Teaser text samples of my autobiographical diary pages for my to-be-published art book.
And dada. Lots of dada.
BICYCLE OBSERVING STUDIO AND RABBITS HIT BY MOOSE
I can hear him thinking ”I should have never”. I hate him for not missing me.
I sat on my porch thinking those thoughts being sure it was Friday, because the day before yesterday was a weekday and the university students were cycling past me to the campus with their bikes and yesterday was definitely Thursday, I am also sure it was a morning because most of the people on the street were going to my left. Some weeks stretch, like they’re bubblegum you take out of your mouth, and pull, the bridge never ends, the string just grows thinner and thinner until your arm is fully extended and the bubblegum won.
I collect visual images of different bikes. They are mindboggling. Also I had the strangest dream, but as I have now come to the conclusion that I am awake when I dream and vice versa, and it was the end of the world and someone gave me 20 cents as a tip, there is nothing to worry about. I can buy bubblegum! One piece. It won’t last long though, because I smoke so much, but it is so allegoric I have to use the symbol in this entry. You put the bubblegum to your mouth. Chew. Somebody invented love. And enslaved us all. You enjoy it, while it lasts, to get the bad feeling out of your mouth or just because you like it, bursting bubbles - or creating them slowly, trying to break the Guinness world record until it all comes straight to your face because even married couples die at some point, so - and who would even WANT to stay married, to break the Guinness World Record? Actually, I would. It sounds like exactly the kind of a hobby I can see myself participating in.
But he didn’t call me. When I said goodbye. Of course he didn’t. I felt like the wrapper around Christmas candies, everybody wants just the candy, not the stupid wrappings around them. Discarding them to bin takes so many sighs and steps unless the trashcan is right there, but who would want to spoil the Christmas by having a bin next to a fully decorated, blinking, revolving, singing, dancing Christmas tree?
I still haven’t changed my passcode from his name to anything else. I am just not ready to meet a random chain of numbers if my phone doesn’t recognise my face.
Not lucky in love - got 20 cents for blowing up the planet in my dream though! I will use that money to support the saddest, oldest, nicest kiosk owner on the corner, that still uses landline telephone and sells candy per piece, not by weight. Get this - when you are ready for the experience, she takes a clear plastic bag under the counter where she secretly sells drugs from to keep the kiosk going, but she doesn’t take one, she is old school - she has two different sizes, one for Wednesday candy, one for Friday indulgence. The bigger one is the size of one banana but if you put a banana in the bag, you couldn’t close it, so she takes both sizes up and shows them to you, and you can choose how much candy your mind can take without too much guilt and all that crap. I am going to save the planet and ask her to give the piece of bubblegum to my hand. Emoji. Hubba Hubba!
I have a secret bicycle-observing studio on my front yard, where I sneak around incognito in a trench and fedora, smoking, not drawing any attention to myself because I also wear the biggest sunglasses, actually they are an old downhill skiing mask, and I wear it even during the winter evenings when I’m on the watch, as the brilliant-cut diamonds on the snow’s surface throw small dynamites to my eyes and as they explode on my pupils that do not react to light as they should, it is really, really painful, but with my skiing goggles - ha, points for me! I can proudly say I observe and collect visual scrapbook of different kind of bicycles all four seasons, I am very dedicated.
As I am still definitely sure today is Friday, it means that tomorrow the very little people with their size A bikes and pink, purple, Minion, hand-me-down, navy and cartoon backpacks with narrow, high pitch voices, short legs, and sort of sloppy general attitude are not passing by my bicycle-observing studio being the tortoises in the story with running rabbits. The university students I can sort of relate to, have size E bikes and they go much faster than the loafing very little people with size A bikes - my theory is that as they are generally speaking taller and have longer legs they would get all kinds of joint pains and maybe even a gout (although I’m no doctor) if they drove to the campus with size A bikes, but they’d have much more time to observe the scenery on their way to the lecturing butchers, so the rabbits reach the end sooner because also there are no tortoises in this country in the wilderness so cannot really be compared. I have seen few in the pet stores where I visit frequently to see bunnies, so all the savage rabbits on the streets get hit prematurely by a car or moose, or just you know, die for no apparent reason. On the other hand, the pet tortoises are fed organic salad in a climate-controlled environment by their owners, I made a lot of research on the species when I was about 30 cm shorter and drove size B bike to elementary school, fascinating creatures. Did you know, that they can live over 100 years? So this morning’s math, is that the tortoises… no I mean the very little people, with size A bikes win the competition in the long run, because it takes about 18 years to university and after university there is nothing, not even nothing, just slow painful death, that includes torment, aching, hurting and finally dementia so I am glad I left!
THE EPISODE OF 9th AND FINAL HEART WITH SUMMER’S SON
The filthy mouth I’m blessed with cannot describe his grace or beauty. I tried, to capture him inside my vocabulary like a bonsai but even my words refused to cut him, every little bit of me wants him to live and flourish. Maybe I’ll just tell a story instead - it’s called ”9th Heart” and I wrote it myself.
I wore pink Converse All Star sneakers to school as I tried to blend in there and had no idea what does the elite wear - I had heard rumours that a bum is the new haute couture so I opted for a pair of pink sneakers that I wore to rags during the previous summer to mingle unnoticed with the snobby crowd of the Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki, where I was openly bullied by the teachers. One day I left in a hurry and walked, no actually I think I ran away from the horrible institution that pretended to have something to do with arts and as I landed on the dodgy area of Helsinki I accidentally ran over a human trafficking victim with a paper cup on her hands. My shoelaces opened in all that fuss of delivering multiple, punctual apologies that extended from the situation itself to me being sorry for pretty much everything. Next week there was a homeless man in the corridor of the building I lived in. I did not have the heart to tell him to leave as it was snowing the first virginal snow of the winter to disguise the sins of autumn’s stupid behaviour of withering and the storm blew hickey bites all over your face and body… He just wanted to sleep. It was the early hours, I had worked late when we encountered, and as I am notoriously famous for housekeeping I went through my cupboards to find something to give to him! All I could come up with was a pack of noodles and three cigarettes. I sneaked through the staircase without shoes on to give him the noodles but I felt like an idiot as he couldn’t boil them anywhere. However - as I reached the 7th floor where he was recovering from the cold, and gave him the best survival kit I could come up with, being ashamed I couldn’t help him more, he accepted the gift with pure, uncorrupted gratitude, he honestly couldn’t believe he got food! He counted his matches meticulously and stashed the noodles inside his torn coat to cook later in a shelter. I left feeling happier than in a long time. His short paragraphs of snoring in the hallway kept me up all the way until 4 AM when I opened my door as silently as I could, and left him a note saying ”Take if you need” accompanied with hand knit wool socks and a piece of bread I found from my fridge. In the morning they were gone.
