What To Do When People Use You

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The Silent Treatment

“He treats you like shit regardless of what you do”

She takes a sip of her Pinot Grigio

“You want to appear unavailable, or unreachable–”

“And then what? Flee? Ghost the person like a bored and dissatisfied 19 year old? Bitch please, I’m 26,”

“That’s cruel. And you can’t renege on commitments you made because than you’d be no better than a liar. I say, deal with the shit and then go quiet, don’t end the friendship just yet, just drop off the radar for a bit and hope for the best”

Confronting the Person

“Or–why don’t you just talk to him, look him in the eye and tell him to stop it. And then give him the middle finger for extra effect.”

M takes a pink macaron, she examines it for a moment. Her yellow, Versace sun dress illuminates the space around us.

“Tell him you’re having none of it. Tell him after all the help, all the sacrifices you made, that you deserve better.

“if you have any self-respect, you would sit his ass down, cut him like a bitch and pour salt all over the goddamn wound. And when you’re done dressing him down, you can tell him to go f*ck himself.”

Letting Go

And then I ask my two friends

“But what if I just let him go? Burn bridges, you know. I can do the disappearing bit for a while before I confront the bastard and when that’s done, I can end the damn thing”

“But it’s not that easy huney. Human relationships are complicated. And when you end one friendship, you end ten. You lose one, and you lose a tribe. It’s a zero-sum game”

“So I’m fucked both ways”

“Not exactly. But I’m only saying that to make you feel better”

M takes a macaron, cuts the pastry in half and sets it on her plate.

And then I remember what my father told me years ago. I take my journal from my black knapsack and read the entry verbatim.

“Don’t say anything, do not abandon the person and don’t ever confront him. You’re wasting your time. Stay where you are. Stay civil, stay gracious, but say and do no more, and let the thing run its course”

Classy.

***

We leave the cafe, full and pressed for time. M and my other friend call a cab, leaving me to my own devices, I mull over their counsel. I mull over my situation. I mull over an answer but I fail to discern a choice.

People are complicated.

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Confessions (Poetry)

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the cross lingers

high above the confessional

it looms, leering

 

And beneath it, the cavity

where the voice of the consecrated profligate speaks

with an urgency not immediately divine;

the man speaks with the urgency of a shrew

 

what is your name, priest?

what are your sins

have you confessed them to the Lord

professed servility to the word?

Did you consume a rosary

plug your arteries, with pages from the Holy Book

apologized to the angels

offered a sacrifice, crucified a child

 

You are made of the same flesh

infested by the same wiles, marked by the same sins

who are you to judge?

–Poetry and photography by Teegee Villanueva

Notes on a Suicide (Poetry)

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Let me linger for a moment

Let me remember

Let me find wisdom in the waves

Let me drown in it.

***

I can hear the water curling at the seams

pockets, pockets, full of stones

a walk, a hop, a body it seems

floating lifeless in the water

and lifeless it drifts to shore

Words and photography by Teegee Villanueva

The Giving Tree, Part 1 (Poetry)

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You were always the one

you always took precedence

over everything

my soul

my heart

and yet you remain quiet

absent and defiant

why?

what have i done?

 

Did I hurt you

–on purpose?

Did I make you feel small

–on purpose?

Was it my silence?

My disregard?

My carelessness?

Answer me.

 

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Artworks by Dyck Cedino, Poetry by Teegee Villanueva

Dyck Cediño

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“We seek and we find; merely to find and then seek. For every beginning there’s an end, but what end brings is a new beginning. We are the essence of creation and the embodiment of destruction: this is the duality of our existence. We create in order to make sense of our own destruction. We constantly seek to find meaning; only to discover that we are meaning itself; mirror images of the vast infinity found within every single being. And the only consolation we get for this life is our own death. This is mainly the reason why I create art, cuz I believe that as much as we are representatives of destruction (physical or ideological), we must also create to make amends with this duality of existence. And this is how I move forward.”–Dyck Cediño

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Prints by Dyck Dedino.

The Collective

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We spoke about ideas. It was ideas–and authenticity–that mattered in art (let me remind you). He told me his was about human suffering, trauma from past experiences. Those were the things that fueled his drawings, his ink-on-paper pieces, his baggage…basically. Mine was about honesty–about the state of things. Capturing life on film. It was simple. It wasn’t complicated. We spoke for twenty minutes.

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Artworkd by Dyck Cedino, photography by teegee Villanueva

Thoughts on Art

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I figured it out. Art is about authenticity. Not beauty. It’s about expressing what you truly feel, it’s about being honest about something: an emotion, a thought, an idea, and expressing that in some way. That’s art. Beauty is completely beside the point.

Or is it?

 Photography by Teegee Villanueva, 2016.

Self-Portrait

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  1. I like cigarettes…a lot…I like it with my coffee, with my tea, with my juice, after my workout, before classes, after classes. I smell like an ashtray and I love it.
  2. I write, like, a lot…on my notebook, in longhand, and I am soooo not intend with current trends.
  3. I go to school, but I feel like I inhabit a different space…the four walls of a classroom remind me of a prison. Your thoughts are contained, and everything feels constrained to a single subject. I hate it.
  4. But I am at the top of my class. I have 3.86 QPA and people don’t care. Apparently, I don’t matter.
  5. That’s a picture of me in my boxers by the way. Enjoy.