Jealousy, Anxiety, and Insecurity

Yesterday, I posted for people to ask me anything on Instagram and in the responses polyamory, anxiety, and jealousy came up. The trifecta of breaking loose some serious frustration. But I’ve had coffee, so let’s do this.

Links are underlined. 

Jealousy can occur in both monogamous and non monogamous relationships, despite our best intentions.

There’s this impression that if you feel jealous at all, you’re doing polyamory wrong. But feeling anxious, jealous, or insecure are totally normal feelings to have. It’s just not healthy to ignore those feelings or avoid addressing them because they like to come out one way or another, say in the form of resentment. In terms of jealousy, which can rear its head for a variety of reasons, it would seem suppressing that feeling is the go to move. “Oh no, I’m going to focus on acting like everything is fine and as long as I don’t look at the problem it won’t exist.” But problems don’t just go away, do they? And jealousy isn’t necessarily the problem, it’s the symptom of a problem, a little alarm bell if you will.

Jealousy can be born of insecurity.

Sometimes it can be rooted in how you perceive yourself to be and/or how you perceive the relationship. In other words, you spend more energy on dissecting all the things you aren’t or your relationship isn’t, forgetting what brought you to the relationship in the first place. It’s pretty hard to bring all your best traits forward when you’re heavily focused on masking or overly apologizing for your flaws.

Everyone has things they want to work on within themselves, not a single one of us is perfect. I would say it’s more useful to acknowledge that “this person is this but I’m that” feeling as an invitation for figuring out where you are in yourself for yourself and to remember what you liked about yourself outside of these relationships.

Don’t punish your current partner(s) for your past partner’s mistakes. 

When you’ve been hurt severely, it’s easy to live in that pain and react impulsively to anything that remotely reminds you of it. It’s not healthy to sabotage your current relationship by treating those triggering situations as if you were still in the past relationship, forcing yourself to relive a trauma to “get it right this time” and/or positioning your partner to be on the defensive/play the bad guy. Check in with yourself about where you are in your healing process and communicate needs if your partner is willing and able to provide support. Some types of trauma can require the need of a therapist or time just not being in a relationship, getting reacquainted with yourself. Take a deep breath. You got this.

As it’s been said many times before, communication is key. 

It’s really not enough to just say you’re jealous and expect your partner to stop doing whatever is leading you to feel this way. Asking them to stop seeing other people who fulfill needs you can’t or won’t seems like a cruel thing to ask of someone and this verges on a more dangerous set of behavior of controlling or restricting your partner’s life. It might be time to revisit your feelings of polyamory if this feeling persists. David Bradford suggests “Remembering all the reasons you fell in love with them can help remind you of how great it must be for the budding metamor’s experience with your partner. Compersion can be a very tricky emotion to learn, but when you can embrace the happiness that is occurring for your partner, and their new partner, so many more experiences are possible.” (This was super helpful for me.)

Knowing that you can’t be everything to one person can be a difficult truth to grapple with, but relationships aren’t just about you getting your needs met or even to “have this person” as your own. It’s a partnership where, hopefully, through hell or high water, you get to have this intimate experience of another person being in your life and becoming a better version of themselves alongside you. If you make all your decisions in that relationship out of an unfounded fear of losing them, you are going to miss when they’re right in front of you.

Trust is also a thing.

Trust too little and you’ll always be suspicious of your partner, trust too much and you’ll be blindsided when problems bubble up to the surface. You have got to nurture the damn thing. While it is mostly on the individual people to address their trust issues, team work makes the dream work. Trust includes being able to own mistakes and put in the work to make amends and to give each other the space to do that. For some, trust has been broken so many times, they are forever locked inside themselves unable to recognize trustworthy behavior. If you’re on your own trying to navigate through this, find examples of trustworthiness by talking to friends and read everything you can get your hands on to expand your idea of trust.   

It should also be noted that aggressively guarding yourself against…well, everything a person does is unhealthy. Opening up quickly to people and then withdrawing just as fast when you’re bothered by something can read as erratic and lead them to not trust your behavior at all. It’s important to stop and take a breath to regroup your actual thoughts about the situation and not just train yourself to unleash the fury every time you’re scared.

