I am a Moral Masochist

I am a moral masochist.

According to the “Economic Problem of Masochism” (1942c), Freud describes moral masochism as the third form of masochism, next to feminine masochism and erotogenic masochism.  In moral masochism, the connection to an external object comes undone: “The suffering itself is what matters; whether it is decreed by someone who is loved or by someone who is indifferent is of no importance. It may even be caused by impersonal powers or circumstances; the true masochist always turns his cheek whenever he has a chance of receiving a blow” (p. 165).

Really, what I think Freud is getting at here is that I love the pain of my own moral imperatives. I love sleeping in the sheets of my own personal self-distractions and indifference for humanity. My core identity is self-embued in my own personal searching and longing to understand and know myself more. As Freud would say himself, “I’ve got one twisted super-ego.” That’s where the self-punishment comes into play. I am constantly evaluating my environment through the lens of a moral and intellectual stratosphere. I find deep pleasure from discovering insights about humanity and then sitting beneath my books and refraining from actually interacting with anyone.

Really, I think the motivation behind my elusive nature and inability to deeply and emotionally connect with anyone intimately is I want to do that with myself.

I am getting to the point in my life where I just want to be who I am. I want to read books about scientists and deep intellectual thinkers like Kafka, Tolstoy, Marx and Rachel Carson. I also really want to find art on a colossal level. I want to create giant pieces of art, and I am selfish and reluctant to share that experience with anyone else.

My super-ego has inflicted a weird form of isolated self-pleasure and self-exploration that I cannot say I’ve experienced in my life before. My experiences are distinct mechanisms to a response that I am not sure I am ready to understand quite yet.

I want to live underwater. I want to feel and express and be in the moment of my life with the plunging distractions of human expectations. Can I just get back to this experience? To this existential material of freedom.

paige swanson

I’ll Be a Tree

‘I’ll Be a Tree’

‘I’ll be a tree, if you are its flower,
Or a flower, if you are the dew-
I’ll be the dew, if you are the sunbeam,
Only to be united with you.

My lovely girl, if you are the Heaven,
I shall be a star above on high;
My darling, if you are hell-fire,
To unite us, damned I shall die.’


Original Hungarian

‘Fa leszek, ha fának vagy virága.
Ha harmat vagy: én virág leszek.
Harmat leszek, ha te napsugár vagy…
Csak, hogy lényink egyesüljenek.

Ha, leányka, te vagy a mennyország:
Akkor én csillagá változom.
Ha, leányka, te vagy a pokol: (hogy
Egyesüljünk) én elkárhozom.’

Sandor Petofi
1823 – 1849

Two weeks left in Paris

I have two weeks left in Paris and then I am going on an adventure of a lifetime. It has been such an amazing experience! But I wanted to share my gratitude list!! I am thankful to be in France in recovery! I love my bacon socks and fresh bread. I love music and hot tea with a little bit of milk. I love freshly cut roses in a glass with new water. I love salmon and fresh vegetables! And I am happy with the little things and God! ❤️🦋❤️🦋 Yayyyy!!!!! It feels so amazing, and I am finally starting to feel like myself again! I LOVE LIFE 🙂

Where I will be traveling:

I am taking a flight from Paris to Budapest, Hungary. Then I will take a flight to Milan and take a train to the Swiss Alps in Italy. After that, I will take a train from Milan to Florence Italy and spend a week there and visit Venice as well. From Venice, Italy, I am taking a flight to London, England and then taking a train to Ireland where I fly home 🙂


french alps

I speak to you

I speak to you the way I speak to God

as if you are still here

I asked for too much – and simply it was not enough

At night you speak to me


but I touch your face

and crawl into bed

you hold me

spooned like a jar of jam

grabbing my hand

it sits near your heart


I speak to you to the way I speak to God

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Personal Indulgence & My Relationship With My Body

My Relationship with Food

French culture is like the grace of wind. A couper le souffle means breathtaking. Walking in the streets of Paris is like a daydream that you forgot to dream. It is like reliving your life as a child, aimlessly walking in wondrous awe. It is something that strikes the very chord of what it means to enjoy life. Before I left for Paris, I was training to join some kind of dance troupe or team. Coming from Dallas, Texas and not having a ton of classical training in dance I thought maybe joining the Dallas Mavericks would be a good place to start. I was also intimidated by the dance world, it can be a scary place. However, dance in Paris is everything. It is exquisite and the movement reminds me of a brush circling a canvas with a fluidity that encompasses every breath. I’ve never felt so much guilt about my food and my relationship to food, as when I was training to be on a dance team.


