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Excerpt from 'Counterillumination' photo

I have to believe that what I am writing — what I am living through — means something. Or if it means nothing to absolutely anybody else, it has to mean something to me. Welded to my handlers — moulded to fit their shape — the survival instinct — survive no matter what the cost — no matter how warped you become — like a vivarium snake coiled around an abbreviated branch — like a mawkish macaw, wings clipped, tied to a guano-stained perch — like a kid kicking a fraying tennis ball around a walled-in courtyard festering with damp and mould — wells of elusive daylight — radioactive dust permeating the shafts — who am I? I have to discover who I really am — what is my real personality? Maybe I can create one? The other girls have long given in to depression. And perhaps I have too. But I don’t want to be submerged in those thalassic swells. In my mind a vast omnidirectional tsunami sweeps all of this away — an uninterrupted wave hundreds of thousands of metres tall and a thousand kilometres long crashes into the eastern seaboard, and simultaneously swamps Paris, London and possibly the whole of Europe. Fuck you all. But wait — this can’t be me. I don’t really feel this level of animosity.... This is a reflection of the desires and aggressions that have been projected onto me. The degradations and endless accusations. They hate themselves so they want to punish me. To strip away any confidence or self-worth that I might have one day possessed. To limit my sense of what is possible. To take anything positive that I might have become and invert it — crush it — annihilate it. And why do I want to survive? Because it’s some kind of biological imperative? For what reason? Is there an alien element living inside of me? Or perhaps I am the alien — in the form of an invasive consciousness — that has taken over a purely biological being which I am unable to fully control. So much of what goes on within continues without my permission — I cannot force my heart to stop beating or prevent myself from breathing or even thinking these thoughts — and they say in therapy that you are not your thoughts — but what else is there? — the body? — the arguably worthless opinions of others? — the role you are forced to play? — what if that is all I am? Without my thoughts, what else is there? A vegetable? A piglet? A cassowary? A kiwi? A virus?

Get Counterillumination here.


image: Audrey Szasz