I just watched The Constant Gardener. It was an emotional movie for me. Perhaps added to the fact that it has been an emotional week for me. Sometimes it’s easier to be stronger than other times. Also, sometimes, I am forced to be strong and I am. I have experienced this on several occasions in my past. Those of you who know me, also know some of those stories and wonder how I made it through those times but because I did, you think I am full of such strength. But where is that strength now? Why is my stomach in knots and aching in the place between my ribs, up close to my heart. Like when I first moved to Thailand and had that boy try to put a knife through his heart in front of me. Oh I was strong. I moved in with another boy I hardly knew because it was safe. And safe was what I needed after Saipan. Then I found myself again and I moved into the city. And that pit in my stomach and those headaches went away. I joined a writer’s group. I let go of some fear. I went back out into the world. I was happy.
I don’t like to dig up the past — and I’ve only scraped an upper layer, leaving out some details of course for sanity’s sake– but when my body feels a way it did once upon a time, I have to look back and look within to find out why. When I was in Israel-Palestine I would talk to ali about “The Little Man Tate Syndrome.” And I wanted to write about it and I never did. Did you ever see Little Man Tate? It’s a movie from at least ten years ago about a boy, age nine, who was so intelligent and so knowledgeable about the world around him that he already had an ulcer. He felt so small in this great big world and his heart was bigger than his body and he felt defeated because he could do nothing about the state of the world. I have to take a break from BBC World and CNN International because it’s finding its way into my dreams and creating more nightmares.
I felt like I had “The Little Man Tate Syndrome” while I was in Israel-Palestine. I felt that way when I was in Cambodia. In India. In Burma. In Nepal. I’m in Switzerland now and I could easily choose to forget about all that. But I don’t. I’ve started a World Wide V-Day Campaign in Zurich because teaching rich expat children just isn’t fulfilling enough for me. If I wanted to be a selfish, self-fulfilling individual, I would have stayed in theatre. [I’m not saying there is anything wrong with doing just that — being in theatre — it just wasn’t right for me. So I’m not even interested in a discussion about that. But it is also an interesting aside that I am getting back into theatre with V-Day and a benefit production of The Vagina Monologues…] I also signed up for the V-Day campaign because women who are close to me have been victims of violence from men, and I myself have been a secondary victim. (That’s a story I’m still working on). V-Day is something I firmly believe in. I don’t shout “VAGINA” because I am proud to have one — although I am — I do it because I don’t think violence against women should be tolerated. And I don’t think that if I ignore it, it won’t exist. And from what I have been reading in preparation for this event, it’s ever present in life everywhere, too present.
And people ask my mom if I’m really ok. And people ask ali if I’m happy. I am ok. I am happy, deep within. But I am also struggling. I feel lonely. I am human. I am also strong. But I can be weak as well. I don’t write when I am upset because I don’t want anyone else to know what I’m thinking or feeling, because if I told you then wouldn’t I be admitting it to myself as well? So I bottle it up and it starts to eat away at my body and then I know I’ve gone too far. I know what to do to fix it. Art. Yoga. Writing. Love. Lots of love. And that’s not something I need to work on. I have it, it just has to travel further to get to me than most.
I love the activism and the committment I see in people like Rachel Corrie and in characters like Tessa in The Constant Gardener. I identify with them. Even though I am safe and snug in my Schaffhausen flat, in my mind and in my heart, I am on that battle field of life trying to make a difference. Because that’s what makes me feel alive, and it also just makes sense to me.
So is there a conlusion to this post, to these thoughts? I didn’t get to one. I’m still left with the questions that started these musings. Why am I feeling this way? Is it the “Little Man Tate Syndrome?” Is it loneliness? Just what is it exactly? Is it exactly something? Does this post need a conclusion? Do these thoughts need conclusions? Shall I go in circles until it all unfolds? At the moment I feel it is a sense of loneliness in life, in this current place. A questioning of whether I am doing what I believe in doing and getting back to the point to where I am and how that links the pains in my stomach, the inability to drink as much coffee as I like and the pounding in my head after too much reality.