1. There will be several days that you daydream about stepping in front of a city bus. Don’t. It will not be beautiful. It will not be brave. It will be selfish. It will be broken. Your mother will cry.
2. Don’t write for him. Write for you. Write for others like you. Write so the girl that thinks about stepping in front of public transportation doesn’t. Don’t be selfish.
3. When you will yourself to sleep and it doesn’t come- get up. It doesn’t matter that it’s 3 am. There will be other 3 am’s. Take a shower. Take two. Wash him out of your hair. Write a poem. Read the same book you’ve read 202 times again. The 203rd time might tell you something different. Don’t stay in bed- you will think about the bus again.
4. Don’t kiss him because he’s broken. Don’t kiss him because his laughter never reaches his eyes. Don’t try and fix him. Fix yourself first. Be selfish. He can’t save you.
5. Date yourself. Take yourself out to eat. Don’t share your popcorn at the movies with anyone. Stroll around an art museum alone. Fall in love with canvases. Fall in love with yourself.
6. Dress up and wear red lipstick and get drunk with your friends. They’re the ones that will pick you up. Don’t kiss him. Or him. Don’t fall asleep on strange couches with strange boys. When his hand slides up your dress walk away. Hit him. Don’t kiss him. He can’t save you.
7. Get another tattoo. Get five more. Get another hole in your ear. Don’t listen to your dad. You will still be able to get a job. Did you really want to be employed by someone like your father? Haven’t you had enough of judgmental old white men anyway? Get fuck you tattooed in tiny letters on your hip.
8. When you feel the yearning for a new city- start over. Take 200 bucks and a three suitcases. Work anywhere that will have you. Meet strange people and forget your name. Call yourself Ruby. No one will know the difference. Remember to call your mother. Don’t be selfish. Come home when you find yourself in the strangers and the small one bedroom apartment.
9. Don’t whisper evil things into your own ear. Other people are going to shout them at you. Be your own hero. Keep a sword on your key ring.
10. Don’t step in front of a city bus. It will not be beautiful. Live. Stay up all night with a boy that promises you everything and means it. Live. See shitty local bands with a friend. Wear a different band’s t-shirt. No one will care. Live. Have a baby girl with tiny fingers and tiny toes someday. Pour love into her until it’s overflowing. Live. Wake up. Staying in bed all day is not poetic.
Do you hear that? It’s me. It’s your life. Wake up.
having anxiety and depression is like being scared and tired at the same time. it’s the fear of failure but no urge to be productive, and it’s wanting friends while hating socializing. it’s like running a marathon with the willpower of a corpse because you want to get to the end but you also want to sleep and evaporate into the soil and become compost for snails and flowers because then at least you’re useful
I am overwhelmed with how accurate this is…
I think it’s great for two people to be together. That is a good number. I think, that to keep it alive though, you can’t spend every day together. It wears out the magic, Love means nothing to me if it’s not fortified with fierce, painful longing, brief explosive instances of furious passion and intimacy and then a sad parting for a time. In that way, you can give your life to it and still have a life of your own. I think some couples spend too much time together. They flatten out the potential for experience by constant closeness. Passion builds over time like steam. Let it rage until it’s exhausted and then leave it alone to let it build up again. Why can’t love be insane and distorted? How can it be vital if it has the same threshold as normal day-to-day experience? Why can’t you write burning letters and let your nocturnal self smolder with desire for one who is not there? Why not let the days before you see her be excruciating and ferment in your mind so on the day you go to the airport to pick her up, you’re nearly sick with anticipation? And then when desire shows the first sign of contentment, throw it back in its cage and let it slowly build itself back into a state of starved fury. Then when you are together, it all matters. So that when you look into her eyes, you lose your balance, so that when she touches you, it feels like you have never been touched before. When she says your name, you think it was she who named you. When she has gone, you bury your face in the pillow to smell her hair and you lie awake at night remembering your face in her neck, her breathing and the amazing smell of her skin. Your eyes go wet because you want her so bad and miss her so much. Now that is worth the miles and the time. That matches the inferno of life. Otherwise you poison each other with your presence day after day as you drag each other through the inevitable mundane aspects of your lives. That is the slow death that I see slapped on faces everywhere I go. It’s part of the world’s sadness that’s more empty than cold, poorly lit rooms in cities of the American night.
The New York Times makes it seem like a match made in heaven: “Ai Weiwei was one of the most famous prisoners in recent history. Now he’s taking on one of the most infamous prisons of all time” — that prison being Alcatraz, the San Francisco facility that was closed down in 1963 and turned into a famous tourist destination. The piece goes on to report that the renowned Chinese dissident artist chose the location because he is “interested in exploring conditions in which individuals are stripped of basic human rights,” but that Ai is “not thinking about work that will directly connect to my own detention” by the Chinese government in 2011.
The combination of Ai and what used to be an infamous prison — one that now hosts up to over a million visitors a year — is an intriguing one. Art on display in a prison isn’t usually meant for public view, because let’s face it, not that many people want to hang around a prison in their spare time. It’s the fact that Alcatraz is now an established tourist destination that makes it a perfect spot for the unique exhibition.
While the site of Ai’s project hasn’t housed inmates for 50 years, art is still being made inside functioning prisons, most of the time by inmates themselves, through workshops and even programs that encourage prisoners to take up acting in Shakespearean plays. But it’s only when they involve a famous outsider, like Ai, that prison-based art projects and performances tend to get the attention they deserve.
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