Categories
psychoanalysis

Paranoia

1. I suffer enormously from being ignored. Being ignored by those I love makes me feel I don’t exist for anyone.

2. I find this to be a paranoid state brought about by trauma. This knowledge gives me no relief.

3. If you are chronically ill, disabled, and home all day, the form acknowledgment takes is some kind of online recognition.

4. My sister A., with whom I communicate only through Instagram “likes,” has stopped giving me likes. She got angry at me at the beginning of the pandemic then (allegedly) stopped being angry, so at least responds to my IG comments. Still, she won’t like my posts or ask me anything about me.

5. The rest of my family, so active on Whatsapp during the beginning of the quarantine, has gone back to life as usual, which means no contact (I am in close touch with my mom; everyone else acts as if I don’t exist).

6. My mom told me that my niece had a fever. I wrote a Whatsapp message to my sister S. to inquire after my niece’s fever. She replied that it was all okay for now, it wasn’t high or anything. I said Ok good, love to everyone! No answer.

7. I go to a place where I think, I did this. They hate me because I am hateful. They don’t like me because I don’t make enough of an effort to be in touch with them.

8. I can’t let go of this massive sense of abandonment.

9. I can’t let go of this massive sense that people abandon me because I am bad.

Categories
love

A celebration

Dear G.

1. You died before the pandemic, missed it by a year, exactly. The way you were in the last few years, you would have found it exciting. But you would have found it exciting before the cancer, too, I think. You loved nothing better than an excuse to stay home, chill. Universal chilling would have been a gift for you.

2. You would not have been scared. You had a nice house in the woods and great faith in the love of God. I do too (have faith in the love of God; my house is smack dab in the city), but I am scared for all those who will die of neglect, because our country is built to safeguard the rich and the White.

3. You would have cared about others, too, but you would have found a way to help those around you, way more than I am. You would have been busy on the phone. You might even have risked your own health to make sure others had what they needed.

4. You might have taken someone in. Something tells you me you would have taken someone in. Those who are alone. Those who are scared. It was routine for you to put people up. You and I. were the most generous people.

5. You died way too soon, but I am happy you do not have to be here for the pandemic. I know I just said you would have been okay with it, even liked it, but still, it gives me peace to think of you safe and happy basking in the presence of Love.

6. I haven’t felt much of you since you died, G., I’ll be honest. I thought our conversation would continue uninterrupted but that didn’t happen. You and I, we talked so much. I know there is a plan of love for me in this, too, this silence of yours, or, rather, this deafness of mine, and this is why I carry on.

7. It feels strange to be left here. You and D. and many others, gone. Yet we talked about this, didn’t we? You said you’d help. You promised. I know you are helping me. You are not someone to break a promise — never.

8. What do you want for the anniversary of your death? I know you would like a celebration. I will celebrate for you, honey. I will have a feast here on my own, maybe get S. to join. We’ll have a cake, maybe, some cookies at least. We’ll sing. We do this a lot now. We sing together when we are happy. You would have gotten a kick out of it.

Painting by Beate Tuback, Leaf-Line.

Categories
love psychoanalysis

How not to be sad

1. Tell your therapist you love her madly.

2. Tell your husband you love him madly.

3. Tell your girlfriend you love her madly.

4. Call your mom and tell her you love her madly and forgive her absolutely for all the ways she fucked you up.

5. Call someone scared and tell them they won’t die of COVID19, then tell them again until they believe you.

6. Call someone who is going under financially or in other ways and tell them, “I am here,” and mean it because after this is over the world will be a newly communal space and we will be all there for each other and the silly things will no longer matter so you can definitely share a bowl of soup.

7. If someone’s car battery dies help them jump start it (stay at 6 ft of distance from them while you do this because no one needs to get sick while jump starting a car). If they need a car, lend them your car because this is not a time to hold on tight to a car or anything silly like that.

8. Tell your dog he/she is a good dog, such a good, good dog. Same to cat, pet rabbit, pet snake, etc.

9. Ask your friends, “What can I do for you?” and mean it because chances are they won’t need anything other than to hear you say that.

10. Forgive everyone.

11. Do your bit for a world based on decency, love, and cooperation. Do your bit to save the planet. Then, when you have done your bit, be at peace because this is literally all that is asked of you.

Art by Shepard Fairey, posted today on his Instagram, @obeygiant

Categories
poetry

Paul Robeson | Gwendolyn Brooks

That time

we all heard it,

cool and clear,

cutting across the hot grit of the day.

The major Voice.

