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  • 1.
    Most of my life I have feared that something is wrong with me. I never looked the way I wanted, I never was the way I wanted.

    What weird force had put me inside me?

    On the other hand adults praised me for my intelligence. That led me to suffering from a stomach ulcer, as I feared one day I would NOT get straight A's and then nobody would care about me anymore, which turned out to be true for my main teacher.

    Most of my life I lived on a seesaw: either I hated myself and felt like the ultimate freaky scum of the universe or I considered myself an undiscovered genius. Both very painful states of being, indeed.

    When I get to turn forty and have not published an intelligent book, I will be in deep trouble, I often thought. I got to be forty and no book in sight. Instead I had become somewhat of a painter and could not believe it myself. I had never been good in art in school and never had any training. People liked my images, though. For a couple of years I got to be a little bit famous in the US and even in Japan. I had agents and went regularly to shows of my copper print etchings and originals. My images were on plates, umbrellas, cards and T - shirts and the climax was a Japanese ad where my images were beside some by Picasso.

    I believed that finally I would be saved.

    Then the business went down. I said it was because my agents invested money wrong, they said, people had gotten bored of my images. We never argued about it and keep being friends.

    It took me a quiet moment in my office decades later to realize that I would never be Kiki Picasso or - the only acceptable alternative - Kiki Freud. I was just a woman turning into an old lady, just mediocre ME. I cried. Then I was relieved. I am still working on this issue of loving myself as mediocre person, nothing special at all.

    Today I am not just mediocre, I am also nearly blind. There are many activities, which I cannot do anymore. If this gets worse, which it probably will, what will I do when I cannot read, paint, get easily to places anymore? How will I fill my time, my brains with thoughts and my life with meaning?

    A very dark emptiness seems to be waiting for me and I feel very Mexican SUSTO.

    Could there also be a possibility lurking?

    Since I read Peter´s account of his 108 days of meditation, this question burns inside my skull. If I cannot run through the wild world anymore and am forced to sit still, maybe I could turn that from a torture into an experience of bliss?

    This summer, while I feel so hungry for bliss, my life keeps remaining a seesaw. (Probably the first is the result of the latter).

    Today I run repeatedly into customers in my gallery, who excitedly ask me, if I am Kiki. Yes, I am, always a bit shy, I am Kiki. They get so excited! They tell me how much they love my art, which print or product of which image they have just purchased and that they will take my art to Oaxaca, Monterey, Paris or Argentina now. They shake my hands, hug and kiss me.

    I am all flattered with so much praise that I shake their hands, hug and kiss them back. Can we have a photograph with you? They ask. Of course, they can. I stand beside them, trying very hard to give my nicest face, my best smile. They then show me the photograph and I just see my grandmother looking back at me. Nobody seems to not like that but me. I am in shock for the umpteenth time. I say good bye as friendly as I still can and run to be alone for a moment, the only place that allows me that is the toilet.

    There I sit and wonder: how can it be that I loved my grandmother so much, but I am shocked to see that I am becoming her?

    I have to leave the toilet, as I have to teach a meditation class. Several new people attend. One man says that he just came, because he likes my art so much. Afterwards a woman tells me: she loves my skin. She is sure: my skin is so clear and lovely, because I meditate! I had never ever considered that. I am quite flattered again.

    I take a taxi to my office, where I get ready to attend a married couple in crisis. So-and-so recommended me. The husband wrote me a couple of days ago they needed me urgently, how much I charge for a session. 500 Pesos – about 38 Dollars – I answered. We do not have 500 Pesos, he lamented. Okay, I agreed, 300 then. Okay, he said. Soon after he told me he had to cancel, because they did not have 300 Pesos either.

    I do therapy out of pure passion. I live off my art. Psychotherapy is my way to return to the people here what this place has given to me: a wonderful life. Often I attend people for just 100 or 50 pesos or even nothing. Many people earn 50 Pesos a day. That is why then I offered that husband a session today at 6 o´clock for nothing. No charge at all.

    As soon as I am at my office it starts raining long and heavily. At five minutes passed six the couple has not arrived, but I receive another message: we are sorry, my wife is sick with flu and with this rain we cannot attend. I feel anger creeping up in me. I pay a taxi to get here and attend you and another taxi to return home. Coming and going takes me about one hour. I was still not going to charge you, I am sitting here waiting for you and you tell me now that your wife is sick and you cannot come! I offer them another session in a week, but now I want 300 Pesos. The man never answers me.

    Waiting for my taxi home I remember that three times I have been sat up like this during the last couple of weeks. Maybe I am not a very good therapist, I wonder; maybe it is time to stop offering my services.

    As soon as I get home the telephone rings. Ema is on the phone, my neighbor, a known intellectual in Mexico, a lonely and difficult old lady. The other day I took her out for lunch. She tells me afterwards she felt so very good, even though she had not even talked about her innermost stuff, that she now is convinced that I am an excellent therapist, she finally - with 82 - wants to enter a psychotherapeutic process and with me…..

    Then I go and check my e – mails. Continually I receive messages from people who bought T – shirts, mugs, rugs and copper print etchings with my images several decades ago in the US. They want new T – shirts, rugs and mugs. I am moved. Actually I am so moved and grateful that usually I ask them to tell me their mailing address so that I can send them small prints as a gift.

    I have an archive of about 1500 paintings. People ask mostly about the five same images. Those are the bestsellers, but none of the bestsellers ever occurred to me as having that potential and the ones I believed would be huge successes never became such.

    I will never ever know how good or bad I am…..

    I came of age in the 68ts. Free Love and communal living was big. In the morning sex with A, in the afternoon with B and afterwards with C.I thought: if B breaks up with me, there are still A and C. It was just another way of evading existencial loneliness. It was not a protection against a broken heart. My heart just broke so much more often.

    Good sex, yes. At times. Sex with a young kid, an old man, a black man, a communist. After even the best sex there comes this moment the French call Le petit mort, to me it feels like emptiness. Something is still missing.

    We are bodies driven by genes that want to proliferate and so these make us crazy about sex, so that we procreate as much as possible. Genes make us believe that fulfillment lies in great sex. Again: nothing against sex. Great sex is great.

    I also noticed that in reality I am afraid of men, but after I had had sex with a man, I was not afraid of him anymore.

    Later I calmed down, got married and had children and went through the ups and downs of life. When I approached menopause and after I realized it again: even after a great orgasm there is another space and wish unfulfilled. The importance of sex started to shrink and this empty space is growing bigger. Kind of the black hole inside me.

    I want bliss. The bliss that once spontaneously overcame me while skying through a pristine winter landscape and once while bathing naked in a hidden mountain stream in Ireland. Moments of not wanting anything, just the joy of being alive in a world filled with beauty.

    Maybe I have to meditate for 108 days?

    I am on my way
    to being nobody
    going nowhere
    Art by Kiki
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