Twisted butter knife. | August 26, 2011

One of the phrases I have heard most by those who care for me and want me healthy is, “You have to find what makes you happy.”

I think I have.


“Selling our time rather than doing things for their own sake, we come to evaluate our lives on the basis of how much we can get for them, not what we get out of them. Our lives disappear, spent like the money for which we trade them. Often we become so used to giving up things that are precious to us that sacrifice comes to be our only way of expressing that we care about something. We martyr ourselves for ideas, causes, love for one another, even when these are supposed to help us find happiness.

There are families, for example, in which people show affection by competing to be one who gives up the most for others. Gratification isn’t just delayed, it’s passed on from one generation to the next. The responsibility of finally enjoying all the happiness presumably saved up over years of thankless toil is deferred to the children; yet when they come of age, if they are to be seen as responsible adults, they too must begin working their fingers to the bone.

But the buck has to stop somewhere.”

My mom used to yell in a drunken stupor, “Sure laugh, you bastard kids have no idea the empire I am building for you!”

What she meant was… “I am attempting to build you all a better life than I had and it is killing me so I drink to dream of a life where my desires are validated and in turn those desires nurture me to be a stronger figure to guide you. I see more everyday that the better life I hoped to build and give slips away each day because it is and always has been a figment of my imagination, a figment of this societies imagination.”

That is lost in the translation of monotony though, is it not?

Instead she worked 40 to 60 hours my entire life. She blamed it on my father, who left her, but really, whose hands is our own liberation in?

In the absence of fulfillment, of stimulation, of passion, my mothers thoughts and actions were perverted. Subtle coercion permeated all interaction in our home. We were fighting each other our whole lives. It’s all that was taught. It is all that was known. Little did my mom realize but through her well-meaning neglect she raised resistance. She demonstrated each day how “working hard” is really just peddling time for paper. No hard work even actually gets done. The dishes are still piled up. The laundry still forming a sea at the bottom of the basement stairs. Her garden always dead. She peddled her life away. Who will remember my mother? Who speaks to my mother? Not most of her 8 kids.

I decided what makes me happy is living. The struggle of embarking on a life that is actually lived pales as a threat to my security in comparison to the blank stare I bring home from the office each day. My empty “hard-working” mind finds little to share with my son. I find no pride in a beefy resume or good job performance any longer. I feel my duty to my son is providing an example of a different option.

I will not fear the instability of freedom in order to provide a glimmer of a chance of “more opportunities” for my son.

I will show jordan that you rip your own liberation from the jaws of complacency. It is not handed down through generations, but tips on how to traverse the battle can be handed down. Stories, experiences, they can be shared.

No bank can repo my lessons.

My mother has a twisted butter knife collection. I have always clamored to create a metaphor for them because, without the words to articulate it, they sing of my mother, of her life, of her lessons. I know what they represent. They represent representation of plausibility, representation of practicality. A job is supposed to make sense and legitimize our worth. “Working hard” is supposed to validate us. It is another facade in this hologram of life. It is a coercive reality and it takes our lives from us before we even notice. There is supposed to be a day when we are caught up, when we have room to breathe and LIVE! But the day never comes because we never feel safe enough to take it.

I have been down sizing my life. I am down to one bedroom. I am going on the road now. I am going to write. I am going to create.  

Call me an artist to dismiss or separate that this is also all you’ve ever wanted. To walk away. Call me crazy, call me lazy, call me irresponsible. I feel the same about you if you are willing to trust your life to the hands of the monetary profit you acquire for stability. You are not stable either.

I am going to get a twisted butter knife tattooed on me to remember my mother when life gets hard. I will sit filthy and guiltless in my easy smile when I think to myself, “Mom, you did give me a better life even if it doesn’t look like what you dreamed of.”

 A butter knife symbolizes her hap hazard commitment to domestication that turned out to be her deal with the devil. Twisted like the reality society sells us as acceptable.

I’m building an empire of stories instead.


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  1. I understand and commend you. Your strength, insight, beauty, clarity, and view are all remarkable assets you hold. They will carry you through your journey. Listen to your voice even if you want to hear something else. It will guide you to your greatness! Your courage is awesome!

    Comment by PF — August 26, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

  2. You are fucking beautiful.

    Everyday i find more and more reasons to be proud of who you are. There is nothing more exciting than seeing you develop and what stories come from that.

    “no bank can repo my lessons”

    fuck yes.

    Comment by zach — August 27, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

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    Mother Lover. <3

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