You do recognise happiness, when you see it, don’t you? It’s because you feel it too.
Back in the dodgy area of Helsinki earlier. After I had made various apologies for the woman with a paper cup on her hands, from me being sorry for the horrible weather, not having any money to give, to the society in general which I felt totally responsible for as a caucasian educated woman, running over her… She was cussing in Croatian and praying in Polish, crawling after few five cent coins on the ground that left her cup like popcorns from hot oil as she greeted my kind Chernobyl on the move TLC, nobody paying any attention to the scene, the film just went on and on until I exchanged myself to a casting extra with some spare money and less fundamental principals and exiled from the scene. My shoelaces were open and I kneeled down to tie them. As I got up, there was this smile attached to a face so beautiful even the angels would envy that composition. Something was wrong. How do I put it nicely - it was like a little bit of sperm of the sun would have reached my ovulating heart through double-protection that skipped a beat as I saw him and his smile. Back then I was a walking dead, no - death walked me - but it felt like the ground would have tilted a little as I needed to re-balance myself as he introduced himself.
He leaves this kind of ecstatic feeling of joy behind him. If I accidentally ran over him on the street (by foot) we’d probably both cry our laughters out so loud it’d hurt and stay on the ground taking photographs of our feet on air in the middle of Helsinki, until we would be removed. He’s got this ”X-factor”, that little big something that makes you feel at home when you’re around him.
I think all artists try - some succeed - to capture the unique feeling of being in love, at some point of their careers, I am unable. All I can say is that years later I am figuratively speaking pregnant with sun’s triplets and just about to burst. - They do come out from the chest, like in Alien, don’t they? I am not sure does he even know I like him like that - we have not discussed about it and I am absolutely positively sure he doesn’t read my diary so you empty pages of my life, how do I write you? How do you stay empty, as I try so hard, to make entries? The notes disappear, like I would be writing with ink made out of mayflies wings. My diary stays empty - mom’s modest newspaper clip collection gets bigger and she grows prouder, but my own pages reflect the mirror image of a mirror image with such sadistic truth that it echoes until the echo reveals its spikes and it goes all the way behind dawn forming hundreds of holes in the air - I say behind, not past, because time is visual, not a boring way to measure how much is all we have. I am not sad.
I am not! Sad.
Hey, buddy, you have to believe me on this. I am happy! I am a happy person. Jolly, even! Happy-go-lucky. No worries can attach me apart from work stuff, deadlines and things. I didn’t even knew I still had the ability to fall in love, and then love, in a more microcosmic sense than accept existence so he really is the one in every love song I hear.
Immediately as I wrote that I heard church bells ringing. In their fatal, final, firm and unapologetic metallic despair was a touch of irony this time. It is time to announce that once again a heart has gone to a happier place, I can see the funeral that nobody attended. There would be nobody to say ”You not being here anymore hurts.” Apart from mom, with her scrapbook. She will probably take polaroids of the little lump on the ground that finally proved me the dangers of life.
My art teacher said to me once when I was younger, that I always land on my feet, like a cat. The trick is to have enough time on the free fall, to spin over, it is not very complicated. Don’t fall down from a shoebox, take a few bungee jumps as a tester first and then start removing the rope. This is my last heart if felines have nine lives and I’m like a grumpy Hello Kitty with less cute accessories. Or Pusheen who has gained higher consciousness than pizza and realises everything will come to an end. Actually, if I am being specific, I am now pumping this science inside me with 65% heart, as the last time was that bad. The minor heart attack and all. Eight times, I have been unwanted, rejected, discarded, traded for a newer improved model, abandoned, not loved, and it hurts. I think - the 65% heart has shut down some nerve connections in order to keep me going so maybe that would explain some of the numbness. That, combined with that I cannot sleep. Every time I try, I meditate my normal routine and then crawl between my pillow collection and finally reach the other side of the king size bed I sleep alone in, and no matter how throughly I check, there is no one there. No frog, no toad, no prince, not even a little. Like the fox said - you become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. This guy is totally different. I eat from the palm of his hand. The last time 135% of my heart broke in summer 2014 I promised no more, never more, I have been thinking about tattooing that mantra to my arms ”NO ONE” and ”NEVER” to the other, but I remember and know that without having to constantly see a reminder about it. I had super secure system around what was left of the literally scarred heart, but somehow I got contaminated by the light he carries within, like I got an infection I cannot cure. I am a happy person who craves to feel the fingertips of the summer’s son so badly that it all gets neutralised, only the disease exists. Non-reachable, impossible, very likely peaking its biting winter storm soon anyway, the point when my heart explodes and I die. Don’t mess with Texas. Sometimes, it is better to avoid loving and losing, even though it uplifts one’s learning curve quite rapidly, when you are gambling with your modest valuables such as your last heart. I have buried 8. And there would be no one, to put the 9th to rest.
Okay kids! Bedtime!
BRIDGET JONES ON THE NORTHERN POLE SANS CUTE LEFT-HANDED POLAR BEARS
Alcohol: Not recently
Toxic scan: Clean
Cups of coffee: About 15
Weight: So last season, sorry
Men: One in my heart
Other notes: I had a fly in my apartment yesterday.
