Friday, May 21, 2010

Anyone for Pingpong?

To those who know me well, it won’t exactly be news to read this. They’ve heard it all before. They even love me for it. However, for those who don’t, here it is.
      I, Clare D, don’t fit in. Anywhere. Never have done; never will. The only place where I feel remotely at home is with other people equally as estranged as myself. Even then as some kind of group gradually forms, I never fully feel part of it.
     Welcome to the human race, I hear you cry.
I’ve tried on various identities throughout my life (as though they were ill-fitting raincoats or top hats). And I spent the first twenty years of my life feeling lost as to what my identity might even be. It was only when I became Buddhist that I began ‘exploring’ different sides of myself. I ditched my long black skirts for sky-blue dresses stitched with swirls (gazing at them helped me slip into blissful, meditative states). I went on the road with like-minded people. I experimented with ‘open relationships’ (placing values of ‘freedom’ and ‘letting go’ above the humiliation of having to smile at parties like someone had just stuck a fork up my arse as my beloved seduced some hippy dippy chick with perfect tits.) I saw Buddha nature in everyone. Made 'spiritual' friends. 'Found’ myself. Lost myself. Found myself again. Then I realised - I still don’t sodding fit in.

     Within the Buddhist movement in which I was involved, I was encouraged to give up my name and my personal vision, supplanting it with another, greater one. I could be an individual as long as I took on board someone else's interpretation of Buddha's teachings and swore my faith on it. A big part of me wanted this. But I was still, on some level, doing as I was told. And I was doing it alongside people who at best possessed grace and compassion as well as insight into their own and others' lives, but who at worst were nutters you wouldn’t have given the time of day to had they not been wearing a skull mala or able to harmonise brilliantly on a Vajrasattva mantra.
     So I left and became ‘an artist’ - a writer. Maker of music. Poetry scribe. I kept going with the fucked up relationships but moved into a flat on my own where I no longer had to put up with people’s rows about veggie sausages or Tantra or why one person had 'inadvertently’ shagged the other's boyfriend. I shut my door - the world and Enlightenment could fuck right off.
     It’s a shame about loneliness. And it’s a shame that being ‘an artist’ brings with it all the same bullshit everything else does. I replaced a genuinely deluded idea that I could escape the pain of being alive by getting Enlightened with a genuinely deluded idea that I could transform that pain into great stories and poems that would bring me a purpose in life (and an income). That I’d fit in somewhere – into the world of books and writers. Hey, I’d make songs and maybe I’d become some kind of pop diva (even if my songs were about sticking ex-friends in freezers, burning down cities ,and ‘deep-throating’ large mulberries). I’d find my place – not in renouncing the world, but in reclaiming it for my very, freaky own.
     Oh dear. I spent five years filing my poems away, writing a blog read by approximately 3.5 people and performing, ooh, at least twice. So then I decided on something else. This time I wasn’t going to shy away from the very thing I’d kept at least half-shoved in the closet most of my life.


berenice said...

I am up for tennis with you Clare, anytime!
Oh Clare you are brilliant, I love reading you when you get like “this”
Your writing is so clear, clever, incisive, and sarcastic, with its tints of sadness that become laughter at your morbid examples, and they are so funny…
Clare I am so thankful for being one of those 3.5 individuals who read your blog, you are a really talented writer, so don’t give up… and maybe ‘because I’ve heard the term Buddhist one too many times and Catholic too, and I am a bit of both myself… I feel that you are living what happens to me many times… we are ‘waiting’ for something… maybe as a good ex-Buddhist you should wait… society has taught us to reach, to become, to acquire… and all what for? When we are children we are waiting to grow up, when we go to school, we are waiting to learn and get out to find a job, when we find the job, we are waiting for a better one, and what to say about love, we are waiting for the right guy (or girl), then we are waiting for that love to become eternal, then we wait for the asshole to get out of our lives so we can move on… and then we wait for the next victim, wait, wait, wait… until one day we drop dead… no more waiting… I am not sure why, but at age 40 (am 41 right now) all of a sudden I stopped waiting… I think I was freaked out ‘cause of my health, migraines that made me think I’d die, asthma attacks so often that I was surprised to be alive… and then one morning I woke up, after a horrible night of pain, and grabbed my hot cup of coffee, and I was so thankful to have made it through the night that I really enjoyed the coffee, the sunlight, the birds, I even enjoyed the miserable parts of my life, the being broke, the no-boyfriend, I was just happy to be able to breathe without asthma, and to be able to drink coffee again… or tea… before that night, I was always miserable and wondering, why me? Why do I get migraines? Why am I not so beautiful, why I have huge hips? Why? Why? Why? But that morning, I didn’t care anymore, on the contrary, not sure what happened to my brain, but I was happy for being who I am and for finally NOT caring what people thought of me… for once, I feel better in my life…

