Whenever someone who knows you disappears, you lose one version of yourself. Yourself as you were seen, as you were judged to be. Lover or enemy, mother or friend, those who know us construct us, and their several knowings slant the different facets of our characters like diamond-cutter’s tools. Each such loss is a step leading to the grave, where all versions blend and end.
Why do we care about singers? Wherein lies the power of songs? Maybe it derives from the sheer strangeness of there being singing in the world. The note, the scale, the chord; melodies, harmonies, arrangements; symphonies, ragas, Chinese operas, jazz, the blues: that such things should exist, that we should have discovered the magical intervals and distances that yield the poor cluster of notes, all within the span of a human hand, from which we can build our cathedrals of sounds, is as alchemical a mystery as mathematics, or wine, or love. Maybe the birds taught us. Maybe not. Maybe we are just creatures in search of exaltation. We don't have much of it. Out lives are not what we deserve; they are, let us agree, in many pitiful ways deficient. Song turns them into something else. Song shows us a world that is worthy of our yearning, it shows us our selves as they might be, if we were worthy of the world.
Certain illnesses sweep across large communities, and then we learn that no such illnesses ever existed. Men and women recover memories of having been sexually abused as children. Whoosh, no they don't, their parents are reinstated as the most loving and laudable people you could imagine. Genocide occurs; no it doesn't. Nuclear waste contaminates large swathes of entire continents, and we all learn words like 'half-life.' But in a flash all the contamination has gone, the sheep aren't ticking, you can happily eat your lamb chops.
The maps are wrong. Frontiers snake across disputed territory, bending and cracking. A road no longer goes where it went yesterday. A lake vanishes. Mountains rise and fall. Well-known books acquire different endings. Color bursts out of black-and-white movies. Art is a hoax. Style is substance. The dead are embarrassing. There are no dead. Read more »
Suppose that it's only when you dare to let go that your real life begins? When you're whirling free of the mother ship, when you cut your ropes, slip your chain, step off the map, go absent without leave, scram, vamoose, whatever: suppose that it's then, and only then, that you're actually free to act! To lead the life nobody tells you how to live, or when, or why. In which nobody orders you go forth and die for them, or for god, or comes to get you because you broke one of the rules, or because you're one of those people who are, for reasons which unfortunately you can't be given, simply not allowed. Suppose you've got to go through the feeling of being lost, into the chaos and beyond; you've got to accept the loneliness, the wild panic of losing your moorings, the vertiginous terror of the horizon spinning round and round like the edge of a coin tossed in the air.
My name is Gabrielle and I am twenty-eight years old. I began to self-injure at age fifteen -- so nearly thirteen years minus a two year period. This website is one about self-injury (self-harm), made to let self-injurers know that they are not alone and to help their friends and family learn more about self-injury and how it affects their loved one.