French Pastries and The Ability to Indulge

Subconsciously, I counted my calories and stayed far away from anything that was overindulgent. I ate strictly fish and vegetables. I thought it was a part of a necessary sacrifice made to live a healthier life, so I could get strong and fuel my body with nutrients. In Paris, they don’t have this culture. They don’t care if you have ice cream and a white croissant for breakfast. They don’t care if you eat pastries and macarons. In fact, in Europe people don’t really care that much about what women do in general. Egalitarian in nature, all of Europe seems, without trying, liberated. They have traditional values, however, it just seems like they don’t try so hard. Weirdly, it has made me stop trying so hard. In general, America is a fixated culture. In America, we care so much about what people think about us, the way we look and competing to always be “better.” 

I think it also has to do with advertising and the fact that mass consumerism is a large and distinct part of our economic system. However, I am learning to love indulging myself.  Something that if I participated in the states, I would feel immense guilt.  A sort of puritan guilt, I presume. I don’t know how much weight I’ve gained because I don’t own a scale. However, I look at my body with the new little pudge on my belly and I feel sexier than I’ve ever felt before. And my dancing is the best it has ever been.

Liberation in Europe

It is my personal opinion, that we are a society that tries to become “liberated.” We march and we protest and we create all of these women’s slogans but at the end of the day, we feel so much guilt. This guilt leads us to OVER consume. I think America is a culture that is obsessed with perfectionism. We have to be the best at everything and we’re so wrapped up in our own nationalistic perception of ourselves that we’re missing out as a collective society on what it means to love our culture. We are without a culture and it is because we’re too busy trying to “make America great again.” When if we just stopped and looked around, we’d realize we’re okay. And we don’t have to try so hard. 

Indulgence in moderation is the best form of self-care you can offer yourself. Letting yourself love your body as a female is so important, and I guess I never realized that I had a tension-filled relationship with my food and my perception of the female form. I have relaxed and I don’t need to work out every day. I’m also not surrounded by American values that tell you to work, work and then work some more. Things are just a lot slower. 

It is a great feeling. And although, we may be a culture that is great at sports. Are we really a happy culture? I am starting to question this. 

Also, can I say electronic music in Europe is out of this world?


The Parts of Me


There was something in me dying to unlock the truth

That was the part of me that loved women

That used her pain to fight for justice

To advocate, march and help make the world a better place

Without guidance, that part of me turned inward unable to identify why

Searching the pain grew stronger and stronger

Eventually, the strength turned to weakness

There was a part of me that wanted hide

She saw a glimpse of what was to come and thought it must be in her mind

Wanting to be normal, there was a part of me that felt no pain when she danced

Dancing and painting where the only parts of me that felt free

Dancing and painting were the only parts of me I wanted to see

But you can’t dance and you can’t paint all day

Numbed by my journey back to innocence

That was a part of me that craved love

No more women’s issues

No more pain

Just painting, laughing, singing and loving all of my days

There was a part of me that could not be silenced

She was the one who broke the levy

There was a part of me who was so scared to die

She would do anything not to go back to that place – so she would sit and cry and cry and cry

There was a part of me that wanted to scream

She wanted to break walls, smash windows and throw everything

She felt threatened in every second, unaware of everything

She held so much pain inside

There was a part of me that felt guilt

Why, Paige?

Why are you doing this?

What is happening?

