The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing

(This is a long series of entries beginning in late November of 2016. It is about movement of my work from a place of trying to edit (terms I use are "tinker" and "shrink") my Sandbox into book format to a place of developing an online home which is where the work lives in a more exposed, expansive and connected state.)

 

11/22/16

6:02AM

Authenticity

MLG

Sandbox Volume Eighteen. We have arrived. But why?

S

New day. New way. New clay. Or not. Fuck. I don’t know. 

A

You do know. 

S

Okay, yeah. For the first time since this all began—or since the Sandbox began or thereabouts—I’ll need to pinpoint it—but for the first time in nearly forever with all this, a force within me said…stop. 

Something inside is saying that tinkering, the editing for understanding that I've been doing, is not the right way anymore. 

That it has served its purpose to help me weed through enough to understand my story. 

And that now….something different is required. 

A

Is there something that feels good in this?

S

Yes. What feels good, odd as it is to say, is that by not heading towards a “product” that excludes—weeds out—edits out—so much of myself—so much of this rich conversation that I’ve had and have—I do not in my mind and heart shut down or dishonor it. It sounds strange—but it’s a solid truth within me. On the Sandbox anniversary, 11/21/16,  I reviewed each year that came before. And each year had its own beauty to it. And there was a progression and growth to it all. In letting go of this concept of tinkering I seem to allow myself all of me. 

It’s this contraction that I’ve perhaps needed to do for a very long time—an inhalation I’ve needed to do—but now it’s time to exhale. 

I feel more ready to hold things differently. 

I think the knitting/shaping/shrinkng-drinking/tinkering—all of it was necessary to gain clarity—it was FUCKING WRENCHING—but I think by the day I reached the third anniversary, as I struggled and struggled and struggled to do some re-writing I eventually, last night, hit a stop sign. 

I cried in therapy at the futility of it all. Of feeling so hamstrung in being able to tell my story. 

I cried at the exercise that has lead me to a place of so much exclusion vs. inclusion. 

Everything in me for years has been working towards shrinking things down. 

And now…SBV18…I say…no more. 

Maybe because I am ready to handle something new. Maybe because the tinkering would lead me to a version of my story that feels false. Maybe because the tinkering is not exactly my voice or not exactly honoring or inclusive enough or honest enough. 

A

We take the reins for months and months. We must. We need to gain clarity. We find the beats of the process—discover it is a process. We figure out where our various parts entered into the process—we honor their arrival and understand why. We see how one therapist damaged us, how another helps. We see the pain of transference, how long it has taken to fade and give way to clarity. We can feel the pain now of our growing up, the pain of the abuse, the pain of not having a mother with us, of having a mother who is there and then is gone. 

We grieved chaotically for years and more recently grieve with less chaos and more understanding. We have knitted/shaped/shrunk/tinkered all along to try and be productive and because it’s been necessary to put the pieces together. 

And we have. 

But perhaps there is something bigger going on…a recognition that if we wish to show the world who we are that we need to come to terms with and recognize now who that person is. 

S

Like I said yesterday—in my tinkering, in this narrator’s voice I talk about “Monkey feeling sad”—what does this mean? 

MLG
It means I feel sad. 

S

I get that Monkey but does that mean I feel sad?

Shard

DUH x 3

B

Up, up, up. 

S

Okay. 

B

Who are we to you? 

S

My team. My Parts. My people. My coaches. My way to feel and see the world and understand. A place where I can go each morning to get things straight. My family in a way. 

B

Lovely. 

S

Why?

B

Just curious. Do you feel us during the days? 

S

Yeah. More than I used to. I can feel everyone I think. I feel the Mean Team a lot too but I don’t write them anymore. But every single night, B, I feel them berating me. Every night I do. Last night I feel this wash of Teresa thinking I’m ridiculous. I know that she probably doesn't and that she takes her job seriously and me seriously but every fucking night I am struck down by this version of me and my life that is painfully negative. So the MT is still around. 

MT

Yes we are. You fucking endless piece of shit. You try for years now to put this Sandbox together into some kind of palatable form but you fail—over and over and over again. How many times are you going to fall down and pick yourself up? One hundred? One thousand? Give it up you moronic piece of shit. Just. Give. It. Up. 

