2023 Self-love notes

Step into your wild self. Access your Dark Feminine energy to rediscover your full strength and unlock your untamed power. Recognise dark energies, but don’t fear them. Deconstruct the fortress of the self. Reweave the fabric of your world in innovative, transformative, driven ways. Embrace your Underworld i.e. shadow self, fears, normalise “negative” emotions, seeing them as an opportunity to embrace authenticity. Allow yourself to experience nuanced emotions. Resist the temptation to bypass. Connect with yourself without neglecting the parts that you may have become disconnected from: reclaim them. Trust your instincts and assessments of reality, they’re usually accurate and you owe yourself self-belief. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Your intuition always sees through the fortresses of personas. Reframe your whole existence in your favour. Embody the witch / alchemist archetype: Transform everything. Start by transforming your inner life, which will empower you to enact change (including shifts in consciousness). Expand your vision, expand your knowledge. Only you have the power to hold yourself back from personal fulfilment. Some situations require control, others would be better navigated through an approach based on surrendering. You are the only one with the tools to discern between the two. Aim to be impervious to other people’s visions of your life’s trajectory. Avoid circumstances that don’t bring out the best in you. Don’t feel a pressure to approach interpersonal relations as if they’re a performance and avoid situations where there is that expectation whenever possible. Healthy relationships don’t require you to change, pretend, cross your own boundaries, or feel depleted or uncomfortable in any way. Remain at home in yourself. Tap into childlike wonder and blissful maiden-like playfulness. Connect with nature more often. Be emotionally mature and empowered without losing a sense of connection with your innocence.

The engulfing

Spiralling,
A beckoning sign.
I’ve been teetering on a thin line

The catalyst-
Something as simple
as a knife twist,
disguised.

A reframing of purity-
turned glacial.
A false sense of security,
dissipating.

Withdrawing, inward
submersion.
It’s coming, one step forward-
the possession
the engulfing
It’s on.

The switch has been turned.
The demon has been summoned
I sense the first intimations of life,
feel its claw without being touched,
almost taste its void, hushed
She picks up and licks the knife
it turns into a magic wand in her hand
the open wound morphs into a black hole
I can no longer lick it to exorcise my self
She is free to bleed into me, she’s in control
The last protective layer is pulled off, violently.

After a battle spree
progressing morbidly, artfully
I summon the will
to lull the beast to sleep
before I get silent and still
I’m in it really deep
yet once again manage to make it all seep
out of me as I get ready to take another leap.

Siren’s prayer

In my dream
I was a siren, dwelling
in a pool of blood
filled with corpses
of preys
awaiting
their starved predator;
Musical, aquatic Scheherazade-
unwilling witness, captive,
or cold-blooded accomplice
with a gnawing change of heart-
so not so cold-blooded after all?
Moon-intoxicated, I sensed
your presence from afar,
running, teeth-clenching-
anxiety rising,
clinging
to the last tidal dream,
I wonder – who am I
supposed to
hypnotise:
the new live prey,
the ghosts of the dead,
or you?
Reluctant to find out,
I sing my melody, inwardly
to drown out the sound
of your blood feast.

Uncanny encounter

Lifting the white veil, I open the old, mysterious drawer. Inside, next to a fairy tale-infused wooden music box and some forgotten Christmas and birthday cards that seem to either yearn for my full attention or yearn to be left alone or be destroyed, I see the charming box where the photographs are stored – those prosthetic memories that seem to have developed a life of their own. Where I currently live, few objects that are explicitly mnemonic tend to survive the memorabilia purge I execute regularly sometimes in my attempts at minimalism and sometimes for the sake of symbolically shedding the past and starting afresh – a peculiar habit, perhaps, for someone fascinated with archives and the archival process and antique stores. Any letter or card would have to be extremely emotional, soul-stirring, and potentially heart-wrenching for some reason (for instance reflecting the cavernously deep feelings of the sender) in order to coexist with me for long periods of time. I’d have to feel like throwing it away would be a blasphemous act. Or alternatively, there should be something within that object that propelled my mind to get spiritually irrational and make up a superstition about it, specifically a superstition of what might happen if I got rid of it, so I just let it rest in some corner instead, where it’s cast into oblivion.

