Glamorous Homelessness

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I’ve disappeared.

Some people have been asking me where in the world I currently am. I also have a hard time following my own peregrinations. Things didn’t quite turn out the way I planned.

So. What happened?

I last posted in November from Buenos Aires, at the beginning of my Latin America adventures.

Then.

In a nutshell: I went to Brazil. I proposed someone to marry me. She said yes. Actually, she said “Of course!” And everything collapsed in front of my eyes in the course of 7 days. I left Brazil at the beginning of 2017 to explore Patagonia alone. I had big highs and big lows. I hit the bottom of sadness as I hit the bottom of the world, in Ushuaia. Because I couldn’t go any more down geographically and emotionally, I knifed my way to the surface again.

From the Land of Fire, I jumped on a plane to Buenos Aires. There was a heat wave in the metropolis. One day, as I was walking to the Recoleta cemetery to visit Evita’s grave, I was hit by the certitude that my trip was over. I had seen what I wanted to see and lived what I had to live.

I prepared my emergency exit, spending hours figuring out how to get my ass to Europe ASAP. Anywhere in Europe. The cheapest destination occurred to be Paris, my birth place. The day after, I was flying back “home” on a two day journey via Atlanta and New York. Trump was omnipresent in the background of my US stops. I realised it wasn’t a joke anymore.

I landed in Paris-Orly on a Tuesday morning at the end of January. It was my first time landing in my home country since 2009. First time I was lining up in the “Citizens” passport check in 8 years. There was a cold wave. I had no clothes with me, just a little backpack, cause I have left all my stuff in Brazil. My belongings are scattered across 3 countries.

I contacted a very few friends to open me their door because I don’t have a home right now anywhere in the world.

My friend C welcomed me with croissants for my back home breakfast and gave me tights, socks and an adaptor to charge my phone. That was 23 days ago.

Since then, everyone has been donating me clothes. Beautiful ones. So I feel like a super glamor homeless.

I’ve been hanging out in people’s homes while they’re working. I’m offering myself the luxury to process my emotions as a full time job. I’m not trying to distract myself. I barely go see things or do anything. I’m spending most of my time seating alone to preserve the exact nature of my intense emotions. The last few months have been the most extraordinary, challenging and earth-shattering of my life.

I’m writing this in London, at the Circus Cafe in Crouch End. London is one of my energetic centres. There’s 6 years of my life here. I sleep in a whole lot of different beds and sofas. I love it. I am surrounded by an army of good souls who open me their door and provide me with everything I need, may it be a bed for the night, breakfast, words of comfort or Dragon Red Chanel nail polish. In exchange, I tell life stories, listen to life stories, and do the washing up.

I’m also hanging out in London to consult a transgender woman therapist. She’s bad ass. I pay £97 per hour and she holds the sessions in socks. I take off my shoes too and we become super casual. She told me that she revealed herself in Berlin in the 80s, “like David Bowie”. Everyday after work, she would take off her male suit and hang out at the Kit Kat Klub where she grew to be the woman she was born to be. I adore her already. She says that I become animated when I talk about my writing. She told me: “You’re going to write that book and I want a copy.” So I must do it.

I’m going to experiment glamorous homelessness in Berlin next. I’m going on Tuesday. I have no plans. I want to spend my days in free art galleries and write my book in cafés. And maybe reconnect with my queer dancer late at night in interlope clubs?

This is my life as of now. I love it. I love my life. I’ve never felt that much centred and that much awake in the present moment. I know I’m on the right track, as in MY track.

I’ll return to a more structured life sooner or later. I was proposed a flat-share in Paris. I said YES! So, by the spring, all my scattered belongings will converge to the 13th arrondissement. I’ll store my suitcases under my bed and I’ll have an address and a job again.

I’m truly excited about that perspective.

Till then. Anything can happen. I’m wide open. Life is fab.

The Abolition of Privilege

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Picture by David Mery – Quote by Muriel Lester (1883-1968) hanging on the wall of the Bishopsgate Institute in London

There’s been the Paris attacks, which targetted people like me. Being a trendy Parisian is no longer safe. I am down one home.

There’s been the Orlando attacks, which targetted people like me. Hanging out in the queer world is no longer safe. I am down two homes.

There’s been the Brexit, which targetted people like me. Being a European citizen in the UK is no longer safe. I am down three homes.

Contemporary history has been slapping my immigrant queer French female face over the course of eight months. Pulling the carpet from under my feet.

My world as I’ve always known it is vanishing, and I haven’t even turned 33. I never imagined I’d be hit by nostalgia so long before menopause.

