Welcome to My Thousand Funerals

Bouke de Vries, Memory Vessel 35. [A transparent glass vessel holding the shards of a broken blue and white porcelain vessel.]

Unlike many people who use Are.na for research, brainstorming, or digital curation, I primarily approach my Are.na presence as an articulation of self. Public journaling and sharing vulnerable parts of my psyche are central to my vision here. Most of my channels are speculative and aspirational (like “neuroplasticity”). But “attend my thousand funerals” is pure documentation, narrating the numerous iterations of personal death and rebirth since my last breakup in December 2021.

The channel is named after part of Heidi Priebe’s quote, “to love someone long-term is to attend a thousand funerals of the people they used to be.” While these blocks are reflections of my personal experience, I hope they can be related to universally, perhaps in the same vein of C.C.’s “i meaning we” channel.


I became obsessed with the practice of living poetically after reading C.C.’s Poetry’s so common hardly anyone can find it in the Are.na Annual 2022, and have collected many poems written in different shapes and forms (like this). It seemed only natural that I’d weave my life around a structure both evocative and practical. The tree command in the Terminal app — which lists out all the folders chronologically — is perfect for illustrating alternative life paths. Not exactly funerals, my poem “imagine, if” explores the idea that all that matters is living your life well, regardless of which life you ultimately pick.


After my breakup, I decided to refrain from dating for the foreseeable future. The extended period of being alone brought me revelations beyond self-love and self-worth — I stopped feeling like a woman despite identifying as cisgender all my life. It struck me how much of my relationship with the female gender is derived from being a cisgender man’s partner and performing submission during sex. I have since used “gender-chaotic” to describe how I feel in my body, while using “pronoun indifferent” as much as possible in shared spaces.


I quit my job at the end of April. When I first moved to New York City, my vision for the future was simple and optimistic: I’d work 40 hours/week as a software engineer — even though I wasn’t passionate about my team’s product — as long as I had enough money and time to sustain my interests outside of corporate life. It quickly dawned on me that 40 hours/week is an insane amount of time to commit to something I feel lukewarm about. Are you stuck in a job that you’d be better off without?


Quitting both dating and working turned me into an unequivocally happy person. I’d wake up full of hope for every new day, even though I no longer had access to therapy or SSRIs (let’s leave the conversation on how fucked up the state of healthcare is to another day). The rather unforeseen personal transformation reminded me of this post by Yumi Sakugawa from 2019, where she stipulated a divorce from technology as a galvanizer for building new futures. I think the principle can certainly be extended to other arenas of life, and I challenge you to contemplate these questions: What’s seemingly indispensable in your life? What if you forego them? Vow to do without them for a month, a season, a year; see how a new life unfolds in front of your eyes.


I stumbled upon Bouke de Vries’ Memory Vessel 35 on Are.na and instantly felt an uncanny connection. A classically trained ceramics conservator, de Vries started to survey “issues and contradictions around perfection and worth” after working as a private restorer for years. “The Venus de Milo is venerated despite losing her arms. Why not a Meissen muse?” de Vries interrogated in his autobiography. Later, he took a radical turn in his artistic direction, intentionally exploding imperfect objects then housing them in identical containers, thereby giving the broken pieces new life and reclaiming their value.

As a diaspora kid who has struggled with issues of intergenerational trauma, I often describe myself feeling like an abstraction, an amalgamation of all my ancestors’ unresolved grief. When I’m stuck in the headspace of personal heritage, I stop seeing myself as an individual with full agency and autonomy. De Vries’ approach to call attention to a body’s imperfections — in this case, for a 16th century Chinese wan-li porcelain jar — bore an epiphany. So what if I’m broken, trauma-laden, and in shambles? My body is a safe container for all emotions good and bad, and it will only grow.

This piece came out of one of our “Are.na Walkthroughs,” during which four people take us through a particular channel and some of the things they’ve collected in it.

Miaoye Que is a storyteller, creative technologist, and deeply obsessive person currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. They are an incoming MPS candidate at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.