Any physical diaries I have ever had have been burnt – I couldn’t get rid of them in any other way: flames are symbolic. The process is more cathartic than deleting a LiveJournal account, but everything has been digitised and that works for me, despite the supposed deprivation of the haptic pleasure and of the magic of writing with a fountain pen in a beguilingly beautiful notebook. With the amazing texture, designs, and cover art of some notebooks nowadays, I’d probably decay with indecision whilst trying to decide what thoughts were noble enough to be written in such a diary anyway, and if I managed to decide, I’d still curse myself whenever I have to cross out one word and I would embellish the hell out of those noble thoughts to the point where it would be more of an exercise in literary style, imagination, and language rather than one in authenticity, self-awareness, or memory preservation. I suppose I’ll stick to the occasional LiveJournal entries and notes on my phone for that.

I have also deleted many photographs along the years and there are long chapters in my life that only ever still exist, in some vague, distorted form, in my mind. Rather than doing so out of an impulse or lapse in judgement, it was always planned and I have always been at peace with it, which is even more sacrilegious. Freud would be disappointed – he praised the power of photography to act as a reliable mnemonic device, since physical proof of a memory combats the decay the memory would face if it were only stored in one’s mind – hence liable to distortions over time. In his view, diaries, photographs, cards, are all part of a chain of mnemonic devices which free us, helping us unload the burden that we would have to hold if memories were permanently retained in our minds. They are extensions of identity, of your inner life, aiding our capacity to remember, which in turn allows us to absorb new information and conceive fresh thoughts. Eh, anyway, family photos, in particular, lie by omission – in addition to being an enemy to individuality, which is sacrificed in favour of an unreal collective past. Belonging whilst losing one’s self. Not to mention the notion of counter-memory and how trying to retain the past might only bring about its destruction, ultimately alienating you from your past and from life and making you construct false or weirdly altered memories. Photographic self-obliteration as a form of resurrection or metamorphosis. The intersection between the other and the self, photographic depiction and identity: the end of existence.

I open the charming, memory-preserving-or-destroying box. The photo album has an imposing, magnetic presence. As I turn the pages, I remember most of the photos, so they’re hardly nostalgic artefacts. I’m quite desensitised due to this observation and the fact that nothing seems to elicit an emotional response. But then I reach one portrait that I must have seen before, surely, and yet there’s something I haven’t read on her face before. Am I imagining this? It seems uncanny. The girl in the picture, a defying, atemporal doppleganger, an embodiment of a spectral condition, seems to want to tell me “I refuse to exist as an afterthought in this simulacrum”. She wants to step out of the frame and haunt. “I want to smell like Alien, not naphthalene. And this curse of only seeing the light every few years during the holidays…” She reprimands me for forgetting her, for misunderstanding and misconstructing her, for only reanimating her as a “Screen Memory” on rare occasions. I want to hug her. Tell her she is more myself than I am, in a way. Tell her she wouldn’t like it out here. But I remain silent. My expectation of chasing decaying memory traces has turned into an uncanny Blow-Up moment as I catch a glimpse of resignation and almost grief on her face. As I notice this, the door to the unconscious is slightly open, but not enough for her to escape. I know I was supposed to integrate her. But she will be here until next time, feeling trapped. And I will still feel both protective and afraid of her. Perhaps next Christmas it will be different.

Sigh

What was that, right there?

Hmm?

Your sigh… a sign of weariness, blasé indifference, the content of decadence, spiritual relief?

Concealed contempt, a remembrance of loss, emotional capitulation, or repressed agony?

No, it was actually me remembering your intrusive habit of analysing nonverbal cues and how in moments like these it tends to rub me the wrong way. Consider it a sign of my discontent with this dynamic.

We should look into that, I’m sure there’s a reason for it. And for building invisible barriers of psychological impenetrability and feeling resentment whenever I try to cross them. Perhaps it’s because…

Hilarious. You’re talking about trespassing, excavating, and infusing. There’s a way to enter someone’s inner world, force and a lack of subtlety are usually not the way. And seriously…The fact that you get visibly and, depending on your familiarity or affinity with the observer, often vocally irritated when the same treatment of psyche dissection is being inflicted upon you without consent…Now, what was that golden rule of Confucius?

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves?

That’s probably misattributed. And a cautionary statement more than a rule. Give it another shot.

To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it!

…Also not a rule. And I’ll be buried with my grudges.

Not an ethical rule, but a self-help rule. Look, I know, but are you truly bothered or just digging up reasons to be dissatisfied with and closed off to me?

