace.

august 11

bodies hurt.
i am car sick.
gas station burek and yogurt - the probiotic kind.
we stand on a table for a photo.
the smell of redbull permeates.

home cooked meal heals.
family time.
night swim adventure.
the waves crash.

august 8 / wayward son

late night drive through hungary to avoid crossing croatian borders.
we break out into wayward son, dodge an owl sitting in the road.
a bottle of medica is passed.
a chorus of "ahh" punctuates the topography of the road.
the border patrol man 'jokes' that nika and i are staying there, but everyone else can go.
i laugh because i don't speak the language.
they laugh to play the game.

august 10 / zrenjanin - sofia

he is locked in a room.
she is traumatized by a schizophrenic.
i see her cry for the first time.
we brainstorm names for blank davis.
the tire tread bursts.
30 flies enter the van.
the light is beautiful.
i feel grateful and at peace.

august 8

we wait to hear if our hotel bill is paid. 2 hours.
i wear my new dress - flies with pink bows.
i feel so much better - there were legitimate things affecting my body.
i'm tired, but feeling so different - it highlights how bad i felt.
anger and frustration surround.
the police come at 8am in search of a passport.
i feel good in my body - a relief from the total discomfort of the last 2 weeks.
i look forward to returning home, cleansing, and dancing.

august 7 / border fun

we are turned away from the border (croatia - slovenia) because they cannot process ATA carnet.
the border is 300 meters from the festival we are playing.
we are re-routed to another border.
the drive takes 90 minutes and causes us to miss our sound check.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

august 7 / rijeka

this is where people go to be murdered.
bathrooms outside, showers too.

chaos outside my door.
i yell, "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" from bed.
it works.
i surprise myself and laugh out loud.

the mattress creaks and caves - all lumps.
(is there a body inside? i read about that happening once as a kid)

mechanical dreams - the city is rotating, turning over like a machine. careful not to fall through the grating.

there's mold under the sink - the smell hits me in the face.
i use my hair scissors to cut out the parts of the sheet that look dirty.

6am battle with a mosquito.
a man yells aggressively in a language i can't understand. a door slams.
is it 10 yet? how about now?
and now?

being an asshole is called 'the answer' - i call that the problem...

the people feed us.
thank you all.

a group of girls present an offering wrapped in a charcoal man.

i cut away the parts of the sheet that look dirty.

august 5 / the mobster

false layers/perceptions/plays of power.
reactions flying.
we turn against each other - but only briefly.

questions of value:
what do you value?
what do i value?

i think of the people in zajecar...
they need us.
we need them.

you have to dismantle the structure to rebuild - it's okay to let go.

i love watching the trees pass - the tall skinny ones.

august 11 - 7:41am


new tiny brother, dad, jeff - clearing out the house. weight lifting, tests: in the water, walking through water, cutting through concrete with steel like water...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

the dentist and her daughter

zadar, croatia: the gum area behind my last molar on the bottom right side starts feeling strange. as the night progresses, strange turns to painful and swelling ensues. by 6am, i google 'gum abscess' and decide that sounds about right. all recommendations: see a dentist immediately. the plan is to leave at 9am for osijek, croatia to play a show that night. internally, i try to stay calm and focus on my breath (and refocus and refocus and refocus on my breath...), but my mind spins with fear - i'm terrified of dentists as it is, let alone in a foreign country! i don't have insurance or money. how are we going to find a dentist? there's no time to find a dentist - we won't get in until 4pm at the earliest, sound check is at 6...

in the morning, i tell my travel companions of my situation. chris has a friend in osijek and immediately emails her for assistance. turns out, his friend's friend's mom is a dentist.


the friend's friend, sandra, and her mom, andela, meet us at a mcdonalds as we pull into town around 5pm. gino speaks to them for me. i'm told to go with them and i get ushered into the back of a small red car. i peer helplessly out of the window as everyone else climbs back in the van, hotel bound. i smell particularly bad - my stress sweat at its worst - which, i feel absolutely terrible about subjecting these women to. i keep my armpits attached to my sides in an attempt to trap the smell of anxiety. at first, it seems neither of them speak english. this adds to my terror. we whiz through small streets, stopping and taking off abruptly. i clutch the necklace beth made for me and run my finger nail over the beads. on the verge of tears, it occurs to me that being afraid is a choice - i could choose not to be and the situation would be just the same. this sounds better. so, i choose not to be afraid and instead, inhale to a count of 4, exhale to a count of 6. it works. i feel instantly proud of myself for putting those thoughts and choices into action in such a moment vs. only in theory.

