• NOVA NOIR

URGENT RE: GRIEF


[Image ID for accessibility: A desolate backyard on a rainy day in Acupe, Brazil. Palm trees protrude over dirty white walls surrounding a concrete space that is empty sans a single moss-covered appliance at the furthest wall. July 29, 2019. End ID.]


How ya feelin? Probably not great. Whether you’re hyperactive, lethargic, or free falling in some stupefying hodgepodge— something’s off. Could it be, as Harry Styles sings, a “Sign of the Times”?

Grief expert David Kessler thinks so. In the Harvard Business Review’s lovely article “That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief”, he says the pandemic is stoking major collective grief that we need to acknowledge and move through to just like, be okay.  


To that I say:


[Image ID: A gif of a seated Gucci Mane looking down at the floor, running his left hand down his thigh, captioned as saying “YOU ABSOLUTELY RIGHT”. End ID.]


Kessler stops short when he claims that “we’re not used to this kind of grief in the air.”


Uhhh…. 


What planet does this guy live on? 


Multispecies genocide, constant surveillance, the dearth of comfortable seating options in public venues, Simple Plan was right— life IS a nightmare! 


And please, let none of us be so narcissistic as to believe that our respective generation has a monopoly on suffering. Kyriarchy, a shorthand for all forms of oppression, affects all of us and our ancestors and their ancestors. 


Honestly, I’d be weirded out if you were okay. 


Avery Gordon’s Ghostly Matters offers us a more resonant framework for talking about and understanding our perennial plight. She uses the language of “haunting” to describe the ominously boundless and all-encompassing nature of kyriarchy. Her thesis is that we are living in a horror movie with one of those phantom-like monsters made real by its momentary manifestations, and the guttural, cloying feeling that lingers on in its absence. 


Gordon’s paradigm is useful because it accounts for the invisible aspects of kyriarchy, hereafter referred to as “It” in homage to my favorite scary movie.  


[Image ID: A flashing, black and white gif of Ghostface from Scream brandishing their knife. End ID.]


Dramatization? I don’t think so.


Can’t you feel It? When you’re deciding what to wear, who to love, how to live, It’s always there. Sometimes Its presence is flagrant, sometimes It's insidious, and always It's both.


For a long time I thought I had outsmarted It. My intellect gave me a false sense of security. I could theorize, scrutinize, and villainize It ad nauseum. What I couldn’t do was honestly assess and express the damage It was doing to my psyche. I battled It on the outside until It took me over from the inside. 


That’s when I was forced to face the grief ghost and all of the ways I operated as a proxy for It in my relationships with myself and others. Now, a similar reckoning beckons us all. 


Think you’re squeaky clean? I wouldn’t be so sure.


As AJJ so eloquently elocutes, “There's a rapist and a Nazi living in our tiny hearts.


Seriously though almost 100% of the brain’s activity is non-conscious, which means you are, for the most part, not in control of your own cognitive processes. So, even if you do possess a formidable amount of moral fortitude, it’s impossible to be fully immune to It and all of Its corrosive side effects. 


That brings me to my beloved rebels or “those who live by the violence of the promise betrayed.” If all of your mannerisms and life choices exist in opposition to It, then aren’t you still defined by It? 


To borrow some Hannah Montana lyrics, "you can change your hair and you can change your clothes" but that won’t make It go. 


[Image ID: A gif of a frustrated Hannah Montana, captioned as cursing “SWEET NIBLETS!”. End ID.]


So, that begs the question, who are you without It?


It’s an earth-shattering question but don’t worry, I won’t leave you in the Sunken Place. 


You know, that void that is at once empty and full of all suffering.


If, like Terrence’s McKenna says, “the Western mind is a house of cards”, the Sunken Place is where those cards fall when given a hardy flick. 

Yeah, grief will take you there and yeah, you’ll never be the same. You’ll be much better. Like David LeRoy Miller says: “The descent is itself a resurrection.” 


Woah. Is death really necessary? Yes. But, it’s nothing you haven’t done before.


