I believe we are each born with a knowing pain in our soul, and this innate understanding is loneliness: a deep and inconsolable ache for an other to inhabit the empty space we cannot, and may never fill.
Poet Charles Bukowski wrote:
“There is a place in the heart that will never be filled.
And even during the best moments and the greatest times, we will know it.
We will know it more than ever.
There is a place in the heart that will never be filled, and we will wait and wait in
I have lived most of my life in this space, and it is here that I continue to wait – a lifetime spent in desperation that confounds the heart and the mind and ravages the body. But there are moments, Inevitably, when this profound loneliness becomes something far greater. It becomes longing: an insanity of my own making, fed by an intoxicating and relentless pursuit for a chosen man that is exciting and devastating, suffocating and heartbreaking. It is an agonizing cycle: painful in the utter dissection of the self with each invitation and rejection as I wholly long for someone to alleviate my paralyzing fear of dying alone.
To convey and bear the depths and complexities of my longing, I offer surrogates of things unsaid and reactions to words received in massive black necklaces that are overwhelming to and on the body. Thousands of rings are wound tightly, then sliced and spread open – the intentional cut in order to open myself up to him. My whole is splintered, connected and rejoined, forever changed yet never again complete. Each a cycle of wanting, sadness, and surrender entwined into a record of an impermanent and imperfect connection. The weave is the order amidst the internal upheaval, a sea of openings that serve as both a barrier and as a measure to contain the longing within and against the chest. The rings are coupled with thick slabs of metal to embody the void, the empty space where the sadness, and evidence of my loneliness is held. Some lay heavily on the center of the chest, impeding the breath where the ache of longing stems, and others conform tightly to the neck bearing the burden that rejects reason and compromises the spine.
Each necklace represents the beautiful and grounded humiliation I have felt over the last year, sixteen eulogies that magnify the subtle nuances of this intense and unforgiving emotion I so tightly cling to. And it is this very longing, this manifold symptom of my loneliness unchecked, that I both revere and grieve for as it slowly and decidedly kills me.