Truth-telling: ur doin it wrong

February 13, 2010 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

I’m an artist. There, I said it.

Once upon a time, when I was young and less full of beans and had no stretch marks on my FUPA, I had no problem calling myself a poet, a writer. I was full of it, in every sense of the word. I read in public, I entered and won competitions, I shone like a bright, bright star. The night sky is the same size everywhere you go, don’t fool yourself. I was young, but I had promise. No experience, but the chops, at least. Young and full of promise.

As you get older, promises get broken. I’d like to blame my college, my professors, The New Yorker, my dad the crazy drummer, my mom the crazy pianist, my brother the not-crazy-enough-to-be-a-full-time-painter programmer. I’d like to blame myself. But I’m done with all that blaming. Things break. And then they’re stronger in the broken spots.

I’m broken. I’ve healed some. And I’m not getting any younger.

And I’m an artist. There, I said it.

Even at the height of my I’m-fucking-awesome-and-I’m-going-to-win-the-Nobel-prize-for-poetry phase, I wouldn’t call myself an artist. Artists were painters. Or batshit crazy, not sure which. My mother was the musician. My brother was the painter. I was the writer. And also pragmatic. I’d grown up without the shoes, the food, the heat, the safety. I wasn’t going to throw myself to the winds of the West Village and see what happened. I was going to major in Couch, so I could have something to fall back on.

And the problem with majoring in Couch, and with growing up crazy without enough security, is that you become attached to material things. You become afraid. You become judgmental–resentful, even–of anyone whose life seems easier than yours. In your desperation and your fear of falling, in your grasping, you offer up for trade things that should never be given away.

This concept of trading away the one sacred thing you should not trade is an old one, and for good reason. People call it different things: selling your soul, selling out. I call my sacred thing telling the truth. I gave up telling the truth for a chance at security, only to discover that not telling the truth was driving me crazy. I spent five years in a sexless marriage (it wasn’t loveless, although whatever version of love we practiced was more twisted than anything you’ll find at the Hellfire Club), and more years than that pursuing the Golden Calf of financial security. And every day I pushed down my own truth a little more, I got sicker in my soul, sicker in my body.

It’s still tempting to give up the truth. But my body doesn’t have the stamina it did when it was 24. If I ignore the truth that I know in my gut today, it doesn’t go away today. I get diarrhea instead.

So I’m working on telling the truth, and working on creating the space for being an artist again. I’m working on letting go of this false dichotomy that wormed its way into my head somehow when I was growing up: art vs security. It doesn’t work like that. If I don’t make room for art, I lose everything, including security. So I have to tell the truth, as risky as that is, and I have to make room for art.

The joy of an anonymous blog is that you can tell the truth without fear of consequences. But both Bran and Kit read this blog, so is it really anonymous? And can I tell the truth about them, about me and him, about us and her? Can I take that risk? Is it an either/or proposition? If I tell the truth, will I lose them both?

Either/or is another enemy of art.

As is perfectionism, also known as the inner critic — what JSmooth calls the Little Hater. Or what LOLCats call Ur doin it wrong.

Perfectionism is about fear. Fear is the enemy of truth. Truth is essential to art — at least to my art.

Just needed to get that out there. As to what, exactly, the truth is about me and Bran, I’m still not sure I know. Or am ready to say.

Except that sometimes I’m dissatisfied.

And Kit never wants to have sex with us anymore.

And I still like girls. Still want to have sex with girls. Still want to have hot, three-way sex with girls with Bran.

And I miss the heady new-relationship-energy days of dating Bran, although I don’t miss the insecurity of wondering whether he was feeling the same way.

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