Did you know that polar bears are left-handed? Well I do. When they start making mini-version as pets for those who have everything, except polar bears, I am going to top and rule the game with an avant garde-approach to the market and - yes, you guessed. I buy the odd right-handed freaks all over the existing polar bear kennels and breed a right-handed type, just to you know, shake things up a bit.
I was unsure who I was this afternoon, so I googled the answer from my phone just to find 14 000 selfies that do not look like me. Great, just what I needed. It’s impossible to mimic yourself truthfully, there are always certain character flaws missing even when you give your best actress performance on the subject. Today’s mystery on me is not consistent with my usual buddhist riddles that always lead me to the same meme where a cat gets trapped inside a box and realises life is pointless. No, today did not get trapped inside a box, Hallelujah for that, boxes are for pussies and fascists which are pretty much the same thing.
You know the feeling, when you hear or see or sense something so good, that the song or taste will define the rest of your life? It gets under your skin, your cells burst as if you’d see it all at once, for a brief passing moment that wants to stay but you cannot? There’s a hint of regret as an undertone in those blinks of universe’s eyes, because they’re impossible to be repeated, re-lived, and you know it as a certainty. It’s like your emotional DNA has a hiccup, a knot, where new spiral movements begin - he was the crossing point, of all crossing points to here, the paths that could have not crossed and some didn’t.
Me, realising there is no way back, to undo me being his, fully and completely - is like the blind moment, when you one time leave the house without keys, and that one defining second is too late to check your purse. The feeling of being totally naked, not undressed but nude, because no one else has your spare pair as you don’t want to give your heart to people to robbed or sublet, your faith in living lays solely on that this would never happen - that stupid little thing that separates you from everyone else is now separated from you, locked behind the lock only it can open. The panic attack rises. You punch a hole through the door. It goes 10 cm too high to the window and your palm bleeds while the trashed door holding you outside from your haven, stays closed. Feeling vulnerable and exposed, there is something inside your chest pocket - Hare Krishna and all that, there are your keys!
They no longer fit. Someone changed the locks.
I lost my guard at 7 o’clock for one second - for one second, and now there’s nothing but open sea, and it’s getting cold. My island got invaded by its aboriginals and I am getting extinct. The fishing boat I never used - just thought it was funny to be an island and own one - is now taking me past the limits of my known world, what I have conquered, I can see faces of the people I built my world around letting go of me as reflections on the water’s surface like a trail of a regal bride.
I make a confession to a low tide, the ruthless priest that gravitates me further and further apart without my consent, closer to zero point on the Northern Sea. As I know, that the end and I will meet here, on the eternal savanna, under star-signs that seem to be on fire and the full moon that pulls and pushes the tide high and low in a sleepy, stark naked orgastic rhythm that lasts until I either drown or die of cold, I start reflecting what happened to me. ”Saint Christopher, Saint Christopher, carry me across the river.” I look around. It’s like the impossible made possible. That one beat of a heart that skipped, feels like a pilgrimage that needed to be done - and now it will stretch out of time inside my chest. As I glance upon what will be my nothing more, I see things I missed on the shore. I heard the waves, but never lived them. I saw the storm, but from the distance it looked like it did not belong to me. It doesn’t rain, the waters rise. The lightings do not hit me. Behind the statues of storm the shape of my fears a show of livid northern lights looks much more realistic than on postcards I sent to tourists when I had nothing true to give. I glide through a peaceful temple of their rhythm and movement and suddenly I realise I rather give my last breath here, in the wilderness than as a captivated, domesticated high conscious-animal that has to look after something so insignificant as a key, to feel safe - I am safer here, under million stars and God’s light installation, because I fear nothing.
I leave the boat. My footprints disappear.
A right-handed polar bear the size of a golden retriever slides past me on an ice surfboard and gives me the high five.
There’s s s mysterious thing on the water. A little cluster of something that seems to be the ground lays ahead. I walk towards it and the fishing boat follows me, like a loyal dog who loves its owner although we both live in famine. I look above, like just to be sure I am still here and not there, where ever that place is, and take my pulse, like as if there would be a doctor to tell my vitals to on this piece of something concrete, that accepts my steps with different kind of firmness than the water.
I drag my boat up, like its loving owner I help it to lift itself to the ground. Could this be where the polar bear came from?
What is this? It is not sand or reef, there are no trees, just the raspy surface I touch with my palms and my fingertips tell me I am kneeled on an enormous rock. As I stand up the lump of what seems to be some kind of quartz is now the size of a large pea, if you measure peas by the metric system but me and my boat still fit on it. Just as I got comfortable the rock extends itself again. - Gosh, I am getting kind of tired of its antics - when you break the spacetime it should happen in a physics laboratory, not somewhere at the North Pole by me standing on something that could be a discarded beta-model of an Easter Island statue the aliens or whoever left behind. This rock, its irrational behaviour could help people escape from present time to where ever they feel comfortable in if scientists harnessed this, because where I come from, the rocks are static. They don’t do much, they just are. But this rock, ha, totally different.
I am now navigating mainly with my ears and hands, as the moon’s love left me some time ago - I try to figure out is the rock’s expanding and diminishing systematic or totally random so I could reach the other side, maybe explore it, as c’mon, this is something quite strange.
I am not even going to tell you about the donkey-fauns I saw pulling sky-carriages with a bunch of raccoons reading tomorrow’s newspaper towards the Sagittarius star sign, because honestly, I don’t think you’d believe me.
Just as I thought the rock’s shape-shifting was steady, predicatable, like the beat of a drum machine, I lose balance, my math totally failed me. I figured that as this is highly irrational its movement has to be mesurable because otherwise it would mean I’m in a parallel universe. My brain noise shuts down as I hit my head, roll over the edge like in a film where only half of the frames express movement and the rest were cut out by its editor for lacking emotional input - I manage to spin myself on air as a reflex but feel the tips of my toes touching the cold, cold water. I cut a grip through air with my fingers and attack the cliff’s surface like a predator its pray, but this time the doe is stronger than the wolf and I dip, keep on falling until only my head is above the water. The rock keeps on moving, like it would try to shake me off. I count my memories - one last look, the stars have finally died - and I let go.
