ENTER: ME AND MY BAD JOKES
I contain multitudes, but so do you. Namaste. – Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist.
(Just kidding, Paulo Coehlo never said that. Walt Whitman said “I am multitudes” or something to that effect, and I edited it a bit and added “but so do you.” To be exact, I think that’s what Walt Whitman meant anyway in “Leaves of Grass,” but I can’t be sure because I haven’t yet read it in its entirety. So perhaps this whole thing was Walt Whitman’s idea, who knows. I’m just doing my best here.)
ENTER: LOVER AND FRIEND
I am the universe. You are the universe. Inside of me and you, are universes. (Joan Sterling – Pulses) Do you feel less alone, and more perfectly imperfect? I hope so.
(BELOW IS MAGGIE NELSON, NOT ME)
Phaedrus, a dialogue, version II: Ride at your own risk. You’re getting on the polar express! Enter the laberinto of many tabs.
ENTER: OCD MARKETER
Note: The majority of the songs mentioned in this essay are direct Spotify links. If you do not have the paid version of Spotify, the link may lead you to the incorrect song. I have the names of the songs in parentheses after the links, just in case.
ENTER: ARTIST / PHOTOGRAPHER / ADVENTURER
Yes it’s true, I’m blue like you, and the beauty of life never fades for those who believe in wonder.
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” -Roald Dahl
ENTER: GIANT METAPHOR THAT WRAPS ITSELF AROUND THIS PIECE LIKE A BABUSHKA DOLL OF CRAZY
1. It’s best to read this piece after reading Maggie Nelson’s book, “Bluets” in its entirety. Otherwise it may not make any sense. If you’d like, listen to this song (Andrea Marie – Feel it All) by clicking on the link for some light background music.
Narrator: If you’d like, click on all the links in this piece in order while reading. This is meant to be an interactive art exhibit.
Warning: You will go through many tabs and many places and perhaps lose track of where you are if you do this.
Therapist: Sometimes it’s better to focus on doing one thing at a time. The music shouldn’t distract you unless you have ADD. Do what you need to do to feel better. Turn off the music if you feel like it. Do what’s best for you.
2. But if you’re impatient or you’re the type who likes to read the last page of a book before it’s finished, then what am I to do? I can’t help you.
3. Therapist: Maybe you don’t need to be helped.
4. I distilled my thoughts the way you’d distill whiskey so you’d all understand, but some pieces will still be entirely mine. I’m not going to tell you what’s inside, (What’s Inside – Sara Bareilles) because this is personal. However, some of this is for you.
5. Therapist: What’s yours in life (and what’s yours in this piece) will be. Relax. This is not a test.
6. I tried to document every page and part in this book that spoke to me, but I did not know how much I would love it. To know the nature of a book ten pages in and before you finish it is to guess, or to judge a book by its prologue. Though I suppose, the cover of “Bluets” is initially what drew me in. (What can I say or do? I’m a lover of beauty.)
7. I’m not trying to document this book perfectly. I’m not trying to be perfect. I’m just trying to be real (true).
8. I’m just another lover in this world, but love should be defended like honor and truth. It is the truest feeling there is.
9. I knew as soon as I began reading “Bluets” that I was starting to read something really special. How special it would be to me, I did not know. I just had a feeling. That feeling was blue.
10. I picked it up “Bluets” by Maggie Nelson at The Strand in New York City; it drew me towards it. Or perhaps, more accurately, I drew it towards myself with my right hand. To be accurate and to remember the details is to be as close to the truth, and as blue as you can be.
11. Therapist: A note on “disorder”: Don’t let them tell you that you have OCD. (Next to Normal, Broadway) You’re just neat and tidy. Out of balance, and into extremes is to need pharmakon. What is pharmakon? In philosophy and critical theory, pharmakon has a few potential representations: remedy, poison, or scapegoat. The first refers to pharmacology and toxicology – the second, to the Greek term φάρμακον, denoting any drug – and the third represents pharmakos or the scapegoat, representing the ritual of human sacrifice. In “Bluets,” Maggie Nelson compares pharmakon to writing, loving, and fucking. What is true?