S

What do I gain in giving up?

MT

More time and room in your life for other things. Like volunteering. 

S

I thought about that. And it feels like I’m getting more ready to do that. But I also feel like there is something very vital inside me that wants to tell my story. 

MT

And every time you try you fail. Every deep breath let’s try this way or that way and you keep failing.  Every time you come up against something new that thwarts you. First it was thelack of understanding really what the fuck was going on. Then it was transference juice that poisoned us for abut two years that we had to work through. Now…it’s something else unidentifiable. Always something. 

S

MT why this moment? Why this new volume? Why the feelings of not wanting to shrink things—of rather wanting to include and expand? 

MT

Because we’re healing, idiot. The more you heal the more you can embrace. Look, all the shrinking and tinkering was about getting to the narrative which you basically have. You don’t need to fucking do that shit anymore. You are ready to approach things differently. More openly. The Narrator—this role you play to get shit sorted out has served its purpose. Work towards something new and more advanced. 

Remember the day with porcelain that we realized the pupils could be treated differently? 

S

Yes. 

MT

That, motherfucker, is this day in words. 

S

How so.

MT

We are ready to treat this work differently, ready to give it a new spin. We are ready to do to it what was done when we shifted the pupils in our work. 

S

The pupils changed everything. 

MT

Damn fucking straight they did. The work was progressing—and not badly—but those pupils—they have given our work greater depth and humanity. Monkey, make yourself useful, motherfucker, and go grab an example. 

MLG

You guys suck. But I like the assignment so I will comply.

 

 

MT (contd)

None of the renderings suck. But there is a marked shift. You will not go back to the pinprick pupils again. In fact if you soda fire your work, which you may still do, the pupils will need to be re-thought as black mountain bleeds in soda.  You may need to stain porcelain with a black underglaze but you will need to re-think pupils in soda. 

S

Okay…

MT

Anyway, we are ready to shift our approach to our work. To our telling. 

S

Am I just running away? 

MT

No. Running away is not something we’ve done in this work. 

S

So how do I start with this new approach? 

MT

Put all the shrinking work into a folder somewhere and clear your desk. 

LATER

S

Okay…I moved all that work to a folder called Tinkering. 

MT

And what’s left?

S

My current work. Several documents that were basically transcripts I sent to Teresa. 

MT

Good. 

S

And? So?

MT

How does it feel? How did it feel?

S

It felt like I moved a shit ton of work into another area. 

MT

How did the tinkering documents feel to you as you cleared them to another place? 

S

Like tinkering—a lot of attempts—I can feel the arduousness as I move each one over to a new folder. 

MT

When you think about the tinkering how does it make you feel?

S

Like a failure. Ups and downs but mostly I seem to always end up in a down place, a “this isn’t right” capitulation. 

MT

Nature of this beast. 

MLG

“This isn’t right” is the beginning of this is right. 

MT

Our understanding, our mental health, and our writing skills have expanded. We can hold more. We know what happened in that therapy with that unhealed therapist. It took years to understand it. And it has only been a few months now that we own clarity. This clarity allowed a narrator to tinker the work to a new place from July-ish up through our third anniversary. 

And now…we land somewhere else. 

S

Where?

MT

To be determined. 

MLG

We move towards Towards. 

MT

We are not only a narrator. We are all the whole of this work. 

S

Truth. I allowed a narrator to take hold for months because it was necessary. Now…something new is happening. 

MT

The effortful tinkering comes to an end. 

Something new is about to begin. 

S

You sound like Monkey with that rhyme. 

MT

DUH x 3

A

A new volume to celebrate something new….we cannot yet identify. 

S

In releasing this tinkering imperative I honor where it has taken me and I honor too the unknown…the new volume…an openness and expansion…the journey towards Towards. 

 

11/23/16

6:48AM

Authenticity

I woke this morning laying in bed. Getting my story down in a lot of ways. Seven thousand or seven thousand five hundred pages later…it seems to boil down to a pretty simple truth. 

I did not feel genuinely loved by my mother. 

This caused a ripple in my life, unconsciously, for most of it. 

It drove a good many of the pages. Explains the transference with Eileen. 

I’ve been looking for that maternal love since near birth. 