[Image ID: A gif of Death from Family Guy greeting another grim reaper who is exiting their car at the scene of a crash. Death is captioned as saying “DUDE, BAD NEWS, YOU’RE DEAD.” End ID.]


We live under an abusive system of power and, like any abuser, Its goal is nothing less than to harvest our souls for Its own ends. Through what sociologists call internalization and psychoanalysts call introjection, we partner with It to carry out what amounts to “soul murder” or “psychic and spiritual annihilation”.


All of us, once children dazzled by the wonders of the world, fell victim to the most prolific serial killer in history, It. 


Postmortem, we each created a false self. 


Now, to reclaim our true selves, we must tear down these false idols that pretend to be us.


If you came here expecting to get showered in light or have glowing crystals shoved up your ass, that’s clearly not my MO. I’m goth af and so are the cosmos. Dark matter and dark energy, which we do not at all understand, make up 95% of the universe. THAT’S LIKE THE WHOLE THING DUDE. Fascinatingly, it is the dark energy within cosmic voids propelling the expansion of the universe. 


[Image ID: A black and white gif of hand drawn, ringed planets slowly flying towards the screen, surrounded by stars in black space. End ID.]


You hear that love and light only people!? 


Light may fuel life on this planet, but let’s not forget our roots. “We are made of star stuff” and we blossom in darkness. 


I know all of this is intense but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Look at you! You’re a champ! At this very moment, I bet you’re unsheathing your sword to slay the hydra-headed fear that stands in your way.


Easy tiger! I’m gonna ask you to do something far more courageous: befriend your fear. 


Whaaat? That MF? How? 


With a Whole Lotta Love.


I know what you’re thinking— ha, GAYYYY! (humor circa 2010). I thought the same thing and I literally am gay. Now, I know the softcore approach is really the hardcore approach. 


Relief from fear comes from leaning into it rather than fighting, fleeing, or freezing. I’ll illustrate how it works through the Chinese Finger Trap Analogy commonly used by psychotherapists. 


Imagine you’re stuck in that colorful bamboo straight jacket for index fingers. You’re thrashing around, wondering how you’re gonna live the rest of your life like this. Terrifyingly, the more you resist, the tighter it cinches. Eventually some heaven-sent fella tells you the secret: slowly draw your fingers closer together, then detach. And voila, you’re free. 


So what have we learned? To be free of fear, pain, or any unpleasant feeling, we have to embrace it. Here, I endeavor to be entirely clear of my use of the word pain. I mean pain in its most essential form, not the pseudo pain we topple on to obscure the real shit. 


We smother our compatriots in tirades of interchangeable incidences:


FWB situation imploded.

 

Got drunk and lost my iPhone. 


Tik Tok-induced insomnia made me late for work.


This is manufactured pain. We choose this pain over the raw pain we don’t want to feel: 


Loneliness. 


Self-hate. 


Entrapment.


Manufactured pain is another way of saying suffering. Basically, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” 


Wait, why are we talking about pain on the subject of love? And, for that matter, why are we talking about love on the subject of grief? 


To answer that I’d like to circle back to Kessler, whom I started this art/icle throwing shade at. He deserves better. Together with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the creator of the five stages of grief, he wrote a powerful book called Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. In it he says, “You don't have to experience grief, but you can only avoid it by avoiding love. Love and grief are inextricably intertwined.”


Fuck that makes my heart hurt.


Jamie Anderson takes it a step further, saying: “Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”


Again, fuck.


But hold up, I read somewhere else that love is the opposite of grief...


[Image ID: A gif of a serious looking Oprah captioned as asking “So what is the truth?” End ID.]


According to Heraclides, the philosopher Aristotle and Plato thought was just too far out, both are true. Heraclides posited that “opposites” are just different expressions of the same thing. So, synonyms are antonyms, which is, yes, totally paradoxical, but what’s so wrong with that? Billie Joe Armstrong came out as a “Walking Contradiction” so that we all could. 


