CHEST: Sitting up helpless


This piece is the beginning of a new series essaus I’m calling “Blip”, named after my new solo piece, which is the first piece in a series of one-woman freak shows that I am creating.

Creating these freaks, this freak show series, has become my newest life’s mission or, at least, a good little summary of my life’s mission for the time being.

For the sake of writing and performing this series,  I have to change the way I relate to my body.

My whole life I have been at odds with my physical self.

If you’ve ever literally sat and written down the reasons why you will never be beautiful or if you, as a child, put a sign on your door warning anyone who was entering that, if they entered, they would be confronted by a very ugly person, or if you have voluntarily purged many meals, damaged pieces of yourself, maybe you even prayed nightly to God for help improving your appearance, like I did:  Welcome to a series of essays written pretty much just for you.

These next 6 weeks I will be waking up very early to work physically with myself.  I have quit smoking.  I have quit most of my alcoholism habit.  I am saying goodbye to many dependencies and just letting my body do its thing, every day, while I watch.

Every single morning, I will write to you about a new piece of the body worth knowing.

Today it has to be:


I have been taking yoga classes with the humble hope that I will find comfort.

Today we learned how to sit.  Properly.

“Tuck your pelvis.  Try (key word) to relax your legs. Elongate the spine so that the shoulders are in line with our hips.  Stack (key word) your neck over your torso and your head over your neck.  Once you have a perfect posture, see if you can relax.”

I have really large breasts.  I don’t like them.  I don’t know what to do with them.  I frequently entertain the idea of getting rid of them.

If I sit up straight, if you happen to see me sitting or standing up straight:  My tits will blind you.  They are the kind of tits women ordinarily sculpt onto their bodies…ten years after the initial sculpting.

They are very real.  They are very big.

If I sit up straight, my tits are Present.  I don’t like it and that’s why I don’t do it.

Today, instructed, commanded to do the undoable, I sat up straight.  It felt really good, sitting in class, in sweaty yoga class, Better for having sat up.  Capable of anything.  Fuck murderers and global warming and domestic fires and identity theft, all the things I usually worry about, dead.   Because I am sitting the fuck up.  Properly.

I’m doing it right now.  At home.  Alone.

I am staring at a bottle of rum, which perhaps doesn’t really support the notion that I am perfected for sitting up but I am not drinking the rum.  So, that feels like a bit of evolution.  Or maybe I really want that rum.

Problematically, this posture opens up the chest, the heart, the tits, the breath.

“Come stab me right where it will kill me,” says this posture, “come closer and grab me or at least stare to the point of it feeling like you are metaphorically assaulting me with your eyes.”

Open and vulnerable, I want to drink.  Chest open and obvious, I just want to keep my body poised but find a way to escape it.   I, for some reason, at this point, want my body to be very strong but, at the same time, a bit empty.

Sure:  Here’s my body and it’s a lot healthier because it’s a lot straighter and aren’t I bold for letting you look.  But, on the other hand, this would be a lot easier to allow, this vulnerability would just be a lot easier to accept, if I was wasted.

I haven’t smoked at all and I haven’t had a drink alone in twelve days.

Yesterday, I lost it.  One day to a grant deadline, I learned that the application I had been writing all week was no longer eligible because of a fine print detail that I completely overlooked.  Upon realizing my mistake, I lost my mind.  Literally, kind of.  I just couldn’t keep it together.  I had no cigarettes or alcohol.  What could I do?  I stopped self-harming and doing drugs a long time ago. I just sat and fumed.  I hated it.

“This is ridiculous, I want to break things and hurt myself, I feel like I am twelve years old again,” I tell my best friend via text.

Nothing was really terrible.  The grant application can be submitted in November.  I did not hurt anyone, no one hurt me.  But, I felt like a fucking loser.  A failure.  And I lost it.

Patience is a cure-all but it is also truly a virtue.  I struggle with patience.  I often believe that the thing I am feeling in this very moment will be the thing that I feel forever.  The mistake I made today, will be the mistake I always make.  This is it.  This is the one way, nothing is changing in this moment and so nothing will ever change.  The result is rage.

I learned to perfect binge eating from a very young age.

When I was twelve years old, successfully bored with food, embarking on my first anorexic efforts, avoiding my own security blanket, I started burning my arm with a hair iron.  I kept that up for a bit of time, until I was fifteen.

At fifteen, I went back to food but I began taking multiple laxatives at a time.  The resulting ripping apart of my bowels was greatly satisfying.   Painful shits were my thing.

At seventeen, losing the laxatives, I began taking mass amounts of diet pills, becoming extremely high as the amphetamine in the pills mixed with my bi polar disorder, effectively lifting me off the planet.

Eventually, at eighteen, no longer able to function but determined to succeed as a Freshman in theatre school, I quit pills and began chain smoking.

My early twenties saw binge drinking.

From age twenty five I have struggled with the same binge eating that I would take in when I was a child, except, as I’ve aged, all of my habits have merged to include sex, smoking, drinking, eating, forgetting and forgetting and forgetting…all at once.

What have I been hiding from?  Rage.

What am I enraged by?  God knows, I have no idea.

I would love to know.

I am sitting up.  Properly.

I am very scared.

I have abandoned my dependencies.

I am staring at the bottle of rum, what is it even doing in my home at the moment, why haven’t I gotten rid of it?  Because, what if something goes wrong.

What if something goes wrong?

I don’t trust myself and I don’t trust anyone else to keep things right.  This rum is for when things go wrong.

But, for now, I am sitting up, properly, and I think I am just going to stay this way.

I have this idea, this feeling, sitting like this, that if I just sit here and stay this way, if I remain celibate from all the things that I have kept me from feeling, my whole life, if I just sit here:  I will know the answer.

The answer to a feeling.  To rage.

I am a writer and I feel everything but the science behind feelings has been lost on me because I suppress most of mine and wait for them to reappear in my work.

I can’t do that anymore because the work I want to pursue demands that I am very present, all day, with everyone, collecting evidence regarding the state of humanity that has fueled a life long dedication to rage.

I can only advance if I abstain from protection.

I learned how to sit up today.  Properly.

I feel properly helpless.

And what if I just keep sitting until tomorrow?


Tomorrow morning–another article on the body.

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