I’ve felt the need to curl my lip lately. Mostly, it sneaks out when I’m driving and by myself. It’s not like I even think about it, but then that snarly feeling makes it’s way out and ends up right there on my face. And it’s not just the face. When the curling lip happens, out comes attitude and grit to go with it and it’s almost like I’m looking for some terrible injustice so I can go yell about it. I guess whatever this snarl is needs to get out there. I’ve known this to happen after a long bout of “life is so amazing and I love everything and it’s all so beautiful.” It’s not like that love feeling isn’t still there, but there’s something else inside of me that won’t be forgotten. Part of me wants to be able to still snarl and get pissy and yell.
With this snarl comes a lurking desire to hunch over a table and scrawl things into it. Boy, do I want to scratch shit into a wooden table with the tip of a pocket knife or a dead ball point pen or something sharp… like an icepick. I also have a need to be around decomposing things, like blue cheese. Blue cheese is disgusting and also one of my favorite things. I eat a lot of it, daily, but I can still see it is also a moldy stinky dairy product which is kind of gross, and that’s what I like about it. I’m fascinated by it, really. Decay is this process of slow death that comes to one thing because another thing (organism, bacteria, maybe yeast) is growing on it and breaking it down. It’s death happening because life is taking it over.
It used to be that this stuff would bubble up from deep inside and I’d start to snarl and then I’d get stuck in it for a long time. It would come over me and overwhelm me and that overwhelm could eventually wear me down and I’d end up sad. Now, it can show up but it doesn’t take over. I don’t fertilize it quite as much. This is one thing that my yoga practice has really helped with. I don’t get stuck quite as easily or for quite as long.
I still find love and beauty in the things and the relationships and this world that I’m engaged in, but I find that there’s a good dose of the anger and the fear and a fascination with the disgusting mixed in with all the love and beauty. It’s all in there at varying percentages and it’s all a part of life. When this comes up for me, I think it’s really helpful to take a good look at it and wonder “Why?” and “Where’s it coming from?” And “No need to be alarmed.” It’s also good to know that I don’t have to feed it and let it take over. Sometimes it is close to the surface and sometimes it’s deeper, but it’s always in there. It just is. I am very engaged in this spiritual practice and I take it very seriously but that doesn’t mean that I won’t still get all pissy and messy. And honestly, I don’t really want everything neatly contained and managed and tidy all the time because there’s all this other stuff that is very much a part of life… it can have a purpose and sometimes it needs to come out.
I like to document my quiet obsession with rotting food dead things and bad smells. (Smells are the most difficult to capture.) Here’s a brief photo journal of some of the things I like to think about and to be with. It’s one of the ways that I remain present with the beauty in the disgusting and the breakdown and the stink.