“How to Struggle with Acne” Tales of Mere Acne

The process of curing acne is hard and endless and confusing so why not have a sense of humour about it. This is my first youtube video. I sincerely hope it makes people laugh.

Based on my orginal blog: Tales of Mere Acne

I Remember

I remember falling in love over words. I remember feeling like I was part of something bigger and more special than I ever was. I remember thinking I was better than addiction and better than my friend’s addiction and that writing about the red picket fences on her arm would solve it all because I was one of those people that thought love could solve all problems. She did read it. And it did mean something but it couldn’t change everything, as I had hoped.

I remember writing Cashier’s log and how for the first time I found a way to be authentically myself without needing someone or something else.

I remember sitting on the kitchen floor crying at 4 am and feeling more afraid than I ever have in my life.

I remember the first day of class and how the rush of it took away all the pain from going to my last school.

I remember wanting jobs and opportunities so badly I wouldn’t sleep for weeks designing an infographic resume, and a video game case resume, and a multi-media interactive cover letter, and whatever the hell the idea of the week was.

I remember friends. I remember love. I remember loss. I remember falling apart. I remember the family and loved ones that gave up first. I remember feeling like I was crazy.

I remember all of this.

Quote

“Through the following decades, I struggled to conform to the identity I thought the world wanted me to have. I became acceptably pretty, but then needed to work on being more outgoing. Once I became outgoing, I needed to work on being sexually adventurous. Once I became that, I needed to work at becoming a good housekeeper. And so on. Frankly, I’m exhausted. It turns out being pretty is just the beginning of a lifelong set of ridiculous expectations imposed on women.” – To je smůla

Low Confidence

Low confidence is bullshit. It’s fucking bullshit. Because at the end of the day if you really want to do something, you’ll do it. You won’t need someone’s confirmation, you won’t need the stars to align, you’ll just do it because that’s how bad you want it. You can’t help but do it.

“I have low confidence” – is a bullshit answer to life’s restraints. You just don’t want the result/change/circumstance bad enough. Low Confidence  is “I can’t”. Low confidence is nothing but bullshit and we need to stop feeding this crap to ourselves and everybody else.

The Game

I was playing a game inside my mind. Taking the games I play in class and using it real life. High status, low status, low status, high status. And for the a while the game went on and I played it right.

I won the game and thought I was a winner. Then I saw the rulebook and realized.

The winners are never the game players. The winners are the ones who write the game. The fate holders of players pitched against each other in the spirit of an unattainable prize.

A player already in the arena spoke this as I entered:

Fight for control of the pen writing the story of your life. And when you have it. You need to use it.

On Shame

There is nothing quite like a childhood lived in shame. Parents who never understood and never will understand that their hopes were disappointments, their guidance – lessons in shame, and their love a guilty weight. I have lived being ashamed of who I am throughout my life, and it is within only the last few years that I have began to see my own filter. My progress in shame has given me expertise, and I sense it like a sonar ripple from those around me. I have used it to gain access to the heart, and as a way to command obedience. It is easy to inflict shame when you know it so well. And so I have a number of relationship built around shame except one. I have let those relationships define my life.

The world makes it clear that women are shameful, and as a girl I was often imprinted so. My father was ashamed I wasn’t a boy, and I spent most of my life trying to make up for it. My mother was ashamed I wasn’t a porcelain doll. I spent my entire life fighting her over it. My friends were ashamed of the way I dressed (baggy), and my best friend told me to feel shame for it because they all did. To this day I still have one friend who insist that I wear a push up bra, put on makeup, straighten my posture and get with the program. I look at her and I am no better, shaming her for being such a blind conformist. Women have embraced the culture of shame, shaming each other until self destruction. We live to antagonize each other. We have become so good at it, it is not a conscious part of our behaviour. When will I be able to share the same space with my friend and we are able to mutually accept our differences and not bombard the other to change?

I can’t tell you much about why people shame each other but I just know they do. A long time ago I tried to escape from my life and my family but I ended up 60,000 miles from home with so much sadness and shame that I was dizzy from crying for 5 hours. My body felt like a towel wringing itself tight and hard. It was trying to squeeze out shame like a cancerous virus, forcing every last drop out the sockets of my eyes. At 7am I decided that I could keep going or I could forgive myself. The act of forgiveness is such a conscious choice it took every effort in my spongy brain to choose to see life with forgiveness rather than not. Forgiveness does not just happen. It doesn’t come to you, you go to it.

We’re all ashamed of something, but vary in the different amounts we carry. I live with a specimen that compared to me has no real gauge of shame. I have to spell shame out like simple words forgotten from disuse. And though his positively and lack of shame can split us from seeing eye to eye, most of the time I couldn’t be more appreciative that I do not have to feel ashamed of myself around him. He gives himself permission to execute goals despite fears and shame and inexperience. Though I judged his unwavering optimism, he does not take on shame and only advances where most hesitates because of it. He has given me permission to live without shame of who I am. I have only been crossing off wants and accomplishing lifelong regrets since then. It has made me become more optimistic, a gift that is resilient. He is both my opponent and my hero in shame. He is a bridge across the present letting me cross to the future with more ease.

