“Melted Paraffin Wax”
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact date and time when one becomes an avid craigslist user; it’s hard to imagine yourself masturbating under the sneer of an outdated computer screen, to a fake image of an attractive Chinese model, and the hum of the CPU fan serving as your only response. I suppose it is fine using craigslist in your day routines, but when it crosses over into your nights you somehow realize that you have lost complete consciousness of the person you once were. When I started using it for dating it began as an inside joke—it felt like I could finally contribute to the conversation—, reading all the acronyms for loneliness: bbw, ssbbw, sbm, swm, ons, bbc and the list is ever growing. But when I created my own ad out of desperation I knew I wouldn’t be able to look into the mirror without feeling the looming presence of my former self. There is something about being a foreigner: a foreigner in your own body or a foreigner in a different country, which becomes the catalyst for a new state of mind.
I came across this quote—I can’t remember who said it or where I had read it, but: “In traveling, a companion, in life, compassion” —in my extensive research on traveling overseas just before leaving my home, friends, and family. I assumed I had both a companion and compassion at my disposal and so I wasn’t too apprehensive about the journey ahead. The company I worked for was expanding, declaring money was in the east, so I traveled to where the money was, 上海 Shanghai. I thought of my spouse’s face in all the things I did and when I returned to my empty apartment I’d contact my spouse and tried to catch up on the life we created together. I compressed the experience of being abroad by submerging myself in the life back home. Life abroad became the routine, I did everything on autopilot, I just needed to think of my spouse’s face, laugh, or smile and another day was done.
Despite our daily talks the image began to fade and perhaps a few weeks later the person I loved told me how unhappy they were. The divorce papers followed via mail, but I was never given an explanation. I tried to wrap my brain around the why: a new lover, fallen out of love, the distance, the loneliness. . . This hurt the most. I spent the month painfully aware that I had been abandoned, I’d skip work to escape the emotional pain—I could no longer switch on the little knob for autopilot. Most days I tried to sleep off the depression, but the fireworks and the breath and life of the city kept me up all hours of the night thinking, crying, and reading craigslist ads:
Seeking a BBW for ongoing relationship - m4w - 40 (Shanghai, Puxi)
I live and work in Shanghai, seeking an ongoing relationship with a nice BBW lady. I am not concerned about age or marital status as long as you know how to enjoy yourself. You will find that I am a very passionate gentleman who is hung and very oral, so you won't be disappointed.
Look forwarding to hearing from you soon. Thank you!
· Location: Shanghai, Puxi
· it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
A BBW is an acronym for fat women, big beautiful women. I’d gladly delve in the cushions of a big woman if meant I didn’t have to trudge through life feeling as if a shadow held me down after waking up. I had experienced moments where my eyes would be open, but I couldn’t move my body. I felt the manifestation of my depression sinking me deeper into the sheets. I would live dead for fifteen seconds at a time each morning. This is consciousness.
When I ran out of sick days and annual leave days I made up fake illness, fake deaths, fake visiting friends, and fake emergencies; it took me over five months to think without feeling pins and needles in my heart. The first time I committed a full day to the job I was greeted with stares. Every time I heard a whisper, a murmur, or a creak I’d whip around and wonder if they were talking about me. At the end of each meeting I’d loiter around the conference room making sure no one uttered my name. My stomach leapt in my throat if their voices lowered an octave and I felt like I was teetering on the edge of having to excuse myself to urinate. As I was pretending to collect my notes, which were mostly doodles of withering men and women, files, and papers, I listened to the pups yapping. I smiled and laughed to myself at the appropriate times, but no one acknowledged my existence, this is consciousness. One of them gregariously exclaimed how he “rawdogged” a Chinese broad he met at club Geisha. There was an exchange of high-fives, hip jerking, and young lingo. The experience made me feel quite uneasy about my age; I was well over 40 and tired of living. These guys were my youth. As the conversation became more elaborate and sexual I envisioned myself “rawdogging” anyone, I thought of all the craigslist acronyms. I toyed with the notion of going to a club, but I was old and techno house-step or dub-step gave me a headache and alcohol was like a glass of warm-milk in my hands. Someone announced, “You got to get laid.” I left the room feeling that advice was for me.
My ad was simple and for all eyes. I didn’t post my age, but wrote I was a recent divorcee and Western. I waited for a week to be a part of life again. My existence was restored by a user named Ibogaine. Ibogaine never gave me a real name or a photo. We exchanged a couple of ‘hi’s’ then phone numbers. In the first text I sent Ibogaine my address and by Saturday Ibogaine was going to come over. When Saturday came I cleaned the house substituting Ibogaine’s name in love songs. After I was finished cleaning I felt excitement rush through me, it exhausted me. I could feel the shadow lingering and egging me to sleep, so it could take over and fill me with insecurities and doubts. I took a walk, cleaned some more, ate and waited for Ibogaine.
Ibogaine arrived at midnight. Ibogaine was neither ugly nor beautiful; Ibogaine wasn’t too fat or too thin. In Ibogaine I saw the person who I wanted to be and what I wanted to be free of. When I invited Ibogaine in I wanted to talk, I wanted to know Ibogaine’s real name, where Ibogaine was from, but Ibogaine hushed me with its lips and slipped its life on my tongue. I didn’t think twice or hesitate. When Ibogaine saw that I swallowed, it took me to my bed and laid me down, it turned off all the lights. I was afraid at first to close my eyes, but Ibogaine told me a story. It said with a raspy voice: There was a film of a woman killing a baby kitten. With her six inch heels she stepped on the cat’s eye until it brains and blood coated her pumps. The news says it is a “new” fetish, woman wearing high heels and slutty clothing and stepping on animals. The woman in the film claimed to feel a rush of energy surge through her until she orgasmed. Ibogaine guided my fingers inside it. Humans have done this for thousands of years killing and crushing weaker beast and man alike and feeling a great rush gather until it reaches their loins. Ibogaine was now above me straddling my hips. “I am a lot like this woman,” she professed. She raised herself from my hips and turned on the lights. It was hard to see at first because everything was so brilliant, so vivid, and so vibrant. Ibogaine burnt a cigarette, but didn’t smoke it. I watched the ashes dance and form around Ibogaine. “Physical pain helps man cope with the emotional pain. I don’t have wax but I have crayons” it offered. And I could only respond yes; I was in the unconscious plain then. She burnt each crayon on my belly: red, yellow, green, blue, white, black, orange, purple. . . with each twinge of colored wax I felt alive. . I felt like Igobaine was hovering over me crushing the shadow that has haunted my consciousness and I was being born, again.
Lay out the clean, dark linen and allow Liu Dao to encase you in hot, melted wax. Island6 is proud to present Melted Paraffin Wax. In this installment, the mad minds behind Liu Dao will attempt to capture the experience most expats can go through while living abroad. Follow as we visually guide you through a plethora of colors, loneliness, depression, desperation and drug use. But hey! Those things can be fun too… Liu Dao’s LED lights and dynamic artworks will aid in your escape from reality, almost as if you were hallucinating on ibogaine.