we arrive and i'm led down a dark hallway. andela (sandra's mom - who has got to be in her late 60's) unlocks a series of doors and soon, we're in the exam room. there's a waiting area, but no reception. we are the only people there. she takes a few moments to prepare and then motions for me to sit in the chair. there are familiar and unfamiliar tools - small dishes full of what look like steel nails varying in size line the tray in front of me. her method for assessing whether or not i have pain is to hammer on my molars with the back end of a tool. clink clink...clink clink... she shakes her head yes and no as she does this - her way of asking, "does this hurt? and how about this?" i follow suit.

her diagnosis (from what i could gather): i'm teething.
my wisdom tooth is coming in and having trouble breaking through the surface, which caused an infection. she gives me two topical treatments (miming how to use them, adorably), and an antibiotic. i am to take 2 pills at the top of the day - she stands on her toes and holds her hand above her head - and at the bottom of the day - she crouches down, holding her hand below her waist - for 4 days. she refuses to accept any money.

after, she takes me into another room and feeds me sugary tonic water and crackers. she encourages me to take the remaining crackers as she rummages around for more things to give me: a small tube of toothpaste and a huge box of chocolate, which she places in a decorative gift bag. when we get back to the car, she insists i sit up front - with my bags in the back - and we drop her off not too much after. i get out and thank her profusely. she smiles sweetly and kisses both of my cheeks.

people. fucking amazing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

i don't want to care

we rolled in sunday afternoon and went almost immediately to the beach. it was a super popular, mainstream beach and there wasn't a single woman with a single hair anywhere except the top of their heads and eyebrows. and of course, they all had totally gorgeous, flawless, tan bodies. i had planned to swim, but in that environment, with my hair, i went into shut down mode and ended up sitting on the beach, by myself, in the hot sun, crying, while everyone else swam in the magical adriatic.

little girl paris felt so very sad. she just wanted to go play and be free like everyone else.

i'm not like those women - most women - and it makes me feel like a man. i've held myself up to those standards of 'woman' my whole life. i've tried to manipulate and hide myself to present that image of 'woman' my entire life.
i don't want to care. i don't want to feel gross. i'm not like that. i just don't look like that. and many women do - or else they're considered unattractive. a bigger part of me knows better and knows that that is not where true beauty lies, but the other part can be much much stronger and louder, especially when so directly faced with that aesthetic and observing the responses to it...

i've been exposing my legs (with hair) at the kultur shock shows (in the balkans!) and feeling totally empowered by it - so that's a huge personal victory. i'm trying to be easy on myself and the process...but there is still a large part of me that so wants to be that other kind of woman and so hates myself for not. i know i'm on the right path to accepting who i am and being comfortable with it and eventually loving all of myself (not just parts while despising the rest). some days, the struggle is more difficult than others...

yesterday i was asked: "what can you do to make a small victory?"
my instant response: "write about it and share it publicly. i don't want other people to feel this way about themselves. it is so destructive and so unnecessary..."

Monday, August 1, 2011

it's a process. it's a practice.

4 days off on the croatian coast is not exactly something you'd associate with fear and dread. yet, i find myself in exactly that place - the beach is not a place for someone with body issues.

i haven't owned a bathing suit in almost 10 years.

women aren't "supposed" to have body hair. or at least, you're unattractive and there's something wrong with you if you do. i used to spend so much time and energy and money on trying to remove every last hair from my body that wasn't "supposed" to be there (as a woman). i've spent the majority of my life trying to hide my body and its natural state(s) and show a constructed picture that only consists of the parts i can manipulate into being more "normal" - more like all other women - more attractive. i've spent the majority of my life thinking i'm disgusting, gross, and manly. i'm not like those other women. i don't have a 'perfectly' shaped, hairless body. and constantly holding myself up to those standards - those definitions of beauty and woman - has caused a deeply rooted hate of myself to grow.

i'm ready to dismantle that hate. i'm ready to dismantle those ideas. they're just ideas, afterall.

in october, 2010, i stopped shaving my legs. i figure the first step toward loving all of myself is learning to accept myself as i am.

this is incredibly difficult.

at first, every time i looked down at my legs, i was confronted with disgust and hate for myself. those pathways in my brain are well worn - the grooves are deep. it will take time and practice to make new connections.

i'm ready to make new connections. i'm working to make new connections. each time i have those thoughts of hate and disgust and deeply wishing i was like those other women, i tell myself i am beautiful. i say loving things to myself - instead of hateful.

i know better. i truly believe in beauty as the real and the raw, people being as they truly are - not a constructed facade of false unification. it's what i appreciate and value and find beautiful in others - yet, i have such a difficult time doing that with myself.

it's a process.
it's a practice.

i'm human. you're human. we're all human. it is a shared experience.