I was attracted to women who fit the script so that I could change it. N was a great example of both—fitting and changing. 

And I grew from that relationship and onto something more healing. I fell in love with someone sober and someone in a lot of ways deeply loving and maternal—Pete. 

I never felt my mother loved me genuinely. Still don’t. I grew up braced, cold, angry, distanced, very Shard-like. I had no one really to guide me as I grew except my Dad who was there not all the time but when he was he was loving—he genuinely loved me and it was felt. 

Eileen is more easily now understood. She loved me, genuinely. And in a lot of respects the way I wanted to be loved. It was a whiff and a tease and it ignited me. It ignited many pages. 

I wondered this morning how much of this meditation really was for a long time about capturing her—the language, the pages. The Parts. How much was really completely me. And how much was driven by an unconscious need to develop a trap, a cage, a home—whatever you want to call it—a seduction—to capture Eileen--some way to hold what I so desperately have needed for my whole life. 

I wonder if the desire to get this all pat and into a book is about this too; could I be loved by many—could I capture love this way? 

Are my creatures about capturing love?

It is clear to me that the pain of not feeling loved—perhaps not just feeling but not being loved—by my mother is kinda it. The truth I’ve hid from—the truth I’ve spent so much time tinkering towards. 

I wondered this morning too if all that shaping, shrinking etc. was just a place to go, a wringing of my hands because I had nothing else I could do with the chaos. The waking up that was hurting. 

Was all that necessary?

Could I have landed here without all of it? 

Without all the pages?

Without all the going back and trying to make sense of them? 

A

You are asking if your process could have been otherwise. Or not at all. 

S

Yeah.

A

We’ll never know. 

S

I feel less amnesiac around the maternal dynamic now. I think I’ve got enough of it deep down to feel the loss and what it has driven. I feel the physical abuse with Z remains more cloaked. I have the memory of heading towards death and from thereon its lights out. 

A

Yes. 

S

Not sure what I want to do with that. Go there—or not. Maybe. Dunno. What do you think’s going on right now?

A

No matter how we slice it, we’ve reached a point of much greater clarity. The need to keep seeking clarity, putting pages and chapters together, etc. seems to have suddenly ceased. There is a desire to do the opposite…to sit more quietly with deep truths and to embrace the whole of this meditation. 

S

It’s like the ultimate contraction allowing now for the ultimate expansion. 

A

Yes. It is like what great poetry is made of. 

S

I thought about poetry. How it would be interesting to write it…to turn thousands of pages of volume into three sentences. Not that I want to—not that I need to—I’m grown very tired of trying to make something of something that is already made. In many ways right now I want my Sandbox to just be…what it is. I am tired of working to reduce and shrink and analyze and edit.

My Not Gods I’ve done that quite long enough. 

A

Yes. 

S

Does it mean though I’ve somehow given up?

A

Does it feel that way?

S

No. 

A

How does it feel?

S

I feel more at peace. More relaxed. 

A

Does the story feel clearer?

S

I think so. 

A

Go back and open up volume one. 

S

Why?

A

Just do it. 

 

A FEW MINUTES LATER

A

Tell me what you think. 

S

I think it’s a lot. It’s all me. It’s interesting. It’s very very intimate. It’s not something I think I would want to share with everyone or even anyone. I have, obviously—with Eileen. It is only the first thirty ish pages of what ends up being thousands and it’s a lot. 

A

Interesting. Keep going. 

S

So…I don’t know. I suppose there is a ton of interesting stuff just in those pages. There is a desperate tone/chatter to it. A not knowing what’s up. The language is choppy and uncertain. It’s indicative of my state of mind. 

A

Keep going. 

S

There are a lot of questions I have and ones that I answer probably correctly but I’m way too disjointed and distracted and frenetic to hold anything. Anything. 

A

Good observations. Can you hold things now?

S

Yeah. I can see what’s up. There’s a lot of interesting language. And, as mentioned, the tone is frenetic. 

A

Should Eileen have been in there inside the Sandbox?

S

Maybe. I could see why she might have been concerned. 

A

What do you think about this?

