When you realize depression was a gift

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All the money overspent, all the extra pounds gained, all the ambitions self-thwarted, all the pleasures indulged to try to keep the darkness away for one second, all the despair, the loneliness, the unworthiness, the direct contact with the coldest circle of hell and seeing where it exists in your own mind, realizing hell is not other people nor a place anywhere outside of yourself, that you bring it with you, even to Paris, and that no amount of striving or accomplishment can keep the hellhounds at bay, only the deepest and most prfound self acceptance, and acknowledgment of the past, and gradual deblurring of your truly deepest desires, with all shoulds finally shed, all the monsters out from under the bed, no more skeletons in the closet, a great Flood that has finally, with all the tears shed and unshed, washed the Doubt  away.

And what is left when fear has passed- nothing, no superstition, no God on his throne in Heaven above, no magic ritual,no sacrifice, no altar,  no waiting for it to finally all click. No dogma, no priest, no illusion, not even hope, no “visions” of the future.

All there ever was and will be, eternity, a clear sky with no north or south, east or west, just a path that is a destination, just God everywhere, neither above nor below, a koan without an answer, a love that knows no bounds or conditions, salvation from both Heaven and Hell. A ring of endless light, beautiful and terrible.

You seek God forever, gladly, blissfully, gratefully, even though you know he’s right here.

 

Just this once

… I will admit how much I actually care, actually hope, actually want something special to happen. I was starting to believe, and how I fear instead, and I know that hope and illusion cannot change what is, it can only be accepted.

I’ve told myself life is a sad and lonely reality, come what may, and that I must be okay being alone. I am okay, but I thought just maybe I’d be better with you.

I guess this is vulnerability, and in the past, the second that doubt has crept in, there were good reasons and it never worked out.

But really, just one time, I really want it to work out.

France is not the center of the world

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So I spent most of last week in London, and it was a blast. Colleagues were really fun, one actually owns a bar that we shut down, and the feeling of energy and optimism was palpable. Everywhere I turned there was a new kind of nearly de-exoticized ethnic cuisine, vegan burgers, burger and lobster, canary wharf, brixton, 70s disco style party to stumble upon, shipping container bars, and just plain diversity and innovation, so many foreign people, such a feeling of worldliness and so many immigrants and people with strange accents my American accent wasn’t even remarked upon. In one word, dynamic.

So it could be that work might take me there, for a time, and I’d even have the possibility of returning to France.

France has been disappointing me as of late, when I call to mind it’s been three years and I’m still struggling to have a social life, have a date with a guy who doesn’t have a wig and does have a job, and there’s really nothing in particular to keep me here. I can love the city and think it’s beautiful, but I have to concede that outside of la Francophonie, it’s not the center of the world.

And that’s ok.

A lot of times, places a bit off course are more charming, that’s what I find in travel at least.

The anglosaxon dream of more work for more pay and responsibility strikes a chord in me somewhere, but the last time I left France, despite the ultimate wisdom of the decision, I fell into a pretty deep depression (when I asked my therapist if I was depressed before, she said, “YES” without even hesitating) that even the beauty and romance of Paris couldn’t heal.

And yet, life is more than likely no sweeter there. I’m just disappointed in myself, and yes, in France, that this hasn’t become the home that I dreamed of my whole life, and I am forced to admit it and perhaps uproot myself just as I’m finally beginning to settle in.

Cool people come to Paris, but money hungry and ambitious and open people go to London, even among the French. Those who try the anglo saxon life tend not to go back, but I guess that’s because they have an escape patch. I tell myself that if I didn’t have student debt, I wouldn’t care about money and would be perfectly happy where I am, but I think the point is just to grow, change and evolve.

But not just escape blindly, opening up one trap door after another, believing in the myth of anywhere but here, and thinking that a change of scnery will save your life.

I don’t hope that for myself. Just learning, and being rewarded for it.

Today, knowing what I know now not just logically but from what I’ve seen of this world, it was in no way at all a mistake for me to leave Paris to continue my program and see Asia and get an American degree the last time around. I did the best possible thing. Without my American degree, my negotiating power woul dbe much less.

And yet, does 45 days of vacation during the prime years of my life without attachments merit a slightly slower climb, and a bit of income foregone? It probably does, as long as work continues to progress and I learn and am trusted and given credit and reward for what I accomplish.

I also ask myself whether the fascination with travel will cease or diminish or just get stronger over the course of my life. Would a more open friendly society make up for the days of traveller friendliness out on the road? Would a change of pace in a financial capital with ambitious people who are drawn to London to make their fortunes from all over the world suit me better than the economically stagnant but solid and sweet life in Paris?