The adult Voice

forgoing Rolling River,

forgoing tearful tale of bale and barge

and other symptoms of an old despond.

Warning, in music-words

devout and large,

that we are each other’s

harvest:

we are each other’s

business:

we are each other’s

magnitude and bond.

Categories
psychoanalysis

Peace

1. Some in my family are leaving our all-family Whatsapp group and I am the cause. Everyone is in Italy so I thought it would be safe to bring up my president (Italian politics is high-level verboten). I thought it would be safe, two weeks ago, to say “We who live in the US are in really bad hands and I am scared.”

2. It wasn’t. The one of us who sees things in terms of individual choices and therefore (how does that follow?) supports right-wing politicians was all over me. She is always so disciplined, so good, so kind! But people had been dying for weeks and she hadn’t worked a day and no sick leave for her because she works for herself, so stress (I assume) got the better of her.

3. We argued, I and this person I love, for hours. Everyone else was quiet. We argued well into the late afternoon here and the night there. She was condescending. I was furious. Eventually, in the dead of night Italian time, I lost it and said the things one says when one is angry, which are not what one thinks but what one knows will hurt.

4. I watched the season finale of This Is Us last night. If you have seen it, you know what I’m talking about. Untrue words said in rage can only be taken back if both parties agree that they are indeed untrue and said only because, in rage, we’ll say what hurts.

5. My very loved one who believes that everything is individual choices also believes that rage leads us to say what we really think. She now believes every word I say, and, given the basis of her believing it, there is no talking her out of it.

6. But here’s the thing. I expected the whole family to be angry at me for my lack of control and meanness. They weren’t. They have tolerated my loved one’s right-wingness for years. I was suddenly the hero who said it like it was. They, too, believed my words.

7. Relations are now broken and it’s my fault. Relations are now broken and it’s my loved one’s fault. Relations are now broken and no one can see a path to forgiveness for my loved one except, paradoxically, me, so it’s their fault too.

8. The last time my whole family sided with me I was 9 and something really bad happened and they were on my side because it was just too egregious even for big-mouthed, easy-to-lose-her-cool, troublesome, designated-problem me.

9. But I don’t want them back like this. I don’t want them loving me, now, because we are all united against our loved one who hasn’t been working for more than a month and has ideas that don’t jibe with the rest of us but who is also always there for everyone, always there, always there.

10. And I think of all of us who are fighting now because people are sick and dying, because politicians fail us, because we are not working, because we are working and it’s killing us, because we are stuck together in small spaces including small virtual spaces, and all I can say is, peace, fellow humans, peace and ask forgiveness and give forgiveness and please peace.

Art by Lourdes Sánchez, detail. Via art-Walk.

Categories
psychoanalysis

hope

This is very, very good. There is hope, and hope is the hope for a utopia, and utopias are not silly dream but goals. We hope, we set goals, we strive, we believe, we cheer, we lift our hearts. We look forward. We cuddle the dog.

the stanza

Annuaire_du_Musée_d'histoire_naturelle_de_Caen_(1880)_(17802448583)

It feels a little risky to hope right now, but I find myself doing it anyway.

This is not because I’m a particularly optimistic person—I’m not. In fact, I’ve often found comfort in the theory that, as we evolved as a species, pessimists may have been more likely to pass on their genetic material than optimists [*shrugs]. And I’ve often thought that, since the dawn of vaccines and the long absence of wars fought on U.S. soil, some people have forgotten how much we need a functional government and one another.

As our lives have changed in order to (we hope) slow the spread of the Coronavirus, I find myself hoping that our world, our lives, our society will be different for those who remain after… whatever and whenever “after” is.

Here are some of my hopes:

I hope we finally build the healthcare system that our country needs, and…

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Categories
poetry

Liesel Mueller, “Things”

Categories
psychoanalysis

Little

1. I fight for the right to be little.

2. Little is the place I inhabit most comfortably.

3. Little is a place of joy and furious love.

4. Little is happy.

5. Little is free.

6. Little is capable of being loved.

7. Little is thirsty for play and giggles.

8. Little knows she will be kept safe.

Categories
poetry

Jane Kenyon, “Let Evening Come”

Categories
psychoanalysis

Therapeutic regrets

1. I regret telling my therapist she should read more literature by people of color, that enough already with the White authors.

2. I regret humiliating her.

3. I regret ever making her suffer.

4. I regret making her work so damn hard.

5. I regret that we chose to have therapy during the plague.

6. I regret not having told her “thank you” enough.

Painting by Atsushi Fukui via What Jane Saw