To grieve is to surrender control of the rigidly-defined thought structures we use as security blankets. We humans go to great lengths to fit life into easily-digestible categories, for better and for worse. In the case of my earlier discussion of dark and light, I was able to use these terms to my communicative advantage. But, like Alan Watts says, “the disadvantage of symbols is that we confuse them with reality”. (If you wanna listen to Alan Watts expand on this idea over a beautiful electronic soundscape, check out "Overthinker" by INZO.)  


Our beliefs about grief / pain and love / pleasure are shrouded in binaristic propaganda straight from It. IRL, these experiences are not mutually exclusive. They are felt fluidly. 


Navigating the tides of grief will require intimating ourselves on a whole new level. 


Get your hand out of your pants. I’m talking about emotional intimacy.


[Image ID: A gif of Boo from Monsters Inc. in a monster costume with her head exposed lifting up her arms and making a face that you can tell is supposed to be scary but is really just cute. End ID.]


Ah! For assistance, let’s summon Brené Brown, who I’m pretty sure invented emotional intimacy(?!).


The Texan titan crystallized the idea that courage = vulnerability = humanity’s lifeblood. Because of leaders like her, Simon Sinek, and Danielle LaPorte, emotional intimacy is kinda *in* right now. 


But, even with the newfound cultural incentives, cracking open our emotional cores is daunting. 


It’s recommended to keep baby pictures of yourself around, or just conjure up a mental image of your toddler self. Seeing yourself as a child will remind you of your inherent innocence and lovability, encouraging you to offer yourself some much-needed tender love as you dive into the abyss and swim into the heart of grief. What I’m describing is a form of inner child work, which is like, all the rave right now.


Okay, so now you’re thinking of little baby you, you’re feeling very pure, very wholesome and you’re ready to keep going, yeah?


If, instead, you’re having a sort of tantrum where you don’t want to do this and you’re mad at me for telling you that you have to do this, hey man, you are welcome to close this page, to turn around and go back to the main road. But you’ve been down it before and you know where it ends. And I know it’s not where you want to be. 


[Image ID: A very aesthetic gif of a side-profile silhouette of someone you’d only know is Neo if you’re a Matrix fan. Neo stands under a freeway overpass next to a car with its passenger door open. The car is the only one in frame and faces heavy rain falling on the city street in front of it. End ID.]


Catch the Matrix reference? I’m a fucking geek, but humor me. 


Most of us are like Neo when he chickens out of scaling his office skyscraper: obsessed with the idea that there is something more to this life than we have been led to believe, yet, when finally shown what it takes to leave this tawdry world behind, we recoil.


Everybody’s fave potty-mouthed author, Mark Manson, calls out our allegiance to It and Its first-world trappings. He describes us as propped up by all of our things, hypnotically distracted by shiny cars and endlessly “binge-worthy” television series. 


Maybe your tastes are more *refined*. You want a legacy, prestige, whatever blah blah blah. You’re still ensnared by the notion that you have to get something(s) to be happy. 


Manson dubs our megalomaniacal malaise #FakeFreedom


Stings huh? Well, “the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” 


(That was said by either Gloria Steinem or Pharell, I’m not sure.)  


Despite how ridiculous we know it to be intellectually, we can’t stop feeling like once we get the job, get the girl, get the [insert preferred form of external gratification] we’ll be okay. 


Why are we like this? 


Because we’re not getting what we actually want, we’re terrified we don’t know what that is, and we won’t know until we grieve. 


We seek not to become grief, but to let it move through us. 


The philosophers, cognitive scientists, and movement therapists who composed Body Memory, Metaphor and Movement remind us that emotion has the word movement in it and, like everything else, is energy that can have


“Physical

Mental

Psychological

Emotional

Social

Cultural

Spiritual

qualities and levels of meaning.”


When we let grief flow through all of these dimensions, we experience its liberating effects in full. A case study from the book, Asta, reflects on grief’s transformative nature, writing: “Simultaneously, with my grief and my need to hide and collapse, I have an enormous desire for freedom and a wish to change.” 


If you want grief, in all of its “Glory and Gore”, you have to know it “Can’t Be Tamed”. When you let it in, it kind of calls the shots. 


Grief says “clear your afternoon, we’re spending the next hour sobbing in the fetal position.” 


