This Hysterical Hunger Statement

 

Album Release Statement:
This Hysterical Hunger, Vital Organs

When Matt and I started writing this album, I was a fucking wreck. 

My mom was gravely ill, I was in the midst of separating from a long-term partner, and I had applied for and been rejected from (literally) 34 jobs. Things were not awesome.

I didn’t know what I had to say, but as an artist, I knew that one of the only ways to heal from gut-wrenching loss is to create. Looking back, I can see that my life has been threaded through by this persistent mission, granting me safe passage to the other side of adversity, holding me up like a trachea that goes unnoticed but supports each breath.

I have learned that it is possible to make something out of everything.

In the process of making and remaking, we affirm the coherence of our life. We allow ourselves to be changed into what the situation demands we become. We grow with our circumstances and not against them. 

Sometimes it is all we can do to crawl from the floor to the couch and pick up a pen, but let me tell you: if you can do that, you can survive.

I have clung to pen and paper like a life raft in deep water many times, and they have been radically reliable allies. I don’t totally understand it, but the mystery is part of what elicits surrender.

As I tend to do in times of transition, I was reading a lot: John Welwood, Danielle Laporte, Terry Tempest Williams. Matt was going through a catharsis of his own, one which I have no intention of trying to explain here. Suffice it to say that we looked at each other and recognized that desperate need to make art that only another artist can spot. (Spoiler alert: we might all be artists.)

Now, months later, we’re thrilled to open iTunes and see an album cover with our faces on it staring back at us. As always, it’s surreal to see your work completed, and there’s also something hollow about being finished with it. The product is never as meaningful as the process. For us, it is more than the sum of its parts, but releasing it into the world means not knowing if that will be true for others.

Ultimately, it doesn’t entirely matter. Writing it has changed us.

As we sat with each other over many, many bowls of Chinese food, collaborating with new and old friends while trying to execute the strange ideas emerging in our heads from seemingly thin air, we realized something: We were really, really hungry for this.

We were hungry for work that we could bring our whole selves to. Our bodies were begging to be met by interactions that were authentic and real and intimate and we had been punishing ourselves for not feeling full.

We had been trying to be satisfied, but we were too tired to keep trying.

The poet David Whyte has spoken of a conversation he had with a friend, a monk who told him that ‘the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest. The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.’ He went on to say that bringing only part of yourself to your experiences will eventually zap you of your zest.

We all have a desire to encounter the full extent of what we’re capable of. We want to show up and rise to our occasions.

These days, I’m busy studying to become a therapist. I’m learning that my work as an artist, writer, and future clinician all center around one purpose: providing some relief from the tyranny of self-doubt by giving people permission to trust themselves. It is my hope that these efforts will help to inch our collective mindset toward a state of expanded liberation, a state in which we can build lives that feel simultaneously secure and indulgently feisty.

But I know now that it isn’t always about getting what we want.

Sometimes the best chance we have at finding our way back to our whole hearts is admitting that we want more. Sometimes our hunger is where we find our satisfaction, our most direct link to pleasure and spiritual communion. To paraphrase Nietzsche, it is the desire, and not the desired, that we love.

We all know that depression is a mental health epidemic, but do you know the essential feature used to diagnose it? Loss of interest. In other words, disconnect from desire.

In a world where wanting more is deemed ‘whining’, it is a declaration of our dignity to say "this is not enough." In a culture that has labeled strong desires ‘hysteria’ and then pathologized their absence, it is an act of valor to admit when we are not satisfied.

Whether you want more clarity, more justice, or more opportunities to feel genuinely at ease, what matters most is staying close to that longing and letting it be your compass.

This album was an exercise in our willingness to do that. We hope it brings you pleasure, but more importantly, we hope it speaks to some part of you, possibly buried, that’s been waiting to be asked:

What am I hungry for?

Big Feelings, 
Chelsea