It was the darkest night. Everything seemed to be breaking, running out, crumbling, infected, corrupted and out of sync. My mind, my body, my unshakable, core faith in the wonder of life, and especially my will to live, had fallen over. The world outside appeared to have come undone. I imagined this bleak perception to be exactly how so many others in the world were also bearing witness to the big reality show; as a fractal of ruination where grand-theft swindlers reign supreme.
It’s logical to assume that this idea of brokenness is merely a by-product of my age, and that I am simply a naive, fifty nine year old woman, scrabbling through the dark tunnel of ageing. Tiny cogs of evolution are whirring, clicking and turning, robbing my body of sleep, hustling me out of my privilege of comfort and ease. Is it really only the paper-shredding of an ego’s carnival facade? Even though all that waiting around on uncomfortable plastic chairs usually felt unbearably long, it turns out that our time here is short.
Booted from the familiar landmarks of an easy living, straight out into a locked up frontier of unknowable challenges, (marked and signposted with a language of flat face symbols I cannot recognise), I reach for my pain relief. My preferred brands of pain relief are life-avoidance costumes, stored in an old trunk of runaways. The parts I chose to play caused me to swallow the bitter doctrines of any old buddhas, to eat the deep-fried soma of the victim, fly the kite of a wounded bird, play the bored-game of a lunatic fringe-dweller, dress as madam misfit and claim all suffering as the tokens of a tormented artiste.
Electric jabs from the long-abandoned pins hiding in my old costumes jolt me back into a distracted trance of frenzied moves. The pain-relief-dance hurls me around in dervish circles of secret meanings and metaphors that burn through me like a fuse of creative urges to be and become. I spin like a rotor until each sudden flare of inspiration slams me into a rubber wall of black inertia and I fall back down onto the floor of pain.
Hip cynicism grips me by the collar of my spirit, and drags me back inside the dungeon of despair.
Old mate buddha mutters in my dreams, proseletysing that all this gripping is the root cause of my suffering, and he offers me a coupon for 5 free lessons in impermanence. I hurl that ol’ buddha out into the street for the next council clean-up. There is a very long line of the buddhas of uselessness littering my timeline, like faded postcards from someone I once met on a train but whose face I can’t really remember now.
In an era of peace and comfort, the notion of art-as-therapy was too easy. It afforded me a luxury of lazy doodling, sourced from the meta-files of a self-hood that somehow seemed important, or even, that some, pieced-together notion of self held gravitas.
The idiom, “I used to think I knew everything, but now I know better”, is a page-turning chime in this dark paradigm of losing my grip, which comes suddenly, in company with the stark realisation that there is actually nothing to grip onto in the first place, and all that old gripping was the root cause of everything that is now breaking.
Let’s break it down…
KAFKA eau de parfum is an intense, floral woody leather wrestling with cruelty, despondency, Sumatran patchouli, inertia, suffering, champaca, narcissus, dark shadows, loneliness, Virginian cedarwood, styrax, labdanum and the flickering flame of hope.