“You don’t even need to be in love. Who told you you do? What you need is to be free. What you need is to love. That’s it; that’s your nature. But what you’re really telling me is that you want to be desired. You want to be applauded, to be attractive, to have all the little monkeys running after you. You’re wasting your life. WAKE UP! You don’t need this. You can be blissfully happy without it.”
Have you ever been emotion-shamed before? You know what I’m talking about, has someone ever made you feel bad for being honest, for putting yourself out there and articulating your feelings to them? It’s a rare thing to do these days, to really let yourself be raw and vulnerable. We live in an age of posturing. People hide behind their phones, they carefully curate their communication with other people, which makes honest moments few and far between. When one manages to slip itself in, it’s jarring. “You’re being so real with me right now,” the person on the receiving end says. “I don’t really know what to do with all of this truth. We’ve gone off-script. We’re like in the 70s or something.”
You don’t get anything you want by subscribing to the social rules of today. You remain frozen and in perpetual fear that you’ll come off as “crazy” to someone, you’re unhinged, you are officially seen as someone with no filter. God, I hate that term: no filter. What the hell does that even mean? Like, sorry, that I won’t lie and do this elaborate dance with you? Yes, I must be truly a loose cannon then!
Don’t follow these rules of modern love. They’re shit. Imagine yourself at age 90 and filled with regret. Imagine being surrounded with “what if”s and “how come”s and not being able to do anything about it because you’re too old now, you’ve been edged out of society and the only thing you have left to do now is die. That’s what will happen to you if you keep on holding the love in.
“Go after her. Fuck, don’t sit there and wait for her to call, go after her because that’s what you should do if you love someone, don’t wait for them to give you a sign cause it might never come, don’t let people happen to you, don’t let me happen to you, or her, she’s not a fucking television show or tornado. There are people I might have loved had they gotten on the airplane or run down the street after me or called me up drunk at four in the morning because they need to tell me right now and because they cannot regret this and I always thought I’d be the only one doing crazy things for people who would never give enough of a fuck to do it back or to act like idiots or be entirely vulnerable and honest and making someone fall in love with you is easy and flying 3000 miles on four days notice because you can’t just sit there and do nothing and breathe into telephones is not everyone’s idea of love but it is the way I can recognize it because that is what I do. Go scream it and be with her in meaningful ways because that is beautiful and that is generous and that is what loving someone is, that is raw and that is unguarded, and that is all that is worth anything, really.”
Harvey Milk said this decades ago but it has never felt more relevant to how we live our lives today. When did we become so afraid to love someone with vulnerability? When did we become so fearful of spilling our guts and being who you are? It sounds corny but it’s true. A few months ago, after a long time of doing the elaborate modern dance and keeping my feelings in, I let them out at 5 a.m. to someone and it didn’t go well. I could see this person make the switch in his mind. I was the “crazy emotional” one now. I told the truth and I was going to pay for my sins.
We need to move away from this constant need of coming across as calm, cool and collected. WE WEREN’T BUILT TO BE CALM, COOL, AND COLLECTED. If we were, it wouldn’t feel so fucking exhausting all the time. It would, you know, come naturally to us. You know what comes naturally to human beings though? Being open, being messy, being raw, being unfiltered, having lots of feelings. Why should we have to stifle our true nature? Let’s go after the things we want, let’s love each other brutally and honestly, and not worry about the consequences. Let’s release the feelings inside of us and let them land somewhere special. Otherwise, we might have a lifetime of longing in front of us.
Evidence is a group of photographs taken at homes where familial homicides have occurred. Long after the struggles have ended in these spaces, despite the cleaning, repainting and subsequent re-habitation of these homes, the “Blue Star” solution activates the physical memory of blood through its contact with the remaining DNA proteins on the walls. The black and white images are long exposures – from ten minutes to one hour – with minimal ambient night light pouring in from the crevices of windows and doors, capturing the physical presence of blood as a lurid glow.
“Everything can be used as an invitation to meditation. A smile, a face in the subway, the sight of a small flower growing in the crack of cement pavement, a fall of rich cloth in a shop window, the way the sun lights up flower pots on a windowsill. Be alert for any sign of beauty or grace. Offer up every joy, be awake at all moments, to “the news that is always arriving out of silence.” Slowly, you will become a master of your own bliss, a chemist of your own joy, with all sorts of remedies always at hand to elevate, cheer, illuminate, and inspire your every breath and movement.”
“Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it - that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing - an actor, a writer - I am a person who does things - I write, I act - and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.”