Crawled out of my skin last night, hung it on the door knob and, till this very gloomy morning, I haven’t put it back on yet. Stark naked I write to you, my comrades — souls all over the world who share with me no private history but the common ground of humanity. And every once in a while, completely unexpected (for my art needs no reason to exist), I hear your “Gotcha!” echo via an electronic transmission; and in that moment, you’ve gotta know: you repair my very heart. So: Fuck yeah! Fuck da! Thank you for reading!
Still stripped and skinless, superimposed by the little girl I once was a few decades ago in a country that exists no longer, I am about to have a lil’ tete-a-tete on the topic of grief. ‘Cause you see, you magnificent co-participants in the utter chaos of living — I’ve got me a shit load o’ that. (“A shit load,” by the way, is V’s democratic solution between the metric system of her Motha‘ Russia — and the rest of the world — and that other one she still doesn’t know how to convert to.)
I haven’t lived long, my comrades, but certainly a lot; enough to accumulate some losses. I’ve lived through deaths, heartbreaks, break-ups and a divorce. I’ve commemorated violence — others’ and my own — by jotting it down on my skin. I’ve been thrown around by historical turmoil and have survived poverty. And although I still insist on calling upon humanity’s goodness, I have seen it at its very worst.
And that is exactly where grief comes from: From its mama — the Loss. I wiki-ed it for you, my stubbornly good people; and according to wiki-wiki, it’s “a multi-faceted emotion.” A free-for-all, eh? And emotional twofer. A Round Table for your every feeling. (A’right, V: Settle down with those metaphors!) Numbness, blame, sadness and anger — yep, I’ve done ‘em all, a shit load of each, to be precise. But the part of grief that I still seem to be unable to reach — like the only dream I deem to be impossible — is acceptance.
I gotta tell you, I have managed my forgiveness of others, “for they know not what they do,” right? (But that IS a funny one though: forgiveness. For me, it rests somewhere between mercy and the resignation of justice. In other words, only when I’ve suffered enough and when I want to be justified or carry the weight of the mistakes no longer — I cry uncle and I forgive. Sometimes, forgiveness results in dismissing the offender entirely: leaving him to his own devices and never wanting to hear from him again. Other times, my forgiveness is more peaceful: It permits for a friendship after the shit storm settles; but boy, do I tread carefully there.)
But acceptance: That one — is a bit of a moody bitch for V. Just when I think I’ve tranquilized the ghosts of my past, some current player wakes them with his misbehavior; and off I go: reliving the emotional free-for-all of griefs I thought have already exorcised and put to sleep. (“Hush, hush, you little monsters!”) And if I’ve learned anything from my relationship with my beloved shrink: these above mentioned players — the hooligans that set me off — are here for a reason. They are part of V’s pattern. Kinda like that Britney song: “Oops, I Did it Again!” — right? So, until I figure my shit out — the hooligans will continue to pop-up out of my Pandora’s Box. (Does that sound naughty, or is it just me?)
So, I am starting to gain some unsettling glimpses at the correlation between acceptance and self-forgiveness.
— I can forgive others: Check!
— I can forgive my life for its sorrows: Check!
— But can I forgive myself for my choosing all the wrong hooligans in the past chapters of my life? Not so fast, you Russian gypsy! Thus far, it’s been seemingly easier — messier, but easier — for the vagabond in me to pack-up and run away. I am a woman with no country after all! But alas, to stay and to deal with the hand I’ve been given (or rather, I’ve given myself) — that, my comrades, has been much harder. Because at the end of it: I must hold myself accountable. Isn’t much easier to blame others; to parade your scars and bad deals in order to earn the compassion of your witnesses? Or to suspend your self-forgiveness via embarrassment? Yep. But in the end — I’m SO gonna go existentialist on my own ass here (no pun intended) — it’s between you and you. Or rather, it’s between me and me.
Well, that’s enough psychology for one Saturday morning, nyet? I’m gonna go put my skin back on and get to work, my adored boys ‘n’ girls. But in the mean time, allow me to leave you with this little bit of wisdom by another foreign comrade-in-arms. (Shit! We, foreigners, do like to get heavy!):