I don’t see a summary of my life, only him.
Something just above the waterline, stuck tightly on the rock, interrupts my death. The body I carried from cradle to this cliffhanger, uses all its force to get hold of its metallic sheen, I don’t see properly but it looks like a missile that could have not landed anywhere else. It’s smooth like satin, I feel drawn to it, the skin peels off from my numb hands gasping their last mission as I grab its frozen exterior, but what’s the use? It’s just a survival mechanism any living thing has. My lungs are starting to collapse, it is so cold. I can no longer control my fingers and lose my grip.
The shiny, silky object with initials and engraving follows my dive.
The impossible made possible, I think. The cold water washes my hair.
Okay - what I am going to tell you next might sound a bit weird. As I had gone under water - completely - I lost my memory on this until very recently, as I hit my head so hard on the rock-heart (!) that was actually a meteorite that had just landed there from space, as its custom for meteorites to do when they are not busy doing anything else. You know, like the dinosaurs died. Yay, rule mammals, rule! Get to do all sorts of crazy shit. Meteorites are kind of cool in a way, don’t you think? When they don’t fall over your summer house. Or you. Well, anyway - as I grasped the metallic thing on the waterline and accidentally pulled it out when I was about to go under water, it all turned out to be so random and vivid story that I take you back there as accurately as I can. I lack some paragraphs because I drowned, but…
As the missile left the rock, leaving a circular chamber on its side and I sunk under water I wanted my last look to be the sky above me so I held my breath as long as I could. My frozen body pulled me down towards the darkness and I remember seeing how the night sky became an illuminated aquarelle of colours that swirled and danced on air between me, the surface of water holding me inside its blue womb and the milky way like I would have been watching a Van Gogh painting with very little knowledge on the field and way too strong eyeglasses. Then I passed out.
I felt something. On my skin. I could clearly sense that. A touch. Either I am not dead or I like death a lot.
I moved my head to see what the hell is happening.
”I just said don’t move!”
”Am I under arrest or something?” I asked while my eyes were trying to find a mutual understanding on a focus point. I was lying on my back on something that seemed to swing horizontally, like I was on a subtle amusement ride. When I finally found a connection to my vision I detected movement, figures, entities. As I zoomed closer, I saw people, all shapes and sizes and colours and sexes, with and without wings, elves, fauns, garden gnomes and life-size dolls drinking together, laughing, playing card and signing national hymns a bit further from the one elf who was speaking to me beside some kind of a candy floss bed I laid upon. The elf saw me staring at its constantly changing surface and he asked ”Ain’t it neat, huh? New model, Floss Turbo 4.0, an improved version, much better integrated massage options and comes in various colours.”
”Um. Ok. Yes, I like it, it’s very… flossy.”
”Okay you can move now!”
I tilted my head as to be sure it was still attached to me and wiggled my toes.
”There is nothing to worry about! I just say that to everyone who comes here! Ha, I think it’s just so funny.”
”What is exactly ”here”? I checked and measured the deck of a spaceship that was actually a happy cargo boat now - I didn’t know, but I could somehow guess that all that had something to do with the spacetime hole I met earlier. I said happy, because the boat kept on flapping its arms and telling how much fun he has swimming.
The elf lit a cigarette and said:
”Ah! Here is where ever you want.”
January 8th 2019
VASE WITHOUT A FLOWER
Two minutes ago I ticked a box and gave my history to the police. I am now officially registered to the police reports system holding a reference number ZZZZZ7A656. I did it. I did it for her. I am trying really hard not to think I am the case number. I am not.
I see 21 year old me, shaking, bruised and scared giving me a salutation. She is holding my hand now. Or I am hers. We are both quite frail, but at least we have each others. I see myself giving her a blanket, saying ”It is over now”, we both knowing it is not the case. I hold her, next to me, by the ambulance that took her from me to the hospital, where she fought like a maniac against brutal death, though all the odds were not on her side. There must have been a silence in heaven as she did it. Must have been. My anorectic warrior, whose only weapon against eternal darkness was still her faith in the goodness of the humankind.
My thoughts send me back in time. I glimpse my right wrist like just making sure the scar is still there. It is. I am not dreaming it. I close my eyes and fall into my mind palace. Images, places, people flash before my eyes and I travel to January evening 11 years ago. Starry, starry night. The three-dimensional film I am in moves forward in slow motion, I am like a by-stander who was not casted to the part, but nobody can tell I am there. Snow falls silently from heaven, the gates to my building open behind me making a squeaking sound. I turn around.
I see her, being carried to the ambulance, veins dry, in saline drip, covered with scratches and burn marks, unconscious, barely breathing. I see her clutching onto her life with every breath she takes. I want to hold her so bad, in time and space, where all the dots joined together forming a zenith, where the coin was most likely to slip heads. ”Heads you die, tails you live”. I see the coin, flipping, revolving, and a reason unknown to me, something beyond the odds she was given, made the coin turn ”Tails”. Like the universe would have suddenly went backwards.
I see the doors closing at the back of the ambulance. I lose contact to her. I see the sirens, flashing in January evening darkness, like quietly announcing to whom ever it may concern, that she was found - I see the paramedics, giving her oxygen, white snow on the ground like waiting for the first drop of blood to fall, and I hear the universe screaming ”HURRY!”. I see the ambulance leave, and she was taken away from me. I stand on the street, looking the lights behind snow fall grow smaller and smaller until they disappear. Silence. Everything gets back to normal on the street, like nothing bad would have ever taken place there. One star above me grows a little bigger until it falls. A blackbird lands next to me. I see a glitch of an angel on the other side of the street. Three. I feel she is talking to me now. I listen. Like a silent prayer, forming a thin string between us, and I know she needs me. She needs me to believe in her. I promise to her, I won’t let that string to be cut or broken. It forms a fragile, pale, almost not there cardiogram between us. She is fighting. I know. I can feel it. Her heart is not giving in.