Future me says if I  go to London, I won’t regret it, but also maybe you can take your time.

As of now I don’t actually have an offer, and I want to make sure I am not using it as an escape hatch. My boss in France just decided today to recognize how I’ve grown and essentially give me a promotion. Might take a little longer than in other places but hey, you pay a price for everything in life.

I’m just excited to get out of depression, clear the haze from my life, pat myself on the back for keeping on, and let life be an adventure.

Hopefully with someone special and brave at my side.

 

Perhaps the greatest gift France has given me is making me a true world citizen, and giving me perspective not only on my own society but also others. And so many places I’ve been and people I’ve met and the blind loyalty I felt to Paris, just clinging to it, believing I was so close and this had to be my place. Maybe it is, for now, and to a certain extent it always will be. All I know is I’ve only lost the things I’ve tried to cling to.

Like government, like non profit work, like Washington. Like saving the world. And yes, like the idea that I can only be happy in Paris and Paris must be the center of the world, or at least my world.  Catholicism, family as the center of the universe, me believing I’m an awkward nerd, and perhaps most of all, my imposter syndrome. Now I own my power, and use it. Yes there are difference in power nad privilege between people, but handicapping myself does no good to help those in need, and I am born to use those talents and most of all, to be myself.

Saying goodbye to this worldview, if not the physical place, at this moment, is  a rather bittersweet goodbye.

Namaste

Why we choose to stay in the pit

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As I might have mentioned, I’ve been seeing a therapist and it’s been going well. For two weeks, I had mostly good days with some so-so days when I was alone on the weekend by myself, but mostly no binge eating episodes or depression feelings. My therapist told me I could start making a conscious effort to make some small changes, but probably as a result of being told, I didn’t, and then confiding to a friend about the need to clean my apartment for company and how I’d procrastinated the previous evening, I skipped a social event to go home and clean my apartment, and then just sat and watched tv. I also have intended to go to the gym more but haven’t, but I did sign up for a night school class to meet people and will try a theatre class. Perfectionism is raring its ugly head, as I see how little time remains to get in shape before my big trip to Indonesia and how I will not be at my best to see my old friend and lover who is in town, and every time I intend to make a change and don’t, it kills my self esteem. Some of my old vending machine habits have cropped back up, seemingly in vengeance for the time I didn’t eat the cookie I wanted. And probably linked to the shame and guilt for not making the changes I want. I actually want to go to the gym and exercise, but sabotage myself watching tv too late at night and not getting out of bed in time. The feelings of self disgust are the worst to deal with. Worse, I’ve talked to a friend who has suffered from similar issues but is back on track and just ran a triathlon and is getting a promotion at work, whilst taking some medication and not really cutting things off with her old boyfriend whom she knows is not suited for her long term. So basically I have this feeling like I am a loser because I am taking things the hart way, and again the only way to get in a relationship is to lose one’s integrity or be consciously blind about it. She also claims to want to go to Europe again, and during the short trip she took with me she was a pain and made me never want to travel with anyone ever again, besides my best friend with whom I’ve travelled in the past.

Meantime, I’m back on dating sites, which is the biggest disappointment one could imagine. I met two decent guys this week, with whom there was no chemistry. I kind of feel I should just give up on dating sites until I become the person I want to be, which is another way of saying I’m so disgusted with myself I feel like I don’t deserve love, or the inconveniences love might saddle me with before I’ve figured myself out. But it’s good for an ego boost, and maybe I deserve someone who loves me, warts and all.

So all this being said, today is the day I’ve finally got to clean my room, I’m on a business tripthis week and it’s something I genuinely want to do. There’s so much I’m not sure if I should throw out, one outfit my mom gave to me which I hate in particular.

As it turns out I have a mild virus, I’m not feeling too sick but not that amazing either, which gives me a bit of an excuse for the past week and all my procrastination.

And now, around 1pm, not having eaten anything today, it would feel so good to just find the dark chocolate cherry bar I know is hiding in my room someone, binge on that, then eat some junk food since day is already ruined, get a massage, and just sit around till it’s time to go out tonight since I actually have a few social events for a change, and then just leave my room a mess till tomorrow.

The worst thing about my illness, not the physical one, the mental one, is that I’m not allowed to make positive changes all at once. Not because of willpower, but because I am afraid of backlash, that somethign will force me to go back down into the pit. That’s why I don’thave a scale- it’s because if I made any progress on the scale, or even weighed myself, it would awaken the dragon and probably send me on a shame, binge eating, self destructive behavior spree.