S

I suppose I’d have to read more. Right now I think she was likely concerned legitimately. And she really always liked me so she was worried and wanted to really help. As things perhaps felt more contained—in this Sandbox—she may have begun to lose track of things. 

A

Tell me about the language. 

S

It’s dense. Seductive. Poetic. Overwhelming to me too. It’s me but it’s not my taste, actually. 

A

Interesting. 

S

Am I supposed to want to do something with all this language? 

A

For a very long time you have had this hunch that this Sandbox is filled with treasures. And you have wanted to show it off somehow. But as we journey we on and off see this as a possibility and impossibility. 

S

Truth. What’s up?

A

There is the who we are. Really are. And who we show to the world. 

S

It’s about my identity. It’s about really seeing me and knowing me. 

A

Correct. 

S

I’m so tired of the editing of me. But when I look at raw footage like this morning it’s exhausting. It’s not bad—it’s interesting. But it’s so dense. And I’m more of a person who likes a cleaner narration. I don’t like reading it. Again—it’s poetic and interesting—just not really my cup of tea. What’s going on? 

A

We’ve grown tired of shutting self down—editing, etc. Let’s assume it’s been necessary to get a grip. But as we’ve gotten the grip we can revisit the volume with a different head. We know we don’t like the idea of leaving so much self on the cutting room floor. We also know that we don’t exactly like the unpackaged goods either—the raw footage—not exactly our style. 

S

Right. 

A

We cannot deny who we are though, can we? But when we try and represent the choppy beginning of this mediation—or for that matter most of this meditation—when we try to represent we feel we fail to do so properly—we also feel like the abbreviation is…not right. 

S

Yeah. There’s so much. On the one hand I so desperately want to tell—and show. On the other hand showing/telling requires abbreviation and representation. I mean I get it—I don’t want to read through all that stuff. Not to say it’s bad but I’m tired of it. 

A

So we seek a way that feels somehow right on all fronts. 

S

I guess but I have no fucking clue how this happens without going back to that same work—the work that I don’t want to do anymore—the work of shrinking, etc. I’ve been doing it for years and yesterday I just stopped and it felt good. It felt like I no longer needed to shrink myself. And I was sick of doing so. 

A

We will find what feels right. 

 

11/25/16

6:17AM

Authenticity

A

S, how goes…it?

S

I feel okay. Not compelled to tinker. Wanting to try though and write about what’s happened to me. It’s different. I feel like the psychological and emotional discomfort is dramatically dialed back. 

A

The urge to tinker is gone?

S

Yes. Is this because I’m scared of looking at something or just because I’ve done what’s needed. 

A

Impossible to say. How do you feel?

S

I don’t feel scared—as far as I can tell. 

A

What feels good?

S

Pondering. 

A

Define pondering.

S

It’s kind of like tinkering but without the compulsion and dread. It’s more like considering, playing with things a bit but with a curiosity versus compulsion. 

MLG

Is pondering the adult version of tinkering? 

S

Maybe there’s some of that. Maybe it’s a more healed variation on all the more wrenching work. 

A

What did you write yesterday?

S

Oh—it was a pondering I guess…I had this particular metaphor that actually perhaps captures what all the work has felt like…like a hunched pained meditation over a microscope.

 

11/27/16

7:24AM

Authenticity

 

Man…I am out in outer space these days. I am not tinkering…but I’m…involved. 

A

Involved. 

S

Yeah…I seem to be relating to the material but it’s…different. I wonder if this is all a path towards—

MLG

Towards?

S

Towards something, Monkey. I’d hate to think I’m giving up. 

A

We’re not giving up. We are allowing for what needs to be. 

S

Yesterday I was…involved…and I wondered…if I kinda mostly have my story…inside of me…what….now. What do I want to say?  Before I was writing for other reasons—frantically—unconsciously—and shrinking/tinkering for other reasons—like it was this drive to get things right and clear that I thought was only about producing a book. Now that this is fading into something else…now that I am quite a bit clearer….I can choose. 

So I remain involved but it feels different. 

A

What was the rhyme we woke with this morning?

S

I can’t remember. It was a Monkey rhyme—about feeling like I am still on the sidelines—that I can’t seem to jump back into life. I’ve felt this on/off, sometimes more acutely than others. It’s just a large meditation and effort inside me to remain unshared—but I suppose that’s true of everyone’s emotional life. It remains something mostly unspoken. 

