“From the Latin word vulnare, “to wound,” vulnerability is our susceptibility to be wounded. This fragility is part of our nature and cannot be escaped. The best the brain can do is to shut down conscious awareness of it when pain becomes so vast or unbearable that it threatens to overwhelm our capacity to function […] When we flee our vulnerability, we lose our full capacity for feeling emotion. We may even become emotional amnesiacs, not remembering ever having felt truly elated or truly sad… the wondrous power of a drug is to offer the addict protection from pain while at the same time enabling her to engage the world with excitement and meaning.”
-Maté, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts
The first hit feels different than the last. All prepare her confidence to Seize The Day: I came, I saw, I pillaged. It isn’t considered a ‘disorder’ if it does not impede her ability to function as capitalism has deemed acceptable. Juggling these tasks of capital production and acting as desired as a woman with the complexities of a substance addiction to maintain fences is one of her many strengths.
This is not the story of the fall from economic or racial grace because of a lack of ‘self control.’ This is the story of every person walking city streets on whatever substance covered by whatever clothing to assuage the lack of meaning for every person in the nine-to-five mon to fri.
This is the story that discusses walls built with shopping or bottles or ashes or needles or baggies or coffee tea espresso cups or the gym or pills pill bottles prayers prayers prayers needles no side effects cheer for your team cheer for your team satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!
This is not a story about the righteous nature of religiosity as a way to balance the lack of meaning in the capitalist day for the 99.90% because that still ignores the problem. She takes her substance with other people and so it does not instill as much guilt as substances that are criminalized depending on what economic class uses them.
The biggest joke of all the walls is that those who put up the biggest walls do so because they are the most attacked while growing up, to later be blamed for being incapable of loving the system that has attacked them the most. These people she sees with ‘disorders’ on the street, blamed for the thickness of their walls, sometimes ask her for change. They don’t yell at her any more than do men in suits. The walls of each person are built with different bricks, and no class of ‘suits’ or ‘homeless’ are homogeneous, although their actions for self-protection can be predicted. She has worked hard to act as expected.
She walks as expected and talks as expected. She wears blazers whose fake shoulders give more credibility to the suggestion of patriarchal influence than any academic argument. She carves out a space between the expected boundaries of meetings, pushing ideas and bringing light to disparities. No matter what she says she will always be attacked for not being manly enough, in the workplace, by men who destroy each other – walls so thick they don’t consider each others’ skulls worth saving.
Inside there is the person she has covered more than some and less than others. She still interacts with the predatory social system because the alternative has never been presented in film or things told to her in the public institutions of education that support the predatory system. The top one percent of people in the city practiced economic socialism. She was not part of that demographic but she still felt strong and happy when under the influence of the substance, whether it was caffeine or alcohol or buying things built by the poorest of the poor.
In the morning, she loves the smell of smoke.
word by Liam Lachance
colour by Young Wavey
From the author: “The woman in the fetal position brought reminded me of vulnerability and the walls we build in capitalism to feel safe. There’s this great book by a doctor that addresses the physical reasons for substance abuse and the lack of vulnerability in Canadian capitalism. Severe pain in the home – whether through outright violence, or neglect – is argued tied to the building of walls so that the children are not completely destroyed by the violence onto them. These walls over their vulnerability protect them and lead them to substances to feel good and confident.
This seems so commonplace in the middle class: a lack of caring for each other because we’re taught to protect ourselves, work hard for someone else’s benefit, and be strong individuals. The reality is that the only demographic that really benefits from this economic game is a hyper-minority of people who actually practice socialism: I’m talking bail-outs, trading within families, and wealth that never leaves the ring. Strange thing is that these people still build walls, suffer substance abuse, depression, and a lack of meaning in buying things. Maybe this is a good indication that the pulse of capitalism doesn’t really help anyone, let alone the millions incarcerated or dying out slow deaths on the streets. We’re seeing the end results of that capitalism bet put in place in the past couple hundred years, that might really lead to the end of our species in terms of resources and the environment, let alone in our personal happiness. Bringing attention to the violence, as well as the attacked, as well as breaking from the expected convention, seem to be steps in the right direction.”