November 9th 2020
My therapist talked to me about a concept called "vivaxis" as I described how I felt so utterly disconnected from Milwaukee. We sometimes feel like two opposing magnets. There is a physical tension, there isn't an acceptance, a welcoming.
I forgot the word "vivaxis" so I had to go on a long journey of digging to find it.
Even though I grew up here, I feel like my vivaxis isn't here. I don't feel recharged by being here, I don't connect to the Earth here. When I lived in Minneapolis I felt a lot more connected there. The first night I stayed in my dorm in Minneapolis I saw an animal spirit guide outside of my window, I would find random objects that would communicate messages to me, I would hear songs in especially holy places. I found myself in random churches, I found myself with my toes in the dirt. It accepted me and felt like it was waiting for me and it had a ton to tell me. Even then, I think there's somewhere else calling for me with greater strength. I hear it faintly if I quiet myself. The light shone in really brightly as I wrote that.
Where is my energetic umbilical cord to the Earth if it's not here? Why wouldn't it be here if I was born here and grew up here?
I think Milwaukee is cursed. Even just Wisconsin. Really terrible things have happened here that haven't been rectified. I think of the Indigenous people of this land, I think of the Black people of this land. The "Good Land" in the "Heartland". It didn't always used to be this way, I don't think. How would I know. I've felt certain areas of the land by the lake moan. Something hollow, something hurting. There are areas that are free, that are energetically fueled and fed. I think of 7 Bridges. Even though people litter a lot.
I miss my grandma. We share a lot of things. A nickname, a sun sign, a demeanor, a creative restlessness, a trauma, a car. I don't really talk to her anymore. I'm afraid she'll go silent if I tell her about me, I'm afraid of hurting her. I'm afraid of losing her, I'm afraid that I already have.
My first memories are in one of my grandma's old houses. Crying, whining for my mom to hold me while she cooked dinner. My grandma taking me instead. Watching home videos in her living room that descended down a stair or two from the kitchen, watching the Crocodile Hunter on her box TV in her bedroom with my brother. Her and my grandpa moved into a condo where we'd all do puzzles together. She'd make me pancakes and grilled cheese on a little plug-in, electric flat top grill thing. Her's were always the best. We'd go for walks together, I'd carry the banner for her Dancing Grannies group when they'd dance in parades. I hid in that condo when I came out to my parents about my abuse. I'd always wished they'd let me live there instead.
I went back there for Christmas one year when I was living in Minneapolis, she talked about moving to Florida. A few months later all of their stuff was packed up and they had already moved. I didn't know I would never be in that house again. I think most of my loss has happened like that.
My friend and I discovered this place when we were moving on from elementary school to middle school. It felt like it symbolized freedom, some place we could go when there wasn't really anywhere to go. I laid on the grass and watched the clouds with one of my other friends here. She told me that if you squeezed snap dragons they would pop and that's how they got their name. This place held my heart and I wanted so desperately to share it with someone special but I already was. I had no ability to appreciate those moments with her, I had no ability to appreciate her. Maybe I deserved that loss.
It's funny that on Google Earth, my neighbor's house is covered in trees and foliage even though it's not at all in real life. He always kept his shades drawn. He only went for walks at night. He never said hello to anyone. Feral cats fought for his fenced in, overgrown territory. Sometimes toys would get thrown over into his yard and appear back in ours. We'd call him Boo Radley, I wrote an essay about him my freshman year of high school after reading To Kill a Mockingbird.
"My inspirations comes from my daily life"
"I have this piece called 'Wrong Happy Hour'. The whole premise of performance was to push all these beer bottles off this bar. I connected that with tossing all the people in my life romantically. So once that juxtaposition worked for me, I realized I have to push every bottle and every people at the same time."
"When does body become an object?"
"Glass so finicky as a material, I like that aspect about glass."
"That's precisely what I'm interested in my own studio, too, like how to control the uncontrollable."
"You know, this thing with art making, you have to achieve total control before you accept chaos in it"
"Object find its own place and its own rhythm."
"Whatever I thought I was, whatever I thought I had control over will change in front of me, and that is to me is exciting."
"I work to a point where the material transcends itself."
"[the materials] are all very activated by the movement of your body."
"I work very much like a scientist or an architect in the studio. I isolate the material and perform experiments with it."
"I very much feel the sculptures are a bit like drawings themselves."
"My work is mimicking the ways of nature, not necessarily mimicking nature."
Excerpts from "Beauty is a Method" by Christina Sharpe