Sunday, November 23, 2008

Exposing my self

i've been wandering around all day in a fog. over the last hour or so it's occurred to me that it's because i'm tired. my feet hurt. my knees hurt. my hips hurt. okay, all of that can be traced to dancing in ridiculous heels last night -- but the outside of my forearms? my neck? i guess it's like this when tension leaves the body.

what i've realized during the last hour of slow consciousness (see slow food, slow growth) is that although i am tired, i am also really and truly better than i was a year ago or two. it's not just that i didn't pass out in the middle of the night and rip my forehead open, as i did at the end of exposure '07. and it's not that i find this easy: although i wrote breezily a few days back that i had lost track of my identity as dr zwicker, that kind of emotional dislocation is profound, for me. this week of supreme highs (bathhouse) and fears (will people come to the festival? will they like it? will our small board survive it?) and frustrations (which aren't worth rehearsing) and fragmentation (from 9-9:30 i'm schlepper, from 9:30-11:00 i'm teacher, from 11:00-1:00 i'm hzwicker@ualberta and zwickerhzwicker@gmail, then dr zee, then doctoral supervisor, then, starting at 4:00, professional lesbian, then sombre audience member) and neglect (does walking to the car count as exercise? how many nights a week is it ok to eat trail mix for dinner?): this kind of disaggregation is precisely what the doctor didn't order.

but i'm ok. i'm not great. in particular, i'm still bothered by that perennial sense that i should have done more; it grieved and guilted me to leave the party last night, for instance, knowing how much work it would be to take it down, and i can't believe i forgot, literally forgot, to go to play on friday night after the amy fung event at the ARTery. i feel uneasy, unsettled, uncertain -- all those "un"s suggesting that i don't feel any identifiable thing, just the opposite of many things. my sensitivities are dialed up, so i still don't know whether i'm right to be upset about the unlimited business, and i am spending way too much time fretting about people who are, really, tangential to my life (but did KW seem out of sorts to anyone else this week?). i don't know what i'll do with all this unclaimed time on my hands, nor how i'll survive without sending and receiving a hundred exposure-related emails a day. i worry, what if my sense of self really is predicated on being indispensable to others?

as i pause and read the paragraph i just wrote -- slow consciousness, remember? -- i'm struck by the repetition of "not knowing." apparently, i find it emotionally dangerous not to know. (my name is heather, and i'm a control freak....). but it's puzzling, nonetheless. isn't the unknown one of the main things to love about art? and isn't risk built into dealing with people? i'm all about grooving on folks who are unlike me, and i love seeing a painting or a photograph or a performance or a room -- the starlite lounge last night comes to mind -- that startles or intrigues or comforts or moves me into a different mental and emotional space.

it's odd, then, homeopathically odd, that the things that scare me the most are the things i seek to do. i probably should have been a bank teller, not a teacher who falls in love with her classes right before they end. i should work on safe events like the olympics rather than start-up queer arts and culture fests. i should make friends with the old and settled, not the up-and-comers who regularly leave this city.

"expose yourself" was the slogan of this year's festival. it's only now, as i spend a day musing and loitering, that i really understand that challenge. i'm pleased to discover that i'm well enough to meet it.

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