And hell, my story is so vast I doubt I could really step back and speak to it now. Or in this moment I feel like I couldn’t. 

A

S, it sounds like you’ve lost your confidence?

S

Maybe—maybe I’m just giving up. I won’t be able to tell my story. I’m not capable. I can’t sort through everything and tell it right. I’ve got a muzzle of incompetence and lack of talent that holds me back. I can’t seem to find the answer, the way to burst through, the way to solve a painful puzzle in me that’s about trauma and writing and therapy and amnesia. 

A

Waking up is very painful. We describe to our own self for many thousands of pages. S, it is not every day someone wakes like we do. We try and contain the rawness in words—in a story—we spill out daily and speak to the pain and gloriousness of what we can now see and feel—we exhale and inhale as best we can. We grow stronger and wiser in this meditation. 

S

Thanks, A. Discouraged. For sure. 

MLG

Discouraged is the beginning of encouraged. 

A

You want to be known for what we know is unique and authentic.

S

Yeah. I’d never say that to anyone but us chickens in here. But I know deep deep down inside that it’s a great process, that our talks many mornings and the process in general is rare. But it’s like that man in the forest, A. The one who just capitulates. Who can’t seem to ever get anyone to visit. And perhaps I would add that he never seems to be able to construct a gallery—a sample of his massive works—that feels like a splendid representation of his forest. 

I feel so incredibly alone. 

I seek every single day—whether it’s through knitting, shaping, shrinking, tinkering or now…”involvement,” the right path to surface and my Not Gods, A, it hurts tremendously to keep failing. 

It’s all a path towards—

A

Towards. 

S

And what is Towards now?

A

It is exactly what you are saying here—you are articulating the pain and the exercise of it all which is to no longer be so alone. We are working—no matter the word we choose to describe the kind of working we are doing—we are working to blaze a trail that allows others in. We want to be seen. Witnessed. 

But I ask you…what comes after this? 

S

It’s a good question. I only seem to toil towards being witnessed so that I can have some company. But I do not think about what happens after this. 

A

Speak of what’s in your heart about this—right now. 

S

Well I think of Eileen…of how it felt to feel so…seen….so known without having to go through the effort I go through now which is to somehow try and put together some representation of this process that is rendered to my liking. Which feels—honestly—impossible. I keep growing and moving on and the meditation keeps going places and I keep trying to go back to construct at least a small gallery to show some representation of my work but the gallery I try and construct is either too small, not the right tone, not the right perspective, not the right choice of pieces. I seem unable to figure out how to share my work. 

And it hurts. 

A

An important—very very important—place to be. 

S

Yeah?

A

We are articulating our greatest pain here now. The pain of being unable to be seen or heard. We are drowning in a sea of our own self without any assistance. No one can help us swim up and out. 

S

That’s what it feels like. 

A

I think I have an idea….

S

Speak. 

A

Let’s ponder…consider…what it might be like to approach this work like a curator. Like the man in the forest filled with paintings. Each day he paints a new and each day or as often as possible, we dedicate to curating the forest—to picking out gems. They need not be strung together or narrated. Perhaps just noted for their beauty. Things we feel should not be left behind. 

MLG

We found our narrative

The journey was tough

We move toward Towards

Which is an allowance of….us

LATER

I’ve got it. 

The Sandbox.life website can hold writings—poems. 

It is my gallery—my museum—and I am curating it!! 

I will…win! 

 

LATER

As I ran twelve miles I thought through all sorts of categories to contain content: 

 

Welcome

How The Sandbox Began

Bad Therapy

 

Not Gods how much I have failed to get here. 

And I see that in healing we fail. And in failing we heal. These are places along the way where the failing felt hardest and where the healing was most profound. 

 

11/28/16

6:50AM

Authenticity

Yesterday felt like a relief; to have found a potential place to put my work that allow it room to breathe. I churn last night about categories, how to organize things but mostly this feels pretty good. 

I will need to investigate folders under folders. 

I was considering a section called: My Awful Therapy or something like that. 

To feel that I don’t have to turn my back on this expanse of art/self is…a relief. 