And as for anxiety…

Your anxiety is not intuition, even though we may have been right at times. Take a deep breath, if something seems amiss you need to be able to articulate why so you can address the problem correctly. Impulsive preemptive plans can lead us into some weird situations further down the road and it’s important to remember you’re not in this alone. Taking a moment to get a clearer view of a situation is not a crime, so have some faith in yourself and in the people you’ve chosen to surround yourself with. If you find that for some reason you can’t do that with the current company, it’s not the failure it might seem to be to leave that situation.

Keep your head up, remember spending so much time focusing on the darkness of our lives only trains us to forget the brighter side.

Until next time,
Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.

Zakkarrii Edsion Daniels

Cages DTLA: A Review

Currently in its preview stage, Cages by Woolf and the Wondershow is an experience that’s hard to explain because it offers so much. The general story, for those being invited into the world Anhedonia, is that its citizens aren’t allowed to feel their feelings. It’s a dark, grey scale world where everyone’s hearts are locked away in cages. And I’m sure, you can imagine where the story goes from there, but I assure you it’s so much more than getting from this point A to the obvious point B. It’s not going to even remotely go the way you expect it to.

Promotion: I’m surprised with how minimal the promotion seems for such an intricate production. There’s a couple trailers, my friend and I listened to what music we could find by Woolf and the Wondershow before attending, and I read a couple of reviews that carefully dodged spoilers, (example from No Proscenium). It seems like the kind of thing you wander into, you let it pull you in until you can’t stop thinking about it. I know it’s in preview mode, but… the experience of walking up to where the show is very much felt like a descent into something otherworldly. That’s the level of thoughtfulness that carries through the entire experience, so this polar opposite of “in your face” promotion lends itself to a sort of sense of discovery.

Music: Whatever you can find of Woolf and the Wondershow on various platforms will barely prepare you for the evolution of their sound in this show. My body is actually aching for the soundtrack to be released. Aching, do you hear me? The weaving of so many different genres to create this almost 3D auditory experience had me in tears and sitting for the majority of the show in open mouth awe. Listening to each song feels like they’re teaching you a whole new way to feel your body and inviting you to rediscover all the things you have missed in your life outside this venue. Haunting melodies…no, you know what, I can do better than that. Each melody coaxes your attention through a mastery of dynamics, seeps into your bones with a reassurance that you are safe but you are going to feel something profound, and reminds you of the sweet spot between deep engulfing bass and delicate touches of notes where music can become a breathtaking experience.

And I still feel like this underselling it…

A Visual Feast: From the moment you step inside the doors all the way to the end of the show, there’s so much to look at and explore. Wherever your gaze lands, there is something happening, something changing. Curious, hungry minds are greatly rewarded here.

What the show accomplishes in using every single resource at its disposal is extremely pleasing to the mind in terms of timing, artistry, and storytelling. Nothing is just there, everything serves a purpose to enhance the depth of the story. I’m upset that blinking is a thing humans have to do because I walked out of there feeling like I missed half the show for it. Down to the costumes, the perfect combination of color scheme and texture sold you on the dystopian vibe while still subtly capitalizing on the hidden beauty of this place.  It seems to be the kind of experience that the more you go, the more you find.

 

Immersion: Keep your head up and your mind open and you’ll be dizzy with delight. From the charming bartenders who prepare your drinks with a elegant flourish to the cast members walking through the crowd with the attitude required to not get sent to the Emotional Correction Facility to the very space itself, with its apparent careful precision of the placement of each room; my friend and I wanted to live there. I’m leaving a lot out because even a single detail would demand more to be revealed and it’s so good to go and just experience it fully without a lot of introduction.

I walked into Cages with my heart feeling a little beat up and my soul a little too weary for words and left feeling like my heart had been stitched back together and my soul lighter than its been in a long time. I’ll be honest, I was worried the love story aspect of this was going to be sticky sweet, but it wasn’t. The show is very aware of itself and doesn’t overdo anything as it explores the balance between formulaic experiences meeting emotional discoveries. It’s poignant, inspiring, funny at times, and it’s obvious a great deal of heart went into this.

And I can’t wait to visit it again.

Tickets are available at https://www.cagesdtla.com/ . There is also a waitlist for free tickets. In between now and you seeing the show you can stalk obsess follow Woolf and the Wondershow on Instagram, YouTube, and Spotify, as well as catch glimpses of the show through Cages very own Instagram.

Until next time,

Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.

Zakkarrii Edison Daniels

You’re Not Impossible to Love

You are not too broken to be loved.