But I am getting fucking tired of it.

I’m trying to figure out the message the dragon is trying to send me, and why the pit is there.

The pit is all the shitty emotions I wallow in when something knocks me down (luckily, thanks to therapy, my default is no longer down, and curiously, I was even further down and noticed the difference which is what pushed me to seek therapy) and sometimes the behaviors that go with it. But I can have the shitty feelings without the behaviors sometimes, as I’ve realized that no amount of binge eating or spending too much money or any of that actually relieves the pain and I am daring myself to just show up to it and face it, because I am a badass and like Buddhist psychology.

And I’m just tired of wasting my life in the pit.

Then again, what is the pit for?

The pit is a place I can hide from the world. When I’m in the pit, my life is’t changig. Recently, because my move to Paris and going to business school unleashed the depression dragon, I have doubted the efficacy of my decisions, and I’m afriad of doing anything and finding mself even deeper in the pit. And when I am in the pit, I am effectively cut off from most human interaction, with the notable exception that if someone does cut through the haze, they are probably prince charming. THe pit also serves a purpose in helping me sort out who really belongs in my life, and seeing who triggers the pit vs who stays with me while in the pit has been helpful. My two good loyal friends who have visited me in Paris, including the one above, trigger the pit to an extent. Bu the one above is the worst. My parents also triggger the pit, to an extent, especially a haze of anxiety over living my life my own way, not following in their footsteps, and not upholding the family values of contentment and staying close to home. In a large family where I was always conscious of death because someone was dying and I always had to kiss my mother goodbye becase my mother didn’t kiss hers the last time she saw her, the morbid fear of regretting not spending every possible second with my loved ones tends to put me into a haze. But with the help of my psychologist, I begin to feel what I had already known and acted upon- that it’s my life too and I can’t live it for them. I don’t even like them sometimes, and maybe the don’t like me or wouldn’t like me if we weren’t family, which brings upon tears, but as my psychologist says, many families re like that. One of my anxieties about potentially havin kids one day is that I have kids who will be like my bully athletic popularish psychologically conservative younger sister to whom I have problems relating.

In the meanwhile, another reality is forming- maybe instead of the weddding at a castle in France, which might still be cool, or in addition to it, I could get married in a buddhist ceremony in Sri lanka. And just have a big backyard type party at home in the US. yeah that could work.

The other thing that has challenged me recetly is tseeing just how calculating especially when it comes to their menfolk some of my girlfriends are. While I’ve always hd the calculator in my head to an extent evaluating my value agains tht at of a potential mate, and a good part of my wanting to hold off on finding a mate comes from wanting ot be my best self before i try to find a match, I was shocked to hear them speak so openly abut it.

And that also triggers the depression dragon and the pit. mostly because I recognize those tendencies in myself, and I feel like shit because I am so far from my interpretation of perfection.

I think I just figured out what the depression dragon is for, and what triggers him. Mostly when I step out of the zone of things I  have always dreamed of and the person I felt like I was supposed to be, in a word, when I feel inauthentic, he is triggered and punishes me by taking away things on which I built some self esteem, like being a healthy weight. To a certain extent, the depression dragon wants me to believe and feel that |I am worthy, and the point is to kknock me down so I can finally realize I have worth regardless of my worldy status. But the other purpose of the depression dragon is to make me despise myself for seeking worldly status in any conscious way. That’s why the only way I can justify releasing weight is in terms of health, and the seocnd there is an arriere pensee of what losing weight will bring to me, my efforts are aborted nad I am punished through self sabotage.  Genuine in this reading means having no interest in worldly things, and doing only actions that feel natural.

The problem with this is that everyitme I grow and change, like when I left Paris to ocntinue my studies in Asia and ensure I had the most competitive degree possible, rather than trusting in faith and trust and pixie dust and, dare I say, wanting the best for myself and being ambitious, out came the depression dragon, and he kept me in the pit for a long time. THe trick of it all is that even while in the pit, I accomplished a lot, but the pit made me feel accomplishment= pit and loss of self, happiness, all the sunshine in the universe, etc.

I have wanted to try to starve the dragon, to meet him in a show of force, but I have chickened out/and or been a bit outwitted by eat, because the cookie I don’t eat today is 5 cookies I eat in the next three days. That’s how the dragon has kept his sway over me.