I suppose that it is how it goes about privilege: you don’t realise you have it until it gets abolished. I never thought an era would come when I would be part of the threatened group(s). I am grateful for having lived a fairly protected life so far. My “only” experiences of discrimination and violence have been sexism, street harrassment and homophobia – which are all solid trainings. Yet, I never imagined being afraid for my life in the city where I was born, nor being seen as an unwanted immigrant whose accent is a flaw rather than an aphrodisiac.

It feels like London’s face changed overnight after the referendum. London has always been that extraordinary Tower of Babel where all humans have been creatively co-existing, sucessfully mixing and joyfully getting along.

I refuse to see the end of that ideal world of clever diversity.

Because fate has humour, I happened to hand in my resignation on the day of the referendum results: June 24th, 2016. I had been planning for months to give my notice at the end of June, and just like a lot of people, I never believed in Brexit. My professional rebellious statement got somewhat absorbed by the political context. I wanted to send a firm message across to my upper management about my worth and how much I should be paid and what a terrible loss I represent, but when I found myself in my resignation meetings, all I could talk about was Brexit. ‘I am not prepared to face xenophobia. I am not prepared to see the new face of London” I said in all honesty and humility. Fuck my career statement. I claimed my love for diversity and the EU for 40 minutes to American managers who had just got in town. They were somewhat thrown off. I didn’t plan that my 4 year career in corporate would end on such an emotional and humanist note.

I am relieved to leave the ship. It feels like a wave of cool people will be leaving the UK, the progressist Brits and the gutted EU citizens. Hopefully we’ll all meet somewhere immigrant-friendly, queer-friendly, equality-friendly, to carry on.

The question that is running on everyone’s lips is: Where shall we go next?

Where in the world will I receive some fresh and hopeful wind on my queer immigrant arty woman’s face?

Which dance floors will I burn next?

Oh Gawd. I am there again.

Leaving.

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Found in London underground 5 days after the referendum

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And Strike A Pose For Me [Bar Wotever]

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Pictures by Goroyesque for Bar Wotever

I’ve been fairly stagnant, bored and boring recently. My sense of celebration was hibernating. But it all resurrected at Bar Wotever last night. Tuesday night saved my life.

My queer friend ε proposed me to go, so I put too much red lipstick on and the fascinator that I bought at Trashy Diva in New Orleans, and I met her there. I wasn’t suspecting that a miracle would happen.

Bar Wotever is a weekly open queer camp performance stage at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in South London. It’s super good spirit, I have always laughed and had awesome times there cause the shows are high quality but nobody takes themselves seriously. The crowd is a good sample of every gender, fashion style and body shape that exist on earth.

Two pretty people got on stage to advertise the voguing events that they regularly organise in London. One of them was nicknamed ‘Princess Butch‘. She had the prettiest smile. I was sitting on the first row of tables and I suddenly saw a hand pulling me up onto the stage. My fascinator caught their eye. I thought “Of course!” What could be more natural than finding myself in a voguing contest on a queer stage on a Tuesday night? We had to dance and show off like on the catwalk,  walk down to the audience, back on stage again, and the presenter would then say to finish his rap flow “And/strike/a/pose/for/me” and we had to stand still in a glamorous pose. I got the timing perfectly, so people liked my perf. It was so funny. Dudes, if I wasn’t wearing jeans, I would have killed that split. The audience was voting with applause. I made it to the last round (out of two haha).

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Then. The real stuff happened. The serious high level voguing dancers took over the stage and the entire room. Oh Lord. Revelation. Lightnings. Fireworks. Rainbows. I really felt for a second in the New York of the 80s with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Madonna and all the pretty people and I felt the happiest I’ve been in a long time. I had no clue that voguing was a contemporary thing, and certainly not that it was so joyful, artistic and technical. I only knew the clichéd mainstream version of voguing e.g. the Madonna song and the documentary Paris is burning about the origins of the movement. Now that’s it, I want to be a voguing dancer. Voguing is an art form and a lifestyle in itself. Voguing is the new 5 Rhythms, the new quest. Ahhhhhhh. (I’ve already signed up for a hoola hoop/voguing workshop next week). Those pretty dancers were super stylish and set everyone on fire, I had rarely seen such a good atmosphere in a bar. Literally everyone was dancing as a group or battling in improvised duets. At some point, the hot dancers were battling only with their arms and attitude, seating on stools. It became very theatrical without a single word, like ‘I have prettier nails than you’ kind of moves. Oh man! I wanted to be one of them.

