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Archive for February, 2010

Devotion

After days of careful thought, I think that my difficulty in commitment to “peacefulness within” is an issue of devotion.  Devotion requires love, and is a natural antecedent of love for me.

I know how to love, and I know how to get there also.  When my friend posed his question, “why don’t you swear allegiance to that peacefulness?”  I shrank away from the commitment due to my lack of devotion.  I felt also that I didn’t want to simply get caught up in a maelstrom of good feelings and make a stand for something I would not stand by later.  Shoot me if you don’t like the fact that I take my commitments, and my word, seriously.  But even at that time, I felt a swelling in my chest and my desire to make my move, yet I felt that my movements would not be right, or truly chosen.

So as I thought about it in the days following, I realized that I wasn’t looking for some new “breakthrough” in understanding.  Nor did I want to devote myself to a feeling, or a way of experiencing peacefulness.  I experience a flavor to it in different ways, but I know that flavor is not the thing itself!  I have tried to divest myself of falling in love with a method of relating to someone, or a feeling within myself.  I am careful not to say “I love you” unless I mean that I love the person.

Up until now, I have often used my awareness of peacefulness, vastness, and void, as a way to excuse and render meaningless any and every action and thought that I have.  I see this was an unhealthy approach, and it created a warped understanding and bad habits.  So I realized that I simply need to spend time relating truly to this sense of internal peacefulness, this depth of cool calm.

Once I’ve spent enough time there, to discover myself within it, and it within myself, then love is only a natural extension of self-love.  That mutuality is a lot of the process of loving anyways:  An acknowledgement of something shared, and perhaps a greater acknowledgement that there was never a separation between the two, is not now, and never could be.  I don’t know a better way to describe love.  At that point, of course I would return to the absolute calm within, in every pinch — in every good time or bad time, to make my intention to dwell within that awareness.

Nor is any of that which I’m saying accomplished by pondering.  I am, rather, exploring and spending time discovering that thing, finding time and ways to know and be known.  I think this same process of discovering devotion would apply to absolutely anything anyone might wish to dedicate themselves fully to.

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This is an odd post for me to make.  I will try, though.

I have never tried to hide the fact that I’ve been living my life to satisfy my desires, urges, and passions.  However, I am also aware of a sense of peacefulness beyond all that, always with me.  I find it easiest if I’m looking deep deep within, but I also notice it amidst some of the most extreme emotions, always calm, always observing.  The more extreme my feelings, often, the more easily I notice the underlying calm (sometimes I use it to accuse myself, as it very often removes any doubt that my emotional turmoil is senseless, even as I’m in the throws of it).

Yet last night my friend asked me, why wouldn’t I pledge myself to that sense of peacefulness?  It will always be there, will always be loving and accepting, and will endure and empower far beyond the pleasures and desires I tend to follow.  In other words, it’s my best friend.

A simple question.  My immediate feeling was only that to do so would be right, of course, like acknowledging that I love to help people, or show kindness, or any other virtue and the pleasures that brings.  In fact, even from a purely selfish and hedonistic perspective, it makes sense.  Faced with the reality of the question, and knowing that peacefulness as something I truly love, I could feel the rightness in the commitment.  Seriously, it was as if the entire room was in white light, and I felt the feeling of it within me.

Yet the commitment eludes me.  I’ve thought about it all day.  I think I lack the spirit to make a decision now to stick to later.  Even though I know that making decisions based on my desires or feeling at a particular time often is not very wise.  But I wouldn’t make a commitment, to myself, or to anyone, lightly.  The more I thought about all this, the less faith I had in myself and the more I felt as if I couldn’t really make any commitment beyond continuing as I always have.

However, I discovered something as I thought, “well, what if I could make the commitment, to always return to that sense of calm and peacefulness?  What if I could trust it and increase my knowing and dwelling in it?”  In thinking this way I saw that I could build up my own sense of being inspirited and committed, my own feeling of inner strength.  I felt more faith in myself and I felt that same sense of being surrounded by light and peace.