I remember having an asshole boyfriend who used to get to me by telling me: you are really mean when you are bad, you become a bitch (all this he said in Spanish) and it made me really angry to feel that I was able to scare somebody, it made me really angry & sad to be the witch with green face, but if I was or wanted to be Dorothy all the time!!... but then one day, I replied to him, from the bottom of my heart: yeah!! I am a fucking bitch when I am mad, and better be careful ‘cause I am raging now… after that, I laughed… I truly didn’t care what he or anybody thought of me anymore… I was done with fitting in, and reading you, I can see you are getting there, good for you Clare, and even if you only have 3.5 readers believe me, like Van Gogh, you shall be discovered, even if it happens 200 years after your death ‘cause you are one clever woman, and loving, and caring, and brilliant!

And Clare when we are old (er) and decrepit (er) and if you haven’t find a place to live ( I rent my apartment in San Diego too) remember this old Mexican woman, come on out and live with me at my mom’s place in Mexico, she’s leaving this house with a huge garden, no money but some garden in a place where the sun always shine… in Mexico, among brown short people who don’t speak your language, you’ll fit in, you’ll see (read Paul Bowles)
Love love some eHugs and glad to have a chance to have read you in 3 parentheses
And I trust my version of Toto, my 2 treacherous cats (told you I was too, mad)

Anonymous said...

Oh Bere. You just made me pull that face that I only do when someone's tugged a deep heart string.

Much, much love, x x

clare said...

That's me, Clare, by the way :-)

Georgina said...

Not sure if you're ineterested, but check out Asperger's Syndrome ... may sound freaky, but it comes with really cool talents and creativity. My two eldest children (27 & 25) were 'diagnosed' about three years ago. We don't see it as a lable or a box ... just a different way of seeing the world. G x

clare said...

Yes, Georgina, it seems to be the case (though not always, of course) that those very things that set us apart from others and that can be difficult, painful or isolating bring with them unique insights or talents, even. That can offer something wonderful and refreshing to the world. And yes, labels are helpful when we're trying to get a diagnosis, I think, as long as we don't think that's all we are.

Paul said...

OMG!! At this point of course, I appear...

Well. What can I say? My book stands at 60K plus now so if it does get published you can read that for self diagnosis. Otherwise just hit the library. Plenty of books waffle about Aspergers.

Dont worry about having a label. I think that Clare is simply a bit too smart to fit into a square peg. A case of overpersonality in a woman. Typically, sufferers end up mad in attics, with pens and paper.

Fuck gender, sexual polarization and being definitely male or female let alone your sexuality. Sounds like Clare is just plain too alive, aware and smart. Terrible thing education in women. No wonder they used to just raise them to do what Men said. All that emotion and awareness...Thatcher, Curie, oh dear.

I could not say if Clare is an Aspie but she certainly gives a damn about people who really needed caring about, and now she could do with some of that back I reckon. XXX

berenice said...

as Paul said: Clare is simply a bit too smart to fit into a square peg... yes!! our beloved Clare is my nowadays Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, ahead of her time...

buenas noches for me & good morning for you Clare, tomorrow will read the newest post, sleepy now, God (the God of writers) bless you, and you too Paul, hugs from California

pikachops said...

that was true,i hope you continue to be an artist,its the best path for brings some sorts of lucidity