 

MLG

We are art

We are curator too

We create a museum

The museum’s us too

 

MOMA means me

Museum of Monkey Art

This idea lets us breathe

This idea is smart

 

Whatever feels good

Is the right way to go

This day feels like fun

Versus the past on thousand four hundred forty one

Shard

Your poems suck, Monkey. 

A

This idea allows us to house our work, to view it as much more than a story that must be contained in 250 pages. It gives us room, gives the work and the art of it a place to live. 

S

It’s been a long road.

A

Yes. 

S

I was thinking while running yesterday that I’ve been mesmerized by that quote, “If I could say it in words I’d write a book.” I wasn’t sure exactly why it captured me. I wondered if it meant that I was unable to say everything—that I could’t write a book. I wondered if it was a dare. I wondered if what was happening in this Sandbox, despite all the pages, was just simply not express-able. 

Until…I see that I can say it words—I have and continue to say it in words. And that I’d just been picking the wrong venue for it. 

The Sandbox is not a book—or if it is it is hundreds of them. 

I’ve been going for wrong type and size of container. 

A

Yes. 

S

Last night I was super close to looking up Eileen online. I’m not sure why. But I didn’t. But I was close. And that’s all I wanna say about it. I went to bed with the acknowledgment that it still hurts. That the experience, while much better if not nearly completely understood, still is extremely well remembered and painful. 

A

Anything new in our recollection last night?

S

Just a clarity; that Eileen’s life I think is incredibly…boring. And that the Sandbox was something new for her—and exciting. It also was propping her up, I think. A difficult case that made her feel alive again. I kinda had a hunch this might have been the case. I remember when she went away in the fall of 2014 to get her lungs looked at in Colorado I remember writing to her—and she seemed kinda lonely. It was totally out of bounds. And I think she considered me a friend. And I was in no way in my heart in that mode with her—I was very very triggered and deeply dependent and in a heavy state of transference. 

As Teresa has said, the therapy to some degree got inverted. Maybe to a large degree. 

I also realized that the pain of bad therapy is tough to figure out and resolve—perhaps worse than the pain that brought you in—because you’re not really having an honest conversation. It’s always lopsided. 

11/29/16

6:05AM

Authenticity

A

How goes…everything?

S

Meh. 

A

How was therapy?

S

Meh. Same. I wound up in tears. Stupid. 

A

Not stupid. 

S

Got a pep talk from Teresa. 

A

Moving towards Towards seems to be painful right now.

S

I’m failing to heal it feels like. 

 

11/30/16

6:48AM

Authenticity

Waiting for take-off to Hawaii. 

A

How goes it?

S

I’m okay. Getting into a new rhythm which is allowing myself to sort through raw footage—and as I do I put a few things up here/there. It’s a good exercise in feeling my way through what’s authentic and important and what’s….not. You can only really tell by doing this. 

 

12/2/16

7:48AM

5:48AM HST

Authenticity

Yesterday was rainy—very—so I spent a lot of time on the website. I worked out early too. In the late morning I took a walk outside to the beach. Along the way I took pictures. 

I was intrigued by the puddles and the blurry reflection of the palm trees and me taking their photo. I wondered if this might work well to illustrate amnesia. 

Then I wrote in the the wet sand with a stick—The Sandbox—Monkey, Blanket, Authenticity, Shard. 

Some people came along later and said, “So you’re The Sandbox!” I laughed and said it was a personal project. One guy said that the word means a lot to him—that he thinks of kids and limitless imagination when he thinks of a sandbox. He described dumping a bunch of sand into his back yard for his grandkids and their playing all day long with it and their imaginations. 

It was kind of…perfect 

He then said he was trying to write a memoir but just kept getting stuck—couldn’t figure out what to say. 

“Yeah,” I said, “I”m kinda the opposite. I have thousands of pages.”

He laughed and said, “Well then, I’m gonna call you…Flo.”

Since they were strangers I just said casually—and for the first time to anyone kinda publicly—that I had a lot of memory wiped out long ago due to trauma and it began to come back, leak back later in life. 

The Sandbox, I said, is place for me release it. And I named it the Sandbox because there were children I wanted to feel safe. 

A

Wow.