Yet I don’t have a lot of faith in myself to do that consistently.  Truly, alone I think I could, but I am very permeable to others, and I look for support externally.  I feel as if my spirit is crushed somehow, and I don’t know if I want to trade the riches of life for more ideals, even if their rightness is like a light of truth.  I don’t really know if I ever want to make that trade again.  I think I would do it nine times out of ten, anyways, regardless of any commitment I make now, but I feel weak enough that I don’t know if I could stick to my values on any of the tenth times around, any of the times where I felt as if I was giving up following my passions.  Yet somehow I feel sure that I could stick to following desire in a very committed way.  I have seen myself stick to that in good times and bad.

Another friend said to me, “just talk to yourself like you’re your most beloved friend, what would you say?”  That’s an easy question this time.

“Jeannine, I think it’s obvious to you and everyone else what you love and want to pursue.  You don’t have to be perfect, but I think you’re making the decision already.  Maybe you’ll find enough faith in yourself to trust that you’ll return to what you value most in a pinch.  How would you feel about just doing your best for now?”

Does anyone see the pulsation?  Somewhere I developed a habit of self-denial and a belief that my decisions and feelings are irrelevant.  Back to my first paragraph here, I’ve been feeling this sense of peacefulness reveal to me the senselessness of a lot of my most self-hating states, yet I’ve made a practice of just ignoring it.  As if the purpose of the peacefulness was nihilism — and I built a philosophy of that nihilism (you can read several months of this, in joyful times and bad times, at phdinfunk.livejournal.com).

And I’m hesitant to trust that deep inner knowing that a thing could actually be right.  Even when I wish to know how to have such a trustingness.  So I am watching my words.  I expressed things as I did in this post to record the back and forth a little, but I wish to increase the motion towards truth to a tipping point, to build enough of a sense of being inspirited to actually take a plunge and make a decision, a commitment, at least to myself to, as my friend said, “Swear allegiance to that sense of peacefulness!”  Because I know it to be true and right.

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Flexibility

I’ll tell you what I found inspiring today:  The quite posted on tellmewhyimwrong.wordpress.com by James Baldwin:

““Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety.  And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring forth, one clings to what one knew; to what one possessed or dreamed that one possessed.  Yet, it is only when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a dream he has long cherished or a privilege he has long possessed that he is set free—he has set himself free—for higher dreams, for greater privileges.””

The implications of this are really broad and wide.  However, I’m going to focus on one way I think it’s important on a micro-level.  I have noticed that people use categories as a means to relate to people.  To use a weird example, I knew a lady who quit drinking and smoking weed.  She described some of her friends almost being upset with her at first (though others were supportive).  Others just didn’t know what to do when they hung out, because the way they’ve been interacting with her changed.

So we all get into a role.  Maybe you’re the cool person at the party who tells all the jokes and is a political intellectual.  Maybe I’m the hipster queer that dresses like an androgynous German model.  So we get into relationships with people who are interested in interacting with that role.  Usually in some fashion our roles will support or compliment their roles.  I think this is especially true between lovers.

I actually think our identity becomes a trap at that point — the thing that worked for us becomes our enemy.  Because what happens when you wake up one day and feel less like making jokes and just don’t give a toss about your politics to talk about it at the party.  What if you’re feeling more contemplative and flirty, romantic?

Or for me, what if I want to dress like a rock star and pick up all the girls one day?  The thing that everybody thinks is so cool has now changed and there’s going to be some amount of friction.  This might not be too much with peripheral acquaintances, but with close friends, or especially family and lovers, it can get pretty intense.  Ask someone who came out of the closet as gay how much that impacted their family and lover at the time.

This also impacts people in organizations.  The lady who works all the time, puts out everyone else’s fires, and brings in her own office materials will always be taken advantage of and will likely never be promoted.  The old saying, “you want something done, give it to a busy person” is the lady I’m talking about here.  If she were to take a role of leadership, suggesting functional solutions to problems, and drawing clearer boundaries about her requirements, you’d better believe there would be huge friction!  Or if for some other reason her power relation to the organization changed, her interactions with her coworkers will experience stress.

