Untitled Propositions (a love letter) – Adriana Disman

1. When we met, I was that doubled soft-edged blue of 22. I will always think of that number as magical.

2. Time-delayed and hungover, she laughed, asking, “HOW old is your partner, again?” And I laughed too, to cover my impulse to vomit and hide, as she immediately apologized and we changed topics. Sucking our beers and pretending nothing was happening. (When I learned she’d also had a relationship with an older woman, I hated her. I hated her as a microcosm of everyone who’d ever made me feel ashamed.)

3. mediocre, fair, commonplace, ordinary, regular, middling

4. I read recently, in a book whose author you’d raved about some years ago, that most people think they are above average in most things. The inherent meaning of “average” precludes this possibility. The book proposed that if we could all be content with our average traits, we’d be much happier.

5. I will still sit by your bed and hold your hand through your last breaths when the time comes, if I’m still here, if you still want.

6. Don’t worry, I’ll follow your lead and we can pretend we don’t know how it feels to be erased – don’t know what it’s like when your wet, lapping thrusts are unimaginable to the eyes across the room at the soirée. We can pretend it doesn’t mark us, each time we are made invisible. C’est la vie.

7. Everyone’s done it. Everyone knows about breaking up.

8. I know you hate public performances of our intimacies. I’m sorry. But where am I in that? My life’s work turns on public intimacies – you’ve always known who and how I am. And I am nothing other than you, right now. My theory has dried up in this spider-shell of a body so, when asked to write, I can write only you. Again and again and again.

9. Not being able to stay makes me pretty fucking average.

10. Reading Women, in which Chloe Caldwell’s lover is 19 years her senior, I think: “Pfffft… amateurs.”

11. Don’t worry – this text is fiction, anyway.

12. I’m surprised by how hard it is for me to recognize what is and isn’t the end of us. The black and white films that parented me have made me think it will be obvious. It isn’t.

13. You taught me that one can never know the intimacy others share in the twilight.

14. Every time we touched, we defied : building worlds out of sparks spitting from the metal clash of our intellectual fencing, leaking from our hot little apartment into the world-in-crisis that surrounded us.

15. Thank you.

16. Phaedrus and Socrates joust speeches back and forth, pulling apart the lover and the boy – slamming them back together in different configurations. Again. Again. In the end though it’s not about the madness of love, is it Socrates? You care only to make a demonstration of persuasion and rhetoric, writing and knowing. You fucker.

17. To be understood beyond understanding yourself. To know the lines caressing your face better than my own. To leap.

18. A friend sends us a YouTube video of Eileen Myles and Leopoldine Core reading a love poem together, interweaving their devotion to writing and each other – one grey-haired and tough, the other so youthful it hurts. We watch it over and over, sipping morning coffee, grinning. I tried to find that video today. It’s been taken off the internet.

19. I keep the marks that are left in a cream white envelope in my bedside drawer. Stowed treasure.

20. Don’t forget to tell yourself what you need to hear.

21. When we were 18 and living in New York, my best friend told me I was growing younger every year, though she’d always found me to be older than my age. She said I’d meet myself at 26, and finally be the age I was. So, Sophie? Have my two crossing selves met? Is it momentary? Will they continue on together or pass and part…

22. You never trusted me.

23. When things get really bad, near the end, I find myself wishing I were a bookshelf. I start laying with books piled on my body in the studio. No opinion, nothing to be done. Just the sun moving across my wooded surfaces, dust settling, dust wiped away, dust settling again. Maybe a cat dulls its claws on my edges.

24. I thought we had the wisdom to end more gently than this.

25. The first time you saw me perform – naked and bloody – and still wanted me to come home with you after. You bathed my wounds, tu m’as pris dans tes bras et I was reborn.

26. When I finally say it, the metal door slams down behind your eyes and I am suddenly standing alone in a dead silent desert, endlessly flat, grateful for the wind whipping hard lashes of sand into my skin because at least it’s something I can feel.

27. Is this place holding me?
What does it sense as it holds?
A throbbing?
My sadness and my lust?

28. I wonder where and how you are. I wonder what you do on Sundays, now.

29. I am still only able to hold others in performance.

30. Writing about heartbreak – average.

31. I disdain knowing, even as I write, that I’ll heal. The nail polish grows off my toes, my dark roots come in, the circle cut into my shoulder scabs over and fades. Eventually, all the marks of us will be invisible.

32. And everyone can blame it on age. Even us. A simplification that makes things easier to stomach: someone always dies at the end of the women-falling-in-love-with-women movie.

33. We were never average.

34. The back of your neck, blue-moon washed, as you sleep turned away from me, my arms wrapped around you, every night for years.

35. Everything you ever said was interesting. Since the beginning.

36. It’s heartbreaking to be what the world says you are.

Adriana Disman is a performance art maker, thinker, and curator based in Montreal and Toronto. Her performance practice has been presented in galleries and festivals across Canada, the US, and Europe.

Her thinking practice, most recently, investigates the hermeneutics of self-violence in performance art (Theatre Research in Canada, spring 2015), the ethics of documenting participatory performance (Canadian Theatre Review, spring 2015), and the use of the concept as object in performance (TouVA Performance Art Collective’s new book, forthcoming, fall 2016).

Disman is the founder and curator of LINK & PIN performance art series (TO/MTL), coordinator of RATS 9 Gallery (MTL), and sits on the board of directors of both The School of Making Thinking (NYC) and SKOL artist run-centre (MTL). She holds an M.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies from York University and is a graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre (NYC). Disman gives workshops or guest lectures regularly and has taught at McGill, U of Toronto, and Abrons Art Centre, amongst others. www.adrianadisman.com

The author wishes to thank: Sophie Traub, Matheson Westlake, and Sharon Mashihi.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.