Catharsis: Mine and Yours

Courtesy of QP:

This weekend I held a side event at Debauchery called Catharsis.

The premise was based on the strangest advice I ever got from a therapist. She told me to go buy dishes from a thrift store, find a nice isolated corner of the world, and break them.

Honestly, I rolled my eyes. This sounded like another exercise in symbol worship, the kind of thing that I was already so frustrated with in therapy circles. But I figured I would give it a shot so I could honestly say it was unhelpful and we could move on.

I broke the first plate. Whatever. Shrug. I picked up the second, and threw that. Hmmm. I looked at the shards of broken plate on the ground. There was something satisfying in the visual debris of the breakage, the undeniability of it. I broke a third. SMASH! I noticed the sound of the breaking, the jarring crash. It made me wonder how the world would be different if people made a sound like that when we hurt, when we break.

Now I was really going. Shards are flying. Smashes are filling the air. I’m breaking a sweat. And still more! BANG, that one is for you, asshole in the gas station today! BANGSMASHBANG ex partner who broke my heart! This is yours! SMASHSMASHSHRIEKSMASH Mother and abuser and pain and shame! I was now yelling things, randoms things, words and names, all the things in that deep dark hole, the one I took so much time and energy to cover over, to deny, to control. Now it was thrown open! The anger was bubbling over and crashing all around me. The shards of my hopes and innocence flying through the air like tiny deadly birds.

It was satisfying to allow myself to feel this thing, to not suppress, to revel in the wrongness of it all.

By the time I ran out of plates I was a sobbing mess.

This was my catharisis. It wasn’t writing a letter to my inner child, making a symbol of my abuser out of clay, or attaching my hopes to balloons and setting them free, it was this moment. Sweaty. Crying. Snotty.


This is what I was hoping (on a very small scale) to bring to Debauchees, and you folks didn’t let me down.

Seeing how many people chose to label their item, watching their bodies tense as they focused on that label, then swivel, then snap, then SMASH! It was almost as it I could see a tiny bit of tension rise off them like steam.

The experience was amazing for me, and I want to thank each and every one of you, from the angry hippie “This is what sustainability looks like!!” to the lady with the “it’s deep in there” gentle drop, each one of you gave me something irreplaceable.

I hope that you were able to walk away with a faint echo of me yelling “FUCK THAT SHIT”, and that maybe next time life deals you a shit hand you’ll remember that and smile.

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