I dream of a world, or at least a group of people where individuals could be free to act in true spontanaity, which I think would produce a level of honesty that we don’t usually see now.  Commitment and consistency are methods pick up artists use to get people to do stuff they might not otherwise be comfortable with.

“So where’s the craziest place you ever had sex?”

“In the top of a lighthouse”

“Wow, what would your Sunday school class think if they knew about it?”

“Actually, it was with a boy from church.”

“Oh my god, you’re such a bad bad girl, aren’t you?”

<giggles> “yes I am.”

“I think that’s really cute.  I’ll give you five bad girl points for that.”

“Hey!  Only five!” <pouts>

Our pick up artists then proceeds to drive her to prove the identity that she has committed too.  I know that’s a weird example, but the same principle works for cult leaders.  There’s also a little bit of a sunk costs fallacy happening here (See wikipedia article on sunk costs fallacy).  Sunk costs is basically where someone invests in something, and gets so far into it, she doesn’t want to back out at this point, so will pour more resources into the losing investment.

All this comes together for me in that at some point, some aspect of identity is going to become rigidified for someone…  at which point they’re trapped (and might not even know it).

Not that you’re doing that or that I’m doing it either.  I’ve found that by casting myself as “gender queer” then I can choose to act however I want.  People don’t expect my identity to contain specific behaviors, and since I’m “queer” anyway, I can violate those behaviors if i want to (flexibility is built into the social role).  Like in the quote, one has to be ready to “to surrender a dream […] long cherished or a privilege” to find something greater.  I think that is true partly because in the moment of NOW, the dreams or privileges of yesterday may no longer be functional, or may no longer be what is best to draw upon for the situation at hand.

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I was doing a meditation, looking into the core of myself.  I practiced this meditation for about three years.  I was starting to have a lot of insight into myself (and other people).

So one night I stood in an old shrine on Kite Mountain, in Sansia.  I loved going up there to do Qi Kung or the meditation to find the center.  The shrine had some Buddhas, some Taras and several different deities I didn’t know.  There were always candles burning inside.  If it was warm weather, I liked to do my Qi Kung standing up on the rock outcropping by the shrine, overlooking the city lights of YingHe.  If it was cold, I’d stand inside the shrine.  I always felt warm enough in there.

On this particular night, I wanted to sit down, so I was inside the shrine on one of the stools.  I was doing the meditation to find the central point inside myself.  I was enjoying my internal feeling of space and peacefulness.

In the months previous, I had been working to shape a form of masculinity I was happy with, and that I enjoyed embodying.  But as I was doing this meditation, I realized that I simply prefer being feminine, and I think there’s something inside of me that is close to my heart that is fundamentally, deeply feminine.

Further, I realized it was okay, even that I would like to be a woman.  I even understood that, while this might not be a perfectly free and enlightened thought, in accepting it and doing what felt natural and good to me, I might really help and inspire others.

I remembered a close friend of mine saying that some of the most pure and intimate relationships he’d had were with prostitutes.  While his enjoyment of hookers might not be the greatest thing in the world, I had learned a lot about love, and intention in relationships, by listening to him talk about them.  I think a lot of people who know him have learned the same things.

So I felt very strongly that just accepting this part of myself and integrating it might even benefit people around me in ways I couldn’t predict.  Then, maybe half a week later, I was walking up the same mountain and I understood deeply that my desire to embody femininity in whatever way I chose wasn’t wrong, morally.  That was something I had struggled with for so many years.  I found the freedom from guilt uplifting!

Then I went back into the world, back to my girlfriend, back to Taiwanese culture and my friends, back to the internet, where I started talking to other people who were differently gendered.

I discovered that I wasn’t trans-enough to really fit into the psychiatric model, or to hang out with other trans-folk.  I mean, I wasn’t thinking of having surgery at that point.  I really didn’t even want to take hormones.  Hell, at the outset I didn’t even want to change my name!

