Diary, Don Quijote, and Binge Eating

I am feeling an intense need to return to the diary again in a fraught attempt to retrain the senses. I wish to regain my life, my own thoughts, since I am always the person those in need of help continually return to so they can unload their burdens. Taking on so much of others’ burdens deadens the sensibilities, my own sense of myself as a person, which is continually transformed through the characteristics of others by that dangerous two way street named Empathy. Intense empathy is both a gift and a curse. I have insight, but no one can listen like me.

I have been taking a class that is partly on Don Quijote. It has been said that one doesn’t read Don Quijote. Don Quijote is actually reading you. I see so much of his journey in mine, principally, the quest for recognition and fame, which is universal. But I also find similarities in other ways, too. In class we were given an artistic depiction of DQ. This image consists of a pile of books that take the shape of the knight-errant. What the artist intends to get across is the fact that Don Quijote’s sense of personhood is constructed entirely from the chivalric novels he reads. I wish to link this idea to the empathic person, because I think that for the empath the people that hover around him are floating texts to be read continuously. I am partly constructed from others’ doubts, faults, strengths, worries. To a certain extent, everyone is. But I frighten myself sometimes by how easy it is for me to simply mirror other people. And I can never say no to any of them, for fear of being alone. It produces within me what I think is a lack of selfhood. I don’t know what is my own, or what has been absorbed from others. And how frail is my unconscious? Think of it this way: One bad seed from another yard can spoil my entire garden. No matter how well you hide the bad seed, no matter how deep in the dark closet you keep the dead plant, I can always sense what has been decaying beneath the visible surface. The truth is always-already-eventually fished out.

A new predicament: binge eating. I hate waking up with the taste of last night’s food hovering on the rim of my throat. When I open my mouth, I release a diaphragmatic miasma. I can feel the food tumbling about as though it were bathing in lava, which produces an uncomfortable feeling. On the outside, I am bothered by, and can see, the roundness, a visible manifestation of the ensuing bolus, as though my stomach were indeed a hand made heavy with the weight of bowling balls. It sickens me.

Downward Reaching Fingers

Downward reaching fingers 
trace a five pointed star.
I feel their indiscriminate touching, 
like the tentacles of jelly fish. 
They keep me awake, always pulling 
back my eyes. By morning, 
the outline of my body, 
like the outline of memory, 
awaits the great dissolve. 

Self-Portrait

You stab all your impressions onto paper in illegible loops, until the words start falling off, until the pages start curling away and you’re left staring at the violence you’ve committed against your notebook. And like a medic who attends to a helpless and dying amputee, you have to sit with it, with all its torn pages deposited like lost souls into what you thought was the bottomless fount of the garbage. Guess what? It has a bottom. And all the papers are rising like stones to the top.

Aug 23rd

“Ashley, if I told you everything I had been thinking about since I stepped through the door till now, you wouldn’t believe me.” 

Even as I have finished the last word in the sentence, my mind has made its one-thousandth revolution. Already it threatens to topple over. Like one of Yeats’ ever widening gyres, I can’t stop learning. I practice the same repetitions, the same exercises, without break: open the book, extract information, apply it to life, while also paying the price for wisdom, knowledge, and secrets. My muscles have atrophied like flatulating balloons. I eat less. I’ve grown weak. My vision has blurred, too. 

New Kittens

It’s a fuckin’ party in this alley.

People leave cigarettes to lay like confetti
while mists of dust motes touch,
falling from fire escapes to form aureoles
on trash strewn around.

In particular, bottles of Svedka.
They catch the moth light, as in a cistern.
And aborted hoops of gold earrings
lie like a trail of bread crumbs
on steps that go all the way down,
descending into hell.

There the alley cat’s vulva
bursts with new kittens.

Portrait of sleeping girl

Underneath the canopied bed she deposits her embroidered slippers, the ones with the frayed rose petals and the cotton nose of rabbits and mice. She is content to finally put the brush away. She will slip into the Viennese coverlet, quietly, but all the servants, the butlers and the maids, will experience a quietude that is short lived. Because their duty is to attend to every need, even the slightest sigh travels through the canal of the oreille. She is turning, always turning as she endeavors to sleep, haunting them when she makes sound the intimate communion between silk and lace. Then the sheet wraps around her waist, crawls down her thigh and extends past her feet forming the shape of a crinoline skirt. She is ready to venture out again, her lower half restless compared to anything else, with the legs always in motion, freeing one to guess at the content of her dreams. Is she bicycling? Or are they the hurried steps of Daphne? When the feverish rustlings end, she regains composure. Before the ordeal, her hair was a black, inky tentacle, but when the head turns, the lump of mass shatters into tendrils. Dew drops cling to the ceiling. A vast curtain of darkness blows in from the windows. A divine darkness, a darkness full of stillness and loveliness that would only serve to make one afraid.