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Suddenly, I saw her. She got on stage with a very 90s outfit, like she had been time travelling. She was the voguing doppelgänger of Emma Watson, with the most endearing mix of shyness, grace and attitude. My heart instantly swung in her direction. I hadn’t been that caught by a woman’s strength in a long time. Why do I always fall for people while they are dancing? (I know the answer to that: because they are really present to themselves and don’t bullshit). I asked a guy from the crew what her name was, but he didn’t know. I didn’t talk to her because I’m an idiot around people I feel irrationally drawn to. I’m now on a serious mission to track back the voguing Emma Watson. Girl, if you ever read that post: I want to hear the sound of your voice and learn that arm move from you.

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Came the end of the party. I was ecstatic. Emma Watson was still around, but I knew I wouldn’t have the guts. I never approach people. This is how my life goes.

ε left with me and we walked to the station. We kissed under Vauxhall bridge, just like that cause we were in the mood. Why not? She dragged me in a black cab to her new boy’s house. It was so absurd that it was jubilating to be caught in an impromptu threesome on a Tuesday night after voguing. I laughed on the inside and I felt alive again, after a few dull weeks where my only internal leitmotiv was that no one here really cares about me. I suddenly remembered why I like my life so much, for the joyful vibrant random sexy intensity of it.

I had never been in a trio with a boy and a girl, so I had to make a statement around my male tolerance. I finally relaxed and flowed with the situation. I need new stuff anyway. I need new everything.

I left at 6am and crossed London by tube with my purple stilettos and my leopard coat. My eye makeup was down to my cheeks but I didn’t try to fix it.

I worked all day. I’m writing this twelve hours later, travelling across London again to make the ladies dance at Mad House (the psychiatric hospital) with two and a half hours of sleep in my system. I didn’t want to cancel, because I’m in such a state of nerves that my sensitivity will be closer to theirs. Something magical may arise from our similar state of exhausted nervosity?

This is my conception of happiness. Walking my intensity across the city amongst colourful human landscapes to dance.

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Healthy Terror (It’s Innocence Lost)

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I’ve been cynical about love for as long as I can remember. Cynical may not be the right word. Doubtful, resistant, defiant, unyielding? Refractory. I never liked the idea of being under the control of such a violent feeling.

As a teenager, whilst my friends started fantasizing about their boyfriends-to-be, I was fascinated by sex workers, by the idea of empowering myself making fast cash with my body, and above all by the idea of separating sex and emotion. It was probably the seeds of my inner self struggling to blossom in a socially unacceptable direction: I was already a mini-dyke and a sexually empowered girl, although there were no such words or concepts where I grew up. I was identifying to whores for lack of more accurate representations. I instinctively fell under the Madonna/Whore archetype: my intuition was telling me that I would never have a straight domestic life but I couldn’t quite put my finger on any other alternative. I didn’t become a sex worker but I’ve continued to be fascinated by it, by all its different forms, by the honesty and openness that it takes. I truly respect it.

I have loved immensely, of course. Humans are attractive, complex and mysterious. I love the way they move when they move well. I was on a serious relationship between 26 1/2 and 30. Before and after, I don’t know how to qualify my different positions on the map of the intimate, and I am not trying to analyze it. I don’t care. I don’t want to regret anything I did or haven’t done yet.

The only regret I may have is never having experienced the feeling of innocence. I am trying to define what I mean by that as I am writing. What is innocence? Is it the simple joy and bubbly faith inherent to the state of liking somebody? Feeling even briefly that the future is a promising road where you walk with sunshine in your face? I’ve always perceived the vulnerability of liking someone as a disaster, a defeat and a threat. It’s always been violent one way or the other. How can I take so much pride in claiming my braveness, and yet be that terrified by love?

My dysfunctional heart is changing, though.

I’ve been forced into softer feelings for the first time in my history and it happens to be for a man who has no clue about it. He’s been hanging out in my world for a while and without knowing, just by being his respectful and caring self, he has been putting me in touch with my innocence lost. Or rather with the innocence I never found. I am feeling like a clumsy first timer who has a million virginities to lose. It inundates me with joy. I am like a continent whose geological plates are shifting underneath the surface, until a volcanic eruption will provide tangible evidence of all the profound changes that have been occuring.

The girl I’ve always known as myself is leaving my body and that terrifies me. But it is a healthy terror. That’s insanely beautiful to entirely shed skin at my age. Not only my certitudes on my sexual identity are collapsing, which is a punch in itself, but above all, softening up to the vulnerability I’ve always banned from my existence feels revolutionary. I don’t want to have sex to change the world, I want to have sex because I feel like it.