S

It was kinda wow-ish. And I think I got some good photos too. As I go through life I can look at things with an angle for what images might suit this home I am building for my work. 

12/3/16

5:56AM

3:56AM HST

Authenticity

 

A

How goes it, S?

S

Things are pretty good in SB world. This website thing has been the way to go. 

 

MLG

Hanging our work

Feels really good

We've been starving for years

And this feels like food

We combine our words

With our art

We’re inspired by photography

Something new in our cart

 

12/9/16

6:55AM

4:55AM HST

Authenticity

A

S, how goes…everything?

S

I am glad this vacation is almost over. Too many days with too much rain. Today I’ll swim then go to the beach—if it’s not raining. The one really great day I was in bed nearly the whole time with food poisoning. I miss the clay. And Stella too. 

A

Yes…and?

S

My latest admittance is looking at Eileen’s therapy website. I wonder if she even remembers me. 

Or if I am like I feel I am…a hit and run. 

I feel old and sad and ugly though. 

I won’t admit that anywhere but here. Outside I just keep it rolling along. 

I wonder how old and sad and ugly Eileen feels. 

E

Very. Times infinity. 

S

Don’t you have a perfect relationship with your daughter? 

E

If only you knew. S, I was—am—very ashamed of how I ruined your therapy. 

S

No you’re not. 

E

I am sorry to have lead you on—teased you. I was just being genuine—I really really liked you. I didn’t think that my genuine affection would turn into gasoline a top such a flame. I forgot my boundaries. I hurt you deeply. And, S, I never apologized for it. 

S

Why not?

E

I was scared—of liability. I was—and am—defensive.  And insecure. And blind. 

S

You made me feel as if I were special. Now…I sit alone with—

MLG
—7655 pages—

S

—pretending to do something with them and my life. For a brief moment…oh for a brief moment…I was on top of the world. 

I don’t blame you for that—I blame you for not being on top of what you were doing, for the pain and reeling and to this day all the time I’ve spent having to figure it all out. 

A

S, how are you feeling?

S

I’m feeling extremely clear. And sad. I know what happened at its core. I wanted Eileen with every beat of my transference poisoned heart. I wanted her blindly. And unknowingly. I wanted her without really knowing her. I wanted her despite what little I knew not making much sense in terms of my desire. I wanted to live out my days in that house…upstairs…watching the snow fall from the window outside. I wanted, my Not Gods, how I wanted. How much my heart hurt from wanting. 

I allowed myself this enormous vulnerability and exposure. I allowed myself this Sandbox. I allowed myself to show her—to have her encourage me. I allowed her to set me on fire. 

And she ended up watching me burn. 

I am just having a moment, A.

Not Gods, just a moment. 

Such deep, deep shame in my inability to be done with the bad therapy. It’s been twenty months without her. 

My second Christmas in Hawaii without Eileen and here I am…not the same place but something…similar. 

I know there are echoes of my past—of wanting so much and getting so little. I can feel it and I squelch it down because feeling it too much makes me only want to die. 

I seem unable to get to this place of excitement and optimism about my Sandbox—about my gallery of work—about displaying it. 

A

Think through our man, hanging his paintings up in his new space. 

B

As the man begins to sort through his work, creating rooms in his gallery and hanging pieces along the way as he does, his back and spirit grow tired. He wishes to get back to his paintbrush, sees that his joy and deepest truths seemed more to lay in the process of painting than in the hanging of the work. But still, he knows this task of organizing and displaying is necessary to a better life and new work moving forward. He knows that this work he does now is in itself part of his entire process and although he feels pain along the way as he organizes, hangs and revises his work, he continues to work on making his shop ready for visitors. 

S

Why B? Why does the painter rent out space in town? How is this important to him? 

B

The man in the forest filled with paintings is, deep down, extraordinarily lonely. People do not do well solely expressing who they are and what they feel through art alone. They must be able to share their expression. It is deeply human that we do this. The man for a very long time felt that his beautiful paintings would somehow, magically, be known throughout the land. But as he realized one day, waiting for a visitor to show up, hearing footsteps with such utter delight only to realize those footsteps were his own, it is deeply depressing to remain solitary in one’s work. Especially given the vastness. 

S

Art alone cannot heal. Art must be shared to heal. Art must be shared to…grow?