Grief is not always such a cruel master. Sometimes it lets you make the decision to be less socially animated instead of cancelling your plans altogether. 


Over time, you get to know its quirks and the two of you learn to compromise.


Ultimately, grief both is and isn’t as simple as letting ourselves feel. Because, do we even know how to feel?  We all learned to numb and stuff our feelings into oblivion, just like we learned to tie our shoes.


[Image ID: A colorful feelings wheel I accessed as a part of a grief circle with Bee Light. End ID.]


The mechanism by which we repress feelings matters nought. If you’re sitting there prideful you don’t do heroin, I’d scale that back. In fact, Robert Putnam, the only political scientist that I (or anyone) likes, indicts TV as the U.S.’ deadliest vice, at least in regards to social health. 


He presents heaps of data showing how, since 1930, every successive generation has been less socially trusting and less likely to participate in group associations. After an exhaustive search for the cause, taking into account variance in demographics, he could come up with only one answer: TV. 


Yikes! Binge-worthy? More like CRINGE-worthy! 


[Image ID: A gif of celebrities at an award show giving a standing ovation aka standing up and clapping. End ID.]


*as the applause dies down, which takes like, a really long time*

(Hey, about the whole Robert Putnam being the only likable political scientist thing— I’m being facetious. There's also my community college professor, Kay Zare. Whaddup Kay.)


But look, whatever your favorite dissociative pastime, there’s no shame. It's not your fault. You didn’t come up with this shit strategy of taking escapist excursions as temporary, superficial solutions to your woes. Even if you are the rare beneficiary of high quality parenting, we all take part in Its rite of avoidance in varying degrees. 


We bury unwanted feelings and memories in illusory graveyards, adding another layer of dirt anytime we hear a rustle. 


That makes what’s going on now a full-on zombie apocalypse, where all that which we tried to keep dead and buried is out wreaking havoc. The best thing we can do is straighten out our internal landscapes so that we don’t walk outside and eat someone’s face.


That means each of our tyrannical, destructive tendencies / beliefs, which serve as masks for unprocessed grief, must be laid to bare. 


To undergo the self-autopsy that is in order, we will turn to the "Father of Modern Analytical Psychology", Carl Jung. (Lil Peep would refer to him as a fellow “priest in the underworld”, which is a descriptor I think he’d like better.)


Jung called attention to those parts of ourselves that live in the shadows. As a whole, these unconscious-rendered traits and feelings make up what he so aptly called the shadow. He denominated the personal shadow and the collective shadow, but I don’t pay the distinction much mind. The two are so inextricable as to make their differentiation null. Recently scientifically-approved concepts like intergenerational trauma and interpersonal neurophysiological synchronization (i.e. vibe transference) speak to this. 


Essentially, my baggage is inseparable from my father’s baggage is inseparable from his grocer’s baggage. 


[Image ID: A gif of a smiley Jake Gyllenhaal in the film Nightcrawler. He points and looks suggestively at someone off frame as he turns away, bursting into laughter. End ID.]


By design, our shadow is tied up with other people’s shadows. 


As kids, we implicitly or explicitly get the message to conceal certain things about ourselves: our sensitivity, our anger, our desire, even our self-esteem. These messages come from people directly around us as well as “society”, which is just one of Its pseudonyms. 


When we disown aspects of ourselves, we banish them to the unwieldy wilderness that is the subconscious. 


The subconscious is much like dark matter in that we know next to nothing about it even though it makes up the majority of existence. 


We do know that the subconscious has no concept of petty social niceties like *civility* or *culture* or *time*. So anything stuck in there has gone totally feral and will stay that way until it is fished out and consciously developed. 


Ignoring the shadow only makes it more reckless and out of control. 


Shadow sensitivity might fight its way into your consciousness as extreme codependency, shadow anger as outbursts at coworkers or loved ones.

 

Possible side effects of shadow grief include, but are not limited to: impulsivity, intransigence, irritability, insomnia, and incontinence.