Does your brain need help? If you are wise and balanced, you might be able to decide. If you aren’t wise and balanced, or do not know if you are – or perhaps simply if you’ve been out of balance for too long – then perhaps it is best to let a good doctor (psychiatrist, or psychotherapist) decide.
Therapist: What’s the best, most natural way to avoid madness? Balance. Balanced: eating/not eating, sleeping/waking, exercise/rest, social/introvert time, giving/receiving, focus on self/others. Balance in all things. Stay rooted in reality. Keep your feet on the ground. Pay attention to your needs. Meet your own needs – the practical and impractical. Simultaneously, or as a balanced pendulum swing. It’s simpler than you think.
Therapist: The best way to avoid madness is using pharmakon when necessary (in my opinion, pharmakon is helpful when you’re extremely out of balance, or have overused neural pathways that are not serving you – when you are unable to get out of your funk naturally through your own means. If this does not make sense to you, and you are struggling, you may need pharmaceuticals). How do you get these? Through the help of a balanced, empathetic psychiatrist who isn’t out for money. How do you tell which is which? Intuition (lapis) and checking the facts – the logical ones.
12. Therapist/Philosopher: Never risk madness. Madness is alienation, and alienation is the furthest you can be from love. (And isn’t that what we ALL really want – and all we REALLY want, in the end?)
13. Philosopher/Therapist: Love is light. Love is truth. Seek light. (There is no reason that this particular point is point 13. Things can be random. Things just are.)
14. Here are the pages I took photographs of that I love(d), (d) as in I still love them, but I’m staying in past tense. This is my response. Hopefully blue. Perhaps pharmakon (is writing true?) but as blue as I could get it. And maybe that’s all that matters.
Narrator: Spoiler alert below. If you plan on reading “Bluets” and don’t want to read the final page, (or any of it before getting the book for that matter), skip over these images below and on to point 15.
15. Philosopher: A random thought: Do you want to be loved passionately, or do you want to be loved well?
16. Philosopher/Therapist: Another subsequent, random thought: Do you want to be loved passionately, and also be loved well? Let’s find the middle. In a sea of blue, let’s find cerulean. (Dialectical behavioral therapy)
17. [Cerulean] is by definition: A lighter shade of blue that is hard to describe with words, so here is an image.
It reminds me of the ocean. Not my favorite shade, but workable for this metaphor and just as beautiful. How do you like it?
18. Maybe we can splash some dark blue into the cerulean, at times. (Lapis Lazuli)
19. What is Lapis Lazuli? Lapis is a deep blue stone with golden flecks and markings, used in ancient history to paint the eyelids of Cleopatra, and the tombs of kings. It is royalty. It stands for wisdom, deep intuition, and destiny. It is my favorite stone.
20. Pharmakon can mean: pharmaceutical. Is it a cure or is it poison? Is writing pharmakon? Are we distilling blue? What is true?
21. Scientist/Philosopher/Artist: Is blood actually blue? Some believe that blood is blue before it touches oxygen. Some believe as soon as it hits oxygen, it turns red. So one might gather that blood is blue on the inside, and red once it’s on the outside. But is this true? (NPR Article)(Is that why we call it “True Blue”?) This isn’t a double negative, it’s a lazy statement meant to say: Check the facts…and choose your perspective.
ENTER: PHILOSOPHER AND (MORE) BAD JOKES
22. Is writing like fucking? Is fucking the truest thing there is? Does fucking leave the fucker and the fuckee the same, as Maggie Nelson states? Untouched? -Touched?
23. What is touching? What is sex?
It is as close as you can get to another human being on this planet.
24. Touching can be physical, and it can be mental.
25. I want to touch the things I love, and I want to devour you, as much as I can while I am a human being on this earth. I want to explore the depths of you.
ENTER: METAPHOR (DID I NEED TO SPECIFY?)
