I can't easily explain it:
a link between an unexpectedly named day, a song I didn't understand, and a set of unfamiliar feelings....
It's been a bit odd: I was throwing references to this stuff at my friends all day – most people seem vaguely pleased, but a bit puzzled.
That is probably because the meaning here isn't logical as much as it is emotional: and it represents the surfacing of a feeling new to me, or perhaps one that I hadn't felt for a long time –
Yesterday (because it is now past midnight), which was 5 June, was apparently HIV Longterm Survivors Day.
No, I'd never heard of it either. Apparently 5 June 1981 was the day the first CDC report was published on five men with illnesses that seemed strangely linked....
Well, having a day like that seemed okay. I'm always willing to get some attention for that kind of thing.
But, perhaps partly because yesterday the brusque, energetic R. came to my home and sat in a chair and told me everything he was doing – he is also a longterm survivor, but his relationship to the physical world and his brash judgments is much stronger than mine – and then because we went to the HIV group meeting, and there we had a creative writing workshop, which was kind of exciting and energising – and then because we all went for a drink in a pub I hadn't even known, one smack in the middle of town, down a winding side street I'd never seen before, a new place right in the middle of the city where I live, and so there was a sense of discovery and –
I told you it's hard to make logical sense of it.
But note the confluence of energy, assertion, creativity – so, maybe, of life.
Eros: as Jungians use the term, the aliveness and passions of the body and the rich outdoors and the inner emotions – not just sexuality but all the pleasures, all the gifts and celebrations of the connected physical world.
Anyway, after all that yesterday, I woke up this morning (on HIV Longterm Surv.... aw hell do I need an acronym here? HLSD? Or, you know, some people apparently add the word Awareness – so HLSAD. No, on second thought that looks a bit pathetic) and I thought:
Right. Fuck it.
Not angrily, not negatively, just – a sort of cheerful existential aggression, a blithe feeling of the power of the beating heart: and this is the heart that knows it is beating because it knows that someday it won't, any more – but that makes it more alive now, rather than less alive.
People who do a lot of rock, or perhaps metal, might be more familiar with this feeling.
It's not really, normally, my thing: my usual emotional response would tend to vary across a broad, but admittedly flatter, territory from sad to calm to existentially aware...
But, instead, to be thinking: Fuck you! in such a cheerful, jubilant way? like people giving you the finger with a big, friendly grin?...
It coalesced around Pink's Raise Your Glass – a song from 2010; I liked it when I encountered it a couple of years ago, but didn't really know what to make of it... nice video, but what the hell is going on?
Well, it's self-celebration, and a thanks to fans, with an implication of shared identity – she's grateful for, and proud of, the ten years of her career, touring, etc., but the various experiences she refers to are not only about her, but also about her fans/audiences, and all that they share.
Which implies the structure of her world and, as with some other performers, tells you where she gets her energy – she experiences the mirroring of an excited, passionate, demanding audience as a call to being, as a challenge and an invitation, as something that is as much a kind of passionate lovemaking as it is anything.
Which is perfectly sensible on emotional terms, though it is not particularly rational: it's built on the emotional intersection of all this eros – so, yeah, strength, humour, blithe aggression – or, really: life.
Of course, I've also been intermittently working on the thesis, which opposes/connects AIDS and what I've been calling 'the passionate body.'
Perhaps the meaning of that phrase finally crashed through my own patterns and defences, to wake me up to a lost part of my energy....
And now, being aware of these things, they are all cross-linked to past experiences, points in memory that are related: watching Adam sleep in the morning sunshine; moving through sidewalk crowds after a dance concert, ecstatic in the cool night air; walking naked onto a balcony at night to stand in a drenching tropical rain; stepping onto a stage as the band rises in volume, and the lights come up; looking at myself in a mirror on an early dawn after a night of clubbing, realising with an electric shock that I'd grown into one of the men I'd been falling in love with for years....
This afternoon, L. and I had work to do; we spent hours watching the video of the student opera. Seeing them doing something exciting – which was also something scary and a bit beyond their grasp, but we give them the benefit of the doubt as much as we could. All that excitement, all that life, and we want it to grow.
And then dinner with M., who is recovering from the dentist, but who is always, of course, full of life – and getting to explain the above to him, and he gets it. And of course he would get it: even after recovering from a couple of days in bed, still sore and doing salt mouth rinses, he's wearing a shirt that shows himself off.
And then out for drinks with W.'s friends – who prove to include a pleasant hunk I'd met last year when I gave one of my local LGBT talks: somebody who is also full of physical life, of brash cheerful aggression, but who also takes these meds – and who mirrors my own response back to me with a very present physical intensity.
These are perhaps the images, the feelings, the emotions, the songs, the people: who bring me back to something I hadn't known I was missing.
The brassy feelings of summer, of life in its high season....
Early this morning I fired off messages saying Happy HIV Longterm Survivor's Day (a mouthful) plus a link to the video, but, as I said above, I don't think people quite knew what I was talking about.
Well, the truth is, I only gradually knew it myself across the course of the day – but by midafternoon it was becoming clear to me: this is the locus inside me of all that strength, power, humour, aggression –
And I love it.