Now. This happened. I was on the tube the other day after a gruelling day. I was thinking of how challenging my London life is and I was trying to remember what keeps me here, what really is of value in my life. I couldn’t find an ultimate reason to stay. I concluded that I was done with it, and that my strongest human bound right now is pointless, as it is with this man who doesn’t know how I feel since I am a terrified gay girl. I got off the train at the most random tube station ever with these dull voices singing in my head. I started walking on the tube platform looking at my feet and when I raised my head, there he was standing in my face like a solid tree. He smiled at me, amused by this unexpected encouter. My heart stopped, time was suspended. My conscience did a 360° spin to differentiate reality from my delirious imagination. But he really was in front of me, in a place where we both shouldn’t have really been.

Since that extraordinary disruptive element, I’ve been surrendering. I surrender to everything I’ve been resisting so far in my warrior’s life. I surrender to my love feelings and the vulnerability and discomfort that it brings. I surrender to the idea of my bisexuality. I surrender to my true nature, my creativity, my gypsiness, my witchcraft, being an artist.

I am on my way to accepting everything I’ve been denying or afraid of.

I Go Out On Friday Night And I Come Home On Sunday Morning

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Picture by Eliza Goroya

There’s been this charming queer weekend recently where I wandered around the city and ended up in random situations with loveable creatures. My lifestyle in a nutshell.

I left my house on Friday night with my toothbrush and fresh knickers in my handbag, because I knew it would be one of those anything-can-happen weekends. As I was getting ready, I felt that delicious rush of passion in my veins. Drowning in the urban unknown with its infinite possibilities of encounters and situations. I live for this.

I normally get lost in the metropolis when I travel. Away from home, adrenaline and novelty make me go through days and nights without sleeping. It is always more difficult to do so in the city where we live, because we get caught in repetitiveness and fatigue. Too often, I forget to look up and around in London. It is such an incredible human landscape, though.

On Friday night, I met up with friends and we talked and giggled till late. I had sex till the dawn of Saturday was breaking. I was simultaneously super intense about the present moment and outside my body, miles away from what I was doing. It was an unusual sensation. I am not sure why?

The day after, I was invited to a leaving party in a flat attached to the Barbican (a famous London multi-arts centre). I didn’t go back home to wash away my smell of sex. I went straight to the art centre and hanged out there, aimless, to kill time. I stayed in the bathrooms for a while. They make me happy because each door has a different colour. I just wanted to pee a million times to try out every shade of paint.

In the main hall people were resting, working or having coffee on the big fat sofas. I lay down to watch them and nap intermittently. It reminded me of my youth, of my first life in London back in 2004, when I moved here and found it so tough that I gave up after six months. I was struggling with money so bad that on my days off, I was going to the Tate Modern gallery which has free entrance and I was napping on the sofas to feel surrounded with the murmur of the crowd. It was soothing me. It had been a long time since I hadn’t napped in a public place (except for airports). My bohemian side is getting pale. A man sharing my sofa suddenly starting puking his guts out. He wouldn’t stop. I went to get him a glass of water and left to my party.

I was the first guest to arrive. The flat was stunning, seventh floor with an amazing view of London from the bay window. I told the host that I wouldn’t stay long because I was behind in sleep. I didn’t know anyone apart from her.

And then, the hours passed by and I got dragged into joyful extravaganza with the queers/butches/fems/creatures/etc. We put some wigs on, I got the long blue one. I took off my top to cover my breasts with the long fake hair, like a queer Venus being born. A very pretty creature whom I was referring to as ‘he’ but I was told to use ‘they’ borrowed my Chanel lipstick and my leopard print fur coat. They looked better in them than I did, but I was excited rather than jealous.

We had the key to the garden of the Barbican Centre so we went in the middle of the night with wine and blankets. We must have been a beautiful procession of extravagant people in crazy outfits, about twelve of us. We sat down under the stars, near the water. I was familiar with that place by day, as it is a public spot where I come once in a while, but it felt extraordinary to have it privatised at night with a handful of attractive total strangers. I suddenly felt very much in the moment. Someone launched the idea of passing the bottle of wine around in a circle whilst telling stories about our respective life. Most people didn’t know each other, so it was an interesting exercise. One of us had just been randomly picked up from the street and dragged to the party just like that. I hate speaking in groups, but I made an effort. We went around the circle several times, and we went deeper at each round.