I see myself going into my home, that reeks of death. What it was right before I entered, could have been deathbed. As I walk on the floor where she was lying 10 minutes ago I feel like a vase without a flower, completely without a content or purpose but I keep on walking, finding answers, like she would guide me. I don’t know, what she saw, but I know, for sure, that she cannot forget it, unless she used all her force to lock it away. From me, from everyone to see, because she has never ever in her life wanted to hurt anybody. That I know for sure.
I exit my mind palace and cry, bitter, bitter tears for her, for me, that form small ponds on the keyboard of my laptop. I don’t know what to do. I don't know how long I was away. It has got dark, I put on lights to see better. I walk in my home from room to room still feeling without a purpose or content, until I see an idle sword on my desk, sharp as it can be, and I crab it. Suddenly I grow three meters tall and I open my mind, and tell the bastard in a language that the universe can understand that I am coming, and I am coming to him, and I will slice down everything on my way until l see him being walked to jail, that he made for himself.
And she is standing firmly on her own feet, next to me, with a look on her face I haven’t seen in years.
DEATH IS A SMALL PRICE FOR HEAVEN
”I cannot feel my body! I cannot feel my body!” I try to scream but my voice, the words that should pierce the room I am in, vanish before they get to live. Everything’s so hazy, people are worried, talking, I am fine, I just cannot feel my body or speak, nurses are taking tests, instead of walking they run. Every time one leaves the room, two come in, it goes on so long I go back to sleep. I might just as well be a mime in a play and know the part so well that all I have to do is lay here and let the choreographer wake me up when it is my time to do my grandiose ”mime in a box”-number.
What I didn’t know, was that I was in ER in a hospital 1 kilometre away from my home, where I was found practically dead, and the nurses run because they are trying to save my life.
I lived in Helsinki alone soon after finishing my baccalaureate in art high school, as a young emerging photographer talent in my late teens - early 20s, when something - or should I say someone - happened to me. He happened to me so badly, that I have one month complete, and full amnesia except around 10 short memories, flashes, flashbacks, about someone being inside my apartment and how I passed out on the floor, where I was found by the police in one decisive January evening in 2008.
Many things have been told to me - many things I don’t remember myself. I was told how it was quarter past zero hour, it was not a close-call, it was a touch-and-go. It would have been plausible - no, sorry, it was predictable, that my body would no longer response positively to antibiotics and saline and what ever they injected into me, litre by litre, in small teardrops, with a good dose of morphine in them. I remember seeing the strange bags over my head, hanging on the metal horns, how I watched the battle of eternal and eternity not realising I was the war-zone.
The cops were alerted to find me by my mom, who couldn’t reach me - let’s not lie, it was not uncommon for me, not to take her calls at the time. She tried to get me on the phone about a week earlier, and as I didn’t response even though she called and texted repeatedly, she finally contacted the police. While she was doing what she was instructed to do - call all hospitals in Helsinki to find out if a Jane Doe called Leena Mertanen, her daughter was in there - I was out of this dimension, only few strings left holding me here. I knew, my last thought was, that I was going to die, as I collapsed on the floor and lost my consciousness. It is something you don’t want to know when you are 21 and on the brink of your artistic breakthrough. Instead of meeting St. Peter, the police arrived, and there I was, in a small lump of skin and bones, on the floor, in my own vomit, paralysed, and later I have been told the police had said ”Here is a corpse” to my brother-in-law who was with them to help them get through my door possessing my spare keys. But I wasn’t - just yet.
What I would like to point out is that ”These things” don’t just ”happen”. Someone does them, and it’s wrong.
I was a straight-edge kid at the time. No drugs, no smoking, no weed, no pills, no nothing. Not even alcohol. I am not saying, that if a girl smokes, or does drugs, or drinks, it would make it more right, if this would have happened to her. There is only one villain in these stories, and it is the one who abuses, rapes, takes advantage of innocent girls or women or basically anyone who is in lesser position than the villain. Be it Rohypnol, the ”date rape drug” like very likely in my case - or in a relationship, innocence is not defined by any other form of categorisation except consent. It is not something you can take, by force, it is given. You either have it, or don’t. He didn’t.
My toxic reports came clean. My skull was scanned. Blood tests were promising, but still no one knew what had happened to me. I could barely speak, but did recognise my mom, who had traveled to Helsinki via the first morning train. I started feeling my body. No, actually - pain. Horrible, excruciating pain. The kind of pain you cannot imagine - it’s like all the nerves in my body burned inside an iced fire, but I couldn’t ask the doctors to increase the painkiller dose as I didn’t understand or know how to form sentences. I didn’t know. I didn’t comprehend, what was going on - I knew I was in a hospital, but because of the one month amnesia I couldn’t tell how I ended up there. My face was bruised, there were burn marks on my limbs, bad nerve damage especially on my arms and I still couldn’t move or feel my legs. The first miracle had happened though. My body responded to the treatment. It started stabilising itself while I wanted to exile the pain. The nurses tried to feed me, but I didn’t know how to swallow - they had these little spoons of yoghurt in one hand, and ten needles on the other, both I disliked, actually the latter ones hurt like I would have been cut with a kitchen knife. Some were angry, at me, because they thought it was my fault, that I had done something to myself, but no one, no one got the brilliant idea of taking a rape kit of a 21-year old woman who mysteriously ended up to ER not remembering anything starting from who she is. Mom told me I was working on an exhibition in Helsinki, and I was like ”Okay, sounds great, but me? Since when I have been that good?”
