jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.


A couple of days ago my boss and I are sitting at the conference table eating lunch. We are chatting about, you know, whatever, when another staffer joins us in conversation. But what she is saying isn't making any sense. Then she starts mumbling, staring down into her hands. It's English, it's sentences, it just isn't connected with anything. My boss and I exchange a startled look, the word balloon over our heads says "WTF?!?!"

This morning I have a bad dream, and in the dream it is the same situation, but I am the one who is not making any sense. I think I am making a valid point, contributing to the talk, but the wide-eyed horror of my boss and colleague tells me I have gone off the rails. I am not speaking gibberish, I am just completely disconnected from logic, totally out of touch. I wake up sobbing.

On the downtown 6 train I am watching the guy next to me flipping through the Village Voice. I am watching his hands rapidly turn the pages, skimming through. He is the the bar/nightlife section when I see a flash of the familiar, and I want to yell, wait! go back! I am surprised, but I know what it is. It is a photo I took, being used as an ad for the Subject Bar.

At first I think oh! When he places that ad, which he must renew every week, he still thinks of me. I still exist, I still have value, what I made is still appreciated. And then I think ugly things, selfish things, dark things. I get angry about him being the last man who did not tell the truth about loving me, about his ability to do so, about it mattering. I want to withhold from him the things I make, the things I made, that are beautiful. I don't want any man who has lied about their love for me to ever see those things, to have that access. I want to dig it all out of their heads, their hands, and burn it all, destroy it all, slash it to pieces. Oh, there is my fury, whip edged, razor fingered, splattered, ferocious, and I know that later there will be more sadness and shame at my loss of grace. Starting, now.


Blogger remue-menage said...

the cognitive dissonance that you describe is something I have personal experience with

my mind is frail - and has dropped out from underneath me in a disorienting welter of emotion on several occasions

I have re-built it brick by brick on each occasion - each time reconstituting to a stronger state of being

... and never knowing when the floor will drop out again

but you know this about me

10:16 PM  
Blogger remue-menage said...

an addendum

I use to fear it - but I am no longer afraid of that eventuality, or much else for that matter

I have the tools, and the drugs, and access to the mental health professionals that I need to put myself back together again

in fact, I'm quite good at it

it's the only thing I'm good at - survival

if I were to lose the spiritual life-affirming principle that runs like a ramrod through my life

I would find a way out immediatly - my life would be so precariuous it would be unbearable

10:42 PM  
Blogger slickaphonic said...

ah, touche, m'dear.

11:30 PM  
Blogger remue-menage said...

touche indeed - but I am not ashamed

it is part of the flawed majesty of my life

12:07 AM  
Blogger famjaztique said...

I understand that anger, because you trust that people are as brutally honest with themselves as you are with yourself. You expect people to KNOW themselves, it isn't all that hard after all. You expect that people will take more care in the world.

But the truth is, most people are confused, and selfish as a result, and being reminded of it just makes you want to spit and rage.

8:52 AM  
Blogger ttractor said...

thanks, gang. I have been thinking about this for the past couple of days. Frou, I DO think it is hard to know yourself, because lots of people can't muster the energy or care to live as they think they are. I mean, if they did, everyone who listens to NPR would give during their pledge drive (nobody thinks of themselves as a thief when they listen to public radio and don't pay); everyone would wait for people to get off the train before they got on (nobody thinks of themselves as rude and self-important); and everyone would vote in all elections (nobody thinks of themselves as lazy, indifferent or willfully ignorant). But gosh, it takes so much thought to make what you beleive and what you do line up. I can barely do it, that is my struggle for grace. And I know I have gifts, in terms of my emotional knowledge, my intellectual abilities, that are well beyond the norm, well, how can I blame others for their stumbling?

You all here are aware of that, I am sure, and that is why, well, we are all here. Hello and happy Sunday!

12:37 PM  

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