We all exposed our relationship to London, and it broadened my perspective on why I landed here and why I am staying after all, despite my love-hate relationship with it. Like often here, almost none of us were British. We were Greek, Canadian, German, French, South African, American. London in all its splendor. It is unique in the world to have that level of peaceful diversified cohabitation. We all moved here because we were suffocating in our countries or we wanted to live harder, faster, deeper. To embrace our different selves more. Everyone had incredible and different life paths to London. It seemed like all the awesome people’s roads lead to London. One person said that their visa was expiring soon and that they didn’t know yet whether it was going to be renewed or not. I was suddenly grateful for being part of that crew of human beings. The queer-landing-in-London-in-search-for-more crew.

We went back inside when our ass was about to turn into a block of ice. I finished the night in a big bed with three other lovely people. We took off our clothes just to hug and cuddle, to feel our super soft skin. Why not? Two of my bed partners woke up early on Sunday morning to go sing at a church choir. I wish I had had the guts to sing too, but I don’t like my own voice, whether it sings, screams or speaks.

I went back to the Barbican instead, to try new colours at those funky bathrooms. I went to see an exhibition by a Pakistani artist. The gallery was completely in the dark and there were fake blood stains on the floor. It really impressed me. I thought of the November Paris attacks. I think I had a different perception on art after two sleepless nights.

I finally came home on Sunday morning, tired, but bubblying and happy, reconciled with the city where I live. On the way back, I was singing the Nouvelle Vague cover of The Specials, I go out on Friday night and I come home on Saturday morning, but I replaced Saturday with Sunday.

I took a shower.

What Have I Done? (News from the Mad House)

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I usually never post twice in a row on the same topic, but teaching dance at the ‘Mad House’ (a South London psychiatric hospital) is currently becoming the centre of my life. It feels like the first time I’m actually doing something. I mean that I am finally producing something of true value and creating something from scratch out of all the things I’ve learned. I’ve studied, hanged out and traveled most of my life. These are easy zones though. They allow you to fail and quit. I have a lot of opinions on a lot of things. I’ve built a network of amazing people and creatures, almost a human cabinet de curiosités. But what have I done? What have I made?

Teaching my Wednesday classes at the psychiatric hospital is becoming my heartbeat. That’s crazy. I never expected to fall so deeply for it. I hated it with passion in the first few weeks. Now, some kind of magic is operating. I don’t know yet what is happening, but it feels like I am finally taking action on what I really want to do in life.

My favourite patient is leaving the ward on Friday. She was there at my first class and almost hasn’t skipped one since. I hopefully won’t see her again in that context. I’ll miss her but I’m happy she gets out of there, she’s only 19. She’s pretty and gentle, and always accommodates herself with everything. She’s a peace maker. When other patients create trouble, she never gets distracted from her own dances and she liaises between me and them. Today I tried to stretch her legs in the downward dog position but she couldn’t. She explained me that her legs are too long for her body because her parents gave her growth hormones and tortured her as a kid. She thanked me when I left, she said she enjoyed the classes and would miss it. She looked so much better than at the beginning. She asked me where to take dance classes on the outside world. I hope she continues. I want her to be fine. I’ll remember her.

Stern 2004 Marlene Dumas born 1953 Purchased with assistance from Foundation Dutch Artworks and Bank Giro Loterij 2007 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T12312

I had a new student tonight. As soon as I got on the ward, she stood right behind me, close enough to touch me. Then she started following me, still touching me, as I walked to the TV room where the class takes place. She wore her bra on top of her clothes and wouldn’t take off her flip flops to dance. She was talking, shouting and pressing the security buzzer all the time but we managed to work anyway. It’s stunning how troubled people become “normal” as soon as their body and attention are engaged.

An older lady who always watches the class but never participates told me: “You’re a free spirit”. I thought I didn’t hear properly. “I’m a free spirit?” She said she could tell from the way I dance. I laughed and I replied: “Yeah, I suppose so. It puts me into trouble on the outside world.” Everyone laughed. I think they got what I meant.

At the other ward, where I teach my second class, the occupational therapist had a word with me before we started. She told me that they got the news in the morning that one of the patients committed suicide at her flat after she was released. I knew who she was. She came to the class once. She was a tall woman with dreadlocks, late 30s or so, beautiful face. She’s the only patient so far who knew about 5 Rhythms dance, we talked about it together. I didn’t know her very well at all, but I remember her. It’s strange that someone was here and now she’s not, just like that.