Queer Theology, Medieval Christianity, Exodus Movement, and Sheep-Shepherd Relationships

Ripped this conversation right out of Facebook. Edited so that it loosely resembles a socratic dialogue. Underlined important ideas/concepts, as well as perceived contradictions.
____________

Me:
I took a cursory glance at Corinthians. Those passages are beautiful.

Her:
1st or 2nd Corinthians?

Me:
1st.

Her:
Paul does a great job!

Me:
I don’t agree with all of Corinthians 1, but the part I just read I really liked.

Her:
Which part?

Me:
The part that deals with purity concerns.

Her:
Chapter 6? I believe.

Me:
I can’t remember, I wrote a paper a while ago on some of the passages in the Pauline tradition. I was taking a class called Christianity and Homosexuality.

Her:
Thats intense! Nice! We have a “Christian sexual ethics” course at my university. I’m thinking about sitting in on it.

Me:
Is that the equivalent?

Her:
Haha not quite but they do a lot of talking about homosexuality and everything in between. We’re so liberal.

Me:
I feel like the Church wants to forget that homosexuality has and always will be a huge presence in the Church, even if it’s not immediately noticeable.

Her:
Well, it’s in the same boat as sex trafficking and sex education. No one wants to touch it because it’s so “taboo“.

Me:
I see. Which faith in the Christian tradition do you follow in particular?

Her:
That’s a funny question. I don’t really associate with any denomination or tradition. I lean more towards a reformed, maybe even lutheran. It’s something I’ve been wrestling with from a theological standpoint. But biblically I don’t think I’ll ever “choose” because of Paul’s teaching on the unity of the body of Christ and how choosing “houses” isn’t biblical.

Me:
Wow, I wonder what you would think about Queer Theology. Have you read any Queer Theology?

Her:
Haha I’ve been dealing with Biblical doctrine and missional theology. Haven’t exactly gotten to queer theology. Do tell me more.

Me:
Maybe a good example would be that regular, heteronormative theology views the bible in black and white, tends to look at the bible in binaries. What Queer Theology finds in the bible is a larger spectrum of color, there’s room to debate that some religious figures have homoerotic or lesbian interests, and can be reclaimed as gay icons/figures. And what’s the basis for this? As one author puts it, Christianity is rife with “hidden springs of sexuality”, it’s not always stuff that is at the surface.

Her:
If it means anything to you. Not all Christians are anti-gay everything. My school embraces all things gay. We have a SAGE club. I forgot what it stands for but yeah. We’re the heathens in the Christian college community.

Me:
But things are changing. Do you know about the Exodus Movement?

Her:
No I don’t.

Me:
Exodus International was a church started in the 60’s, and they would use psychotherapy to force gays to become straight. But recently, they decided to disband because they knew that the world didn’t agree with their message, and that they were in the wrong. The thing you have to understand is that cultural attitudes towards a demonized group never stay the same. In the Medieval period, gays were actually accepted in the church, and defended… Do you have a favorite bible passage?

Her:
I have too freaking many. Colossians 3:12, Matt 6:33, Psalms 92:12, phil 1:6, basically the entire freaking book of James!

Me:
Those are beautiful. Because I am a poet, I am drawn deeply to the imagery in revelations.

Her:
Yes! Revelations is scary but beautiful.

Me:
Scary and beautiful, do you know the word that combines those two? It’s Sublime.

Her:
Oh yeah!

Me:
I’m trying to think of which line I liked. There was one about the wrath of the lamb.

Her:
Anything with “lamb” or “sheep” in the bible is incredible. In-freaking-credible. I was a camp counselor this summer and I did a bible study on how we’re called sheep and those little girls jaws were on the floor. It’s a beautiful thing. So many people look at it as well you’re an idiot and you follow but the shepherd-sheep relationship is beautiful when you look at it from an “agricultural” point of view.

Me:
What do you mean by that? What is beautiful to you about the shepherd-sheep relationship?

Her:
Do you know what a shepherd does to a sheep if it’s been “misbehaving” not following the flock/ his voice?

Me:
What?

Her:
He breaks its legs! And for what? To teach the sheep dependence. From that point on the sheep learns to depend on the shepherd for everything because he puts the sheep on his back and carries it around EVERYWHERE. To water, to food, around with the other sheep. Isn’t that sick!?

Me:
Sick in a good way?

Her:
Haha both ways. Like gosh, thats rude! But dang, that’s so smart/caring. Tell me ______. What do you believe? Is there a God?

ME:
I don’t know, but too many significant things have happened to me for me to believe that it’s all an accident. I don’t believe that this is all an accident. The sheep situation that you described has me worried though. Imagine a less liberal college that teaches you about the sheep-shepherd relationship. What if that less liberal institution was a bad shepherd? Then you’re sitting on that false/bad shepherd’s back. Some religions are like that…but I trust that you’re more open and drawn to better things.