And speaking with my lover, I told her how I felt.  I only knew the framework of “transgendered” to be able to talk about it.  In retrospect, I was trying to learn of my own femininity, and I wanted a friend to help me see it better and give me some support as I found a sense of confidence in it.  However, I did not communicate this well (indeed, I wasn’t so cognizant that’s what I wanted).

And when I did feel like I was in the middle of an opportunity to discover and learn and grow and was looking for some external support, I often felt ignored…  or that I was making her uncomfortable.  I remember as she was preparing for a trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand I kept thinking that by my supporting her and focusing on her.  I believed that my turn would come as I needed support in this journey of discovery I was on.

I greeted her at the airport with a new pair of glasses, fresh waxed brows, a really cute skirt, and looking great.  She seemed happy to see me and was very complimentary and comfortable, and I was hoping to continue learning about myself as time went on.  But I continually felt little subtle hints that I should stop doing even the more conservative things I was doing, that somehow I was making her uncomfortable.  Additionally, my time for the spotlight and extra support never came.  So mostly I just felt ignored.

I know that I looked really good, and I was very tasteful with everything.  I seldom wore skirts but when I did I was careful that everything looked right on me or I wouldn’t leave the house.  One guy commented that my new style, the outfits I wore, were quite becoming of me.  And he was from combat arms in the military, and was open about the fact the he disagreed religiously with my entire project of being gender queer.  I took his compliments, and his wife’s, without too much skepticism since I know they were shooting straight with me.

I also cherished the way that I could be around other women and we related to each other in a more open and friendly way.  It was with the army officer’s wife that I started getting my early tastes of this.  At first I thought it was silly that everyone responds to visual cues so much, but then I just accepted that’s the way it is.  I found with her that I could dress femme and she’d relax and share and talk with me and I had more fun with her.  It was great.  I was getting a lovely social feedback that put me into a role I felt really comfortable and easy with.

However, in the greater world, I still felt alienated.  Really though, a lot of it was probably in my own mind.  The thing I was looking for so desperately was some support.  I posted this on my blog at the time:

Now I think I understand why people change their name. I also understand why many transgendered people adopt a very specific set of mannerisms, even change the way they talk, dress, etc. I think that this part of my sense of identity often feels disconnected and overly internal, then without adequate social or personal feedback to reinforce it, I often feel at odds with external input… then I start feeling detachment, dissonance, then a myriad of hellish things.

However, I really like my name and do not intend to change it. Actually, I do not wish to marginalize myself as an obviously transgendered woman and thus I have no intention of following the pattern of plenty of others who share my plight. I am not a hundred percent certain what I’ll do outwardly, though recently I’ve managed to put myself in positions where I felt a strong sense of socially supportive feedback for this aspect of who I am. Actually, my lover and roommate is supportive to the point that it often becomes the afterthought I always wished it to be, up to a point.

So I get why someone would change their name (auditory social feedback loop), or their voice (somewhat more kineasthetic, mostly auditory social and personal feedback loop), or alter how they look (visual social and personal feedback loops). I’ve started the ball rolling to have a truly world class surgeon provide me with the restorative operation. There’s been some cool advances, in all the relevant surgeries, that I think bring treatment up to a really high standard. Here’s where most people that do it say they feel “whole” for the first time ever (pretty important kineasthetic highly personal feedback loops).

My request to all my friends: From this point forward, please refer to me using female pronouns. Please accept me and think of me as a woman. Thanks. You’ll be thinking of me in a way that’s congruent with how I’ve wanted to be since my earliest earliest memories in life. My sincere hope is that this involves only the tiniest shift and that in the 98% of any interaction you’ll have with me where it’s not an issue, it will not be an issue. In the small percentage of the time where it does matter, I appreciate your understanding and acceptance.

