THE SAGA OF MY NOSE AS OF 2016 LINDA MARY MONTANO
1. CHILDHOOD The theme and focus of my childhood dreams was always MY NOSE! Nightly the nightmare was that a long, gooey, squidish and unending disgusting mass would unroll from and be able to be slow motion pulled from both nostrils. I was amazed, intrigued and the vision/dream continued for a long time. The only reference I was able to make was to the cultural history of Egyptian funerary rites which indicated that the mortuary people drained the brains from the nose of the dead before mummifying them. Did I dream this? Is it true? I must google the answer some fine day. Eventually the dream stopped.
2. YOUNG ADULT During high school I was the outsider, having come from a small, Catholic grade school to a not that large high school in our village. Neurotic that I already was, it took this disrupt to activate my anxiety button and I expressed my upset by imagining and insisting that " I SMELLED!" The collection of and more than once daily use of cancer producing aluminum-infused underarm deodorants never allayed the supposed dispiriting attacks on my happiness so I conscripted a posse of friends to walk close to me and "smell" me and I would ask, " Do I stink?" They would always say, " You don't stink, Linda." Not appeased for long, I would ask again as we walked down the hall to our next class. That ended and I forget how my fear shifted to my next phobia. I don't remember asking people that question when I went to college but there was a smell issue in the convent when I "found" some wet/smelly papers in the "nun-clothes" locker in my cell. Oooopss. Too much info.
3. ARTIST LIFE My teacher from India, Dr. Ramamurti Mishra, also later known as Shri Brahmananda Saraswati, was a phenomenal genius, radical doctor, McGill trained neurosurgeon, teacher, mystic and friend to all. His knowledge of Ayruveda was included in his tool bag of Cures That Shift Consciousness, and he brought this particular nose technique out as needed. It was called, NASAL NETI. Did he demonstrate the insertion of a snake-like male cathedra into his own nasal cavities so that it could clear the passages and eventually slither out of his mouth? I don't think so. Maybe he had one of us demo it, I don't remember. But I do know that I loved it, having spent my childhood focused inside my nose already in dreams and as was my wont, I began including Nasal Neti in my performances as a device that invited audiences to join me in viewing the ART OF SHOCK, a practice I always prefer, which allows the artist and viewer to move from everyday daily worry-hurry mind to the mind of NOW. Case in point, who can think about the insult the neighbor just hurled your way when there is a slimey male cathedra coming out of your nose or the nose of a performance artist trained to offend-as-art? So for years, I used Nasal Neti live, in performance, and in videos even as we speak, thanks to the 20 year collaboration with Tobe Carey video artist/editor who has helped me edit Nasal Neti into my current video: Endurance Then and Now.
4. CURRENT LIFEIST NOSE EVENTS As a child, my parents had left a medievalish, Nicola Tesla-looking "tanning" sunlamp someplace in the house. Of course I found it and burned myself/face to blisters many, many times and in fact, had almost permanently fused plastic buttons to my closed eyes because I had used button as "goggles," placing them over my closed eyes so the lamp's BIG C causing light would not burn my eyelids.( Eyes are the subject of another body modification post most probably forthcoming. A post just as problematic in detail.) Back to my nose. My nose: i've always loved it..... it's aquilineness; it's long, straight, haughtiness; it's almost Italian-ness. It is a nice friend of my face but as I age, it rears it's head, just as it did in childhood when my brains spilled out of it in dream-sleep. A year ago, I presented a bump-scab-raised on my nose something to the over 90 year old skin doctor who treated Nagasaki-Hiroshima WW11 survivors of after-bomb skin injuries and she put a liquid on my nose. For weeks, I walked around as if my nose literally survived Nagasaki because it festered, blew up, spit out gangerous green from both now bulbous external sides. I was a walking leper for awhile and went everywhere like that... a class fool, a pariah, a freak. This time, I wasn't USING my nose for Art, but my nose was life-performing without my permission and without my wanting to videotape the mess, a practice I always do; for to self-document is to cure, is my creed. This time I was not interested in sending my situation to you tube as a way that I cleverly fix my life via art via Tobe's collaboration. So it cured, it burned out the toxicities, it ate up the BIG C, the Esteemed and Saintly Dr-Healer said. And then more nose events began.
A. Somewhere I heard that it is good to put Gas Treatment in your gas tank occasionally. Silly me, I never checked this out with my smart, smart siblings who know everything about everything, so I bought a container of it in Dollar General and left it in the car until I was ready to put it in my now-I like-you car and you can guess the rest. It opened in the car, just a little, BUT the fumes were over the top, fusing themselves into my long, aquiline 74 year old nose. I felt them immediately and now that I am compromised with a neurological chronic affliction called Dystonia, my nervous system said, " OYE WHATTTTTT DID YOU JUST DO TO ME? IM GOING TO TWIST YOUR NECK AND YOUR BRAIN AND YOUR HEAD IN RETRIBUTION." So the new medical chess game began...I slapped a Lidocane patch on my neck, called Poison Control whose female voice of reason said, "Don't worry, there is no poison in Gas Treatment," and not believing her, I went to my Irish PA who looked up my nose and said to use a gel to coat inside my nasal passage. I sniffed Cocoanut Oil into it instead. And although I was doing SO WELL with controlling neck spasms before this event, they re-appeared with a vengeance and as a result I have to drive my throbbing neck over across the river to get it injected with Botox so that I can fathom sitting on an overnight flight to Ireland in a month. There goes my let's get off the rat poison Botox injections and let's use alternative meds plan! I'm afraid to tell my siblings this story.
B. I wake throughout the night and Ayruveda says that remembering what time you wake, is an easy way to see if one of the organs of the body is asking for attention. That is , 3 am is the liver "calling." Whatever!!! Two mornings ago, at an hour that I will have to see if I can remember which organ was calling me, I smelled SKUNK. It wafted up the side of the house and into my bedroom window. When I told David and Jeanne this story, she said that skunks are kind and don't just squirt but warn first and I do recall a kind of scratching sound outside which I interpreted as someone trying to break into the house but no, it was not that, it was the skunk warning the dog next door to pull back, retreat and get out to the way. But no such luck because this beautiful, humongous, furry, gorgeous, smoky black, loving and perfectly behaved canine with 14 inch long fur got squirted. But so did the neighborhood or at least the inside of this house where I am sitting and smelling skunk smell as we speak. I'm a wreck. My nose is on overdrive. I've saged and squirted Holy Water in every room. And when I told a really close and dear and totally funny friend about this drama, he said, " Maybe you stink , Linda," and that's the closest that this issue will come to a deeper analysis of the dramas which are inviting me to want to find out why I am up my nose so much? Too embarrassed to re-call the Poison Control because I might get the same woman, I went to The Church of Google, typed in skunk words, totem animal words, what does skunk smell indicate words and this is what I got:
"Who hasn’t run up against a lesson from this amazing creature-teacher at one time or another? The smell of Skunk Medicine is something that one doesn’t soon forget. Skunk Medicine brings the lessons of Reputation , Respect, Sensitivity, and Confidence.
Skunk says, “If your ego is not your amigo, you know it stinks!” When one learns to assert, without ego, what and who you are. Respect follows. Your self-respectful attitude will repel those who are not of like mind, and yet will attract those who choose the same pathway. As the odor of Skunk attracts others of its kind, it repels those who will not respect its space."
5. CONCLUSION Deep breath in, deep breath out. It is all medicine.
LINDA MARY MONTANO , SAUGERTIES NY 2016.