I think it’s great that you have this beautiful, romantic ideal of how you want to be loved and you deserve it. This ultimate full body experience of being loved and you should write it down and keep it close by so you don’t forget you deserve that kind of love.

I struggle with it myself. I’ve tried to live as if though “love” isn’t necessary in my life, remind myself that maybe those were just the cards I was dealt and that’s fine. But I don’t think anyone who loves me would be happy with me thinking that and it wouldn’t set a good example for people like me who do, in fact, need love.

You should remember there are different kinds of love. It isn’t just friend and lover, and you can define these different types with the people, you know, you’re involved with. So I don’t think it’s truly useful to write the things down you want in a lover per say, but how you want to be loved.

To me, it’s remembering that being social is still hard for me, so when I show up I hope it means something a little more than nothing. It’s in “tell me when you get home” texts and “good mornings” and “good nights” especially in “just thinking of you”. It’s in giving me space at odd times when I ask for it or squeezing my hand when you lead me through an event.

Love is felt in hugs that matter, not touching my hair, realizing we’re about to be too drunk for a glass each so we share a glass of wine. It’s you simply liking posts because you want to know that I know you saw it. When we go for late night drives with the music blasting, no conversation, it’s definitely hidden in “thank you for being patient” and less so in “I’m sorry I’m bothering you”.

It’s in disagreeing and arguing to reshape our weird ideologies we came up with as children and never had truly challenged until now, in stern talking to’s and gentler “are you okay”s. “Where are you going, who with, do you have your phone, when will you be back, call me if you need someone. No, look at me, call me if anything happens.” It’s in answering the question I asked and not the one you wanted to answer.

And I think it’s also important to know how you will love…especially if you didn’t listen and wrote about your ideal sexy partner. It’s fine.

I love like an inferno. I’m loud so I can rattle the very bones of your insecurities back into nothingness and strike fear into the contorted heart of your self loathing. I’m not always present, for obvious reasons, but I’ll show up when you need me, when you think no one else will come. I’ll be front and center, rallying like no other because I love you.

I love that my love is a heavy thing and my trust is almost impossible to earn. It’s heavy so even in the darkest moments you can never say no one loves you because you will know that I do. I could write pep talks for days that will last you weeks, wrestle you for your keys with no hesitation because we’re all getting to tomorrow, I’ll wake up a whole city to find your ass after you threw away your medication. My full trust is hard won because it’s valuable. It’s mine. I treasure it and so should the people who want it.

My love has short comings, I’m not quite skilled with the little moments, I’m still too scattered and heavy to be that light. But I’ll introduce you to people I think will be good to you in ways I can’t. I can come up with plans at the drop of a hat so nothing is ever truly impossible. I can hug you like it’s the most important thing I’ve ever done. I’ll ask questions because I care even if it’s hard to hear answers and I’ll tell you the truth to the best of my ability.

Is love supposed to hurt? I think it can be like a weird ache, like when you exercise after you haven’t exercised in a long time. It feels good but it’s achy, a little too unfamiliar, which means you’ve got to do it more. Not throw it all at one person who isn’t receptive, but to strangers with a helping hand, into little compliments to your friends, buying someone coffee. There are a handful of people I love with like my whole body, they check all the boxes: I’m safe, I trust them, we’re equally happy in our relationship. Sometimes, I think I love them too much because I get so excited I tire myself out quickly. (I have a liiiiittle body, and BIG emotions.)

But I think with any kind of love you find, there shouldn’t be this definitive list of “right” answers, or one is at the mercy of the other, even with BDSM (it’s supposed to hurt in a good way). Love in all its forms should empower you, especially when you’re in a dark place, it should be a guiding light out. It should mend all the broken thoughts of being unlovable into ways you fall in love with yourself. It should give you strength to ask questions that build trust and bring you closer to the person you want to be and the person/people you’d like to be with.

If you’ve got the awareness and the spoons, you can also write down how you need to improve being loving. Like I should being more of an active listener and demonstrating the respect people show me when they give me their time. (Been a little too space cadet lat-look a cat!) I should shake this weird possessive vibe I’ve got both in my life and my behavior, for so many reasons (it’s a 3/10, when I would like it to be a 1ish). Off the top of my head? If I really believe everyone should be friends with my friends, I need to leave a little more space for them to go build those relationships because that’s being a good friend. Let the unicorn friend be the unicorn friend. I need to ask better questions to build stronger trust with people, and probably share this post with people I want a loving relationship with. I could also relinquish the death grip I’ve got on my boundaries. They shouldn’t be concrete walls with no way in, they should be there but welcoming to those who deserve it.