But I was rapidly getting caught in traps!  As I said above, I felt gradually marginalized by my girlfriend, and I couldn’t find a way to consistently fit in as a really feminine person (if not a woman) in a way that I and everyone else knew how to relate with.  The other transgendered people I met online were about as rigid in their gender role as any traditional roles ever made me feel.

And no one around me really offered me anything in terms of feedback to help me perceive and understand and accept this sense of femininity that is so important to me.  (And, as I said, I had not clearly articulated my need for this either)

So I went down the road of altering my intentions.  I changed my name.  I started changing my voice.  I started studying mannerisms and such and practicing all kinds of things to try and elicit the social feedback I wanted.  In other words, I abandoned my initial free and open feeling and tried to adopt myself to all the contingencies and difficulties and practicalities of living in the social world.

Only recently have I taken a step back from all of this.  A new friend of mine is helping me to see and understand my inner womanhood, and feel confident in being feminine.  She’s also shared some very personal experiences of hers that have helped me see that I can carry out my intentions, perhaps, without being so dependent on altering my body with technology that, in this day and age, is far from great.

I also had to realize that I cannot put any pressure on other people that i don’t want them to put on me.  I mean, really, if I can’t be cool with other people calling me he/she/whatever then how can I expect other people to be cool with my own preferences?

The other step that made my life a lot easier was the thought that my experience is just different from “normal” men’s or women’s experiences.  The cool thing about the Native Americans is that they had a space for trannys (called us “two-spirits) where it was acknowledged that we have something different from what is usual, and that’s okay.

From that step of acceptance, I can also see that maybe I’m not all that different from other people, fundamentally.  When I cut to the chase, I just want to express myself spontaneously, authentically, and honestly.  On a simple level, I believe lots of people are dying to step out of their rigidly defined roles.

And maybe, as I thought on that night in the shrine on Kite Mountain, my own journey can give some clues to other people about how they can be freer.

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I have become frustrated at how quickly any truth or virtue can become a shackle as soon as I crystalize it into a method or a concept to be held onto.

In Wujifa we talk about this.  If someone is committed to pushing me in one direction, it’s amazingly easy to throw them.  The more in the moment with their movements a person is, and the more they don’t resist, but flow with, their opponent’s movements, the better one can push hands.  We say that the opponent’s resistance then provides simple guideposts to show us how to reach our target, be it taking their balance, or touching their throat or their heart.

In the example of Kung Fu, adherence to much of anything is actually a detriment.  The person who has overarching principles will absolutely beat the person relying on specific methods.  The person who has a really big generalization like, “do unto others appropriately” will even win against the person with strong principles and a specific intention.  In that case, the one who means only to treat others as the situation calls for will play around and go back and forth with friends who want to push hands, attached to nothing.  Meanwhile if anyone attacks to hurt, the appropriate response, to defend and stop the attacker, just shows up.

For me, as someone who does not fight, the most practical examples are when I want to accomplish something.  I have a goal or an intention in mind, and the more specifically I am committed to doing it a certain way, the more easily circumstances can block me.  If I’m pretty flexible, then I can do things faster and easier, obviously.  Taken further, if I don’t even worry about specifics until they come, but maintain action towards my intention, I’m even more effective.

Yet further is to drop methods and concepts, principles, even philosophy.  If anything, at that point I would simply be following a spark of life, of something I know no name for.  Then I could be the smiling and wise old Kung Fu master who responds in an appropriate way with love.  On that joyful day, I’ll open a school and you’re all welcome to come drink my tea.

Yet I title this post “slavery.”  Someone pointed out to me that my “Rule Number 1” is more of a defense against the world than anything.  I hoped to use it as a method, like a medicine, to allow myself some space.  As it’s evolved into “it’s okay” I think it still serves a purpose to me, for now.

However, though I am not on a path to enlightenment, the saying “kill the Buddha” reminds me all the time what I have to do.  I find it disgusting how quickly I can take something pure and true and in the moment, something that gives me more freedom, and try to turn it into a technique, to crystalize it into a concept, like a touchstone to return to.

