creativity · healing · modeling · recovery · school · vulnerability

"And Render the Visioner Whole."

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!! Although I should also say that
today’s one and only class (go grad school) is Advanced Painting (go grad
school!). 🙂 
I’m terrifyingly thrilled to be going back to it. When, on the
last day of last semester, I said to my classmate (in response to her relief at
it being over) that I was looking forward to it beginning again, mainly because
my break was shaping up to look nothing at all like a break or rest or
refuel, and I knew that something would have to change about how I was shaping
However, I took work anyway, got sick, and generally felt just as
soul weary yesterday as I imagined I was going to feel. Hence my gargantuan
relief at being back in school.
For me, this means being back to a purpose. That I have a
definition, a little name tag under my photo – “Student.” I have a label.
Not, “Part-time temporary employee.” Cuz, I’ll tell you, that feels like a
really crappy label. Unrooted. Directionless.
That said, I did run some numbers last night, and have
worked out how much I will still need to earn each month to make my ends meet,
and not be stark raving broke at the end of May, when school is done. To
provide myself a mini-cushion of time to … uh, do whatever it is I’ll be doing
at the end of May.
Although I now have my student loan money, sitting in my
bank account since yesterday with a HUGE pulsating red warning alarm – DO NOT
SPEND DO NOT SPEND. This money is spoken for. And, I will
need to not blow my wad on a car. (gross, when thought of literally. sorry –
but that is what car magazines are for, isn’t it?) 😛  A car may still be possible, but I will have to gather
some help on “thinking” it through.
I did not get a call back for the musical, and I am/was
pretty cool about it. I didn’t really think I would, but as I’ve said, it was
my job only to show up the best I could. Now, my best will hopefully continue
to improve as I do more of these, and practice in advance, but, for today, I
gave it my best shot, and I’m so glad I did.
Mostly because, I auditioned for a fucking musical – i.e. I sang in front of a panel of 4 people and an accompanist. One woman at the table briefly looked up at me as I walked into the room, and then proceeded to fiddle
on her mac for the remainder of the time I was in there – not looking up once.
Whatever, not my business. And, nor have I sat in a small room for 8 hours,
listening to hopefuls nail and fail an audition. I might fiddle too.
But, because I had had the experience of doing that audition
on Saturday, on Sunday, when I auditioned for the live modeling guild, guess
what? Not even NEARLY as nervous. Truly. Being stark naked in front of a panel
of 5 people, coed, was not nearly as terrifying to me as singing, fully clothed
in front of a panel of people. Both are forms of being naked, if you ask me. 
The audition was held in a really old building in SOMA, and the labels on the glass
panes of the doors looked like the old block print you see in private eye
movies of old. One of the doors said San Francisco Odd Fellows, which I found
rather amusing, but also had images of secret society cloaks.
I was almost last on the roster, so I got to spend a lot of time hanging
out, watching other people fold their bodies in half to stretch. It wasn’t all
“model” types, as in fashion/runway models. There were large, small, old,
young. A cross section of folks, but all with a certain … I wouldn’t say “ease”
or “whimsy,” as certainly not everyone there was someone you’d want to be stuck
in an elevator with – but for the most part, each had some strain of artisan in
them. I mean, you’re auditioning to be a model for art classes and painters and
sculptors. It’s a pretty cool thing.
I know from my painting class last year when we had live
models in what a difference it made, rather than painting from a photo. It was
also pretty weird, but it’s almost like you sort of accept that this is weird,
and ignore that folks in the room are naked. Like at the end of my audition,
after I’d posed in a series of postures, which was the sort of silent,
observing, professional portion, they then asked me some questions about my
application and why I wanted to do this, and I’m standing there, the only naked
person in the room, talking to them like I’m on a normal job interview,
answering about my resume. It was weird. Yes, you are naked, but yes, we are right
now ignoring that fact and pretending not to notice that we’re having a normal
conversation with you despite it. Lol. It was pretty weird, pretty fun. They
even asked if I could do some of my performance poetry while posing, and I did.
That was pretty cool.
Some of this for me is about taking ownership of my body.
Not of how it looks, but how I feel in
it. How connected am I to this thing that walks me around my whole life,
digests whatever crazy thing I feed it, and makes my fingernails grow? How
connected am I to this thing that has been abused by self and others? … is
really what it comes down to.
Much like “Owning Voice,” this is another place of
ownership. Of feeling like the master of my body, my fate, what happens to it,
how I engage with it, and how I allow others to engage with it. To be naked in
front of this panel is to claim my own body — to take responsibility and care for all that has happened to it, and all that will happen to it. This is the
vehicle I’ve been given, but it’s like a snail’s shell, it’s not just a house,
it’s also part of the being. And for a while, and for intermittently, I have
not been connected to this part of my being. Throwing it around hither and
So, this audition for me was one of healing. The musical one
was too, but in a different way. My friend talks about soul retrieval,
particularly in reference to certain meditations. And for me, these actions are
doing just that. I am retrieving parts of my soul which I have dismissed and
shattered from myself, and I am making myself whole again.
How’s that for a Wednesday morning? 

*P.S. I realized where I was quoting the title of this blog from. It’s a line from a draft of a poem I’d written last fall.

excerpt from “The Intelligence of Memory”

Like a fossil patient and low
Truth will wash up like integration
And render the visioner whole.

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