Even though the toxic scan was clean, and my condition was stabilising but poor, one doctor got an idea to try giving me the antidote to benzodiazepines, which started improving my condition rapidly. Soon I could speak short sentences and the second miracle had happened - the doctors had said to my mom, that if I live, I’ll very likely be a veggie for the rest of my life as based on their judgement my odds were close to zero ever bouncing back from the state I was in. It is not something you want to hear, when you cannot just get up from the hospital bed and tell the doctor off, say something like ”Go and give bad news somewhere else, you moron, leave my mom out of this” because I could hear people talking, I just couldn’t respond. Later I have discovered that the date rape drugs such as Rohypnol are strong benzodiazepines, that blur or completely remove the short-term memory, and vanish from the system in around 72 hours - one theory is that the aliens kidnapped me - the second theory is that KGB used me as a human cannonball - third theory is that my long-term memory also got erased for a month, because I weighted around 39 kilograms back then, so if someone (I’ll gracefully call him a fucker instead of attempted murderer) slipped a pill to my soda in bar where I used to go dancing after long hours in the darkroom, the dose might have literally just been too much for my body - some do them for fun, to forget, some use them, to rape, we who get them unwanted do not think there is a right dosing in that poison but if the guy who did this to me, will get caught, he will be charged for attempted murder. All other crimes, including rape, have expired in the sense I can no longer press charges.
When I visited home for the first time in few weeks, there was an unopened DVD by Quentin Tarantino on my desk, that I had not seen before and would have never bought myself - Reservoir Dogs. When I saw it, I immediately understood and accepted that those ten short memories, I have, like echoes from previous life that haunted me every time I blinked or closed my eyes, about someone being inside my apartment, were real. That DVD was not mine. Up to this day, no one has either asked me to give it back. Creepy, huh? Both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple have been working on this case, trying to come up with a time-line, or anything that would make this make sense, but the truth is that even my bank statement could provide no more clues except I had made an ATM withdraw of 80€ in the beginning of January, and I was found with 60€ inside my wallet. The missing 20€ seemed to have been spent to modest grocery shopping at some point of the month based on what was inside my fridge when mom snooped around my apartment and cleaned it when I was in the hospital. No other activity on my bank statement, that would give even some idea where I had been - the last and pretty much only mark on my movements and whereabouts in January were from our camera club’s darkroom where I had left my initials on its diary stating I had used the medium format enlarger about two weeks before I was found. My handwriting was shaky but I recognised it to be mine.
SHORE OF TIME AND SPACE
My condition, that seemed promisingly improving got worse on 3rd day. The insane pain, that I felt, in the places I still had nerve connections attached to my brain was… just too much. I think. I guess there is only certain amount of time, you can take that kind of pain, before you start shutting down your system, to say it like a scientist. I wanted to die, to say it like it was. I could no longer take that torment. The morphine dose was not enough, I was half-paralysed and still had trouble speaking, so I couldn’t verbally tell I am in pain, or even understand the hospital staff could have done something to help me. Sometimes I used my eyes, to blink as a thank you, and one nurse understood it. She was the one who came to my room half past one every night to change the clear bag of liquid dripping to my body, which was strong opiate. When… I made the choice, that I don’t want to live the life I had been told about, who I was, what I was doing, what I had done, but no one was there to visit me apart from my mom, combined with the pain and memory loss and nightmares and flashbacks… I thought I’d never recover from it. I didn’t want to even try. I made the decision, that ok, this was it. I give in. I remember leaving my body - yes - I had those experiences often in the hospital so I figured I don’t have to return this time - and glanced the 40 kilogram Vietnam which was my physical home, like I was no longer inside, and walked a kind of vertical shore that separates time from space. During this promenade to eternity I saw this incredibly bright, captivating light, and I knew when I reach that, there is no return. I knew what I was doing. I wanted to go.
The thing is, that… I was not welcome. Yet. That’s what I was told. Be a believer or not, but as someone who has entered the light and came back, it is really difficult for me not to think we matter in a larger, more deep context than we might think. I didn’t see the face of God or anything like that, I was just told I cannot come yet. They were actually quite rude to me, if I can make a public reclamation. Haha. They said I needed to leave.
So I left. Pretty difficult to argue with that.
My elder sister had brought me a scrapbook card from her 5-months old baby boy. It said ”Get well soon, Aunt Leena”. (He is a brilliant kid, but up to this day I have my suspicions he did not write that himself.) There was this tiny footprint, that belonged to my nephew, next to his signature. I started remembering things. Me. Myself. My life. The card was on my right hand, and suddenly I could read. I could read, and it was that moment when I decided to come back no matter the cost, from the shadows where I could have stayed, as a semi-veggie - not because I would have wanted to live, but because I was needed. Step by step I came back through the shore, back to my body, and the third miracle happened. The next day, I felt my legs. My body was fully stabilised, I was unplugged from the drips and machines, and the different story begins.
HEART OF GLASS
”Once I had love, and it was a gas… Soon turned out had a heart of glass”
My walking exercises in a mental hospital were brutally interrupted by a furious male patient.
”I was just DANCING!”
No nurse bothered to come checking me if I was alright. Maybe they figured if the ADHD giant on steroids had finished me I would no longer whine and complain about the boring and abusive atmosphere.
”YOU annoyed me! Shaking YOUR ass like that!”
I didn’t start civilising him as I had just woken up from the dead, I had other businesses to take care of, like learning to walk in rhythm again. What a better way to do that than dance? Apparently, dancing in a mental hospital is a no-no, you are supposed to be insane to be there. Anything else goes - eating plants, throwing other patients to walls, you know - no wait, you probably don’t!
It’s totally up to the staff and gang what it’s like in there. My first time was garbage. Could have spent the time somehow else, like in crisis therapy or safe in general - not in a place, where your three times bigger roommate tries to strangle you because you left the water running while washing undies in the sink. I am not sure were my undies the wrong colour or texture for her taste or did she just have a bad day. I kinda did, afterwards.