(I was having too much fun with the alliteration and just tacked on incontinence but, you know, unprocessed grief can drive you to drink so much that you piss yourself so… it works. It’s definitely happened to, um, a friend of mine.)


Through the shadow work, we pick up, nurture, and integrate the lost pieces of ourselves. We also purge ourselves from It, giving us the space we need to heal from It. 


If it’s fun and helpful to you, you can think of shadow work as purging or The Purge (fuck the ratings, that movie is iconic and we all know it). I offer up the nomenclature The Purge to underscore the fact that it is our conditioning that is defective, not us. The idea that our fundamental nature needs manipulation is what put us in this mess in the first place. 


We don’t need to be fixed, there’s nothing wrong with us. What we need to do is get out of our own way and cull out Its bullshit.


Psychoanalysis will help us do that, but we must be careful not to weaponize it by using it to pathologize ourselves and others.


As primates, we are unique in that “we've evolved to be smart enough to make ourselves sick.


Other animals? Even though they are constantly threatened, they don’t experience stress or trauma. They just fuckin’ ~vibe~. 


[Image ID: A gif of a wild, plump, and furry white seal blissfully blinking while lying on its back. End ID.]


An overthinking rhino would be laughably ridiculous, yet we humans are largely unfazed by the range of deadly diseases we’ve created with our minds. 


On the upside, if we can make ourselves sick, that means we can make ourselves well. 


[Image ID: A gif of a person captioned as saying “You know what this is? Growth.” while opening up their hand like a blooming flower. End ID.]


Maybe you’re like “Okay, but what do I do with all this turmoil?”


Take the pain and ignite it.” Don’t try to forget it; “we are who we are because of that shit.


Impeccably-moustached-emo-legend, Friedrich Nietzsche, was grateful for his agony, believing it to be the fulcrum of personal and collective development. 


[Image ID: A gif of a Friedrich Nietzche photograph adorned with hearts, stars, and lightning bolts. A flashing tombstone reads “R.I.P. God” and “EMO KID” is written across his chest in drippy, glittering font. End ID.]


A constructive emo, Nietzsche wouldn’t want us to waste time fetishizing suffering. He would want us to get to where the bulk of healing and joy happens, in what he saw as the culminatory stage of metamorphosis— the child.


Woah. Did Nietzsche invent inner child work when he published Thus Spoke Zarathustra in 1885? Yes. Yes, he did.


Nietzsche describes that, when we reach the child phase, our lust for life is renewed and we are as blissed out as can be. 


How do we get there? Well, first we have to graduate from being the camel, the initial stage, wherein we mindlessly take on other’s opinions. Next, we become the lion, where we just do everything out of spite and point fingers, which is exhaustingly self-righteous. 


Lions mistakenly equate It with the sorry fucks who presently do Its bidding, a reductive and misguided approach. There will always be someone willing to bite the bullet. How much longer will that someone be you? 

 

Alright, maybe I’m coming on a little too strong but what can I say,


[Image ID: A gif of Tina Fey in Mean Girls captioned as saying “I’m a pusher. I push people” with food in her mouth. End ID.]


What I’m really doing is drawing on the memory of mavericks like James Baldwin, famously quoted for remarking:


“You know, it's not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.”


We transmute this energy through The Purge, which allows us to drop the camel's passivity, the lion's nihilism and, like the child, master the art of accessing magic in every moment.


And there you have it. Life’s big secret— follow your childlike instincts for fun and curiosity.


For me that has always meant exploring the macabre. And it’s not just horror movies. If it’s “Deep, Dark, and Dirty” I’m all over it. (Right now, I’m feasting on synthcore, dark technoLast Podcast on the Left, and Zdzislaw Beksinski.) 


Because I have had a strong connection to darkness from a young age, shadow work is less scary and more exciting to me. But, as I said before, self-love is another constituent of healthy grief, and that’s what I struggle with. 


Even though I love yoga, kale smoothies, and spa baths, I’m ambivalent about self-love in the way that it is conventionally talked about. 


It’s not just that I am a love avoidant full of toxic shame, which I absolutely am. It’s also that I find the common conceptualization of self-love severely lacking. 


