what could possibly be the evolutionary reasoning behind the subtlety and vastness of human emotions? It seems like a tide we are constantly helpless to be pulled into and rolled under.
In my anatomy class I have finally discovered the anatomical/emotional distance between my hands and my heart. There is a deep disconnect in my shoulders, pain I have always known and ignored for as long as I can remember - turns out the head of my humerus is struggling to stay in its socket, against all of the heavy things I ask it to do, ignoring its needs, disregarding its connection to my body completely.
I couldn't do certain things the other kids could on the playground, like the monkey bars, I remember the breathlessness of my frustration. After years of doing labor professionally, I stack an inhuman amount of weight on my shoulders, but can't manage a single pull up. In an emergency I could probably save everyone but myself. In a class on early developmental movement, we discussed what happens when a young child's hands are held over their heads as a way of teaching them how to walk, and something struck me about the question of agency, a child's ability to follow their desires or change their direction/level/methodology are mostly removed, a prop in a larger picture, possibly pulled up into more of an adult plane of existence than they may be quite ready for. Something about how fighting for agency often gets expressed by full body release we see children do to their parents reminds me deeply sharply of how I have responded to almost every sexual encounter I've had. When your hands are being held against your will, how can you catch yourself when you fall? How can you learn that your hands will support you when it is time to move through the world on your own?
I've run out of fingers and toes to count the generic, vacant men who have decided they wanted something that only lived inside of my body that I couldn't seem to communicate NO clearly to, no matter how specific my words, or cold and dry and still my body might have been. Why couldn't my hands rise up to protect me? I would put a man in the hospital for anyone else over less then what I have watched myself submit to, and like everyone else in my life who has failed me, so too have my own hands.
No wonder I struggled with feeling paralyzed after I graduated from art school. All I have ever known was how to give other people what they want. In the overwhelming deluge of life outside of school and its rules, homework assignments and seasons, I didn't know how to trust or rely on the power and skill residing in my hands. And since my hands have never been connected to my heart, the idea of moving from a place of love or desire is like hearing a foreign language that my hands can't speak, because they are dumb and blind to it.
I am dumb and blind to it.
I am not blameless in my sexual encounters. Something about the intensity of these individuals and their desire for something that momentarily wears my face, I find incredibly curious. When I witness a certain kind of glance, a heat, a catch in someone's throat, a flush, I become fiercely attuned to it, laying a magnifying glass onto the poor creature caught in my gaze, slowly setting them on fire. I have torn through labor crews, been inappropriately accosted by aging men who were my employers, I have had more than one loaded teacher student relationship, and my mentor in college, well, I crushed him. The only relationships I've been in, one with a man who was exactly twice my age (my 19 to his 38), and the other with a girl my age, and more destructive than I - were born out of this curious distraction, a way to get close to this feeling of wanting and pull it apart to see what it had to do with me. Having never had a sense of really being turned on or attracted to someone, age and gender didn't seem like adequate reasons to say no to someone's passionate interest, so I let the current draw me along as I studied them.
I have pulled the legs off so many bugs/people in my scientific investigation of the human heart. Nothing is colder then being in bed with me, or the lack of texts you will receive after I've locked the door behind you. My friend mentioned to me earlier that she isn't feeling a sense of need or longing for the person she is currently dating, and I am completely confused by ever wanting to feel those things for another human being. How exhausting and lonely it seems.
I don't understand desire, because I don't know if it is something I've ever felt. I don't think I've ever felt safe enough to have strong feelings about almost anything in my life. Maybe that's why I am so habit forming, so responsive to being inside of a Role or a Shape. It is defined by something outside of myself, and if I didn't have that to rely on, I'd be paralyzed. At least I can feel myself inside of the current. I went to art school because I spoke the language, riding on something that came naturally just like I rely on the connective tissue to hold my shoulder together. But language is useless with out something to say. Are hands useless without something to reach for?
I've noticed recently as I go through my daily motions, that there will be moments where the spaces around me suddenly seem intensely dimensional. Walking to the train the other day, it felt like my clothes were distinctly sitting on top of my skin, and my skin was sitting on top of the thing perceiving and thinking about it. In an exercise involving our hands exploring the ground around us, eyes closed, I had an experience I am still struggling to describe - an intelligence living in my hands took over for my eyes, and I felt/saw/perceived the edges of my sketchbook, its pages, the grain of the wood floor underneath me in a way that felt like I was seeing aspects of it that couldn't be witnessed through my eyes, a selfness that I hadn't been previously aware of. Everything feels different about being in my own body, and as the Roles I've been playing continue to be stripped away, and as I consciously give some of them up because they are no longer true... maybe I am able to see more of what I'm looking at, outside of what I need to survive within it. I am turning the magnifying glass inward, to set myself on fire - since no one else can do it for me. I wish I had understood that sooner, how much simpler that would have been, how much less bloody and frustrating.
It was a TV show about the Devil that helped me clarify the question I've been seeking the answer to. I stayed up all night to finish the entire season, I was transfixed - and I hate watching TV. The Lucifer character draws out everyone's deepest desires, his world circles around what lies underneath our intentions and how they drive our reaction to different circumstances.
If the Devil asked me what my deepest darkest desires are, I am afraid I would have no answer for him.
'You were born out of greatness and you will go back to it. In between those two events try to remember it.'