26. I wanted to devour this book, but I couldn’t fit it in my mouth.
27. Am I nebulous? Certainly, and intentionally at times. (Don’t call me crazy if you don’t understand. Just move the fuck along.)
28. Is writing true? Is it more true, less true, or just more intense? Is intense true? Do you want the truth or something beautiful?
29. www.tellmesomethingbeautiful.com (Do not click this link unless you want to experience inception, and perhaps waste your time.) Hopefully, it’ll be time well wasted.
30. Do you want the truth, or something beautiful? Maybe they’re one and the same. Maybe it’s just a matter of where and how you focus. Wisdom is making the choice. What do you see?
31. As for me, I’ll remain a seeker of light and a seeker of blue – but this time, balanced cerulean. Dark at times, light at times, always knowing the difference and what brings me towards my own light.
32. What is cerulean? Is cerulean true? Cerulean, a lighter shade of blue, simply is what it is. It is not any more blue or less blue than any other shade of blue. (Alan Watts – Things are as they are.)
Therapist: You are perfect, just the way you are. In the same way a giant waterfall is perfect; regardless of whether or not it has been discovered, appreciated, or seen. (Mountain Meditation – Palouse Mindfulness)
33. Therapist: Decide, with your lapis (lazuli) heart, what you want. Perspective is everything. Wisdom is knowing what you want. Wisdom is knowing what you need. True Wisdom is knowing what you want AND what you need. Lapis is knowing the middle. (Compromise).
34. Therapist/Philosopher: Is blue sustainable? Depends on the shade. Certain shades of blue tend toward darkness. Seek light. Seek balance. Too much blue can kill.
Don’t forget to read Hard Rain Falling – Dan Carpenter
35. I don’t need alcohol when I’m already drunk on the stars, drunk on blue, drunk on you.
Do you know what my ex looks like?
ENTER: PHILOSOPHER AND CURIOSITY
36. What color do you think the universe is? Hopefully, blue. (Cerulean? Who knows.)
37. Therapist: Lapis Lazuli is wisdom. Wisdom is choosing what works for you. Wisdom is knowing what “works” means. Wisdom is knowing what you want AND need. Wisdom is knowing who you are.
Wisdom is seeing the elephant in the room and knowing when to turn away and stop looking at it. (Dad)
Hint: You are LOVE. Second hint: Wisdom is gained through trusting your intuition, that was never broken in the first place. Where is your intuition? (Body scan) Turn the page for the third hint.
38. Therapist: Third hint: Intuition lives in your gut. Don’t ask me where that is if you don’t already know.
39. Blue Valentine, be mine.
40. Did you know this fact?
42. You are multitudes, and so am I. The color of your soul and mine are the same.
43. “Send me moon, empty the skies out…” -Sara Bareilles
“A dream is a soft place to land, may we all be so lucky.” – Sara Bareilles
44. A lullaby, safe, next to my chest for however long you’re mine:
“Tell [me] everything. Everything damn, embarrassing thing.” – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
(Elephant Parade – Score – Eternal Sunshine)
44. We are…
ENTER: WRITER AND VINTAGE TYPEWRITER COLLECTOR
46. I’d risk them all, just to hang up the moon for you.
(Sara Bareilles – Everything Changes)
“An unsung melody is mine for safekeeping
And I will guard it with my life
I’d hang the moon for it to shine on her sleeping
Starting here and starting now
I can feel the heart of how
Everything changes” – Sara Bareilles
ENTER: ME, LOVER, FRIEND, DAUGHTER, SISTER, SISTER IN-LAW TWICE REMOVED (ETC), THERAPIST, WRITER, ARTIST, MUSICIAN, PHILOSOPHER…BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH WHO CARES.
(I mean, if you do, you’re probably one of my friends or otherwise someone who loves me?) Orrr, you’re just curious. Bugger off, then.
(Someone Who Loves Me – Sara Bareilles)
Sincerely, Michelle H. (And distinctly not Leonard Cohen, or Maggie Nelson for that matter.) (Better Than Ezra – Under You)
ENTER: MOVIE BUFF
Let’s just fall asleep Before Sunrise.