It’s also pretty easy for me to get sentimental and think I’ve put something behind me or embraced a new freedom, sit down and start staring at the scenery, only to discover that I only went half way to letting go of that thing I did not need or I only touched the edges of that new freedom.  Today is today.  I cannot make rules of the things that got me through yesterday.  Today might be entirely dissimilar (it usually is).

And the other thing I’d like to compare freedom too now is dancing.  I had not danced in a long time, but enjoyed rocking it out to some techno the other night.  I feel I’ve probably never danced so well in all my life.  The thing that sticks out to me is how much each moment just disappeared as if it never existed, and I was in the next…  I couldn’t hold onto anything at all or I would stop dancing.  In this way, I had no mistakes to make, nothing to anticipate, and nothing to refer to but the moment.

That’s even closer.

Yet now I feel I am still walking through life holding onto thoughts, concepts, methods, and rules.  Even my principles or philosophy, when I cast them in concrete, leave me as stilted as a dancer who thinks of the previous verse, the last six drumbeats, and the misstep he just made, and then afterwards, keeps thinking of the well executed step right after it.  Amidst all that, he loses the beat entirely.  Or like the Kung Fu fighter who is planning what will surely be a successful strike as her opponent throws her onto the floor decisively.

I referenced my “rule number one” not because there’s anything inherently wrong with an imperfect step towards more freedom but because I was already starting to feel it was smothering me.  I even allowed myself to call it a “rule” to remind myself that it’s just B.S. and could lead to further imprisonment (as I detest rules).

This tendency to try to hang on to something that was liberating to last week’s situation has been driving me insane lately.  I think it is absolutely identical to being locked into pushing someone one way during Kung Fu…  it seems to put me in a force-on-force battle against myself, lacking ease, whereas if I could maintain more openness then I would experience more freedom.

I make this post with an attitude of hopefulness that I will find a way.  Almost like a prayer.

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Rule Number One

I’ve been messing around with this for awhile.  It just seems to summarize everything I’ve learned about people up ’till now, from being a pick up artist to trying to empathize and love people as they stared at and hated themselves…  even in learning to love myself and just chill out with people.

Jeannine’s Rule One:  Everyone is fucked up.  There are very few exceptions.

It has to be said with humor though.  Because the point is not to judge.  I started thinking this when I was with my ex girlfriend last year and she kept talking about how problematic she was, and all the things that were wrong with her.  I would often tell her, “everyone is crazy, unless I start taking robots for lovers, it’s just part of all this.”  I’d smile.  Usually she’d still be upset, because she was upset at herself.  But sometimes she’d calm down and relax, be loved, laugh at herself a little, and ease up on herself.

Then I realized that I could give myself the same space.  God, it’s so easy to compare myself to other people and think I’m lacking.  Also, in social situations, it’s easy to feel inadequate, or like there’s something wrong with me.  But here’s a post from a lady on a message board I am on:

“I am considered to be attractive, and I attract lots of people who
like me physically and women who want to be friends with me. The
problem is that I make almost all men and women feel uncomfortable
when they make an effort to meet me. They think I’m rejecting them,
but I’m not. I have social anxiety that they don’t know about. I am
ready to start interacting with new people and I want them to feel
comfortable enough to approach me and to talk to me. I’ve missed out
on some good opportunities to get to know some real nice people. These people thought that I blew them off. Feelings were hurt and I feel awful that I had any part in hurting their feelings without even
intending to. It makes me very sad when I see them or when I am
reminded of these people. I don’t want to have any more of these kind
of regrets. I’ve been noticing that people feel so good when I step
out of my comfort zone and pay attention to them. It makes me feel
good that I can make people feel happy by simply acknowledging them so I want to be able to that more.