I woke up from the hazy state I was in, gained consciousness and looked at my body. It felt like it did not belong to me. It was morning, I could already tell the rhythm in a hospital by the footsteps and other sounds, and I saw the rays of bright winter morning sun through blue cotton curtains like it was a play and the main star was ready for standing ovation. I lifted the blanket to see myself. I was not me. I was a skeleton, unfamiliar to myself, bruised, burned, scarred… I saw my name and birth date on a hospital bracelet and sort of started recollecting memories, the puzzle of who I am, together, but still, my body, it felt and looked like it was someone else’s leftovers, like a doggy bag of a delicious meal you take home and forget to eat. I threw my leftover legs over the border between hospital bed, empty space, and the ground. I felt like a fucking champion doing that, until gravity owned me totally and I fell down as I kind of hadn’t been in upright position for a while. I got up. Step. Another step. I just had no idea where I was going.
A nurse came to me, I ate breakfast. Few sandwiches, some tea, brilliant, let’s go. I was given a towel and underlined the order ”Do not look yourself in the mirror”.
Of course I looked myself in the mirror. I was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I wept, and touched my face, it felt like it was the first time I ever saw myself. In the shower water ached my back, my feet, my arms, my hands, but it felt so good to feel something - when the water didn’t hurt, it was warm, soft, forgiving, like million kisses that say I love you.
And then I was told I am psychotic and was escorted into mental hospital.
Smoking room opens at 6 AM. Breakfast + meds at 8 AM. Lunch at noon. Coffee at 2 PM. Dinner at 5 PM. Evening snack at 7:30 PM. Lights out and silence at 11 PM. The rest of the time you just wonder what the hell to do.
And yes, they are kind of firm about these things.
One male nurse there was particularly fucker. I called him ”Hitler”. I do not tolerate violence, or abuse in any form. When I saw that the nurses openly bullied few patients, and I was in no condition to leave, I started bossing them around because what else would cowards fear more than losing their jobs? The two cut down the bullying, at least in my presence, but I honestly wasn’t sure which I feared more - the cruel, sadistic staff at Aurora, or some of the violent patients. I may have been ”somatically psychotic” as was stated in my diagnosis I entered the mental hospital in with, but still - bullies are bullies, and I fucking hate them. I still remember their creepy laughs, their eyes that told me that the only reason they had chosen the career was to feel superior to someone. For example - they could, and actually did take away my rights to have 30 minute walks outside the hospital, because I was “being difficult”. I once saw the third sadistic nurse who did that, in Helsinki’s cult bar Lost&Found’s ladies room, where I could have set her on fire with hairspray and lighter and got away with it appealing to the papers she signed in 2008, but I didn’t. I guess that is the definition of having grace.
How I ended up there? Well, bad luck. I was unable to give my own evaluation of my condition when the diagnosis was made on me, because I was fucking dying, so I couldn’t speak up for myself. I had to be taken somewhere, after my vitals were stabilised, so my history includes also mental violence by nurses in a mental hospital. No, I am not making this up, this is true.
I wasn’t psychotic. I could tell the difference between real and unreal. I think that is how they usually define it these days. I could still detect the reality I had lived in before I sort of died. Even some of the other patients wondered what I was doing there - “How does girl like you get into these circles?”. Obviously the question of what is real, and what is not is more philosophical than medical as any sane person knows, and my diagnosis was rapidly changed to “depressed”. Well, guess. Then again, I’ll give you another try - sad. MAYBE I was sad. It is not sickness to have feelings. I actually think I responded to the incident pretty healthily, if you think about it. I just didn’t know what had happened. I was too afraid to go back to my home in Punavuori, Helsinki, where all this took place, that I stayed there for… few months. I think I checked out in April. I was cured!
THE ISTANBUL CONVENTION
It’s just one of those things you think cannot happen to you. The chances were - after doing research as an adult on the statistics and phenomena in a larger scale - minor, to begin with, as I was not seeing anyone at the time. Actually, I was not involved with anybody then, unless you count the hundreds of strangers I photographed on the streets and enlarger machines I sort of dated for my upcoming debut solo in Helsinki. Usually rape, abuse, and violence towards women is done in a relationship or by someone else the woman knows. I hardly met or saw any men in Helsinki, at least deliberately although I was proposed often to - I was a monk in high heels already back then, I cherished my solitude when I didn’t want to bury it to a graveyard of hearts - so like I said, the chances were minor knowing my life back then. I mean - a less predicable hand as the impression general statistics on abuse generally speaking deal - but let’s make one thing absolutely clear - I am not statistics, and neither is anyone else who has experienced rape, violence or abuse by a male criminal. If - we were - statistics - numbers on population count, entities without faces, blurred objects on the streets and joined forces to destroy the ones that destroyed our canvases - oh boy, we would rule the world and open a public zoo for this less evolved specie Homo Sapiens Savant Sapiens. So please - politicians, you who choose the budget for human rights work in Finland - you, decide how many women out of ten deserve shelter. Help. Justice. You revoltingly simplified define the law. Because you break it. Not even going to drag Amnesty International or the Istanbul Convention into this, because it is YOUR job to provide enough funds and create means for our citizens to get help, education, preventive methods and shelters, as they are desperately needed in Finland. Stop calling this ”socially problematic phenomena” because it is a choice each abusive male individual makes and as our public servants you should take responsibility. Not only because you act against a very straightforward EU law - but because you should. As humans. For the record - you make me sick.
Let’s not forget that even though the sentences are incredibly short - you serve more time in jail for tax fraud than rape in Finland - all of the three mentioned above are also criminal acts, although not a single case in Finland has been carried in court where a conviction on mental violence would have been made in this context.