As I got in the dancing space – which is the diner, we just push the tables and line them up against the wall – there was the lady who wouldn’t stop insulting me last week. She said horribly vicious things like I was a failed ballerina cause I was too short or if I had lived during World War 2, the Nazis would have put me in their big vacuum cleaner for people. Then she was describing in detail how much I was hurting all her senses. I was surprised at my own reaction. It didn’t impact me at all. I thought it was funny and super creative insults with thorough almost poetic descriptions. Anyway, she apologised for it tonight. I said that it was OK and that she probably had had a bad day. She said she had a bad few months. She joined the class and was very present to herself when she danced. She was so internally focused, I felt like stopping and watching her.  The patients dive way more into themselves than regular people do. It strikes me when I see the members of staff dancing next to the patients. The patients are so much more engaged, more expressive, more raw, more edgy, more everything. They have a real story to tell, and I am really drawn to look at them so much more.

I was briefly struck by the thought of the people in the outside world who tell me that I’m a hard person. I came to the conclusion that I’m only hard to people who deserve it and I felt in peace with myself and my so-called harshness.

Things start picking up at Mad House. The ladies are awesome. All of them. I just love them. I got an email from the hospital this morning that we are going to start filling in weekly forms to track the attendance and the progress of the patients and study the positive impact of dance on them. They have targets of some kind regarding the physical health of the patients.

Hurray! That’s serious stuff happening!

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Paintings by Marlene Dumas : #1 – Mamma Roma, 2012, #2 – Stern, 2004, #3 – Passion, 1994

Mad House Sistas

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In December, I started giving dance classes at a psychiatric hospital in South London.

I still can’t really explain what was the trigger, why I wanted to do that. I’ve had a fascination for psychiatric hospitals since my teenage. Was it because I thought the line between my own mental sanity or what is perceived like insanity was thin and challenged at times? Is it a fascination for the place in itself, which obeys to its own rules, where there is a discontinuous management of time and space? Is it because the patients’ relationship to what you are supposed to do or not is so different from the outside world?

When I walked out of my last session, there was a big lady rolling naked on the floor in the corridor, screaming with her legs wide open. Two nurses rushed to cover her with a sheet and told her to go back to her room. I wasn’t shocked by the scene. I wondered what the story was like in her reality. Was she giving birth? Was she begging for sex? I caught myself envying her for just a second. My first thought was: “This must be really liberating!” I wish I had the guts to roll around naked and scream in my office or in my house if I feel like it. Why should it be necessary perceived as offensive, just because it is somewhat disturbing the established order? What if it was socially accepted to do that, just because this is what someone needs at that precise moment? I’ve always had the belief that there is no such thing as “madness” or “craziness”, just different perceptions of reality and different modes of self expression.

I think my psychiatric hospital immersion is the natural continuation of my 5 Rhythms dance and my sexual explorations. It is another aspect of liberating the body from rigid mindfucking rules. It is crossing the lines of what is socially accepted. Of course, I am aware that the patients may be a danger to themselves or to others, and that’s why they are locked in. But even so, I think they challenge a lot of unspoken self integrated rules, and I secretely admire them for that reason.

After tough beginnings, I finally start finding my rhythm with the patients. It has been nothing but easy. I have had to struggle to find adequate support from the institution itself and was tempted to slam the door for a moment.

Holding a “class” there is like dancing tango. I never know in which direction the next step is going to be. Whatever upsets them, they don’t force themselves to cope with it, they just leave the room. Once, everyone left. I had no more students. I managed not to take it personally.

Every session is dramatically different. Everything changes from one moment to the other. I have to be so present, so so so present every second, and readjust constantly in response to the ladies. At the beginning, I was preparing the class, but I quickly realised that there was no point. The best I can do is preparing myself to be physically and mentally engaged.

I start building a core group of 2-3 girls. The first time I saw one of them, she was sitting still in silence for half an hour, just watching the class. She had just received medication and looked stoned. I wondered if she was autistic, because she wouldn’t even answer my questions. The patients left the class one after the other, but she stayed. When it was just me and her, she finally spoke. She asked me if we could do some stretching exercises. She had done ballet before. I showed her some moves. Suddenly, she looked different. She was beautiful, engaged, alive again. She was sighing with relief while reconnecting with her body. When I left the place, she looked like a healthy person again, just like me.

The girls of my core group are young and pretty. Sensitive and wild. Last session with them was awesome. I stop pretending I am “teaching” them anything, because they know more than me at so many levels. I just turn off the lights, play music, and we dance freely together in the dark.