ENTER: SERIOUS THERAPIST; THE CONSTANT GARDENER
Appendix for those using this piece as therapy is under this line. For those of you wondering about my motives for the information below this line: My desire is to help and heal…and my desire is to practice.
For those of you reading this, please note I am not a licensed psychotherapist or psychiatrist. These are all merely ideas, not facts and are not all-inclusive. This is a place to START and reflects just my opinion. I could be totally WRONG! Proceed at your own risk.
I am the constant gardener of your soul. I will tend to you like I do my plants – verdant and green. I will tend to you until you bloom. I want for you want I want for myself – abundance, love, peace, and prosperity. – MH
May you be safe. May you be free from inner and outer harm. May you be healthy. May you be happy. May you be free from anger, pain and suffering. May you live with ease. May you be filled with peace, joy, and compassion for yourself and for others.
May I be safe. May I be free from inner and outer harm. May I be healthy. May I be happy, May I live with ease. May I be free from anger, pain and suffering. May I be filled with peace, joy, and compassion for myself and for others.
Therapist/Scientist: CBT Fans:
- If you’re OCD, notice which links in this post open new tabs in my brain (or your computer’s brain), and which tabs don’t. Is detail necessarily bad? Maybe in excess, if it keeps you from your goals. Notice the details I kept / omitted. Did they help? Did they hurt? Up to you. (lapis)
- If you have ADD, did you open up all the tabs? Close all the tabs. Try reading it once more through, without opening up the tabs. Did it help? Feel less cluttered? What are your goals? Does ADD help you accomplish them, or does it hurt you? You decide.
- If you have depression, what does blue mean to you? Do you need a therapist or pharmakon? Or both? Do you know? If not, consult a professional psychiatrist or psychotherapist.
- If you have anxiety, breathe and know that anxiety is a natural defense mechanism we developed in prehistoric times to avoid danger. Anxiety, in most modern environments, is no longer a relevant defense mechanism. Use your intuition to tell if the environment is safe. Use science. Check the facts. Run tests (CBT). If anxiety is no longer serving you, try breathing exercises, dance, art, music, or whatever floats your boat. If you still cannot stabilize, try pharmakon (perhaps). Try meditation, yoga, or rock climbing (these all force intense presence and being here now, which helps with anxiety.)
- If you have bipolar moods and you opened up all these tabs, God save your soul. Close the tabs, focus on balance, and do one thing at a time. And refer to step 3 as well, even if you don’t have depression. Hypomanic? Focus on your logical, rooted, earthly human needs. Food. Exercise. Rest. Social time. You time. Sleep. Creative pursuits. Spiritual pursuits. Practical things you have to get done in life. (Take care of them!) Still going bonkers? Pharmaceuticals help.
- If you have borderline personality, figure out who you were and are before the trauma. Find it. Don’t steal it, beg for it, or fake it. Do the work. Enjoy the ideas in this piece, but don’t make them your own if they aren’t. Find out what stuck out to you, and figure out who you truly are and not who you want to be (unless who you truly are and who you want to be are truly the same.) Stop abandoning yourself for approval and love, and you will not fear being abandoned by others.
- If you have a narcissistic personality, it would help to figure out if and when trauma occurred and delayed normal adult development. It would help for you to practice listening, and balancing your needs (which are overemphasized) with those needs of others (which are equally important.) You (surprise), are not the center of the universe. If you don’t believe this, God help your soul.
- If you feel suicidal, know you are LOVED, PERFECT, AND BEAUTIFUL, JUST LIKE THE UNIVERSE. Please call the suicide hotline or someone who you know loves you, immediately. Or, just dial 911. Now.
- And to everyone I did not name, you are loved and most certainly not forgotten. I just haven’t studied enough therapy yet.
ENTER INSIDE JOKES – LAUGHTER IS MEDICINE.
One final piece of advice to everyone reading this (and special thanks to those who made it to the bottom here – wow, I’m impressed and you deserve a medal because this was one crazy ass M-Fing circus comin’ out of my mouth.)