It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.

You don’t actually live by that. Also, preaching about trust… Your obsessive devotion to double standards is the gateway drug to narcissism. But I’ll look past this because I see a version of myself in you.

Your dogmatic devotion to projection under the disguise of spiritual awareness is a gateway drug to psychotic solipsism.

Alice’s petty disease

There is a voice inside me
that wants me
to shrink more
and more and more-
less is more-
Corset training,
sight of
sternum, hip,
collar and cheek
bones
Russian twists
less is more
special
defiant
different
but aesthetic.
I’m a doer
not a moaner:
I dislike, I change.
whilst there’s still
a beating heart
in this carcass
no shame, no blame
I’m not brainwashed
I just have eyes:
I see the sensual
in the phantasmal
maybe I will find me
once I get to Wonderland-
“Off with their heads”-
that’s always been
how I deal with
inconveniences too
some would say
my mind needs
beautification instead,
but they don’t know-
regardless of what it hides,
my mind is already beautiful
and beautifully scarred.

X-woman

I watched her face
as she integrated all of them
inside her being
the change was subtle
I was attuned to her
inner turmoil
recognising the look
of the split self
in micro-expressions;
others couldn’t tell
why she seemed off-
the warning signs,
so tragically striking
in retrospect.
Her soul seemed made
of something solemn, unrelenting-
I trusted she could bounce back
from the lowest circles of hell.


Otherness can be disarming

I needed stimulation in order to nurture all those worlds within
No, not that type of stimulation, you’re all too earthly for me
Otherness can be disarming, but who cares about that when
you’re metaphysically displaced yet see others all too clearly
even if they swim in muddy waters to get away from the core?
Occult nocturnal escapades through the woods would do the trick.




Slice-of-life nostalgia & oneiric landscapes

For me, episodes akin to the Proustian Madeleine cake epiphany are often closely interrelated with one category of the uncanny. There are certain sudden, surreal ‘triggers’ that evoke images from a distant past in a most bizarre manner – the thing is, it’s not always clear whether the memories are real, constructed from narratives, films, and other media, or dream fragments. But they feel real. And I feel like I catch a glimpse into a distant world – again, it’s just a feeling, but I would say this counts as a spiritual experience at times. I used to call this “the fairy tale sentiment”. I will now focus on the glimpses into my own memories rather than those into the more vague “memories” of other lives, which are likely to be fabricated. The aforementioned evocative elements are rarely direct links to that specific memory piece, but they project me in a trance for like 2 seconds whilst those nostalgic images flash in my head. Sometimes it’s not even a particularly visually striking experience, it’s more about the texture of the moment, about ethereal scents, or glitter, pearlescent lights, fashion fabrics; the best type of experience is when several such elements come together. Such moments have an intoxicating effect.

Here’s one instance in which the memory that is summoned up is quite intuitive: a certain piece of fabric, combined with glitter and with a particular perfume – Alien by Mugler let’s say – together recreate a very distant memory of my childhood self in a sparkly, silver sequin-adorned ballerina dress (I used to do ballet, dance, and rhythmic gymnastics so at least the core motifs do belong to a real memory), on a stage with dark curtains. The auditorium was also graced with some familiar visages and eyes that are no longer filled with light in our world. I never remember the actual dances or even the feeling of being on a stage dancing at that age. I just experience those seemingly insignificant, yet memory-preserving details enveloped in obscurity.

