The Emotion Extinguisher

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I saw a dance-theatre piece by Pina Bausch on Wednesday, called “Auf dem Gebirge hat man ein Geschrei gehört” (‘On the mountain a cry was heard’).

Out of the 14 pieces by Pina Bausch that I’ve seen, this one was the most violent towards women. It is a beloved theme of the choreographer. Of course. She was observing people trapped like insects in the fish tank of human condition and putting that material straight from the theatre of life to the stage of a theatre. It is disturbing when what is happening on stage is barely an allegory.

Men were grabbing women, assaulting and torturing them. In return, women were yelling and struggling for their life and freedom, drowning in a thick layer of earth. It left me breathless with a strange yet familiar discomfort in the core of my body.

There is a recurrent scene throughout the piece where a group of men chase a girl and capture her to force her into kissing a man. It’s the most eloquent metaphor of marriage and hetero-normativity I’ve ever seen embodied. Absolutely brilliant. It acted on me like a real catharsis. It dig up emotions I attempt real hard to bury. I’m forever grateful to Pina Bausch to stage my feelings so I can flush them out at the theatre once a year.

I’ve built myself around a very strong implicit rule: “SUPPRESS YOUR EMOTIONS”. (“And even if you happen to feel something, don’t express it as much as possible, because they will use it against you”.)

There was no space for emotion in the household where I grew up. There was no space for emotion as a student. There is no space for emotion at work or in almost any of my human relationships. There was no space for emotion anywhere I’ve been apart from the theatre and the dance floor. My flow is well contained, in a determined square within a public place at fixed hours.

It remains a bottomless taboo for me to expose to my entourage “I’m desperate/sad/angry/scared”. Who cares?

All my life, I had to be in constant action. Emotion immobilises you because it is energy and thought consuming. I don’t want to be disturbed. I’ve therefore disciplined myself to be an expert at extinguishing my emotions as soon as fire breaks out on my inside. I am a firewoman to my own vulnerability. Vulnerability grosses me out. It always did.

A mysterious force has been slowly taking over me, though. Since the turn of the new year. Since Í guided me super gently into new erotic paths.

Something has been awaking in my core in the last months. An awareness that my body and emotions have always been disconnected. I have been gauging my unexplained split, my disability at being emotional in the intimate.

OK. I take infinite pride in fucking without feelings, because as a girl, it still shocks people and I find that particularly empowering (and funny). But even when I thought I was making love, I realise that I wasn’t. Feels like I wasn’t that present to myself or the other after all. Where was I? Lost somewhere on the queer activism field singing a sex-positive manifesto such as “Every time we fuck, we win”? I always had things to prove or a revolution to make.

What about my physical, spiritual and cerebral sensations?

Something’s warming up inside me. I will take a new turn soon, I will finally embrace something beautiful. What contour will it have? Everything is open.

I started 2015 in a strange way. My therapist explained me that the reason why the body and emotions would split so heavily is that a trauma happened. It took me a moment to understand what she actually implied. I fought the idea for as long as I could.

My first ever male attraction, which I’ve been experiencing for almost a year now, has been bringing up memories to the surface of my skin, triggering waves of odd images and hidden desires. I have been profoundly disturbed since our last encounter.

I don’t know if I will ever know for sure, but I am taming the thought that this revelation might be right.

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Auf dem Gebirge hat man ein Geschrei gehört by Pina Bausch – Picture by Uwe Schinkel

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Failed Day

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I reached my NYC home on Friday night at midnight, returning from New England. I hugged α² as if I hadn’t seen him in months. He had fixed me a cute Boy Scout bed on the sofa because him mum is visiting and she borrowed “my” bedroom.

I met her early the morning after and it was the most awkward parent introduction I have ever experienced. I rose from the sofa with my morning hair and she was already glowing with effortless elegance at 8am.

I was going on a day workshop at 11am called “How to fuck like a porn star” taught by Madison Young, a queer sex positive feminist porn actress whom I discovered in “Too Much Pussy” by Emilie Jouvet. I went for breakfast with α², his mum and β but I told in front of Ბs mum that I was going to a painting workshop. She was very excited about it and asked me super specific questions and α² and I struggled not to laugh, I just couldn’t look in his direction as I was trying hard to make something up.

I arrived at the workshop in an amazing 3 floor Brooklyn house with patio and hot tub only to find out that the porn star was in hospital because of food allergy, so I went back where I came from. Brooklyn was so sunny, it made the walk lazy and pleasant. I wanted to meet the family at the flea market but by the time I got there they had left. Bummer.

I went back to the Brooklyn 3 floor hot tub house in the evening for the after party – a Play Party. I got there early and hanged out awkwardly. Everyone was friend with everyone and was talking about Burning Man Festival, where I have never been. When the party really kicked in I realized that instead of queer friendly alternative and experimental as I expected, the crowd was borderline tasteless middle-class straight couple swingers. Only straight couples were walking in, 2 by 2 holding hands in ridiculous outfits (Superman, nurse, fishnet unitard with strategic holes, T-shirt with a picture of their dog) (no kidding). Some dudes were friendly and chatted me up but I told them that I was totally in the wrong party and that I’d soon be bored to death. I had a couple of cool talks but I spent most of the time pigging myself at the buffet ‘Eat as much as you like’ style, petting the cat and writing blog posts with my iPhone on the couch surrounded by bare butts. A man in latex told me off: ‘Stop texting!’

I got seriously hit on by a short old deaf guy with skinny legs who didn’t get that I wasn’t interested. Not only I didn’t feel like talking to him one bit, but I had to shout and repeat every sentence. He finally understood that I was at the wrong party cause I am exclusively into girls. He replied with a sassy face ‘No worries, I love watching women together!’ I hope he was trying to be funny. But I know he wasn’t and he had just said the worst line ever to tell a lesbian. He tried again later ‘So, you told me you are into girls, but guys must be into you cause you’re kinda cute’ with a cow-boy accent. Did it really have to be my last night in NYC? Bummer.

That was my biggest NYC failure, but it was extremely funny. I think I had a good time after all, not the good time I was aiming for but who cares, good time anyway.

I left soon after midnight and walked home. Brooklyn at night isn’t scary, there are even some gentlemen on the street. It is only piled with trash.

I slept with α on the couch, only a few hours because we wanted to catch the sunrise on Coney Island, our Sunday routine.

Failed days make the funniest stories.