BPD: The Playlist

October 15, 2014 § 10 Comments

Today while driving in traffic, one of my favorite songs came on the radio. That’d be “Clarity,” by German DJ Zedd.

When “Clarity” came out last summer, I wrote this about it at the time on This is a Liked Music Log:

I’ve long thought that the allure of dance music (for me anyway) is its ability to both tap into despair and to mobilize against it, simultaneously. Like gospel, its roots are a deep existential suffering – tho where bondage is the root of gospel’s pain, the sufferings of love lie at the heart of dance – yet as a genre both by their nature intend to literally move their audiences to action, to movement out of that despair. Gospel through prayer, dance through…well, dancing. As a genre dance recognizes the pain in you but refuses your getting stuck there—if you’re listening right, you’re literally moved up and out of suffering in responding to dance through movement. It’s a kind of music that both touches and transforms pain; through movement comes a kind of liberation.

I put this song (Zedd, “Clarity”) in that category.

But I was also mesmerized by “Clarity” then (and still am) because I identify with its essential conundrum: what inspires profound longing also inspires profound suffering. I understand this paradox to the the psychic essence of what gets labeled borderline personality traits:

If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy?

If our love’s insanity, why are you my clarity?

For me, borderline traits have meant a longing for reciprocity, a weeping, absolute absence–no, abandonment, an absolute abandonment–at the center of me that is so intense it collapses under its own mass like a star going supernova, sucking everything down into oblivion. My love is so intense it is unstable, it is destabilizing. Nobody could survive my love. Everyone must run. I must run from myself. My need is so intense I can only be abandoned. My need for response is the very reason I am abandoned. To love is to grieve, then, in the same moment. An unsolvable conundrum.

Anyway, from “Clarity”, a playlist slowly began to take shape in my mind. Not just songs I jam to when I’m crazy–flying high on manic energy or stunted immobile by despair–but songs that expose the anatomy of madness, that illuminate the inner workings of borderline craziness, specifically.

And so, I present to you BPD: The Playlist.

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amor es dolor

December 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

LadySorrows2

it’s hard it’s hard it’s hard it’s hard

and

what’s worst is that
there’s no reason why, why I should
feel as though my chest
is being prized apart as in
a bypass, ribcage
cracked open like a book or
proscenium raised to reveal
inside
a dia de los muertos
shrine, this
celebration of loss
this mourning of the greatest joy

what feels too big to write and so
to understand but I’ll
try
is
that
I feel grateful for, I feel graced by
a love that fells me, that compels
my genuflection before an openness
to the infinity of pathways possible
the messy complexity of no hope,
the wisdom of no escape from complexity
but the power, the intensity that
folds my knees
opens my hands to the
I shall be what I shall be
that stands me open, ribcage cracked
as life and love pool to overflowing
past the loose catchment of
my cupped hands
is too much to contain, too much as it
rips into and through me
it’s too big and I
too impossibly small

it’s like the scene at the end of
the secret of nimh
when timid mrs. brisby
who everyone thinks is helpless
is the only one who can grasp onto
nicodemus’s flaming amulet
she drops it at first
but then she steadies herself and
holds on and
the power travels
up her arms, engulfs
her entire body, until
with that power she moves
the cinderblock home
where her children reside
to the lee of the stone,
to safety:

mrs-brisby-saves-the-day

but for me
I am smaller and more timid
than a cartoon mouse
love is too big, too powerful
the amulet too fiery
hot
to be
possible

or maybe it is the fiery hot of the crowning
when a child roars for entrance
into the world
heaving downward and out with
the hardest demand
through a body not
built for it but
built for it,
elastic by
the skin of its teeth, by
the tinest, most precarious tunings
of evolution,
just barely barely barely
able

on the one:
I could not use this metaphor
if I had not lived through it myself

on the other:
I lived it but only
from outside and beside
myself, taken over,
the boundaries of self
in childbirth, as in sorrow,
uncertain: where do you and this other
begin and end, where do the edges
unravel into the infinite beyond?
when my anxiety and anguish
compels yours which amplifies
mine, an echo chamber of
shared consciousness?
if the reality to be apprehended is that
there’s no difference really,
inside/outside, self/notself
how can knowledge of sacred bond
(you and me, thus me and the inarticulable,
the name with no vowels)
not destroy me?

the pain of not knowing
the joy of being
okay with not knowing,
of knowing
it’s okay, it’s okay
to hold both at once
to hold both at once
will rip me apart, I can’t
survive this yet
I will, the knowledge is
too great and too terrible and
too beautiful,
awful and aweful

in the car I watched your dog
cry when you went into the store
out of sight even for a minute
the pain of thousands
of little losses like this
I understand, I understood
which was why
I stroked her head and
reassured her you’d come back
and you did

but

what if

what if

and then alice’s parable
at first so seemingly disconnected
but later so helpful and revealing:

of a man she loved and left
a crackhead
who told her one visit that
he gathers his drugs together
in front of him
and cries even before he takes them
knowing they’ll eventually be gone
missing something right before him
mourning loss even before it happens
knowing losing inevitably shadows having
emptiness inseparable from satisfaction

now she loves a man who loves men
a man who loves her back
as a friend but will never return
the sacred eros of the desire she feels for him

in the taqueria she thanked me
for not suggesting she love someone else
someone more accessible or realistic
someone less complex and painful to love

no, it’s okay/it’s not okay, no/it’s okay

because it has to be
because I don’t want to be that crackhead
and so
we have to go on as though
it’s okay even when it feels like
it never will be
we have to hope synchronous
moments of clarity are possible
when they feel entirely opposite
that

I have to trust
that love is big enough
to contain these spasms of
craziness
smallness
inelasticity

that I am forgiven
these things

forgiven the ways
in which I complicate a happiness
forgiven the ways I get scared
forgiven the ways in which
I create the waves that toss me
because of all the ways
I am imperfect, incomplete
forgiven the ways in which
I am producing noise in seeking
silence, fuzz in seeking
focus, forgiven
all I do not understand

this is why it’s hard
but what to do
except try to write
except trust that the you
that gestures outward to universe
still loves me
that you will return in time
until then
I should put on my shoes
and run run run run
away from this static
away from myself
so that I too can return
to you

12.12.06

December 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

i’ve been crying for 2 days now
my body in shock, limbs
dazed and unsteady

my sadness feels endless, i feel like one huge convulsion, a spasm in my chest head throat eyes endlessly seizing

tho i called it off, it’s

you you

you who console me
and for a minute i’m calm
like a child soothed by its mother, i’m
supposed to be an adult but
i’m like a child who’s afraid
its mother won’t come back
a child whose only power
is to cry
to cry
i don’t know how to hold myself
i don’t know how to convince myself
that i’m strong enough
to do this
that i can make myself happy
even if we can’t please each other

i’m the one leaving but it’s your
departure that breaks my heart

 

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