And to myself, babe I could really work on giving myself a break every now and then and just introducing water and like I don’t know, a carrot to my diet.

You are NOT unlovable. You might just be in a place in your life where you need a little extra love. You might just be realizing that you’ve surrounded yourself with people you don’t check any of the boxes which is fine or finer still, with people who only check the boxes right now. You might not even know how you would like to be loved yet and that’s okay too.

17 year old me did not know any of this and even 24 year old me didn’t know half of this. I didn’t know how to receive love (sometimes I still don’t), how to show love, or even desire to be loved. But get this, the world isn’t the harsh black and white, loved or unloved place. I wasn’t unlovable, look at that list. Do you see those places for growth? For an entirely new version of myself to spring up that knows how to receive love, how to show love, and even EVEN desire to be loved? Because that’s how we got here!

You are going to make mistakes, you are going to bite the wrong hands, you are going to need to be loved in a unique way until you are strong enough to love on your own, and it’s not impossible. It’s not impossible and I am proof. It’s going to take some work, some truly heavy lifting but just like exercising, it’s going to get easier. It’s going to get easier and you are going to be so good at loving and being loved.

Until next time,

Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.

Zakkarrii Edison Daniels

Cloak and Dagger

It’s impossible for me to write about C&D (Cloak and Dagger) objectively, it’s an incredibly personal thing to me. I am aware of the people who love it and all its mysterious glory as well as those who went to town when they announced the C&D Dusk till Dawn Festival. So we’re going to have to do this the only way I know how…personally. Links are underlined.

Instagram Photo

It started downstairs…with a view of yourself descending those stairs, in all your decked out glory reflected in a large mirror and through a door on your left with the word “Sinners” over it. Diana Dzhaketov would check you in, sign your hand with a knowing smile and usher you off into the shadows. Swing around a tight corner and come face to face withAdam Bravin, the DJ, and co-producer and you’d take a step forward to find a bar lit with candles to your right and table service to your left. Despite how crowded it could get some nights, I swear that room always seemed bigger than it was under the low lights and between the sticky bodies that refused to stop dancing as breathless as we became. I swear you could feel the magic wash over the crowd and everyone became something larger than themselves in the moment. It started in a candlelit basement of a bar where only on Tuesday, you could get drunk off the experience alone.

I was 23 when I first went to C&D. I had never really gone out before so I didn’t have any real expectations, no preconceived notions. The few club nights I had gone to I mostly hid behind a camera and never danced, and certainly never spoke to anyone. I didn’t know what C&D was when I was put on someone’s guest list. I was simply told “All black everything, no pictures, let’s dance.” Sure, I thought, why not. I got there early, not sure if I was too dressed up or not enough, had a mild panic attack in the car and went up to the doorman. “You’re early.” He told me. “Come back at 10.” So I waited and at the time I thought it was just the anticipation of a new experience that made the air hum electric the closer it got to opening, but it never stopped feeling that way every time I walked up. 10pm on a Tuesday and the air hums electric. I come back, I get checked in, and I go downstairs to be told that I’m not allowed inside for some reason, I can only go upstairs. “We’ll get you inside.” The friends who I had met only the week before promised, and I shrugged it off. “I’ll just have an adventure upstairs.”

Upstairs in the front room was for white card members with Ming Vauz of the band, Sleep Mask usually DJing. Although there was more room for dancing, I spent more time on the smoking patio. I would sit in the corner and just relax, something that is normally impossible for me to do. I watched other guests and members come out onto the smoking patio, eyes wide with curiosity or twinkling from the experience (but regardless of how they walk in, at the end of the night everyone is glowing). Maybe it was how open the front room felt but there was definitely a lighter feel to it, like the anticipation of a kiss, and downstairs was the satisfaction. I had wine, cigarettes and a place to sit, I thought that was all I needed but I was not prepared for everything that came after.

Instagram Photo

Every Tuesday we go to Church…I went every Tuesday, was always early, having to contend with traffic since I came up from Anaheim. “Quite a drive every week for a club in a crowded basement, was it worth it?” Everytime. I got there early in case I had panic attacks about being social, which I did. I frequently had to call friends to help calm me down so I felt brave enough to go in. “It’s okay if you go home. You can try again next week.” and for the first time in my short life, I wasn’t going to let the anxiety win. I never knew what I was going to do once I got inside, but I was going to get inside damn it.