We don’t have to take this as far and abstract and well, let’s be frank - idealistic, vague, as the UN human rights declaration that clearly state that each and every individual has the right to live a life undamaged, physically and mentally, by others. I shouldn’t have to explain this. Preserving and being actively involved in human rights work is not the job of street fundraisers, or volunteers clearing the mess the government leaves behind unsolved, the executive decisions are made on higher level and right now, Finland’s political stand is that human rights don’t matter. This is the 2nd most dangerous country for women in the whole Europe to live in after Latvia based on a survey that was conducted in 2016, so shame on you who got the chance to answer to the cute questionnaire of “Worlds Happiest Country”. The crazy cool thing with human rights is though, that you cannot buy them, or take them away from someone else. You are born with an unconditional human value. It is not something you can destroy either, or give only for those who please your agenda.
We don’t have to take these individual true stories to be cases in courtrooms either, where the judges get to decide the worth of a human life, the value of other human beings personal safety to determine what is justice. We have to take this as close as to our hearts, that are either corrupted or pure, minds that know the right from wrong without thinking the correct answer from Platon moral thesis.
August 10th 2019
”Okay, so a little bit of green there… Wowza I poured the paint over me… Well I’ll just take my shirt off and rub the canvas with it. Solved. Alright okay that corner… Umm… Yellow? Mixed or straight edge from the tube?” After an hour and half at my active art kiosk headquarters I can proudly say ”Rubbish. Absolutely rubbish” - my new painting ”Ode to Joy” is in progress from hideous to macabre. Maybe it’ll evolve from sad to a good try if I mix my tears with some other organic material and plant some bacteria on it. I think the art world needs more mould.
I reached the point at today’s opening hours where I decided to call all trees at my backyard my exhibition and charge a fee from my neighbours to see it, and as I was calling mom to ask is this a good or bad idea (she said it was a bad idea as I share the backyard with my neighbours), I galloped downstairs to pour myself a good cup of coffee. As the award winning house-keeper I am, I pondered where ALL my mugs and glasses were - I have been drinking from measuring cups for two days now, and I wondered do I own a dishwasher, could they be there? I called my mom (again), she said I SHOULD own a dishwasher, but I don’t, and I should check upstairs. I galloped back. The painting smirked at me. Fucker. I found the arsenal of my glassware lurking at the studio’s dark corners and under a mattress (!) I often fell asleep on if my active art kiosk has not regulated its working hours. I looked at the mess, my topless body, the ridiculous painting attempt, and those around 12 used coffee cups scattered around my studio between torn fur coats and things even I don’t know what they are and what they are there for… Just about when I was starting to feel sorry for myself, for not really getting anything done, seeing how utterly, completely in progress I am, all the fucking time, and there is nothing I can do to change that - while I was unbolting the jar of tears inside me from the d-shelf that says ”Self-pity” I saw this girl flashing past me, laughing, going to get the last measuring cup and something… I cannot even guess - to continue the painting with, she was laughing and talking in funny rhymes, hair in mess, clothes in rags, scar on her wrist, and as I stood there, waiting for her to return I felt her heartbeat and heard her saying ”It’s only a beginning”.
I looked at the painting differently. Yes. God only knows what it will be. You can never be sure about these things. She was right. I paused my mind from overthinking, overanalysing, and faced the thing I fear the most - life - at least for the next 15 seconds. The girl came back to the studio with a little piece of clear perspex. I didn’t even ask. But she said - ”You are me. Remember that. I was there. You were not. We are one. Don’t be so hard on yourself.” As a proof she was telling the truth, she took one star from the sky, and placed it in my hand. On my yard a blackbird rose on its wings and left. I remembered Francesca Woodman’s work ”On Being An Angel”. As I turned my face back to her to say something, she was three meters tall, holding a sword, as sharp as can be. I felt handcuffs being taken off from my arms. A dozen times dozen white doves flew through purple rain just because life is so fucking beautiful and definitions can hardly ever be accurate - only your heart can hear, the truth.
Is being an artist easy? I have no idea. I have nothing to compare that question for. Maybe it is because I don’t understand either life, or art - or both, actually. Okay, let’s be frank - I cannot understand anything. I just navigate here, under stars, from one harbour to another that has lights on, hoping the tavern is open and this time would be different. I am waiting, to meet the creator of all creators, who would tell me exactly what this is all about, what needs to be done, but as I have now contemplated it - what kind of creating, would that be? What kind of artist, would I be, if I was told ”Paint this”? So I guess, the high notes, the mid-curve, can handle themselves, and it’s the highlights and deep blacks that take the match. Today, I can say ”Darkness, you lost”. Darkness, you are all alone. Like colours, that become alive through prism, we need each others, to shine. In the end, it may not come down to the mark that has been left to me, but the roses that grow inside the purpose, the content, like vases just waiting for the rain - and I can say, for certain, that what I cannot remember, doesn’t define me.
Unchained melody. As I listened to it, I realised I remember many other things instead. I remember what Lulu felt like as a puppy, when I took her tiny living precious porcelain figurine to my arms to hold for the very first time - how I ran, to someone I loved faster than I could as a reflex that intuitively told me he had forgiven me, through a crowd of people in Helsinki who could have been millionaires but I was the richest girl on the planet through those 137 steps it took me to reach his heartbeat next to mine again - or how could I forget, my brother who is not genetically related to me? How I met my teen-age best friend who thought I was cool when no one else did? What about - when The Big Fish Poker guy touched me and slept right next to me, how we shared nothing in common except each others and that mattress I had bought for 5€ from a charity shop thinking ”I am gonna get laid on this” and when the first contestant arrived, he told me he loved me and was not going to shag me any time soon? - Hearing Pet Sounds for the First Time. My Nikon FE2 which shutter needed repair every year but damn, was it a good body. And I remember, keep the memory of the guy I proposed to marry me, to dance this song through life with me, because like in any other artwork, there has to be variation. I don’t pretend to understand - or no longer try to - why my minor scales, shadows, are that dark - I guess certain peaks happen in the canon of time and space, in our personal blueprints, that rise above the daily EKG of life. But you know what? We are the time and space. Without us, there is nothing, not even darkness.
“Quo Vadis?” I’m in Rome! Now!
Via Raffaele Cadorna, 28 Rome Italy