Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Writing: My Own Form Of Bloodletting by Jeff Utnage

I can tell someone how I feel. But I have a harder time showing them. I can draw, really well, I have sold my portraits of people and their families. I love to dance, when I think of emotion, I think in terms of movement and angles even though I have no idea how to dance. I can cry, laugh, scream, swing wildly, kiss, scratch, nibble, flex, pose, and drift away for months.

But none of those make sense to me like writing does. Writing seems natural to me, regardless of my competency. When I was a child I wrote my first book, The Hot Dog Man. I illustrated it myself and wrote a story line and put it out for sale when my Mother had a garage sale in Omaha, NE. I went and played and when I can back to check on it, it had already sold!

Of course, that was the only thing I have sold and now I am 36, well, 29 seven times. Yet, when I need to express something, when I am bursting at the seams with some emotion, writing just comes out, I can not really help it.

I want to express myself through movement. Dance specifically. It just seems that when someone is dancing and moving their body with intention they are truly free, truly expressing themselves maximally. It feels like even though I write I can never fully exhaust myself. Not like when I run, or work out.

When I work out I come back to my cell and sometimes I just lay on the concrete and laugh. Usually it begins with my heart beating so hard my torso sort of bounces off the floor in a weird rhythm with my lungs. Then I laugh, laugh hard enough I can not move. I am sure there is this super logical explanation for that, perhaps my amygdala is working in conjunction with my hippo campus or hypothalamus to send neurotransmitters like dopamine or oxytocin and its simply a chemical reaction.

But a big part of me believes it is my body laughing at me saying "you might have worked me so hard your heart is bouncing you like a basketball, but you are not exhausted emotionally, it is still there and as soon as your breath comes back I will spend the rest of the day reminding you, only then you will be tired to do anything about it...enjoy that six pack."

So I write. My fingers reach for keys or grip a pen in anticipation when I need to let something out, like I am uncaging some living creature and unleashing it into the world where it fizzles out into oblivion or finds a new host to pester. Perhaps stronger, who knows? Maybe I am not unleashing anything, maybe it is more like seed planting and one day wonderful emotions will grow somewhere in someone for something?

Until then, I write.

I thank you all for reading, this is one of those really important things to me that helps me get through my time with whatever sanity I have left.

Thank you.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle" Utnage
www.lgbtqprisonsupport.com

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