Sometimes, in stream-of-consciousness style, this scene cuts to the next one – this time set outside, with me still in one of my dance costumes, only this time I’m holding my favourite doll; she is very special to me. I place the doll standing up in my mother’s open bag, so she can see the world like us. As we walk along a fountain, I hear loud noises and sense agitation behind us. Looking back, I see young adults or adolescents gathering together in a circle like animal predators looking down to check out something on the ground whilst constantly chattering about something I can’t hear from that distance, but presume it’s nonsense. They seem so intrigued. What could it be? What could this group of almost adults be so exuberant about? I look at my mother’s bag. I start panicking: she’s gone. Mom, they’re stealing my doll!! Let’s go back and take her please. I start crying. Or not. I don’t remember. But I was pretty sad. And even more importantly, I felt disappointed and betrayed by my mother in that moment and who knows for how long after that – who knows anything about the inner time of a child? Betrayed, bewildered, and bereft of my “Darling, dearest, dead” doll. For some reason, despite my plights, my mother refused to go back with me and retrieve it from them. I don’t remember what she said, but I think she maybe didn’t notice or want to notice that it was happening right in that moment. In retrospect, this memory doesn’t even make sense. Not in the sense that’s it’s not real, or at least partially real, but in the sense that it’s ridiculous. Why would an entire group of students or whatever be so excited about a doll? Was it a group of freaky doll fetishists? Why would they gather together jubilantly in a circle as if about to perform a satanic ritual or act like they’d never seen a doll in their life? And why would they want to steal it from a sweet (on the surface and in public at least) little girl like I was, leaving the scene super pleased with themselves? Even more importantly, how was this such a memorable event for me? I can’t remember my age at that time, but my pov was very close to the ground, so I can only imagine. If this is a screen memory, I wonder what it masks. I know that one’s mind also stores moments that have been particularly emotionally impactful in one way or another, but how come the very scarce memories I have dating back so far are mostly of negative incidents, mini-trauma, or my own mischief? What about the other extreme? I don’t actually remember a time when I felt particularly happy from back then – I’m glad I have pictures to document it though because there were a few.
Anyway, I wish I could turn back time just to bestow haunting powers upon my doll and warn them with a scary look on my face so they would gradually get so paranoid they’d convince themselves it was true. Happy Halloween Season!

Another memory, that most psychology discourses would deem unreal, constructed, and yet, living quite vividly in my mind is of me as an actual baby crawling onto this glistening white fabric that somehow covers both the floor and the table where my extended family was feasting. I was just minding my own business in my crystal globe, fascinated with the brightness of the room and of being. To be honest the aesthetic looked more like a detergent commercial. But it didn’t matter. I was all there for it: for being alive and exploring silky sheets.

Another type of uncanny experience is given by recurring dreams, particularly focusing on landscapes I’ve inhabited in my dreams rather than actions. Ever since I was little I revisited several unknown places in my dreaming life, some of them so pretty and full of good energy that it’s a sin they don’t exist. For instance: I often find myself in this space filled with abundant ever-expanding vegetation over an abandoned railway and dilapidated trains. Brutalist, sci-fi architectural structures bless the surroundings. Somewhere in the vicinity, there’s an agitated turquoise body of water. The slightly dystopian landscape is somewhat reminiscent of Tarkovsky’s Zone, which of course, I wasn’t aware of when I first had this dream. I try not to wander in plain sight, as if hiding from something or someone who is following me. Or perhaps I’m trying to find someone’s traces in order to save their life. Still, I don’t think this dream is about fear. I might just as well play hide-and-seek, except I keep moving because I can’t find the perfect spot.

This dream image morphs into a totally different location, buzzing with people and little shops, like a scintillating outdoors bazaar. More than that, it’s an entire imaginary city designed by this polarising Unconscious with layers upon layers of life and vivacity, scents lingering as I pass by the fragrance shops, hills to climb, and fountains to rest on to dread the time of waking up if you’re lucid dreaming. I know so many narrow alleys in the city and idyllic shortcuts to get to my favourite places in that sanctuary. Sometimes the city restructures itself in real time. The geography is resplendent, alive. But I know where to go for some peace and quiet- the immutable place where the noise of the crowd ends and the singing of the sirens begins.

Fast forward to another oneiric landscape, this time drenched in scarlet, desert-like, with ominous volcanos. I always ended up there, on top, by following a sinuous trail. There is a lot of tension in the air. Still, not as much as the one present within the ultimate nightmare, featuring…the lift. How can I forget the lift. Probably the most frequently reoccurring oneiric space I find myself in. And I’m usually terrified because, of course, it’s malfunctioning (I don’t have a problem with lifts in real life). Yet in this nightmare, it either races up or descends at an unreal, flesh-unfolding speed and clearly way beyond the 14 floors of the building. Sometimes it stops. And I can’t move. Because if I made the slightest movement my body would be torn apart by the metallic door.

If you happen to stumble upon this blog entry and you have the tendency to interpret dreams and pschoanalyse people, don’t.

