Self-mutilation is today's theme in the SST's Focus section. Michelle A'Court admits to dysthymia, a feeling that can't be touched. Rosemary McLeod dredges up a headfuck of hidden memories. Tony Wall reports on Cathy rising out of the ashes of Sam, while Frederico Monsalve dissects a couple of books on happiness.
There is no such thing as a happy comedian. The sense of humour is a survival mechanism, talent by necessity. Growing up in Levin would do it to you, as Michelle A'Court's case attests to. It's particularly interesting reading how she handled her shrink like an audience for a while. It reminds me of the time I checked out a shrink up in Orkland. Instead of humour, I threw Jung and Bertrand Russell at him.
Miss Tigger swears by Aropax. She's been on it for years and says she hardly ever cuts herself up any more. She's unnerved me on occasions by running her nails up her arms leaving bloody lines, so it's a comfort to both of us that she feels more at peace. I ask her every now and then if she should get off Aropax and see whether her improved state is her making or if it's the Aropax. It's the Aropax, she says. I think she sells herself short, but she's happier so who am I to nag.
I knew Miss Mountain Goat back when she was best friends with a then girlfriend, Miss Dancing Dragon. Unbeknownst to me and DD at the time, MG had been raped on a regularly basis by her father since she was 4. It all came out in her late teens, unravelling to the family at large and her friends. No court case was held. Justice was served elsewhere. Her father was present at her 21st, and all of MG's male friends present were bristling. Had MG whispered the right words, there were plenty of people willing to rip this bastard to shreds and bury pieces of him in the backblocks. MG knew this. Her father knew this.
Nothing happened. She married her uni boyfriend a few years later, a true yin-yang thing. Miss Mountain Goat now lives in Switzerland with her identical husband. It is the memory of people like MG who give me the strength when all else fails. Happiness is possible. In the meantime, in the dreamtime, I'll settle for beauty.
(Originally posted 7/5/06)