Petals

How often am I with women who cry, but rarely, if ever, am I with men who genuinely let go and cry it out. How often am I alone when I shed my own tears?

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“I wish I had more freedom.”
“Me too.”
“Then we could fuck on this couch… or something.”
“AND something. Fuck on the couch and more.”

We talked over drinks. At one point, she shed tears. She apologized for crying, but it turned me on. It’s not always an emotion that arouses; there are times it weighs me down, or lifts me up, or catches me off guard and I don’t know how to respond. But this time, I saw a welling up of her livelihood expressed through sadness and tears. Emotions flushed her face. I wanted to hold her arm, touch her hand. I wanted to kiss her lips. I told her this, and she laughed.

“I can’t believe I’m crying.”
“What’s wrong with crying?”
“My whole life I’ve been told it’s no good. Whenever I cried as a girl, someone always asked, ‘What’s wrong with you? Pull yourself together.’ How am I supposed to think otherwise?”
“Tears are good. Your whole face is filled out. Like a shadow lifted. More of you is shining through.”
“I’m a mess.”
“You’re incredibly pretty.”
“I’m crying in public.”
“Remember that time I came over and you were crying in your tub?”
“What? I can’t believe you remember that. I must have been disgusting.”
“What? Of course I remember. It was beautiful. I wanted to take a picture.”
“Oh my god. That would have been something. That big, claw-footed tub.”
“I imagined there were petals floating all around you. Like you were dying. And you said, ‘We have a really strange friendship.’ And I responded, ‘What’s so strange about this?’ And you said pretty simply, ‘I’m naked & hysterical in a tub and you’re just sitting here acting like everything’s perfectly normal.’”

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How far into our own darkness do we dive before coming out on the other side?

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She heaves and shakes. Another panic attack. “I don’t want to cry anymore! I’m so sick of feeling like this!” The words meek out like tears and spit and snot. Everyday. Every other day. Once a week. It varies. It can be a news article about upstanding families forced out of the country. Another black or trans person gunned down on video. White domestic terrorism mowing down the lives of many. It can be the reminder of personal trauma. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, the reminder of joy and the subsequent desire for things to always be, or at the very least, more often be, easier, loose, and liberating. It varies, but the tears are all around, creating whirlpools and eddies. Moments spent heaving, shaking, questioning.

Why do we ask what’s wrong with people? Why are we not asking what’s wrong with the societal conditions we exist in?

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Darkness surrounded her. A black moon swallowed the night sky. A sole light came from the flicker of a large fire. The flames so colorful and all consuming, the adorning night disappeared imperceptibly. A reverberation of drums pulsed lightly at first, and then more deeply, touching the core of her body.

An elder sat stoically, as if in trance, beating a drum in his lap bap bap tap tap bam tap bam beat. The ghosts of ancestors sat in the ceremony too, populating another dimension present and called forth through the medicine of song. Although only one drummer, the boom boom echoed an entire village: people danced, characters, archetypes, warriors, animals, lovers made shapes in the night. Arms outstretched, legs prancing, necks craned, enacting stories & myths made all the more vivid by those nonliving beings who, under sacred circumstances, are still very much all alive.

The rhythm of the drums sunk into her soft skin, into her organs, into her bones. At first, it tickled, and then more deeply, throbbed. The inner flower of her being awoken & seduced into petaling, opened with mandala zeal. A wellspring of eroticism exists therein – that storehouse of infantile energy slowly maturing through our experiences. Like an acorn bearing & sprouting the bark, the leaves, the branches of a 100 foot oak tree.

But too often, especially in the cultural milieu we find ourselves in, there are long moments, eras even, when eros gets arrested and stagnates; out of fear, pain, hurt, trauma, and, of course, the push for progress is wrapped up in there. Play becomes toil. Dreams become nightmares. The mind & body stand aloof, very minimally participating in the urge toward life. When we are cut off from the depths, our lives become convoluted & perverted versions of the subconscious. Evil lurks. Ego rides out. And the shadows, especially of figureheads, manifest in monstrous ways. When handled ignorantly, eros arises & subsumes waking life in very violent & destructive ways.

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She sat close. She kissed me on the lips. Goodnight, she said, goodnight, and smiled. I kissed her back. Is there much anything kinder than the softness of reciprocating lips?

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I want to believe we can change the world by going into our own psyches and doing the hard work of self-reflection. To look at ourselves honestly and make the necessary adjustments to our behaviors and speech. To crystallize like a diamond compounded. It is scary, no doubt, to go inwards. If it was easy, everyone would be sitting in meditation for hours everyday.

But I don’t think individual struggle suffices.

There are oppressive systems in place, and people working daily to keep those chains tied down & restrictive. They don’t give a shit about your peace of mind. They don’t give a shit about you. Especially if you are are queer or trans or gay or immigrant or native or black or poor or woman. The suppression of diverse existences is rampant.

Surely, an individual can meditate herself out of a box and find liberation, but sections of society don’t have the availability of time & resources to make freedom a daily reality. And it’s not that people are stupid or less-than by any means. People don’t need saving. It’s the fact that we live in a capitalist society that is predicated on extraction – extraction of time, energy, whatever can be turned into money. And those at the bottom suffer most. Why? With each decade and era, technology becomes more efficient, and yet people are still working just as much or even more.

There needs to be active political struggle on multiple, collected levels.

Resist. What does it mean? It’s in everyone’s mouth, on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but it’s becoming a trumped up idea. There are people choking on its reactionary emptiness.

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I smashed my face into her back, kissing her with my nose, my forehead, my lips, my tongue. My whole face mashed into a kiss. Cheekbones pressing. A contorting seizure of pleasure. Body twisting, borderline violently, thrown into ecstatic convulsion. Groaning like the minotaurs of Picasso’s sketches. Beast and woman, monster and man, a painting of legs and breasts, lips and hair and armpits collaging into sensuous disambiguation. Fears arising. Uncertainty. The thrust of ego. Burning in the flaming thralls of passion.

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She wanted to collect her tears in jars. But every time she started crying, she forgot wholeheartedly to take out a little glass bottle. What would she do with them? Simply hold them to share with others? Send them out to sea? Display them like a work of art? Add droplets to potions to transmute her despair and sufferings? Would she separate the tears out, and label them to denote different moments of crying?

She pointed to a shelf lined with bottles. “This is when my cat was killed by dogs. This is when the family dog died; we collected everyone’s tears for this one. This is when I had my first child. This is when my mother passed. This is when I was physically abused.”

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She cried. Are people listening?

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Psychological warfare distorts reality. How often do we close ourselves off from the feelings of others to protect our already fragile beings?

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“I can’t believe I’m that person who cries after sex. Like, I’m really that person.”
“I don’t think you’re alone in that. I don’t mind. I like it. There’s so much emotional upheaval during sex. A lot wells up. It makes sense people cry afterwards. It’s probably healing.”
“I know but, oh my god, I’m crying!”

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What is sadness if there is no shoulder to cry on? What happens when no one is there to catch your tears?

I often cry alone. I feel comfortable, as though there is more space to express myself. To just wallop and heave. The tears often turn to laughter. Sometimes sleep. It is always a letting go.

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