My husband is very attractive and gets flirted with and hit on by many
women all the time whenever we do anything social. Men also find me attractive enough to really like me, but my lack of response to them seems to intimidate even men who are confident and outgoing. I don’t want my husband and I to seem so out of balance in social situations anymore. I’m starting to make eye contact and smiling more, but I could still use a boost. Most of the time men just stare at me wide eyed and wait for me to smile at them. Although that’s starting to change and I’ve been noticing more men smiling and flirting with me, but I’m still shy so I usually pretend I didn’t see most of them. Most women smile at me. It usually doesn’t get past the stares or smiles though. I do very well with the few people who actually feel comfortable enough to come over and talk to me to the point that it seems to confuse the ones who I was too shy around when they tried to get to know me by being friendly with just smiling at me and taking it from there.”

I like her post because she is honest and also because it reveals just how different people can perceive a person from how that person actually is.  Yet so commonly people mystify the situation with others as if someone else has their shit all together or something.  But in reality, they’re probably as crazy as you are.

Reading that quote I think of one time when I was working really hard to be friendly at a party, with some new teachers who had just come to Taiwan.  It was a festival night and we were all out eating Sushi.

Some people thought I was a social genius and super cool and fun to hang out with, with tons of creativity.  My girl thought I was a huge flirt and couldn’t be trusted.  And my own feeling was of putting in a lot of effort just to be social and try and help the new people feel welcome while finding a way to feel like I could “fit in” with my own queer image.

I would have preferred to eat sushi, drink wine, and just talk a little with people I liked.  I picture my dream version of that night with me sitting in the corner, having a couple of quiet convos and saying sweet things with my lover between wine and sushi.

Oh yea, I also remember there was one really popular guy in that party and I tried really hard to impress because everyone liked him.  I told a subtle joke about myself alone with him, talked about computers with the geeky guy, talked about artsy crap with the hipsters, and talked about Southern soul food with the other Southerners.

My point is, I was just a normal person, with huge insecurities, trying to feel good about how I thought other people felt towards me.  Some people thought I was oh-so-subtle, and others might have thought I was a jackass.  Later my girlfriend didn’t even trust me.  But did anyone actually know what went on inside of me?  And did I know what went on inside of them?  Just like with the lady I quoted above, and so many other people, no and no.

I dislike how all our humanity and realness is lost in that kind of calculated and complicated social interaction.  Maybe this “rule” will help keep me a little more grounded in reality, and remind me to accept myself and be real with other humans.

As for the “rule,” lately I’ve been feeling a little too upset to take it as lightly as I originally meant it.  So on bad days, when I might forget to take it all lightly:

Rule Number One (for bad days):  It’s Okay.

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Febuary Eleventh

I believe I will be on my way back to Taiwan, or perhaps on to Thailand soon.  I came to the U.S.A., from my lovely life as an English teacher, to live with my partner I’ve been with for the last year.

It didn’t work out.

I had to accept that our respective strengths and weaknesses were not complimenting each other, despite my trying very hard to give her love and wanting to be together.  I was tempted, because of how her heart seemed to be softening when we lived together in Taiwan, to not give up.  But then I realized, why am I sacrificing so much in order to stitch together something she doesn’t want?  I want a partner to work with me to build something that benefits us both, helps us both to have more authenticity, and freedom, and enjoyment of life. . . gives us both more support in our hard times, and more joy in our good times.

Two people need not be perfect for that to happen, but they need to have something more mutual than what we had.

So now, I do feel invigorated by my own energy being all mine, not pouring into something for nothing in return.  I feel a little sad still, but the decision is only a few days old.  I felt great the other night when I was out dancing with my sister and our friends.  And I see myself free to make new decisions!  Finally I don’t feel the need to hate my former lover in order to find the emotional insulation I need in order to deal with our break-up.

And without needing to take someone else into account, I want to go back to Asia to live and teach English.  I would also like to keep learning about search Engine optimization, and continue learning to build a business.  And I’m looking deep within myself, seeking freedom from things which have tormented me for so long:  Self-judgment, Fear of inadequacy, Confusion about my gender and sexuality.  And I hope to discover freedom to do that which is most natural for me, to move towards life and happiness and authentic expression — as I discover what that means.

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