Page 11 - Fluxion Art Journal Issue 1

Basic HTML Version

THE ALGEBRA OF NEED
Mark Christopher Harvey 1997
July 1996
Richmond Va.
It is just after midnight. Michael and I are sharing an order of nachos in a
restaurant in the Fan. I’m all wound up. My “vacation” is almost over and
I am more of a nervous wreck than before I moved. I am surprised by this,
still denying that I am avoiding a whole hornets nest of issues. I have been
staying with my parents for the last few days, and after being away for a
year it has had a claustrophobic effect on me. In a fit of exasperation I tell
Michael what I have been afraid to tell anyone, even admit to myself,
because its so juvenile, so silly. I’ve become aware of the level of sacrifice
I’ve made over the years, for Mama, for nothing really, since everything I
have tried hasn’t done any good. Her illness and unhappiness just keeps
getting worse. It is overwhelming me now. I fantasize about disappearing,
just losing contact with them (parents) and never coming back. I don’t
want to do that either. For years I have been “reinventing” myself only to
discover there was no real identity to deconstruct in the first place. My
“identity” was simply a mixture of attempts to fill my parents expectations
and a fear of letting anyone down, constantly threatened with certain
rejection- the result of years of subtle manipulation. I grit my teeth at the
level of self censorship. I want to lash out. I want to destroy myself. I look
at everyone around me laughing. I’m tired of being so uptight and sad.
Right now I feel like I am immediately perceived to be a mama’s boy, a
sissy, all the names I was ever tormented with. I chuckle at myself. I always
go for simple self-hatred. Its too easy, I know better, and its no good. I
know It’s an overreaction to feeling trapped. I feel like I’ve waited too long,
and now I am getting older and its too late to do any of those irresponsi-
ble things that people do as an adolescent. I never allowed myself adolescence. I lose my breath
over the realization. It’s the first time I’ve felt the depth of what it means, the loss! I suddenly feel
enormous pressure to compensate. I’ll shave my head, cover my body with tattoos, pierce my chin
and ears, wearing wide gauge rings. I tremble inside because I know if I did it would be pathetic. I
suddenly want to do everything I ever told myself I couldn’t do. Its just another kind of an armor. I
don’t want to be remembered as being the one who was always scared, who always backed down,
who never took the risk. I need to prove to myself that I am not what I am afraid people may per-
ceive me as. I picture this person- this “self” I project my identity on. I want to to kill him, to
forcefully push him away, leave him forever, but I can’t because as much as I want to rid myself of
that side of my identity I have to admit that we are linked at the core. That’s just one part of me.
The other is aching for release, has been denied all this time. I feel like there is so little evidence of
this other person. In my journals whatever I didn’t want anyone to know (which was just about
everything) I wouldn’t write down, and since there was no evidence I convinced myself in my head
that these things really didn’t exist. Over the years this has lead to a total retaliation, an obsession
with documenting details, and a compulsive desire to reveal everything. I tell Michael all this and
that I envy his mistakes, all the things he’s done, the risks he has taken. He laughs and says he
envies me. Michael, having grown up with me, knows my history well and talks me down from
my precipice. I take everything too seriously.
you see, what I really am afraid of is that there will be no evidence that I ever existed at all, I am terrified of being ...nothing... forgotten?
I need to record as much as possible, as accurately and as truthful a document of who I am and what I am . . partly to make up for hiding so much for so long.
I am secretly afraid of being punished for this expression. flashbacks of fighting with my parents or them with each other- drunk, no communication ever getting
through. Now punishment comes from all directions, and there are no boundaries between imaginary and real.
It’s like breathing, my habit of co-dependency, I am afraid of being misunderstood. I punish myself, clinging to the shame and the guilt, not so much because that’s
what I’m feeling- in the true pure sense, but because I think that’s what I am suppose to feel. The rationalization is that if I at least act ashamed and guilty then
its okay. Now the fear of losing myself is forcing me to act.
“I smell the smoke that comes from a gun- named extinction,
named EXTINCTION!...”
- from “The Sad Punk” by The Pixies