June 30, 2020
A Handy Guide To Staying Normal
Pursue the Holy Grail. For this journey you must ready yourself; you must be dressed as Mary Magdalene in a bikini, sunglasses, and as much gold as you can find. Jewelry should weigh on your neck and ears, and your body must be close to the sun. Go outside. Stand on your balcony. Float to the clouds. There you will find a gate guarded by thirty-six Templars; they will ask you twelve riddles; these are holy numbers. They are beyond us. These riddles come from a dark oasis, discovered centuries ago and buried deep in our memories. They smell of almonds, peaches, and myrrh. If your resolve is strong, if you are learnéd, they will lean in close; they will breathe on your neck, and they will whisper a secret into your ears. Drink from the grail. Coil a snake around your hand.
Dress as your great grandmother. Consume the driest martini you can make. Close your eyes, and fall into the deepest sleep possible. You are a conduit. Speak with your ancestors. They talk in an unfamiliar language, but do not worry. Meaning goes beyond words. There is so much to learn, and you should listen, wrapped in a silk headscarf. Relinquish autonomy; it is a myth that we are ever in control of ourselves. Your body will bend in ungodly ways as you commune with the dead. A deep violation of all that is sacred. Confront death. Sit on the doorway to heaven. Spit at the feet of God. Speak His true name.
You no longer need to attend meetings which you hate. You will make a clone of yourself. Cut off all your hair. Store it overnight in a black crystal-studded bag. In the morning, you will find a small doll; it is you; it is your mirror image. It cannot move and cannot speak, but you know it hears you. Foster it. Care for it. Feed it. This tiny doll will grow big. It will sit in front of your webcam. It will tell your boss “yes, good, okay”. One day, it will grow sick of your orders, and kill you while you sleep. It will take your place, and no one will ever know the difference.
You must prepare for combat. Your mind must be steeled for a duel on the plane of Reason; your body must be a weapon. Wearing neon colours you will strut a hallway, you will practice using knives and you will read Derrida. Language will mean nothing to you. Your mind will be a mirror. You must hide your weapons in a tiny purse with gold chains. You must exercise with a stuffed bear watching over you; training your body to withstand the psychic forces you will face.
“Practice romance! It is time to learn what Love is.”
Please sing a song. Your neighbours love you. They want to hear your dulcet tones. They want to see your feet wrapped in pink heels. They know you were robbed of your Oscar nomination. They will caress your hair and tell you it is all okay. A lullabye. Sing! This is the karaoke you have always wanted. Dress all in black. This is more than an audition. This is a club! You are a star. All your friends are watching you dance. They are jealous of how you order a drink. You are loved and popular! Your small apartment will fade into the background of your imagination.
Practice romance! It is time to learn what Love is. Spread yourself out over a cowhide rug. You and your lover are resting in front of a fire. Your anxiety sweats are from excitement, not fear! You are aware of your body! You cannot wait to feel another person near you! You must catch your breath! One day you will feel sexy again. You will feel yourself being looked at. You will look back. For now, close your eyes, cover them with amber shades, rest on the floor, run your humidifier, and pretend you are not alone.
“Please sing a song. Your neighbours love you.”
Photo/Video/Model: Lana Taylor
Words: Greyson James
Graphics: Sierra Datri