That was a part of me that wanted to love

To dance with the butterflies

And then there was a part of me that remembered

She remembered it all

And that was the part of me that just wanted to fall

To fall to the ground and never get up

There was a part of me that thought she was dead

She lived every moment in terrible dread


There was a part of me that just wanted to heal

To walk through life without such big ordeals

There was a part of me that just wanted to forget

to not live every moment painted with sincere regret

There was a part of me that just wanted to cry

To cry for the memories and not understanding why

Through each and every part of me, I managed to deal

Through each and every part of me, I learned how to heal

I love every part of me, I honestly do

Now can all of the parts of me

Love you too?

The Freedom to Choose – An Artist’s Narrative

When you let yourself experience the freedom of choice your life will open up to endless possibilities. Everyday we make countless of choices that define the narrative of our waking lives. Choices are presented in a variety of different ways from the cereal boxes in the grocery aisle to making the next big step in your life. Sometimes we feel stifled by our inability to choose for ourselves. We’re crippled with anxiety so profuse that we hold back and sit calmly waiting for the internal clammer to calm down, so we can stay in the straight and narrow. I’ve always found my ability to choose to be an overwhelming feeling, I struggle with the choices of daily life never knowing if I’ve made the right ones. I think that is where the majority of my anxiety comes from. As a critical thinker, I constantly evaluate and then reassess my personal actions (usually after I have already impulsively acted.) But at least that means I have a little bit of awareness into my own behavior, right? However, as an artist when I have given myself the freedom to choose my personal expression, and I allow the universe to flow freely through me without doubt or hesitation. I experience creative intuition so vast and profound it changes the course of my work. Somedays I doubt my capabilities as a creator. Somedays I wear different hats: psychologist, trauma survivor, millennial, marketer, teacher, artist. However, I think at the core who I really am is an artist. My art seeps into everything that I do. Whether it be finding new ways to move my body while cooking fish for lunch, or writing poetry in my journal to process the shapes and colors I’ve seen in a day.

I am constantly searching and looking at the world through an artistic lens.

What I have discovered most about my relationship with myself and my art is that when I am experiencing the freedom to feel and think without constriction. I am inspired to think and create without restriction. I don’t look in the mirror and critique my movement as if I am comparing myself to some of the world’s most elite dancers, nor do I create a painting with the mental block of inadequacy or personal hostility regarding my technique. I am just experiencing the proverbial flow of creation and heart. I am in the midst of being. I am exactly that. I don’t think or try. I just do it. And what I feel is release and growth in understanding my own personal identity but also healing the identities that have been structured for me by society. I allow myself to choose my personal movement and how I define what it means to move. I am outside of a structural discourse and pattern of archetypal realities. When I give myself the freedom to express with the freedom of choice, it is as if I am awakened to the potential of the millions of choices we can make. Neither one of those choices being right or wrong but apart of a cloak of intricate possibilities that shape our own personal realities.

My Identity As An Artist Is Defined By My Freedom

I think one of the biggest moments of reprieve for me in Paris was walking around the Modern Museum of Art. I was in tears half of the time just walking in one of the world’s most advanced exhibits of abstract and modern art. Literally, I was walking around this museum balling crying. I feel that the reason why some people don’t always understand modern or abstract painting is because they don’t see that these artists have embodied personal freedom. They have created their own narratives and identities as artists. When you’re an artist and you understand the awakening to that potential and you see it mastered. It is something that will change your ability to view and appreciate art itself.

Matisse, Modigliani, Kandinsky and more weren’t exceptional at realism or any of these tactile art forms. They interpreted their personal expression of the world through shape, color, light and movement. They didn’t need a name for it. They just did it. It was the freedom they allowed themselves to express.

What Can We Take From This?

I think whether or not you’re a 19th-century modern artist, you can give yourself freedom. And you can express it however you want. Take your coffee with two extra sugars and maybe stand naked in front of the mirror and laugh. Giving yourself freedom is one of the most amazing things because it will create an appreciation for the absurd or the undefined. The things in life we can’t make sense of because the truth is life is chaos. Living your life with to choose your personal freedom is how innovation, poetry, art and love are all re-conceptualized.