Confessional musings of my younger self

I’ve re-introduced myself to my abandoned virtual diary from several years ago; many diary entries are pretty cringeworthy to me now but it’s interesting to see how my thought processes have morphed in time. I’m fascinated with how the brain reorganises itself, how fluid identity is, and how consciousness evolves and adopts new patterns. Indulging in this type of retrospection always makes me revert to my constant preoccupation with our ephemeral nature and cosmic resonance. A lot has been going on since I was last posting my slightly curated stream-of-consciousness there. And I still have mixed feelings about thought curation in regard to diary entries. Still, here are some entries that today’s self has found intriguing or fun.

“Soon I’ll be in Leeds- home of damnation, goth, rain, grey skies, and straightforward people. And of wild clubbing which I will try to avoid.” [24 june 2015, 06:38 pm] This hasn’t aged well, I ended up liking clubbing.



“My Freudian super-ego needs to be sent off on vacation.[…]

The advantages of living on this street include drunk people having aggressive, loud discussions in a Yorkshire accent at 4 am.[…]

If something doesn’t feel right, if it doesn’t make you feel happy, please don’t settle, Self. Realise what can and what can’t be fixed, but also what matters and what doesn’t. Distinguishing the objective from the subjective, the self from the other can get difficult when you are connected with someone on a deep level. Don’t lose yourself. I guess – be fluid, but don’t lose yourself in someone else’s fluidity.

To do: stop projecting and dwelling on past disasters (or perceived disasters). Shed those embedded preconceptions, somehow. Acknowledge your roots, but allow yourself to grow and be fluid. Re-evaluate some principles. Find a balance between judging situations based on previously recognised patterns and accepting that everything is fluid.

I need to throw myself in the cinematic world I am trying to create. My ideas come primarily in the form of short story excerpts, and the second creative layer involves turning this into a script, while imagining the shots with some awareness of details. I realise I tend to imagine narratives in the form of monologue. I often focus on telling one side of the story elaborately. The receiver is too often quite one-dimensional, a receptacle of soliloquies. But I have to shape the other character too, to bring them both to life, credibly. Bring them both to life, figuratively, and literally – for she comes from the past, from hundreds of years before the time of the narrative. She had a brother. She tells their story. We see it, she (the other one) sees or hears it, as if through an otherworldly portal, and inexplicable things happen – things that disrupt the present narrative.

Sometimes I wish I grew up with an older brother in my life. A male figure that would have blessed my childhood with kindness, understanding, empathy, and without authority – building up a hardly shakeable faith in humanity. One that would have known me better than anyone. Someone who would let me know my feelings were valid, who would not let cynicism poison aspects of my life. This ideal connection inspired the plot I have in mind” [10 april 2016 06:30 am]



“I just had a serious conflict with […] because he doesn’t acknowledge the status of film as an art form. Initially he said it’s because it’s a collective process, but that didn’t hold up well so he started making up other reasons.

It “inspired” me so much that I am thinking about elaborating my arguments into an essay.

I get quite emotional when I plunge into a debate about something I am very passionate about, which implicitly reduces my credibility, as well as making some people get even more defensive about their own stance. I am perfectly aware that if I changed my defensive attitude or approaches, I would be far more convincing in conveying my core beliefs and making people respect, if not completely accept them. Yet I am often driven by feelings in the heat of a conflict related to something that matters to me.

It happens all the time – Two people can share a belief with you, but their choice of words and the vibes they give off matter immensely. The impact of words and the approach showing kindness or perhaps patience (besides eloquence and confidence) can have a decisive role.” [28 march 2016 02:11 am]



“He said photography, or art in general, does not define me.
That I would be just the same without it; I argued that it (your creative practice) shapes you, it can be a huge part of your life. I felt I was stating the obvious and he was just playing Devil’s advocate, which I found irritating; but he was sort of serious-
He said the experience itself changes you, not the work resulting from it- that the photographs I take, for instance, don’t change who I am.
Yet I find myself in art. I explore my self through art.
We agreed that the process changes you, and the result (the art) is a reflection of who you are.
He said he loves me because I am caring, smart, I observe things around me, I like learning, I am creative, not because of a photographic aesthetic I go for. Fair point, but the artistic concepts are so relevant to how I perceive myself; and how did we end up talking about love? It seems like deflecting” – He also said something really sacrilegious about art, and the words got etched into my mind as my lasting memory of that connection, but I left that out because it was so annoying. [2 september 2016 03:00 pm] Not only does the creative process & outcome alter you, in a way, but the consuming / viewing process can have similar properties too – https://dianamarin.com/2021/11/11/art-is-heightened-life/