Last time, I was amazed at how far they went, how abruptly they express themselves and don’t give a shit about what the others may think. It really doesn’t seem to be part of their mindset. Whatever direction I was giving, they were picking it up super fast and were immediately twisting it into magic, way beyond my expectations. I played the song ‘I Am What I Am’ and they all started singing amazingly. I was stunned. The words were so meaningful in their mouth, too. We were all repeating “I am what I am”, whatever it meant. We laughed. It was a nice moment. I was the student in the end. I don’t know, I am just learning so much. They have so much to say, they are so intensely emotionally charged.

We got together in a small circle at the end, holding hands in the dark. They treated me as if I belonged with them, as if I was one of their sistas. One told me: “You should totally get a room here with us at Mad House!”

I giggled, but I was tempted for a minute. Yeah. I’ll think about it. I am glad I am finally hanging out with people who speak my language.

Go Where The Fear Is

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Picture by Dan Genuario posted on the Urbex page

  • being strangled
  • being assaulted
  • being insulted
  • not getting their attention
  • not remembering why the fuck I put myself in that situation
  • leaving the room in tears and being kept at the hospital for the night

We laughed our head off.

I found some reassuring in the idea that I only had to ground myself and breathe with them not to lose their attention. If I was fully present and engaged every minute, I would be fine.

And I was eventually.

Apart from rough working conditions and people shutting me down (“- Hi, do you feel like doing a dance class?NO!“, “Your music is boring, you’re putting me to sleep”), I didn’t get strangled and I didn’t leave the room in tears.

It was an extremely odd experience. It made me question my own naivety. My own high opinion of myself on how I have the pretention to change the world. I don’t know, it was hard on my ego. I am not saying that in a defeatist way, but I am so powerless about certain things after all. I need to soak deeper into that world to figure out how I feel about it. I’ve had contradictory feelings since I pushed the doors of that parallel universe.

This week, I collapsed. I failed. I cancelled. I didn’t go. Fear won me over.

I was confronted to another of my black beasts a few days ago.

I accidentally saw the only straight man I’ve ever liked, the one I randomly made a step towards on the day that Paris was attacked. I hadn’t seen him since our weird written exchange. I didn’t know he would be there. I caught sight of him in the door frame from a distance, and I instantly stopped. I hid like a 4 year-old for a good 15 minutes thinking “Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck”. I considered running away, but I was there to meet friends so I had to pull myself together. I made my hair more voluminous to intimidate the adversary and put more red lipstick than necessary. I was all feline in my leopard coat but not breathing at all when I finally crossed his gaze and said “Hi-how-are-you”. Oh my God. How can I be terrified just saying hello to somebody and be super chilled when fucking a stranger in the middle of the woods? I ran away without saying good bye to him. For what? I have no intention to convince him to like me.

I’m not afraid of being judged, I’m not afraid of people not liking me. I’m used to that and I find it healthy. If you have unanimous support, it means you’re on a consensual or an easy path. I’m afraid of having to convince people to be on my side. I am afraid of having to please people. I have no clue how to do that.

I refuse to.

I run away. I run away.

The Peruvian Nights

Embrace The Glorious Mess That You Are (Berlin)

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I can’t recall a period of my life when my human relationships were messier nor richer than they are now. There’s been a fabulously confusing mist of boys & girls dancing hectically around me in the last month.

Let me describe the course of the events exactly as they have been unfolding.

On a Wednesday at the end of October, I went on a set up date with a barber born the same year as me. That was promising as ALL the girls from 1983 are awesome. We had a great time. I remember genuinely laughing and being relieved to find someone easy going. She then disappeared in the middle of a text conversation and hasn’t really reappeared since. To be continued?

The following weekend I had extreme sex with a dominatrix from Greece at a party called Girl Pile which concept is “Cookies & Girls only sex”. You can choose to bake or fuck or both at your convenience. The queer dom was my first Greek since the one who broke my heart. I decided this would seal my reconciliation with the Hellenic culture. I kept marks on my body for a few days but it was instructive and funny. I found out that, by a tour de force of fate, the next party of the kind is going to take place in the building where I used to live with the above mentioned Greek who broke my heart. I’m definitely going. Synchronic closure.

The day after, I received a message from a doctor that I was chatting with in March. We didn’t meet back then. She reappeared eight months later, simply saying “Hello”. I replied, amused by the interesting timing.

