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manhattan like it used to be, scott richard

manhattan like it used to be, scott richard

staging the breakup.


you know you’re in deep when you have all these “staging the breakup” signs and signifiers that you’ve stored up over time’s punishing cycle of relational life.

my first break up, for example, was not my first breakup. it was probably my fourth or fifth breakup, so what i mean by MY FIRST BREAK UP is the moment where you know that life will go on. that it’s just not a big deal anymore. so what, it didn’t work. big surprise.

tom odell has this sentimental way of saying it in his song “another love”. his conclusions of the heart are also his introductions:

“i want to cry and i want to love
but all my tears have been used up
on another love,
on another love
another love."

and that’s when you know you’re already broken up.
that’ when you know that all those other break ups were just BREAKING YOU DOWN.

this one, you’re broken up.

and you know that it will hurt to miss the person, but that the hurt of missing someone is far worth the gain of not having to devote actual >>LIFETIME << to the inevitable “unraveling/falling apart” stages that pursue the victims of a SPLIT UP that does not actually BREAK UP. it is a BREAK DOWN. and recovering from breakdowns is very difficult.

recovering from a BREAK UP is not.

so those of us with this experience oftentimes become MANIPULANTS.

we can’t help it. it is our EXPERIENCE which flat-out multilates us into the “MANIPULANT” form of humanity. it wasn’t necessarily an intentional choice — you don’t choose to be BROKEN UP, it’s a realization that comes from being BROKEN DOWN.

and let’s be honest, MANIPULANTS aren’t all that unlike you, perhaps. it’s just that a MANIPULANT has gone full-speed heavy-metal into the periodic table of sexual and relational exploration. the MANIPULANT has had every element and then gone on to the MIXOLOGY seminars of elemental combination. the MANIPULANT is broken up version of fully realized humanity. and they do have super powers.

true MANIPULANTS have not only heard every lie and seen every trick in the book, they’ve fallen for them numerous times, over and over until finally the trick or the lie is no longer invisible.

MANIPULANTS back away from the frying pan of life, smear-splattered in the messy grease of modern pop-up kitchen insanity.
MANIPULANTS are not new to the scene.
MANIPULANTS are the BOUNTY “pickeruppers" of the paper doll world.

we are your cutouts, cutout and fixed up by exeperience, walking dictionaries of social disaster, kings and queens and aces (a nod to the non-binary “US” to which we belong querulously — some say “they” and “them”, i’ve always said, “us” and “we”, but what do i know, i’ve only been non-binary since i was born… it’s NOT ADJACENT to society, it’s the multiple birth factor. yay! who knew there would be so many ways to end up non-binary)

anyway, MANIPULANTS are these quasi METAPHYSIMYTHICAL characters who don’t fit in between the norms, but instead have bizarrely fast-forward lives of exploration, discovery, addiction, despair, breakthrough, adventure, loss, failure, and the all the myriad bruises of success.

MANIPULANTS are devoted to the way the path has beaten the crap out of them. they understand that the idea of time healing all wounds can be literal. they often even believe that they are invincible forces that can withstand the spiritual reawakening of humanity’s pilot-fish forces — USURY and RAPE, the two powers of social enslavement.

the social contract.
the marriage of offspring.
the hideous lies.

ownership of reproductive freedom.
the horrors of separatism and inclusion battling it out against the people.

the victims. always people.
the terrorizers. always people connected to abuse cycles, fear-factory incentives, false narratives of base intent, wounded walking, the magi of grief.

the MANIPULANT has weeded through the gardens of systemic philosophy. at some point, even if only to understand the sheer number and repetition of encounters and to somehow separate the masses into smaller group forms, men who were so alike it was uncanny, or when “star signs” actually come to life and you see people a lot less “individually” when the “pigeon hole” becomes a gaping tear in the sky”.

which leads me to my americanization of a buddhist proverb that has always been near and dear to me.

two monks, handsome as they were, are traveling together. one of the monks is suspicious of the other because he is a wild horse, a mystery that refuses to be “mysterious”. the two monks come to a point along a river where they need to cross.

adjacently, a woman is also trying to cross, but the waters are keeping her from attempting to make the crossing.

against the social code, the wild horse becomes unmonk-like, in an instant, he assists the woman across the river on his back.

the other monk crosses on his own and is inwardly furious that this “wild” monk has broken the social contract which forbids monks from touching women. and he is getting angrier and angrier with every passing step.

finally, he can’t contain himself anymore and emblazons his fury against the monk with all manner of criticism and rules and prohibitions.

and here’s where my americanization of the tale begins. in the original one, the “wild” monk says something quaint about how he only carried her across the river but that this “sober” monk has been carrying her ever since. a nice little pat anecdote about what it means to really “carry” something or somebody — versus just being ACTIVELY HELPFUL.

and the proverb fizzles out in that buddhist quietude.

but then the director was like, okay, take two.

so the monks are walking beside the river and the fuming monk finally just blows his lid and has to berate the other one.

at which point the monk who has just been rioted, says, “you know i’m gay, right? i’d much rather ravage you in the bushes.”

and all the tension disappears and they are aligned in heart and spirit for the duration of their friendship. PLUS, that woman was able to get across the stream safely.

it’s kind of a WIN/WIN/WIN proverb now.

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Photo taken on 16 June 2004 (© torbakhopper / Flickr)

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