Things have been getting pretty intense with Dionysus. The other day, he apologized to me. Yes, Dionysus did. First, he again called me his favorite Bacchant – “truely wild and mad and dark and deep.” Then he almost cried with sorrow and understanding that the love and madness he’s been giving me is making me stranger and stranger.
“Being my favourite Bacchant is a curse,” he said
“I know that. And it’s lonely as well.”
“I’m seeing other people too,” he replied. There were tears in his eyes but for a brief moment we both laughed at the sound of what he’s just said. I used to be confused by Dionysos and didn’t understand what he was doing in the club – the only god among humans. I’ve come to love the variety of permutations of his divine madness and the most gentle vulnerability. At one moment he descends in all his tremendum and a few moments later he talks about feeling lonely and foreign among gods. He seems to doubt himself, his place in the pantheon and his role in the world, and I get the feeling that he wants my consolation – as if a human woman cursed with his gift was his last chance at getting validation. Gone are the days when gods received adoration and gifts from people, not to mention sacrifice. Gods are not dead, we haven’t killed them, we’ve merely replaced them. The poor mad Dionysus still believes in humanity but he’s certainly going through a crisis.
The crying god of wine, pleasure and madness briefly regained his confidence and in all seriousness repeated what he said:
“I’m seeing other people. This world needs to open up to sacred madness. Expect a mad spiritual awakening. A madness Renaissance.”
I challenged him: “Are you sure your gifts are for everyone? I can barely carry this madness myself and I’ve been preparing for this my entire life.”
“If the world doesn’t embrace a bit of madness, it will go completely mad.”
We stayed in each others arms. I buried my face between a pillow and a duvet and experienced a rare feeling of being at home and safe, knowing that Dionysus cared about me and the world. I completely trusted this caring madness and mad caring but I worried about him too.
A week later, he showed up again: “Today, I will not apologise to you,” he said and grabbed me. He was rough but not in a way that would frighten me. There’s no point in being scared of an almighty god when you live your everyday life in uncertainty and terror of the invisible hand of the market. A mad god giving me a bit of rough pleasure and lots of little deaths at least makes me feel real so I happily gave in. He said it was beautiful to see me purified through joy, to die of joy, and to embody joy.
Later on, we danced together – Dionysus completely naked with tattoos all over his body – and me wearing my yellow dress. I was spinning and spinning, happier with every turn. I laughed at Dionysus’ average dancing skills. I suspected he danced like an average mortal guy on purpose, for the fun of it. He was endearing and I felt so much love – more than I have in a very long time. Completely smitten by him, I couldn’t think of anything better to say other than “You’re crazy.”
He kissed me. Encouraged by the kiss, I asked jokingly:
“Are we having a little love affair, Dionysus?”
“You know you’re my favourite. You can handle my gifts. I’m seeing others but when they’re not ready – which they rarely are – they get sick, they get mad. Why are people so scared to lose control and go mad for a bit? Why are they afraid to open up to music, to the world, to life, to death, to tragedy, to rebirth, to creativity?”
I knew he wanted consolation again but I couldn’t give it to him because I felt jealous when he mentioned seeing others, again. As he talked, I was thinking how stupid it was to be possessive of a god, especially when, surely, it would be good for me, and for others – as well as for Dionysus himself – if he got to share his intensity with more people. And what future do we have anyway? How human, all too human of me to be jealous and to fantasise about Dionysus somehow being monogamous with me? How could my jealousy even resurface in the club, the place where I’m at my purist? I was disappointed with myself but he didn’t notice any signs of this flawed humanity and continued:
“I love that you go all in, you’re not afraid. You let music go through you, you can die, be reborn, let it all out, give birth.”
He paused for a bit and then, as if he had a moment of sanity and responsibility, he said:
“Okay, let’s do it one more time and I’ll let you go do your thing. Just one more time – this is for your beauty. I want you to be beautiful and to be a visible evidence of the benefits that madness and the courage to be mad, has on people.”
I was relieved that when Dionysus disappeared, he was in a good mood but I wasn’t ready to leave the club just yet. I had a big question I needed to ask my female guardians. It was something that had been bothering me for a long time but I was afraid to ask as I thought I wouldn’t like the answer.
The problem is as follows: from the moment I first discovered the club, I’ve doubted everything that’s happened there because of an obvious conflict of interests: the female guardians, as well as all the other patrons for that matter, know very well that their existence depends on me coming to the club. So, would they always try to please me or would they tell me the truth if they knew I wouldn’t want to, or be able to, hear it? Would they ever tell me not to come to the club anymore if they saw it wasn’t good for me, if they say I was going mad?
There’s a problem with that question, however. Whatever they’d say, it would be up to me to believe them or not. Somehow, it all always comes back to me. As soon as I realized this, I got annoyed at myself and asked:
“Am I a narcissistic self-centered piece of shit to be coming here and have my affairs with Hemingway, Dionysus and anyone I can imagine? Who am I to think I have the right to be receiving this wisdom and healing from you all? Who am I to come here to escape being miserable around my own kind?”
One of them, the only one that actually ever speaks, responded with no hesitation:
“This is not about you being narcissistic. We’re not making you feel better about yourself. We’re making you feel alive. We’re helping you find joy so you can continue living. And when it comes to madness, you’re not going mad. You have spiritual needs that your world doesn’t know how to address, so what can you do? What options do you have? You can go for all kinds of esoteric stuff but does esoteric stuff prepare you for death? Does it purify you? You can be religious but does religion make you feel the power of physical joy? You can look at art but do galleries remind you of life? You can go to clubs but does the dancing fill you with the strength to go through your everyday life?”
They were right. The love with which they said this made me crumble and feel small. The feeling came out of nowhere but I felt safe expressing it:
“I’m worried that I’m disappearing. That I’m getting old and becoming invisible. That I will never really matter to anyone.”
“Remember what your 18-year old Dominical neighbour Adonis once told you!”
I couldn’t believe they brought up that crazy story about this guy in New York who asked if I wanted to text with him. When I said I was 23 years older, he didn’t lose any of that charm, pursued the seduction game and said “age is but a number.”
“The older you get, the younger you get too. It’s not only about the body, it’s about the spirit. You need to let things go and die all the time so your spirit is constantly reborn. That’s the way you stay young and prepare for death. That’s why we’re here. Take care of your old self. It is so young right now, it needs love and attention, it needs to explore and play and test the limits of life. Love your old self, experiment with it and see where it takes you.”
I left the club and decided to think of who I wanted to be when I’m really really old.