He is not ashamed of me. I am ready to be too.

Art is a Second Road

A single offer. A clap, an “mmm” with the lips. Letting the offer go. Seeing it be caught, or thrown (towards another), or dismissed as a whole. A lean. A slight look, a subtle touch on the elbow. Taking hints of what’s unsaid. Never knowing how to make the agreement unfold. Microcosmic gestures dancing infinitely. Flirting together for a single purpose. A group becomes a whole. An individual a piece of a running clock. Uniformity, diversity, humanity, and beautiful spontaneity. So much laughter grows from spirits at work. This is play without any reason but play. We are play. We become we from playing. How would I have predicted it could be like this. One method is never the end all be all. I have failed before but this has taught me I always win when I fail. Except for the time I gave two answers that definitely weren’t alligators and canoe. But hey, so far so good.

Art is Failure

I grew up and learned that today I could no longer paint in broad strokes and messy outlines and still get away with it. The meticulousness needed for great art is suddenly outside of my parameters and I stood in averages and failures all around. She wouldn’t read me his notes. I played it off like I understood but I really didn’t. I wish she could have told me just how bad it was.

Where do I begin to find the details, when I’ve never bothered looking before? How do I expand when every step seems to be a faulty collapse? I’m lost in my own abyss, yet unaware what part of me is upholding it.

Act natural in an unnatural circumstance. Relax. Breathe. Don’t be afraid of the giant monsters. Walking over cliffs and waterfalls on tight ropes while I’m told I should be as at ease as a gliding swan. I’ve got cortisol practice.

I’m exhausted from wanting 50 different things in 50 seconds, learning 30 things in 30 minutes, and hearing my neighbor take every opportunity to preach on a soapbox about how things should be . He doesn’t understand that when the others joked they didn’t miss him during his vacation, they meant it.

This preparatory type of art requires clarity, peace and meticulous execution. Why can’t I stop trying to embody it.

Art is Endurance

90 percent of success is showing up but you have to show up for a very long time. Every week I get to sit in “art” class and hear about three hours worth of criticism. Mind you this is the positive kind of criticism. The kind you’d only hear in group therapy, and here. Our produced art works are not up for class discussion only cold mechanical review from ourselves. The teacher always yields a laundry list of mountains to over climb from each participant on their art. Inciting change is such an incrediblely laborious struggle but it always begun with awareness. Intense, disgusting awareness. Like reverting back to hideous screaming newborn, the class and I are forced to face our work with grotesque, up close dissection. This dissection of ourselves and our work is scary to confront. Each class everyone’s beautiful skin is stripped for three hours leaving only bloody organs and skeleton eyeballs. Leaving only the reality of our feelings, wants, desires, flaws, and gaping imperfections. We show up not to soar ambitioudly, but to fail and understand to exactly what decimal of failure we have fail at. And because we paid for it. The classes are suppose to create a defence mechanism against failures by indifference and intelligence. But no one is indifferent. I am always disappointed. With myself, my works, my progress. I care too much to let go and know too little to attempt being brave. And that is why I went there. To practice my assaults despite my ineffective means. To go against survival instinct. To know that I will be slaughtered but to stand and bare it anyway. I am not having any success except the success of showing up. I am just enduring.

Start from Self

I use to think that sharing an experience, or giving an experience worth remembering was one of the most important things I can do as a person. That life was wasted if I didn’t live in the moment and fuel the momentum. Recently I’ve began to feel that it more important for me to like the definition of who I defined myself as.

I’ve had the opportunity in the last few weeks to work at 4 jobs and take a class. It was incredibly rewarding because I was so busy I didn’t have space for the typical daily hardships that weighted me down. I was high off sleep deprecation and everything felt light and clear. I always knew what I had to do in every moment and what was coming up. I had 17 hour work days at my worst and 11 at my best. I felt unstoppable.

I became part of the group of people I never thought I would be apart of. The 6am commuter group. The ones who would walk in a tired manner, and wear long heavy clothing to protect their bodies from the early morning misery. I felt like a kid in the adult world.

Pushing, trying, saying yes to everything, taking in the work without limit. Flying.

But it doesn’t last, I can’t make it last forever. At some point a lull occurs and I got to see myself in an apartment that doesn’t quite look like anyone really lives there, or in a car ride off to the sun set and wondering if it ever gets any better than this? And feeling like the answer might be no.

I found myself talking about the future a lot. That someday, it was going to change. That someday I would find the right fit, the right circumstance but with a hesitation because I had been saying it for so long.

