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Stronger Medicine

I’ve always used the borrowed phrase “industrial disease” to explain those days, those moods where I feel such utter exasperation for our North American life. But the phrase seems less and less accurate.

We now live in a world dominated by pixels, data mining, mb-s, gigs, cryptocurrencies. It is more than industry. Maybe it’s virtual industry? But if I were to say "virtual industrial disease", it would mean I didn’t really have it, but sort of, actually did experience it in some other digitally created dimension.

What in the actual zuck has happened?

When applying these terms to myself, the ennui has been so intangible and vague yet so deeply felt.

I recently took Amy Walsh’s course, The Art of Showing Up. (@tacticalimagination Bureau of Tactical Imagination and co-instructed by JuPong Lin) I was taken by the phrase: "decolonize yourself." This course and the work we were asked to do, helped to name some of these un-namables. And as we know, once out in the open, some of these pains suddenly become less powerful.

Patriarchy, Colonialism Leading to diseases such as racism, self loathing, ageism, cultural confusion, misogyny, toxic-masculinity, oppression, fear, fear of being seen etc… etc…. etc. Big words that admittedly, if given a chance would normally have me sidling out of the room in my invisible cloak. But when asked to apply the concepts, directly to oneself in a room without judgement… interesting things happen. We are all woven with this dirty fabric. Where do the soiled bits show?

We all find our ways to cope with the harder bits and mine have been no different than any others. Alcohol, drugs, bed days, crying jags, SHOPPING, dissociating dissociating, dissociating. But now I’m older and wiser and my body and most

financial institutions are telling me all the old ways of dissociating are just not permissible anymore. And what about art as escape? Why do so many of us ascribe to the idea we’re not creative enough to experience ourselves through “art” rather than dissociate?

So maybe the next phase is facing it all. The “find yourself” chapter ended and the “be yourself” chapter begins. But with a foot in two worlds it seems. How to untangle and exist within the messaging of a lifetime (or lifetimes!) of ancestral/ familial/societal messaging?

A classmate used the term “live in the paradox”. It gives me a bit of peace to consider this phrase. Maybe it doesn’t have to be untangled, so much as just recognized as a puzzle. A very multi-dimensional puzzle that’s always ‘running in the background’, with cryptic clues and no right answer that looks different, every day.

Because I know that these images that I’ve created exhibit resentment towards the very system that helps me to distribute them. I understand that daily, I am “ass”-piring to the very bodily ideals that are oppressive and drive many to unhealthy (or uncomfortable) choices. I still dissociate from the FACT that pretty much every purchase I make, probably hurts another being, or the planet in some fashion, but mostly just gripe about it in a pretty cloud of passivity.

It kind of changes everything. As does having the privilege, time and other resources to sit with these things. I am grateful, and I am evolving.

Our final assignment was to put some of our images into the world. While FB isn’t my favorite, it is effective and probably the place YOU see me the most. I’ll share some images this month. I may take awhile to respond bc I’m trying to conquer this addiction, by feeding it stronger medicine. Makes perfect sense, right?


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©2018 by Amber Stoby