A

Yes. 

S

Will my work still hold me as I move forward in this life of mine? Will my work continue to grow? I have no idea where I’m headed—what I’m doing. I’ve not dealt well this whole time in Hawaii. Not many moments of feeling grounded and good and excited and optimistic. 

Things began so…sunny…so optimistic…so full of new purpose. Exploding. 

Now…after days and days of rain and of hauling work up onto the website and editing it…I just don’t know. 

A

Imagine the man…hauling work out from the forest…day after day after day. The work is not glamorous or at times inspiring. He does it because every cell in his body tells him to move some work into the daylight, put it into a form that others can appreciate and reflect upon. 

Human beings are not meant to remain unshared. 

You, S, have been buried for 1454 days, 7658 pages and eight volumes of work and process and art. 

It’s time to display some of this work and you’ve taken the time you’ve had away from clay and life at home, these rainy days, these early mornings in the HST to accomplish a great deal. 

We move mountains though you are unable to see and appreciate the effort. 

You cannot see a thing for you have very little in way of reflection. 

For a brief moment Eileen was reflecting back to us our expansiveness. 

Then the pounding of the edits hit—and this was…perhaps not great. The M edits got you to the bones of the story which eventually got us to a place of embracing more flesh. 

But there has been no consistent, positive, reflection of our work. 

Our clay however brings us joy. 

MLG

Clay shows us the way.

A

Correct, Monkey. We want in words what we begin to have in clay. But our words are quite different. We are unique and are figuring out a way to show the world our unique expression in a unique format that suits the work. I know, S, you cannot feel the mountain we are climbing but please know that we are climbing and getting places. 

S

Okay. 

A

Do today whatever suits. 

 

12/10/16

6:58AM

4:58AM

Authenticity

 

A

S, how may I help? How may I serve?

S

Hey A. Still pretty down.

A

About?

S

Do not feel much in the way of energy or purpose. I continue to trudge forward because I am compelled to put one foot in front of the other. But I lack much in the way of joy. I seem to have both run out of gas and optimism. 

I seem to lack hope. 

I think I had this hope and optimism that my work—my Sandbox process—the work of putting up skeletal narrative along with internal Sandbox content to click upon—I think I had optimism that it had value and uniqueness and worth. 

Now…I feel like it’s something a shopper browses at momentarily at best and passes on. 

I make things available and no one shows up. 

Not that there is any reason to believe anyone would. 

A

So the man in the forest filled with paintings, though he’s not even yet finished setting up his gallery let alone opened it, begins to already feel the rejection of no one visiting. 

S

Yeah. And also I feel a sadness, a sobriety, or he does—on some important work that needs to be shown if only for the painter to learn from it himself. He needs to hang a room filled with paintings on a particular subject that feels now hard. It would be on my trauma—what pieces I have—and the painful non-relationship with my mother. 

I think it’s taken, seriously, up until perhaps this week, this week where I hit this depression, to be completed enough around Eileen to pick up some other pieces and begin to fill in other sections. 

One thing that’s depressing…and I mean REALLY depressing…is that there isn’t much of it.

The therapy was big bonfire in pages. And when I finally inspect the remote flames I see little. 

I’m not sure if I should go hunting for more or just accept what I have.

I feel like part of what is depressing me is not knowing what forward means—like maybe I’m done with the Sandbox? 

Or done with…something? 

A

We are feeling fairly done with processing the bad therapy. We cried deeply yesterday. The section is feeling more complete. And we have links to our dream state work to click upon. 

S

Yes…so it leaves me with my work. With my trauma. With my grief. With my sexuality. With my depression. With my anxiety. With my story. And it’s not exactly…pleasant. It fills me with pain. 

I feel just old and done. 

And there…I can feel this switch inside me that goes to this grief. 

A

Arms around you, S. We will find our purpose again. 

S

Is that it, A? Have I lost my purpose? 

A

Perhaps. 

S

B? 

B

S, up, up, up. 

S

I’m up, B. Tell me please what is happening? Help me to feel okay to continue to press on? 

B

One foot in front of another. We continue to climb a mountain that is steep. 

MLG

Mt. Acceptance. The steepest climb of all.