All There Is

Every once in a while something still manages to sweep me away. I see or hear something that strikes a chord in me that feels real. I feel that way when I listen to Karen Carpenter sing. Her voice is perfect and polished and yet there is a painful undertone. It’s a wounded perfection that speaks volumes to those of us who feel it but can’t seem to give it a tangible outlet. Being heard and validated over the radio waves is a very sophisticated form of art. Ears all over the world perk up because she was able to say something we can’t. It feels like looking into a musical mirror and seeing myself–an elusive reflection of validation.

Invalidation. The shame of existence. You have everything you need, what reason could you possibly have for despair? It starts in childhood. They whittle away at the fire inside until it’s nothing but a nostalgic memory. The sandbox was a place we believed we could dig through to the other side of the earth. The pavement was a stage for elaborate theater productions. The trees were enchanting companions with familiar roots and rustling whispers. We played big and had big inspired dreams. Now it’s the strict adherence to a long checklist of stress and strife for a vague, mandatory reward. The joy of the endeavor, just a flat phrase from a self-help book.

One after another everything that once brought joy fades away. The questions of why we’re here and who we are become a desperate, malevolent mystery when once an exhilarating opportunity for play and discovery. What’s left to grapple with but losing loved ones and physical and mental devaluation and depreciation.

They call it depression. Watch out for addiction and disorder. You have to want to get better! You learn to hold it inside because telling anyone means they’ll be looking for an expiration date. They’ll be there for you with a watchful eye waiting for you to say it’s all better. They’ll target you with their religion and advice. It’s a well-intentioned reinforcement of the loneliness of emptiness and shame. There’s no excuse for depression when you have everything they say you need! Deep down inside you know it’ll never really end. There’s no antidote, but there’s music. A momentary escape to a plane of existence where there’s no emptiness because there’s a vibrant, vibratory version of you to fill the airspace.

I’m too fat. I can’t withstand pressure. I’m judgmental. I procrastinate. I waste money. I’m ungrateful. I can’t get along with people. I complain constantly. It’s a never-ending circle of shame, but the songs hold me. If I hear beauty in them, they must be in-sync with something in me. There is still something sweet and beautiful in me. I can’t put it into exact words but thank God for those who compose and bare their musical soul for the rest of us.

Maybe it’s a song or a poem. Maybe it’s a fashion design or a drawing. Whatever you do, if you put yourself in it, others will see you in themselves. Art is the mirror of validation. It allows you to exist despite the shame. It allows you to see yourself and be seen. It’s outside of time and accessible to all, the vehicle of ultimate transcendence. The courage to bare parts of yourself you’re ashamed to indulge in the cage of depression will lead you to the other side of mirror–to yourself.

The Will to Love

Creation happens at the meeting between two souls, the border, the shoreline, the cliff at the edge of the abyss. It happens on the line where innocence descends into a dark, stony hole and that which lies at the bottom is purely uncertain. I have long sought a true merging, a coming together of mentor and muse, heart and lust. It is my deepest longing and sorely neglected need.

I stare deeply into Chopin’s portrait while feeling his music pulse through my aura. Gentle, spirited hands, manifested inspiration and a face lined with passionate knowledge gazes through me. It is the music made physical I seek; the merging of unfettered passion and vibrating harmony. The portrait, come alive.

All that I have to give remains bound inside the limitation of my own flesh. I feel the crude prison bars of the boundary between self and other. I embrace them and urge them to bend at will with incantations and unwavering faith. It is my spirit, lured ahead and the will to triumph that provides the impulse to continue.

I am lost in sex without alchemy and ill-returned passion. I stand alone afterward, bewildered and empty. The stage is the only refuge for feminine fulfillment. It is only there that body and soul intertwine and the prince eternally reveres his princess. Tears are nothing without function; a dancer lives through other means of expression. The loss of idyllic illusion drives her to reconcile the frivolous futility of music when withheld from barren physical reality. It is here she rediscovers her passion. How she longs to give more than a soulless exchange of lifeless matter!

Discipline replaces dreams; resignation replaces love. I tread on with a relentless striving for transcendence. How do I release desire for all that I am–the dream of someone willing to take my hand, dissolve and live for starry discoveries and unbridled human expansion? How many times must I sell myself to artless vulgarities? There is no frequency compatible with the ‘Song of Myself.’ It is lost in space-time, a sacrificial relic of romantic literature. The yearning to love is an affliction handled with ridicule and shame. Until it springs forth from yellowed pages, infused with life, shall I suffer.