To get to the essence of what it is I ask of people in my relational performance projects, I always ask myself first. If I don't experience what it is I want others to experience, how can I possibly stay honest in my work? I'm reiterating this mantra to myself again because I am a wee closer to launching SRS (soul recovery systems) a huge, mother of a project that will be ready (toes crossed) by October's end. (If you aren't sure what SRS is, here is some info: SRS is a creative and free "soul trash"service providing people with an opportunity to rid themselves of objects that somehow hinder their lives. SRS accepts objects in any form as long as there are sincere emotional connections attached to them. That said, all objects released to SRS must include a written reason for desired disposal. All objects are then captured in photographic form, and soon after, incorporated into an online landfill at www.soulrecoverysystems.com, where the less burdened can view their once hindering objects in digital form. In the end, objects are ceremonially disposed of, whether by fire, flood, recycling, burial, or any other appropriately suggested form of dissolve, and a written notification of the object's final disposal is mailed to the releaser.)
As I am asking others to release objects in their lives, I ask myself, and thus, far I have compiled several objects that harbor memories I'd rather not hang onto any longer. The first and foremost of these objects is a photograph of an old friend. Here is my reason for releasing this particular object to SRS:
Our friendship lasted 13 years. I met him when I was 17. He was dynamic, driven, crazy and inspired me greatly. He disappeared often and would return with ridiculous stories that I believed because he was the sort of person who brought on that sort of drama. Over time, he became sullen, mean, manipulative and psychotic. As most if his friends abandoned him, I remained. Despite his abuse towards me, I stood up for him, attempted to boost his confidence, and listened as he vented his megalomaniacal ideas of the world. He lost touch with the outside world and became introverted and paranoid. He began to collect guns and bullets and bark violently at older people crossing the street too slowly. I thought he may hurt someone. I envisioned him killing me. One sunny day, after an argument with his mother, he took a concoction of pills and disappeared. We looked for him for hours, called all the hospitals, scoured the railroad tracks for his body. Later that night he returned, sickly and defeated by his failed suicide and asked me to accept his wishes to die. I had no choice, it was difficult to say "OK I accept it" but I had to. Two months later, he called me up and invited me over for eggs (at the time, he only ate eggs from his chickens). He said he had changed, his ideas had changed. He walked into his bedroom and returned with guns and bullets strapped to his chest. My heart rate accelerated. "You look scared" he said. "I am. Take that shit off." He laughed and removed the weaponry from his body. "This isn't me anymore." he declared. "I can't expect to protect myself from the government. I'm just a little person." I sat there, uncomfortably listening to him talk at me about his ideas about how the world should be. He told me he had been a bad friend, not because of his abuse, but because he didn't tell us we were living a lie. I left knowing he hadn't changed, knowing he had simply gone deeper into his hatred for himself and others. That week we exchanged a few spirited emails and he denounced me as a friend. Two years later, we had another exchange. I asked him if he wanted to be friends again and this was (a fragment) of one of his responses:
"...I am not really interested in starting up a dialog again,and am not interested in a friendship. All this perspective is just food for thought. I don't write short letters ever, and I don't waste words beating around the bush or playing social dances of cultural references and witticisms..So please do not feel the need to respond. I don't need you to justify yourself because I don't really care what you do,as long as your farm doesn't border mine.And please don't project any anger from me on this letter. I am not angry,and I don't believe in love,nor do I need one anymore then the other...I am without emotion...I only see statistical probabilities and concrete realities. feelings and emotions are not part of my decision making process..nor do I have any use for such irrational behaviors.We have nothing in common,So to continue to remain in any frame of relationship, it would be a waste of both our time.So This is actually the last time I wish to comunicate.please take me off your e-mail list,so I do not have to receive even an accidental mass e-mail.Or any other form of communication...I have chosen isolation."
Goodbye Paco. I have to lovingly let you go.