Daily Archives: October 1, 2005

Diary post: 3 am

It’s 3 am. I am awake and writing. this is not insomnia. I awaken from a deep sleep and can’t not write. I leave my bed, my sleeping bed, alone or not, and wander over to my bed-desk and keys hit the page, often until dawn. Then I fall back asleep. Most of my writing comes to me like this. I used to think it was insomnia. Now I recognize it as a midnight guest bringing me out to work. By daylight, thoughts emerge, formulate but. most of what I have to say comes out of me at night. I hear the crickets through the window, as if I were not in Los Angeles, as if I were on retreat in the mountains, or deep on a farm in the country. I had a dream tonight, just before awakening. It was a dream about betrayal. The betrayal was real. The dream only put it into images, defined it, let me know it was time to leave, that I could not return. After months, I understood why, that I would never be able to be my fullest self and stay. It was wonderful and I found so much of me in their arms. But their wars are a lie and I cannot continue there, honestly and it would not be kind to tell the truth and no one would hear me anyway. They have built their walls high and painted a door. It only looks like and opening. It only looks like peace. It is really another war of the same machine. It just feels good. In the end it changes nothing. I have to go. It is no longer my place.

This is my newest space. I call it, In Bed with Frida Kahlo. I understood my life better by watching hers. We are both sick women in a world that has little use for healthy women, even less for those of us who take to bed most of the time. She painted, I write. I watched her take her easel, lying in bed, mirror above her to reflect her back to herself. I know that. For me it is the lap top, click, click. I don’t have a mirror, and sometimes I get lost. I look for a mirror in the people I love. But often they forget about me as they run around in their own lives. I understand she was very lonely. That she painted herself to constantly, some say, to get attention. We think she wasn’t lonely because we have her art. We critique her for her love for Diego, for her weaknesses, for not being our archetype. Or we pretend that she was something she was not, that she was always strong and sure of herself. We paint her likeness on school bags and t-shirts. She has become fashion like Che and Malcolm. But that doesn’t mean she did not struggle, alone, alone, alone.

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Comments
ahhh, but you do have a mirror. It is called “Imagination”. And with it you reflect your heart, and reveal your soul. I do not believe there is little use for women, of any measure of health. You create your use. And you have tools to fulfill that use… your easel. It is your easel that has but one use; to support a work in progress. One use. But a noble one. One worthy of praise. Don’t sell yourself short. There is more value in one hour of conversation with you, than any amount of riches I could amass. Of this I am quite sure. I will add you to my link list and follow where your imagination leads. _Posted by MuslinOpaque on 10/02/2005 11:12:50 PM

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Introduction

“I feel uneasy about my painting…Up till now I have only painted the earnest portrayal of myself, but I am very far from work that could serve the party. I must fight with all my strength so that the little positive things that my health allows me to do might be pointed toward helping the revolution. The only real reason for living.”
-Frida Kahlo
1950-51
The Diary of Frida Khalo

I hope this space with be about courage and truth. I want to speak about the secrets of my life, the daily indignities and small victories, what it means to be disabled, bedridden in a society whose foundation is so entrenched in the illusion of the strength of the individual, that blames the victim. I want to have the courage to speak the truth about fear, illness, isolation, pain, loss, hope and especially, love. I want to take brilliant women off the pedestal that leaves us in such a precarious a space to be admired but never really understood, that holds us to our strengths and holds our weaknesses against us. I want to cry out for community, mutual aid, interdependence. I want to provide resource and truth to those who are also alone. Many days, this illness reduces me to nothing more that a sick woman in a bed. Many days this society finds me less and less useful. I am sure in my loneliness, I am not alone, that what I endure, is endured by many others. All I have is time. It stretches on like the horizon over the ocean in California, or cornfields in Kansas. It has no interruption. In the end, we are what we make of what we have been given. There is so much I would like to do with my life. Swallowed by this illness much of the time, I need to let it breath through me, become my struggle. How can my art support transformation, revolution, resurrection?
I hope to tell the truth, the truth about my own life. I believe that in telling one’s truth, that the truth of the lives around me be protected. Their stories are not mine to tell. Where I am vague it guards a confidence, allows an incubation for someone else to tell their own story. What I tell here of the lives of others, is either already public, or has been given to me to tell. It takes courage to tell one’s own truth. Telling other people’s story must be done with kindness, respect, integrity and permission.

©2005 Emma Rosenthal All Rights Reserved. Permission to post or forward in entirety including the copyright.
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Comments
Emma: I have been enjoying reading your Emails for years … but this one was the most touching …. You are a extremely strong and courageous woman ….. my prayers go to you and your family …. its very important that you continue your work as you work through your illness ….. you’ve been comforting others ….. now its your turn to be comforted ….. we – all those who know you – love U for just being U … chazz _Posted by CHAZZ on 10/02/2005 02:03:13 AM