Happy Chinese new year 2023 year of the rabbit zodiac sign, gong xi fa cai with flower, lantern, Asian elements gold paper cut style on color Background. (Translation : Happy new year, rabbit year)

The new year is a Water Rabbit. 

In an odd way I am kind of creatively charged up these days and looking forward to new things. 

I don’t know where this positive energy is coming from, but I will take it!

I feel more recovered than this time last year. I think I just have a sinus infection this time. Not Covid+. That’s a step up. 

So, I didn’t write about attending the Portrait of a Nation Gala in November 2022.  That was a thing I did amid everything else I have been dealing with and-

I’ve been grappling with how to express myself about that event. The whole thing was unbelievably difficult to get through for me.  

People kept using the word surreal.

Surreal I have done. Surreal is my bread and butter. This was-  It was a full-on crisis. I could barely regulate my emotions. I felt so much. A lot of it was rage. What place does rage have at a celebration?

Where could I safely put that?

How I could ignore the feeling that everyone in that room- everyone in that moment had better prospects than me? With more solid support systems in place.

I can’t even live in my own country as an artist. Oh, I can wither and die in my own country as an artist- I have been killing myself for years. But what about thriving? No, no thriving. Just coming to the point of death in one form or another. And ‘complaining’ about it like this. In word form. Which “no one” reads. 

But people will endlessly listen to Trent Reznor whine about how stupid and needy and fucked up he’s been. He built a whole career on that negativity. Go figure. 

How were we to answer the press when they asked what we were wearing? 


An Etsy shop in Thailand?

Some little local in Rosarito that sells ranch wear? 

(My one and only comment to the press was, “no labels.”)

How could I forget the dollar amount I am worth in this capitalist society when I see Jeff Bezos literally across the room from me politely applauding an animation portrait that I helped bring into existence.

A whole room full of wealth giving empty praise at my name appearing on the screen. If you like what I did then why am I not supported enough to live in my own country?

For. Fuck. Sake.

Why do I go back to shivering in drafty rooms knowing that I might be physically ill for the rest of my life, knowing that the money is going to run out sooner than later, knowing I am too mentally fucked up to get help in some obvious and neurotypical way?

I can’t believe that I stood up (not even that straight) in there in the presence of ‘my betters’ and they- they just sort of didn’t even know what I was.

Such an easily dismissed ‘pretty’ face- The wifey even…

Most of them didn’t know I was the one that put all the color into the video portrait. I did the layering effects. I turned some of the images into sound effects. I included the rooster crowing for its ancient symbolism connecting to the afterlife… I made that portrait too.

That was why I was there. 

I did the work… but I was not seen accurately.

The others could not see through their own limelight glare maybe?

Maybe they thought we were all equally in the same limelight?

Heh. No. We were not.

I was lucky I could steal one sparkle particle from those glittering people without incoherently vomiting up all of my emotions on them. 

I could not shake the overwhelming disparities.

After years of illness, I did not even have enough strength to feel any kind of perverse orgullosity (I just invented a Spanglish word for the hell of it.) in being the pathetic, uneducated, white street trash among them. I am just that after all: trash that fell onto the pavement of Brooklyn one day and picked up even more cooties from those filthy sidewalks.  

I had had people telling me that I deserved to be there… do I? Really?

I don’t believe you. 

Make me believe you.

Show me work commissions. 

Show me sales.

Show me the money. 

This is the Capitalist way.

How to talk about living on the streets and in hovels to people who have long distanced themselves from those circumstances?- if they were ever in them at all. I couldn’t just causally bring up brucellosis + covid + bartonella in a conversation. I couldn’t talk about how mental health issues have been such a huge obstacle in my life that continue to hobble my every step.  

When does any of that go over well at a cocktail party?

I didn’t have a pitch ready. Why should I have a pitch ready? 

That night wasn’t about me after all. It’s hardly ever about me… and that is the fucking problem because then I am ‘out of nowhere’ having some ‘desperate fit’ to put my self at the center of attention. Because hey, a few of my needs aren’t being met yet. Shouldn’t they be met?

I don’t want all my posts to be bitch sessions. This is not who I am all the time. There’s just been a couple more really mentally corrosive years thrown onto the pile for me. 

This year smells like change though.

I hope the rabbit is lucky. 

I hope all this water isn’t here to just downed me.

Published by AserehT tm

Make good art. Or else.