Now, two years later, it’s no longer in the basement, but it still has much the same intimate feel. There are no longer white cards but there is still a variety of DJs that spin in the front room. The members who experienced the evolution of C&D carry those memories with them and carry that same vibe with them back out onto the dance floor. I’m no longer scared of going out, I haven’t had a panic attack at the thought of socializing in months.

Church…we called it Church. A girl and I recognized each other in the light of day at an event so after I became a member. We were about to say Cloak and Dagger when we figured out where we knew each other from, when another girl neither of us knew walked up and asked what we were talking about. We looked at each other with sly grins and said Church at the same time. And it is like church in a weird sort of way. Dancing all night in the shadows next to friends and strangers while heady incense fills the room, getting lost in conversations about anything when otherwise I would avoid them… it’s always cleansing from the beat down of the week before. It is healing and inspiring, at least to me, it is.

Instagram Photo

Cloak and Dagger is…

You’re going to hear a lot about what Cloak and Dagger is from the variety of people who attend; old school goths, fashionistas, other DJs, cute lost souls, transient artists, city witches, it’s a festival unto itself. To me, it’s home. The overlap of everything I love about Los Angeles, a standing reminder of how taking a single chance leaving the house can change your whole life. It’s where I met most of my friends, I’m sorry, I really mean, family and you’d think that’s a cute line for a 20 something that doesn’t know how harsh the world can be. I assure you, if you could see my family…the way they dance under the smoke and candlelight, they throw their hands up like they’re casting spells for us all, love like it’s what they were born to do and know the meaning of the word “soul”.

Obviously, I have to be a little vague. The experience of C&D is a secret for various reasons, but mostly because it’s hard to describe. It offers something different for everyone. Some need a place to call home, some just want to get lost for a moment in the sound and others need the something else that comes with a strange girl silently taking your hand and leading you somewhere others are not allowed. The experience is a gift, so if you get it, don’t waste its magic talking about it like it was something everyone got. You got it. Hold it. Channel it.

I think this review of one person’s experience at the festival wraps it up quite nicely.

Instagram Photo

All this talk of magic…

Whether or not you believe in the intricate rituals and far too accurate fortune telling, Cloak and Dagger will never be like other clubs. You can’t boil it down to its individual parts and give it a score in comparison to its gothic cousins in the club scene of Hollywood. It’s the combination of things. Every immersive experience is tailored to you and the women who work at C&D put their soul into it. Every band that’s performed lays their soul out before the crowd for a one of a kind show. You standing against the wall or writhing on the dance floor makes a difference, the DJ notices. “Are you having fun?” Michael Patterson, the co-producer, will ask and it’s a genuine question. So if you are going to walk in with expectations and a checklist for comparisons you are going to miss everything.

But what about the music?

Start here with the playlist.

I always get nervous when people ask what music do they play there, expecting it to be a familiar variety of gothic music. They ask like there’s an alien in their throat ready to eat you alive if you answer unfavorably. To me, the music Adam Bravin plays is for the weird kids of the weird kids, the ones who would be starved being given a singular branch of the tree of dark genres. Yeah, they play Prince, yeah they play Siouxsie, and yes, they do play something new to you if you get there at the right time. Personally, the first 30 minutes have been these beautiful melodies where I’m frantically looking up lyrics before the next one comes on. That’s my favorite part of the night. “No one dances that early in a club.” A friend told me once. “All the more reason to do it.” I told her.

Instagram Photo

Now as Cloak and Dagger grows…with its most recent opening a monthly night in Chicago, I can only hope that others get to be as lucky as I did, to go from being alone and invisible to finding a brighter version of themselves in all that it offers. I only offer my perspective as someone who does not regularly go out to clubs for a typical club experience. If you get invited, I hope you can see it all for its worth, there’s quite a bit to love.

How do you become a member?

Rumor has it there’s an application page (for Los Angeles and for Chicago) and that’s it. That’s all I know. I was never here. You didn’t see me.

Instagram Photo

For more on Living the Strange Life, take a moment to join the Strange Collective at the top of this page. For a different perspective of that same strange life, follow me on InstagramFacebookTumblr and YouTube.

Until next time,

Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.

Zakkarrii Edison Daniels