Hag Bag and the Other Side of the Tunnel

December 11, 2015


Katy Perry asked if we ever felt like plastic bags and

Yoko Ono once said something on her Facebook about like idk, “do you ever feel like a paper grocery bag” and then everything falls out

as often does when Yoko Ono asks a question

and maybe they are getting at being a vessel or a carrier. Flap flap fap fap on the wind.

My week has been about vomit and the endless struggle to resist vomiting. Some kind of betrayal to my intellect, vomiting is an involuntary component of the vertigo of my now. The room is moving but I cannot. My eyes are moving, but I see less than normal. And then, and then, and then

my feet push me, Fred Flintstone style, off of my southwestern sofa and towards the laughing gobbleface toilet looking to chew tenderly on my loss of agency.

I’ve been thinking today about how everything is already a joke, is already a parody before it happens. There is double-entendre and academic pencil clicking before the first hearing of a word. Wry self-loathing is existence. The flatulence of existence is culture. Hating my farts. Farting my hate. Caught in a waft of garbage gas surrounding my body, laughing gas surrounding my body, surrounded and surrounded and

lately I’ve felt drowned. Waterlogged is more accurate. Stuck full of the juices of social juice, social critique, social media, and pithy moral showmanship. It’s like frying something. You know, I hope, that if you add something – let’s say a bit of potato – to a skillet and it isn’t hot enough, the oil begins to replace the water in the potato and you get hot, limp oil potato – a veritable colon bulldozer. I worry I threw myself into a tepid social justice, not yet hot enough to generate crisp kindness when my mind hit the pan. This is my brain on Twitter. I am saturated with a mouth-filling lipid that slides in any direction it must to always find a corner from which I can shout, “This is the patriarchy at work!” even when the patriarchy might not be in the house tonight. Even when I’m the patriarchy. Hydrophobic.

I’m going to mix my metaphors and make kindness the crispy water of life. An oil-less fry, a virgin birth of joy, a thing that makes us laugh at physics and the supposed order of swirling particles. I worry that this constant need to joke, to parody everything harrowing and mystical about life, and to drag my opponents across jumbled blades without hearing their humanity reverberate from their larynxes, has pummeled me into a listless mush. If there is abuse to be found in my life, if there is an abuser, perhaps the root source is me. Perhaps I am undoing my own humanity in the process of ‘claiming my value.’ Is my value the misery of those who disagree with me? Living a contradictory life in a contradictory body, I have foregone the consolation prize – the contradiction of being kind in this slumlord-run world.

I know I have a backbone because it’s deformed and a doctor showed me some pictures and I wore a brace the color of a gallon milk jug for a while but I don’t really remember it and I can’t explain that memory loss but I know the brace rubbed the fat off of my hip bones so they have stretch marks and weird skin and my hip bones, therefore, are connected to my backbone. I have a backbone and I don’t want to lay in the mud and wait for the soldiers’ feet to stomp me into the earth, a performance by Marina Abramovic. But when the soldiers come, I want and need something better than the knife of millennial ire. I need a way to turn that soldier into a civilian, into a person who sees reasons why I deserve to live and not to die. I want to have a backbone without ripping the spines out of others, Mortal Kombat style.

Earlier this week, when the house kept moving like a discount Sizzler and my lunch kept leaping past my tongue, I felt so out of control, so without agency. I once learned in a class that dizziness is the result of conflicting signals being sent to the brain. The eyes say one thing, the inner ear says another, and the brain says they’re both liars and should be asked to leave the commune. All the confusion upsets that wobbly mass above my toilet-leaning sniffle snout and suddenly I’m helpless on my bathroom floor. The desire to act is no longer sufficient and, contrary to Paula Abdul, the word and the deed do not go hand in hand. God made the world with words and since my words can’t make shit while I’m poured over the shitter I am not god and if I am not god now in 2015, then I am nothing.

I’m chasing down ways to explain how the lack of agency feels at this time, and it feels like feeling like nothing. In this awkward waiting, in this moment when I feel like all the due dates have passed, in these moments when I cannot find my footing, I am furious that I cannot move and shape this world the way I want at the time that I want. That inability makes me feel worthless.

So yes, Katy Perry, I do feel like a plastic bag. And yes, Yoko, I do feel like a paper bag full of groceries. And maybe I feel like a mockery of myself, like pastiche is all I have, because I’ve mistaken the absence of agency for the absence of value. I parody myself because I do not believe I have worth because not all my beliefs have materialized in front of me as livable dreams. I used to think I employed self-deprication in performances because I was secure in my self-worth. And that’s true. I’m secure in my self-worth during a performance. But once the bar lights turn up and the audience goes home, to gently rest atop their own toilets headfirst into the mystery of sanitation, my security is inverted.

I am saving money on a psychiatrist by being a writer.

Hello, other side of the tunnel.


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