Monday, 14 December 2015

CHARLIE THE SURVIVOR: Doll Hospital Issue Two Essay

My essay for Doll Hospital Issue Two! Also like obligatory there are 150+ pages of content and 99% of them don't include me talking about my deep personal connection with Jesse Pinkman so like go read that instead.

artwork by Mikael Hattingh

content warning suicide

I don’t want my tumblr to be deleted when I (eventually) kill myself. To ensure this does

not happen I post a tweet that reads: When I die I want my tumblr to be a UNESCO

world heritage site. That should do the job nicely. I am not good at doing jobs. I am a

slacker. Like the song Slack Motherfucker. Like the tall blue bird Mordecai in the

Regular Show. He went to art school too, you kno. The cartoon bird I mean. And

an unpleasant incarnation of his gum ball machine boss tells him, “You’re just another

slacker who went to art school to feel like he accomplished something!” This is not my

psychosis. I have screen shots of the scene. Proof. I even posted it on my blog saying

“Mordecai is more me than me” if you want the receipts.

I suppose I am a part of a particular dashboard of perpetually stoned,

permanently unemployable, working class girls of colour with my bullshit blogging

and low self esteem selfies. (You could call hat a movement, slackerdom at least has

anti-capitalist intentions, and I am not only spoonless but hopeless too). I am ridiculous.

And slightly nauseous. When my stomach disease was bad in January I shit my pants

in a Holocaust memorial service. (I kno!) And I think maybe I should rewrite The Old

Man and the Sea about my trichotillomania, with a deeply rooted hair follicle in place of

the big fish.

My tumblr url is bernard-beth after Bernard Black. I am both dysphoric and

psychotic so fictitious white dudes on TV are an interesting model of myth-making. I

think. I guess. Disassociation can turn even a muggle like me into an Oscar winner. And

the bonus of never having accomplished anything is that no one will ask me to

write my memoir as I honestly don’t what is Netflix and what is irl anymore. The

movie Spring Breakers is on Netflix and it gave me nightmares and white weaponised

femininity does not float my boat. Me and Lil talk about the Runaways after the

Huffington Post article on that nasty rapist man comes out. I love my survivor sisters

more than anything else in the world and I do not want abuser aesthetics in my house.

But as much as This Bridge Called My Back is my bible I am interested in occupying

these white guys’ characters. Stealing their toys, their clothes, their lines. Jackson

Pollock said ‘I am Nature’ and I reply with ‘I am Jackson Pollock’.

I am also Jesse Pinkman. Because Jesse survives. And is fictitious. I also survive.

And am ficticuous. However, the Jesse Pinkman blogging hashtag is less popular

than the Bernard Black blogging one. This is most likely because it centres around

substance abuse and takes place at 5am. Jesse is a survivor and Bernard is a survivor. But

Charlie Kelly is the most survivor, the most me. The dude survived his own abortion.

When I was suicidal the other week I wrote:

“It’s not that I want to die. I want to go further. Suicide is still a selfhood, the

ultimate in fact. I wish I had never been conceived. I don’t want to exist even in

idea form. Everyone said I should have been aborted – the family, the doctors. they

were quite right. They were quite right. Noun. Noun. Noun.”

So we have the abortion thing in common. Also his learning difficulties, his

trauma, his cats, the absent fathers and dodgy literacy skills. His height and high-
pitched voice. His mania. His army jacket and neurovariance. I also used to clean up

human waste for money. (Though being a cleaner of colour carried a different context

I suppose). Charlie responds to childhood abuse not with a TED talk but with a

magical musical written in crayon. I use crayon in all my artwork. I offered to give

one to my mum and she said no thank you. Suicide attempts are horcruxes –

you lose yourself one try at a time. But horcruxes are also fragments of the soul.

Containments. Parts lost given back to you in unexpected packages. Your writing, your

pet, a TV character on a strange sitcom that is yours too you kno, you just didn’t realise it

before you hit play.

People say I am strong. But I am not strong. People say I am inspiring. But I am not

inspiring. I am not an MIA gif set. Or a pair of Frida Kahlo socks. There is a particularly

colonial thumbprint on the caricature of the strong woman of colour. For I am not strong,

but suicidal. And I do not want my perpetual debasement to serve as a catalyst to the very

model of white authorship that made me sick in the first place. I do not want my vomit

chunks used to paint masterpieces. I do not want that one bit.

Charlie Kelly is not a strong woman of colour. He eats garbage out of the trash.

Bernard Black is not a strong woman of colour. He has mushrooms growing out

of his hair. Jesse Pinkman is not a strong woman of colour. He is well...he is Jesse

Pinkman! Survival is not inspiring, it is repulsive, and it is always the rats that run

first, the cockroachs that survive. I am a rat. A cockroach. A parasite. (Parasitic lifestyle

blogging is another hashtag that is dear to me.) And Charlie crawls around the sewers

of Philadephia with no clothes on.

And a bonus playlist! Again made into ART by Mikael. He couldn't actually fit all the songs into one playlist so consider the extra like 34 songs a suprise?!


  1. "Suicide attempts are horcruxes" ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

    That was my official commentary. So many perfect particular sentences and phrases here and I cannot begin to pull them out because just... yes. Bernard Black was my teen idol. The perfect sitcom representation of a strange part of me, sitting there around the surface, lying in the casual/dismissive lumbering of the comedy hangover. But the connection I felt with him was deep, like he was real and around the corner. The cool and funny iteration of the desperate dishevelled teen girl wearing nonchalant binge drinking like a brownie badge.

  2. thank you thank you for sharing this. like i can't articulate this very well/at all but having been in grimy isolated mental survival mode for the past months (0 output, 0 attention span, rude and cranky, persistent exhaustion, constant horrible intrusive thoughts) with no sign of emergence, i don't know i just... appreciated reading this. thank you again <3