There will always be jobs, and sunsets, and discussions, and sleep deprivation. And they will be there long after I’m gone. If I let myself become defined by only those things. I will eventually discover those things don’t matter all that much and therefore I don’t matter all that much.

It was much important to define from the inside out than from the outside in. I am not my job(s), I am not the sun sets, and I am not my sleep deprivation.

I am a living, feeling entity. I am helplessly connected to the world at large and the universe whether I know it or not. It is in the best interest of the living world for me to develop my empathy, diligence and understanding. Along with that a liking of who I sense myself to be. Two ways to do that is to realize everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has felt incomplete at some point in their life whether it is evident to others or not. And if I make an unintentional error that everyone else makes, I need to forgive myself immediately.

It is more important to define myself and actively choose to have the experiences I want, than to experience the fate of the world at large and base I am off the occurrence of anything.

Bullying – A timeline

1st Grade – You had to be age six to attend grade one. Due to my birthday, my parents had to lie and say that I was six. All the other kids were older, bigger, more developed. A boy in my class started picking on me. I didn’t know what to do. I talked to my mom about it. She came to school the next day and went to my class. She yelled at every child in the room asking who had been bullying me. No one answered. Then she looked at me. I pointed to the boy. She ran up to him and grabbed his shirt. She screamed at him. Shaking and excuses started to erupt from his body. She gave him one clear threat to never touch me again. That was the end of that.

2nd Grade – I was still trying to get English down. A bunch of kids came over and asked me to play. I had a green buttoned up sweater with a sleek bob hair cut. They put sand in my hand and told me to eat it. Telling me it was instant noodle mix. When I refused, they dumped sand in my hair, rubbed it in. And then smeared sand all over my sweater. The sweater itched, my hair itched. I couldn’t say anything. I just sat in class and waited until home time.

3rd Grade – The black kids started giving a few punches here and there. One time I was playing in the sand, just squatting and drawing like kids do. When one of them kicked me on the butt. I tipped over. I stood up and patted myself down to rid of excess sand. I went to a different area and played. My back towards the field and my eyes on the jungle playground watching them.

4th Grade – I made a best friend, Scarlette. It was amazing. She came up with the most amazing imaginary games. She was batman and I was robin. She tried to scare me by dripping a few drops of fake blood down the wall trim once. I told my mom, who told Scarlette’s mom. The day next Scarlette was covered in bruises and limping. We were 10. Her mom had beaten her up over the streak of fake blood in our house. It was all fun and games until the adults got involved. Scarlette moved away soon after. I gave her my tennis ball, then I cried.

5th grade – A weird skinny Chinese boy joins my class. He, like all the other Fresh off the boaters, was entrusted into my hands as a the only bilingual class member. The boys in the class tried to corrupt him. They taught him to swear. He changed. We became enemies. He wrote FU’s all over my notebook. He threw spitballs at me. I didn’t even understand what spitballs were. Someone in the cafeteria put yogurt in my hair.

6th grade  – I had been eating a steady diet of instant noodles with a dose of MSG every single morning before school. I was insanely hyperactive. The kids around my desk had to put up with that. After getting them all mad at me for whatever reason I slammed the drawer on the hand of the kid beside me. He had dyed his hair buttercup brown. He face went full red. There was a lot of sobbing. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I didn’t regret it either. Making a tough guy cry didn’t feel so bad.

7th grade – First day of school. I was wearing black capris, with red stitching on one side in a design and a lavender t-shirt. A group of pretty girls were staring me down. One of them called me over in this friendly, and sweetly inviting voice. I didn’t understand. I came to them. We have something to tell you, the pretty Asian one of the clique said. Then in unison, their voices chanted, “You’re wearing the same thing.” I was wearing the same outfit as the first day of school in grade six. To me that was the point. If you like something don’t you want to wear it a lot? All the time even? Apparently this was a problem. So? I said. They giggled to each other. At me. That was fine. Even at that age I thought it was a pretty pointless thing to care about. Good for them and their nice, variable clothes. I went to go talk to some other people with less vapid concerns.

8th grade – I was in the washroom. My friend was crying. The teacher, in his heavy Jamaican accent, had just called her stupid, and swore at her in front of the class. I had also been in trouble with him previously. This particular teacher was racist and insecure and a retard. She was sobbing and I wanted to just change places with her so she could feel as indifferent as I felt and not take any of what he had said personally. I kept waving my arms futility and yelling “No! He’s the stupid one!” while she sobbed. Still tearing and huffing she confessed to me, “You know, everyone thinks I’m really tough but I’m not. I just pretend I’m tough. I’m really sensitive and stuff like this hurts.” I wanted to tell her nobody on earth thinks your tough. You’re 13. But I didn’t. I told her the understatement of the year. “Everybody gets hurt sometimes.”