“…when you don’t understand something, continue as if you did, things
will come clear later…. mathematics works that way. You start with
nothing, treat it as something and in no time at all you have infinity or
whereabouts. Storytellers do the same I believe….” -Christine Brooke-Rose
(first, in 2011… but still as relevent)
As I write this I’m sitting on the luggage rack in an overcrowded train. Heat boils my insides until tiny drops explode through my pores, quenching my skin enough that I can feel the breeze, as a slight contrast. There are hundreds of Indians below, to my left, and right… A fan whirs lazily overhead and I feel like a tiny bird perched in a wire nest over an unfamiliar world. If I climbed down now there would be no space for my feet to stand. But perhaps I could fly off at the next stop.
Here, in this place, I am a ‘traveler’ by title, but really- I’m just a free citizen, letting my bare soles touch every rock, street, or particle of sand that I can. No property taxes paid, or rent owed, just a little bit further away from the system that entrenches me at home. Being in India, or Thailand, or anywhere (else) has become as necessary for me to exist as being with family, being in love, or immersing my skin in the sea.
Life at home always provided a paradigm for my place in the world. A set of rules for who (how) to be. First I’m someone’s daughter, sister, or friend. Then I’m an employee, social security number, tax payer. Floridian, Southerner, American. Always a label, always a someone or something, in the world of things. An association to some externally created identity.
Here I’m no(thing). And so as long as I can, I enjoy being a salmon swimming upstream. All connections and associations to everything I know are broken. So I’m free. I seem to think. But I do see, that in reality, all of these titled ‘somethings’ apply anywhere. It’s just that here, my own mind is free of them, because to my eyes, there is no association or tie to any(thing) I know.
Yet this freedom is still illusory. I know. I used to think this kind of liberty was the only way to be happy or fulfilled- but that’s nonsense.
For I, like you, like all of us, need a place to belong, a home, just as much as we need a place to be free. And that ‘place’, both home and freedom, only exists within. Sometimes it is clouded over by the duties and expectations we place upon ourselves, and sometimes it is locked beneath the shackles society wraps us in. But underneath it all, our bodies are our homes, and our spirits are free.
So in order to shake the chains for a while, I shake myself too, moving to a new spot, until new shackles start to grow, and I move again. It’s a complex that can’t sustain itself, and so I balance delicately on this tightrope of dualities, trying to find some place in the middle to breathe. But it’s this contrast that has always given meaning to the word ‘be.’
So you see.
Traveling has never been an indulgence, an escape, or a vacation, not to me. (All things certain people say to support certain ideas of lazy people that don’t contribute to the working world). It’s simply a necessary part, of being me, another way to feel my place and find my feet in the great big human family. I will try not to be apathetic, a passive player in the game of life. And I will not seek meaning where there is none… but I won’t leave a stone unexamined before I place my meaning.
And I’m still non(placed).
and the ego will scream loud… enticing with it’s juicy carrot (or a rotten one). don’t follow that thought too close, don’t empower the lie. it will only lead you down the wrong hole, little rabbit.
these tricks are for kids now.
for the truth reveals itself in darkness and between dreams. and the ego will shout, while intuition pulses. touch her. feel her warmth on your bones.
so much false love for sale… shit tasted with silver spoons and chased with champagne. Anything real left on offer over here? I brought my coupons, the free ones. And a dirty cup.
The perpetually broken goddess… an ocean of emotion pooled inside of her belly.. attempting to steel herself against the outside, to protect the outside from a stormy inside… seeking a filmy barrier, soft enough to bend, but not to the point of puncture. That barrier is a pretense, only perpetuating what’s already there, and so she waits for a container solid enough to spill into. Those troubles collected and exchanged through time and space from other hearts and minds, and hers… they all seek respite. Alchemy.
So fill her up and strip her down, drink from her ocean and spit it back out again, for there will always be more…streaming from that perpetually broken goddess riding crocodile tears through the cycles and the rhymes. The ebb and flow ranging from the crass to sublime.
Tis the seasons of a life. And only this. You see?
To work and to play, to break and to sew. And that beautiful expanse of sky opens when every moment is a season, so big and so small, it’s own necessary piece, of the mosaic, of a living masterpiece. Emptiness is so full of riches…
I see her now as a paper doll, un-real, standing on the edge of a cliff surrounded by tall grass and facing the sea with arms wide and mouth open to the skies… allowing the wind to blow right through cut out arms and cut out legs. The seasons directing the path and the breeze dictating decision. Presently placed exactly where they are needed, as if life was the sea, and she, was perched on the edge, already always waiting, to dive in again.
Perpetually broken goddess on the reap and on the mend.