Do this with me, it might help
Fear is a motherfucker. Bad grades, bullies, losing a job or a girlfriend, trapped in mine shaft, whatever. Worse, is a fear of the unknown: A dark alley, the deepest elbow-pit of the ocean, a bump growing rapidly on behind your earlobe.
What is happening now, with all sincerity, is messed up. No one really knows how bad it is, no one really knows how long it’ll take, no one knows when life will resume and no one knows what’s going on, at all.
I’m a steadfast believer in trying to make sense of a situation based solely on your own perception and unique perspective. I’m also not what you’d call a ‘community’ person either. I’m a solitary son of a lovely woman with some great homies and a hitherto monstrous work schedule.
I’ve gone from numb, to rage, to numb, to depressed and ended up at tired and confused. Judging by the schizoid posts and posits that I’ve seen which flux between sardonic and desperate, people not knowing whether to show-off or show true emotion, I’d say we’re all somewhere in that spectrum.
I had an idea. I wrote it out and took notes for future stories. I had a chat with a mate and it all helped me. Writing and making my thoughts and words real, is my therapy. It soothes me, even when the final verdict is ‘holy shit, no one is steering the bus, shitcotdamn.’
What I am proposing came to me when I went to go get my loot from the hollowed out walls of what was a bustling restaurant no more that a week ago. Times are lean, my little goons, and the salariats were doing what they could in this cavernous, once prosperous spot.
There was anger, sadness, loneliness, humour and confusion. No one knew when we’d be back to cracking sea rocks for loot-sacks, if one could stay in the country, if one could afford (insert anything here), how their loved ones would fare, and the like.
On the walk back I listened to some violent, drug-dealing-centric rap with a gritty beat (as is my preference on any given day) and saw people having fun. I saw groups of people enjoying the ‘break’ and I saw some business open and happy to serve a motherfucker. I saw a smaller-version of summer vacations, as the sun was in full height. I saw a coffee shop with some punk-asses sitting inside, while the baristas wore dollar-store haz-mat suits so they could watch youtube on free wifi. The government has promised money, spoken of freezing rent, and pledged to help us. But, some won’t even need it, and yet they will fatten still while the rest of us struggle to keep our ribs form touching.
It irritated me. Then, it irritated me that I’d allowed it to destabilize the tranquility I’d previously been able to maintain after losing my livelihood for Lord knows however long.
The angry emotions were there like fruit, ripe for the picking, ready to be plucked and eaten. Their low -hanging, low-calorie deliciousness was drooping in front of my grill and the snake told me it was time to feast.
But, that’s too easy.
I had to stop and think, write a bit, reach for the higher fruit; the more complex, longer-serving and less-immediately satisfying fruit. SOmething that would allay these feelings without big, red, boldly glowing one word feels: Anger, Dismay, Jealousy, and the rest.
Writing is that. Maybe not just the writing aspect, but marinating on thoughts, allowing them to unfurl and divulge how complicated even the smallest matter can be. Why do you, me, we feel a way. The knee-jerk is easy, but it can be repulsive and at its worst: prejudice.
If I didn’t write, or in other words, think about things more sincerely than my immediate, sociopath reaction, I’d be lost. I’d be confused and ignorant in dealing with any threat beyond punching its pearls out and wearing them like some kind of Visigoth King.
Stress is high. Many of us can’t do our steam-blow-offers like go to a gym, get plastered in a bar, watch sports, do sports, the list is long. We are all perplexed volcanoes of worry, doubt, angoisse and, maybe the worst, isolation.
We need an outlet. Before I had this, I was a shook bottle of champagne with a saber to the throat at all times. Not violent, per se, but a little ball of hate with more questions than answers. I don’t have answers now, but I ask better questions.
If we, and I hope we are, taking these social-isolation measures seriously (I’ll admit my desire is selfish, I want to work, I want people to be free to choose: to be a dick or not a dick, without being crucified for endangering us all), then we will not be seeing our homies in groups or utilizing our normal ways of de-stressing.
I suggest writing. On my Instagram and Facebook I am calling on mfers to submit stories, up to 500 words, about how they feel. Not quite homework, but maybe a chance to use this time of isolation to learn about themselves and self-medicate without some kind of drug or genital. (You can, of course, do as you want.) It doesn’t have to be a story and it can be any length: letter, essay, poem, rap, mission statement, hai-motherfuckin-ku. It can be anything really, a song, a painting, a sculpture.
I want people to learn that, even though we are gregarious-ass creatures, being alone ain’t so bad. Being alone and writing has brought me closer with myself and my feels. It has given me a sense of inward community and attached me to my readers, with whom I now share a common bond. I want to post your stories so others can see and identify those feelings. Trust me, they will. I want people to figure out for their own that it’s ok and shovel out a little more earth than the superficial sentiments they have from the starter pistol. I want people to engage, with me and more importantly, with themselves. I would give a prize, but it’s not a contest, it’s about coming to grips with something that you might let other people and sources decide for you. Finally, I would like people to pass this on, because I feel like a lot of people could benefit from this practice, sharing my passion and the lungs of my personal god, maybe developing one of their own.
I get it, we’re all bored and the worst situation with this is that no one does it or cares. A medium win is it kills an hour or two of a lugubrious, grey-scale day. A victory starts with people engaging with themselves and creatively addressing this state of formless uncertainty with a creative diversion that elicits some self-provoking thought and perhaps a humbling of whatever demons were present.
If you want to send me something, whatever it is, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or the flypelicanpress insta or facebook page, I think those’ll work. I have the idea to work on a series of stories and art made in this time and post it all so people can see it. It can be about anything, really, any length. You can leave me your name or do it anonymously.
This isn’t self-serving in the sense that I want anything out of this, only that y’all motherfuckers learn to keep your cool and act right, son.
Sorry for cussin’