Unpopular opinion but self-love for self-love’s sake is utterly meaningless. 


[Image ID: A gif of a satisfied Homer Simpson pumping his fist across his chest. He is captioned as saying “Boom! Hot Take!” End ID.]


IMO, loving the self is about being free of the self; an outlook more in line with the Eastern philosophies from which we extract most of our contemporary self-love practices. 


Our false selves / egos can’t, and don’t need to, be loved; they do not believe love exists.


They need to be destroyed. Starved by neglect. Left for dead.


This is a matter of diplomacy, not force. 


Squaring up with the ego is like picking a fight with Muhammad Ali. You’re gonna end up black, blue, and sorry.


Of course, disengaging the ego to identify as the true self / the child requires self-compassion and is generally more pleasant when you’re kind to yourself, a concept Buddhists call maitri


Maitri means not judging our inclinations and interests, even when they’re eccentric. Maitri has shown me that my deviant affinity for “Violence” isn’t random; it serves a functional purpose. 


A thesis I found by some plucky grad student sums it up a little bit like this: horror helps us process and prepare for trauma / violence.


Nothing encapsulates this idea more than Nego Fugido, a community ritual / festival / street theatre production held in Bahia, Brazil. 


The event is a powerful expression of collective grief, something Brazillians know all too well. 


The last in the Western world to abolish slavery, Brazil amassed an ungodly body count of five million stolen Africans. 


(For context, the U.S. ranks in at about 400,000.) 


Now, Brazil has the most African people outside of Africa, and those in the humble fishing community of Acupe remember their enslaved ancestors by, quite literally, embodying them. 


[Image ID: A faux runaway slave covered in dirt and fake blood lies prone on the ground. July 29, 2019. End ID.]


I attended the festival, which is more or less a slave revolt reenactment, as a part of a study abroad course nearly a year ago to date. 


[Image ID: A black man in black face, dressed as a fugitive slave hunter, dawns a ghastly red-stained smile and points a shotgun at the camera. The eyes of everyone else in the frame are locked on him. July 29, 2019. End ID.]


Contrary to what you might expect, it’s not all doom and gloom, far from it. The atmosphere is downright celebratory. There is drinking and dancing and children playing dress-up.


[Image ID: Three kids dressed in black robes and monster masks graciously pose for a snapshot. I pass them some cash after, as is tradition. July 29, 2019. End ID.]


Needless to say, most of my classmates were petrified. I, unsurprisingly, was enraptured. 


It was a recognition of my wounds. Cultural healing. Catharsis. 

I left feeling as if I’d been baptized. 


[Image ID: Several shirtless children, surrounded by onlookers, lie on the ground feigning distress, their feet a bright, bloody red. A fugitive slave hunter watches over them. July 29, 2019. End ID.]

 

We may or may not ever have anything similar in the states, and it may be awhile until you can get to Brazil. So if you’re looking for simple, practical ways to get that grief out in the interim, here’s what I got:


RAGE.


Teal Swan suggests fanning the flames of our anger in meditation, creating a forest fire that burns away all that is no longer serving us and clears the soil of our souls for new growth. She invites us to play angry music to facilitate the process, which she calls “ internal arson”. 


I promise you will feel so purified and alive after.


And, if you’re like me, you’re going to need to get a little more rowdy.


I’ll never forget the time I was going off to a therapist about something and she asked “How does it make you feel?” I snapped, “Like punching something.”, to which her response was, essentially, “Do it pussy.” I then proceeded to beat the shit out of a pillow in her office for several minutes. 


[Image ID: A gif of Dean Winchester from Supernatural grimacing, bracing, then punching the camera. As his fist hits the frame it cuts to black. End ID.]


You obviously don’t need me or some stupid science bitch to tell you how great it feels to punch shit, but maybe you need me to tell you it’s okay to punch shit (as long as it’s not sentient or the sentient being is affirmatively consenting).


If anyone’s trying to do Fight Club for real, please send me an encrypted email. 


For now, I’m enjoying thrashing around and punching the air, aka moshing. 


