Palm Sunday, 2010.
He says he needs me to go ahead and do it — to reclaim myself. He says it is important for the world. I dream that he’s telling me the secret, he’s telling me how to do it, but I cannot remember when I wake up. I know I already know. I am so stubborn. The story of misery remains so attractive. Today I am carrying palm fronds in the rain, afraid to show my face in my own church. The priests wear martyr’s red, and I will not even submit to be seen by unstrange eyes, afraid of the questions that may be asked.
The same notebook, next page, a year later:
I have had nothing to say for a length of time now.
I find myself trapped in spaces that I can no longer see because I have spent so much time in them that the objects have erased themselves. They have been erased from every angle, they have not been rearranged in so long. I do not touch them, not even with my eyes.
I cannot leave my cell because the lady will see me go and she will know that I was here and she will ask where I am going and I won’t be able to explain why I am going now and why I did not go before.
These objects used to have meaning to me, they used to remind me who I was. I think if I could still see them, they might tell me again.
I have stopped trying to remember. The one thing I remember about the secret is that it cannot be remembered — you have to rediscover it for the first time.
They say sadness does something to your memory, it goes in and cuts out all the joyous bits and sews all the dark bits together so well that even the seams don’t show. Would you believe I have been so happy I’ve frightened people away?
My father says when he was seized by joy the whole world looked different, the colors more vivid, a walk through the woods became an incredible sensory experience.
The things they tell me to do are so simple: turn on this light, look into it. Cut out a white square, tape it to the wall, try to see it without distortions: just a square. See the distortions.
Right now the only thing I can remember from my entire childhood is the sting in my palm from running it backwards up a sprig of baby’s breath. A handful of petals. I threw them into the air, they landed in my hair like snowflakes, like a wedding, did it over and over again, I never ran out of flowers, my hand was pink and raw but never bled. That, and the grasshoppers we had, the ones that were the size of your hand. Everything in relation to hands, to the body. But haven’t I told these stories before and isn’t that what it is I’m remembering?
Did you know I have not cooked a meal in 9 months, that I haven’t made love in nearly two years. It is so strange how much I used to want everyone to know everything about me, but at the same time I’ve always been so secretive, I’ve always been afraid, I’ve always been hiding, afraid of being seen, afraid of the questions that will be asked.
If I hadn’t had so many choices, would I have been better off? With a 9-yr-old, a 6-yr-old, can you imagine? The other thing I remember is standing in front of my mother and grandmother in a room in the Holiday Inn, they were smoking their cigarettes and drinking their coffee and wear their beige and white colors and I must’ve been one of those ages myself, my performance was standing before them listing everything that was wrong with me until I cried. One eye is bigger than the other. I do not love anyone as much as I want to be loved. One thing after another until I was sobbing, and they would ask what else, and they could not help but burst out laughing. The told me they loved me as they laughed at me. Remembering this, my mother said I was one of the only people in the world who could break her heart and crack her up at the same time, and isn’t that what life is all about, isn’t that the secret to everything?
It really seems that all art now is about time, about the future.