A few hours before Paris terrorist attacks, I made a step into the direction of the man whom I’ve been wondering for eighteen months if I like him or if it’s something else. My curiosity suddenly became unbearable: I got an irrational urge to investigate the nature of that unusual attraction. I drafted a message and pressed Send at 3.18pm after much tergiversation. I slept my way through the rest of the day out of emotional drain. It may sound exaggerated, but exposing some unspoken feelings to a man that I don’t really know was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.

The man replied. It was hard to interpret his answer. I replied to his reply. He replied to my reply again. I left it there cause he’s not seizing the balloon I am throwing at him. It’s not going anywhere. He’s obviously not interested in me at the extent that I thought he would. I am burying my first ever desire for a straight man with the satisfaction that I’ve tried something and that I’m a brave love soldier.

The day I made a definitive cross over him, I decided without any apparent correlation to forgive the Greek who broke my heart (see above). Was there a correlation? As in getting rid of the two strongest yet hopeless heart swings I’ve had in my life. Like a curettage after a twin miscarriage. A few instants only after I verbalised to the universe that I was forgiving her, she coincidentally and indirectly manifested in my inbox. Dear her. Our timings have always been energetically so tuned, like our bodies used to be when we were making love. I hadn’t heard the sound of her voice since August 2014. That epic time, we had the last and memorable fight out of a long traumatising series: I yelled at her on a train platform and stored the memories of her in a faraway galaxy.

As she manifested, I felt the moment had come to dissolve our ghosts. I called her in the middle of the night. “Hello. Have we met?” I said when she picked up. We laughed. It feels like it was the first time we were on the same wave length and we were understanding each other. We spoke two hours about what had been occurring in our respective life since that ugly ending. In substance, we told each other: “I’ve been working my ass off at recovering from you and trying to find myself and my place in the world. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m ok now and I will always care for you.”

A couple of days later, I was supposed to finally meet the above mentioned doctor for the first time, but I was washed off by my disorganized emotions and I was dreaming of a solitary cinema screening. She called me in the evening whilst she was packing to spend the weekend in Berlin. I was hearing her voice for the first time. “Why don’t you come to Berlin with me?” she asked. “OK”, I said. I booked tickets, threw clothes in my flowery suitcase and made my way to a stranger’s house in order to travel with her.

This is how I landed under the heavily snowing skies of Berlin yesterday morning, wearing a thin shiny raincoat, to hang out all weekend with a lez GP, an adorable Ecuadorean girl who makes jewels shaped as shits and a giant Australian guy who’s a dyke hag. Me and the girls were all about 5ft tall and the dude was 6ft 6. I asked him if he felt like Snow White with us. He did. We went from one party to the other till 6am. At our first stop in a regular house converted into a bar just by hanging a disco ball from the ceiling, a choir of lyrical singers was performing. At the next venue, a very intoxicated guy made jokes about my height and wouldn’t let go off my hand. He was super excited to tell me that in Australia, he knew a gastro-enterologist called Doctor Butt.

Berlin night life.

We slept four people in a flat booked for one person. Tall Australian guy put his hand around my waist in my sleep. It took me by surprise that I liked it. Will my next love affair be a boy? I have a vague intuition that it will.

My “date” was the weirdest I’ve ever had. I am not sure if she 1/was intimidated 2/was testing me 3/found me obnoxious from the moment she opened the door 4/had a humour that I couldn’t get at all. I was thrown off the whole time. At some point she told me that it took her days and days of shopping to find the perfect sofa that she would want to look at everyday, and it was the same with the perfect partner. So I felt evaluated like an Ikea item. When we really managed to talk about real stuff face to face, it was nice, but overall it feels like she consciously or not did everything in her power to discourage me. I chose to laugh at the situation and embrace the glorious randomness of my life. I am glad I went on that human adventure.

Between each recent episode of my life, my gay husband Í consoles me, advises me, listens to me and cuddles me. He sleeps in my bed every Monday and we analyze my love disasters of the previous week. We touch each other very slowly and spend hours discussing our repulsion/attraction of the opposite sex holding each other in the dark. Another kind of ghost dissolving.

I’m on the plane back from Berlin as I’m compiling the highlights of the last five weeks. I’m somewhat nerve-wrecked and even more emotionally exhausted than usual. But I love it because I don’t know anything else.

There’s always been a shit ton of people in my perimeter, yet I sleep alone most of the time.  People only seem to be into the first layer of me. Do they freak out at the thought of opening Pandora’s box?

Right before getting on my Berlin trip, I told my best friend that I was aiming at spending a normal weekend for a change and that I failed again. She said: “Have you ever had a normal weekend in your life? You’re LIVING.”