Me to Metallica and also Panic! at the Disco:

[Image ID: A gif from that infamous cybergoth dance party video. Because they're spread out some might not consider it moshing, but you can tell the spirit is there. Tons of angsty, chaotic energy. End ID.]


Even though I love moshing at shows, there’s something to be said for moshing in the comfort of your home. 


SHAKE.


Another method for unblocking stuck emotions can be found in the sage lyrics of Metro Station: SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE SH-SHAKE IT!

 

I’m being totally serious. It’s the method animals in the wild use and clearly it’s time we start taking cues from them. Compared to us, they really got their shit together. 


You can go for the *official* therapeutic tremor, or just wing it. Shake your whole body, shake your hands, anything you can and want to move.


[Image ID: A gif of a corgi shaking its bottom half then looking back towards the camera as if in approval. It's captioned "LIKE THIS???" End ID.]


Yes, twerking counts. Jung, a proponent of dance / movement therapy, would agree. 


So “dance, fucker, dance.”


TAP.


By incorporating pressure point activation with nurturing self-talk, tapping rewires your brain and gives you immediate relief from physical and emotional pain. Also called the emotional freedom technique, this deceptively simple tool does wonders for tapping ;) ;) into your emotions. Done continuously, it supplants harmful beliefs and sensations with healing thoughts and energy. 


As with any methodology, you’ll want to personalize it. You’ll be repeating a phrase as you tap, and you might want to translate the one that is offered into a language you resonate with. 


You can watch a short video on tapping by its creator, Nick Ortner, here or read about it in CAPACITAR’s Emergency Response Tool Kit here, which includes other DIY, embodied healing practices. 


CREATE. 


If you think you’re not an artist, you are. We all are, it’s just some of us are shadow artists. I learned that from Julia Cameron’s The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity.


[Image ID: A screengrab of a painting Bob Ross captioned as saying “As long as you’re learning, you’re not failing”. End ID.]


In closing...


A word to my fellow empaths, who feel everything at a sometimes debilitating magnitude: you are loved and needed. 


Because of you, Empath Coach Lola Pickett contends that we’re not in a zombie apocalypse at all, but an empathic revolution. She envisions more of us tuning into our once-lambasted senses and re-imagining them as gifts, healing ourselves and the world.


And with that heavy dose of posi vibes, it’s time to put on your big boy pants, to open the door and greet the hellhound in your closet. I think you’ll find it’s been a chihuahua all along. 


[Image ID: A gif of a big-eyed chihuahua blinking and wagging its tail. Its smiling in a way that suggests it is self-aware of its own cuteness, which is surprisingly not overpowered by how fucking weird its overall appearance is as a member of that strange and unsettling breed. End ID.]


Amazingly, this whole process I’ve been so painstakingly describing fits within the confines of the Drake and Josh theme song lyrics, which are bafflingly insightful upon reassessment.


[Image ID: The final shot from the Drake and Josh theme as a gif. The boys jubilantly clink their soda pops together as the title graphic erupts center-screen. End ID.]


I’m not saying it isn’t gonna be trying; it may be simple, but it’s not easy.

 I’m not saying it isn’t gonna hurt, because *spoiler alert* it is. 


(Those of you who bemoaned my double negatives, may I suggest decolonizing your mind? Because “grammar is a european colonialist construct you sentient fedoras”.)


But yeah, seeing as how you’re already in a rather excruciating amount of pain, exacerbated by your current lack of distractions, I don’t reckon you have anything to lose but your chains. 


So, why not swing for the pure shit? Pain in its unadulterated totality. 


Because you and It currently co-own a garish cerebral funhouse designed to obfuscate raw pain? 


So what, let it run out of business. 


Once relieved of the burden of self-deception, you’ll come to know that the narrative we construct around a feeling, and the headspace that narrative erects, are often lightyears worse than the feeling itself.


When we finally muster the gall to face the music, by which I mean our grief, “It's kind of like walking out a door and discovering that it's a window.


[Image ID: A gif of The Looney Tunes closing graphic, which reads “That’s all Folks!” in white cursive letters. End ID.]


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