Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?? -Thoughts On Love, Stupidity, And Getting Shot

When I first saw this image, the only thing I could think was that it had to be fake. There had to be some kind of safety in place, photoshop, something, anything. It wasn't. It isn't. It's real.

The couple you seen in this photograph are Marina Abramovic, and Ulay, performance artists that came together in the 1970s and '80s to create extreme pieces as an experimentation and demonstration in relationships. This one, entitled "Rest Energy," is exactly as insane as it looks. The performance starts with the bow in its rest position, the pair already standing in place. They then proceed to lean backwards in unison with equal amounts of weight from each of them in order to draw the bow. How they were able to get out of this position after holding it for 4 minutes and 10 seconds without releasing the arrow, I do not know.

Although the greatest burden rests on Ulay, who is holding the arrow in place, pointed straight at Marina's heart through the entirety of the 4 minute and 10 second performance, it is Marina that faces the greatest challenge. She has no control of the situation other than to do her best to hold the bow steady to keep from making Ulay's job more difficult. Beyond that, she has placed herself in a position of total trust and complete helplessness in the hands of Ulay.

There was only one thing I could think of when I first saw this image: Who thought this was a good idea!? This. Is. STUPID!

And then I read the cation that had been written below it:
"It’s like being in love: giving somebody the power to hurt you and trusting (or hoping) they won’t."

And how true that statement is.

How often have we placed ourselves in that position that mirrors Marina's- with no control over the situation other than to do our best to hold steady the very weapon that is pointed at our hearts in a desperate attempt to make the life of the other person easier- in a position of total trust and complete helplessness in their hands, with our very hearts on the line?

But love is not something we often call stupid.

Love often creates such beauty, just like what is seen in this photograph, and such joy, like what the performers were feeling after the show was over. At times, the other person may not even know they are holding the arrow at all, and yet we still put ourselves in danger to hold the bow for them. Other times, they may not even know that they released the arrow until it's too late, and they must then live in a state of eternal regret and remorse, wishing they could mend the hole they created in your heart, but knowing that even if they could, the scar and the memory would always remain.

Why do we put ourselves in Marina's position to begin with? Who thought this was a good idea? What causes us to love another person so much that we are willing to put our very hearts and lives on the line simply to help make their lives a little bit easier?

I don't have an answer to that either.

So is love stupid?

But maybe, just maybe, it's worth the risk as well.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Inspiring What?

Every once in a while I have someone tell me that they have read some of the content on my facebook, or they heard about me from one of my family members, or after they have been talking to me for a while, that they find me so inspiring. Every time someone tells me this, I bust up laughing.

Inspiring what, exactly? Most days I struggle to do much more than sleep. What am I inspiring them to do? Bring nap time into the workplace? Sleep at unconventional hours? Give their dogs weird nicknames? Have really bad fangirl moments? Sit in a corner and cry in terror for no reason at all? How on earth could anyone look at me and think, "inspiration?" What exactly am I causing to happen here? Is there going to be a cluster of people that decided to discover a way to create the scientific means to
control things telepathically in their sleep, take over the world, and call me an inspiration? Ok, maybe that's a little far fetched, but what exactly is going on here? How am I an inspiration?

When I think of someone who is inspiring, I think of people who have accomplished great things through and in spite of some form of adversity- people who push through and don't let anything hold them back. When someone says, "Oprah," the image that pops into my head is of her standing on a stage with a huge grin on her face, telling someone she's giving them a car, not of the girl whose infant son died when she was 14. The name "Albert Einstein" brings to mind a man with crazy white hair standing in front of a chalk board, upon which is written, "E=MC²," not of the 16-year-old boy who failed his entrance exams. "Rosa Parks" conjures up an image of a woman sitting in bold
defiance on a bus seat, not sitting overnight in a jail cell. And when I think "Amy Purdy," I think of a woman dancing her heart out, not letting anyone know she had legs for nearly 20 years. I don't think of the 19-year-old girl who lay in a hospital bed thinking, "This is what it feels like to die."

No, I really don't understand how anyone can label me an inspiration. I haven't accomplished some world changing feat. I'm not operating in the public eye under constant scrutiny. I live with my grandparents. I don't have a "real" job. I had to drop out of college, even though I had good grades, because my bad health made it next to impossible for me to attend classes. I've spent the last year struggling to do much more than get out of bed every morning. I forget to eat. Most of my days are spent in my pajamas, or if I really feel like putting myself together, jeans and a t-shirt. I've gone from having my makeup application down to an exact science that can be completed in 15 minutes or less to, "How do I put this on again? Oh well. I'll just do without." I force myself to continue putting one foot in front of the other every day simply because I get so bored!

I have spent the last year out of school and out of work and out of my mind in complete and total boredom. When the used bookstore put a Spanish grammar review textbook/workbook on their shelves, they thought they would never be able to get rid of it. I'm the nerd that bought that book. That's how much I miss school and love learning. I'm forced to laugh at all the bizarre things that happen to me as a result of my illness as a way to keep from crying. I spent the last year sitting around feeling sorry for myself and wishing things would change. In my mind, I knew nothing would change until I got up and did something about it, but it took a bit longer to know that in my heart.

Sure, I have days that I crumble under the weight of exhaustion. Yes, I have moments that I weep out of a desire for things to be different. But I always force myself to get back up and keep moving forward, eventually. Sometimes whatever I'm trying to do has to wait until tomorrow or the next day, but eventually I get it done. Maybe avoiding boredom is a bad motivator, but as long as it convinces me to get up off my bum and do something, that's not so bad, right?

So maybe all I'm doing is inspiring people to get off their bums and do SOMETHING- anything. And if I can be that extra little bit of motivation to convince them to air out the sofa, maybe that's not such a bad thing, even if they are trying to control things with their minds.