As for the pit, it seems to vanish once I have some interesting task and leadership opportunity in front of me. A challenge that involves others and some sense of urgency.

Tha’ts the amazing thing about the pit, it’s mostly there when I am bored in some way.

That being said, the pit can still be there in moments of personal challenge, but when my mind is engaged and I see the importance of what I am doing, it tends to recede a bit.

What I just realized is that I have been holding myself to self contradictory standards- that I mus tbe perfect according to both my and society’s standards, and that I must do it all genuinely from the bottom of my heart, and that I basically anythng I do for practically or any compromise, moral or otherwise,that I make is evil, wrong, bad, shameful, and I am horrible and need to be punished- cue self sabotaging action.

This is why it seems for one step forward I go two steps back, and I am afraid to even try to go forward.

God I hope I have gotten to the root of the root of this, and I never have to deal with this shit again. What a huge waste of life.

So what has depression dragon taught me? absolutely nothing, but that I should just stay in one place and that it is a betrayal of the doctrine of my intrinsic worth if I try to change myself for the better, and that trying something new makes me bad- so I’m bad quie a lot, and this makes it need to punish me.

And the pit, the purpose of that has been to keep me immobile, because I have been overwhelmed by the speed and magnitude of the changes in my life, mostly starting with business school, and the purpose of the pit is to keep me in one place until I have  found the perfect solution, which I will never find, so I’m just always stuck in the haze of undecision, anxiety, and lack of self belief.

What is the point of all this? A maladaptive search for love, to try to prove to myself soemone will love me even when I’m bad. To a large extent, ths was provven to me, though I never managed to love myself as much as I would have hoped, despite all the times I self sabotaged feeling bold about it, rebelling agins tmyself and my ideals. It made me feel like I wasn’t a sheeple to go against what I wanted to do which would be better for me, and yet, I became to my minid a worse kind of sheeple- someone who doesn’t take care of themselves.

And part of the pain genuinely comes from not wanting to disappoint myself, and being mad about not living up to my values.

mostly though, i’ve lost sight of my why for all the things i want to do, i feel selfish because i don’t see how i connect to the bigger picture.

since i moved to paris, in a very selfish but life affirming decision, and left behind the world of government and politics, i haven’t found a new why.

maybe this is something my shrink can help me with.

but at least i think for now i have found why the dragon came into being, and why i’ve eben so loath to climb out of the pit.

I thought they had something to teach me, but i think the main one is that i need a new why.

tldr- because i lost my why, and/or i found it unworthy.

 

 

 

Transformation and Destruction- It couldn’t have been any other way

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Over the course of the past five years, my life has changed completely from anything I ever consciously imagined. It’s not at every second a happy life, but it’s satisfying because it’s honest. The so-called mistakes are genuine ones I couldn’t have done any better with and brought me to a better place; I am no longer ashamed of the process of learning.

I felt shame and guilt constantly as I colored outside the lines and painted with the wrong color, and then I realized I was creating something new and original rather than following the patterns I’d been ingrained with.  The truth is that even if you live your life trying to follow the instructions, there’s no guarantee of success or happiness, especially if you are ignoring your soul’s call to do it. Life has a way of spilling milk all over your coloring book, so it’s better to grow up and buy an easel and a blank canvas. Then you can call your mistakes art, and you won’t be wrong.

I believed for most of my life that my worth came only from external things, and from my efforts to attain perfection. It got a bit confusing at times to define perfection, and I thought choosing the poison was the only form of originality I deserved. To compensate for this, I fucked up many of the things I thought were most important, and punished myself for the few creative choices I had made when they didn’t turn out as expected, and beat myself for “selling out,” when I did do something that seemed sensible, but the bottomline was that I dissected myself and all my choices down to nothing. I destroyed myself from overanalysis, and fell into depression.

But depression can be a gift. When nothing seems to matter any more, you tend to find out what does matter. When you feel really alone, you spend time with yourself. And though depression can be fatal and can last for far too long, it can and should be a passageway to a more authentic self.

These days, I am not chasing perfection, but performance. Trying to do my best, rather than be the best. Because even in the depths of despair and utmost fuck up, I still have value and worth. And I could only really learn that by losing a lo of things. The cost of his knowledge was very, very hihg, but like all things learned through experience, its true worth is incalculable. To live the rest of my life from this place of really knowing my worth deep down in my bones, it’s freedom. The random price was high, but completely worth it.

And now I want to change my life. Because I feel excited again, and I want to live every day from a place of loving myself. Which means things are going to have to change a lot from my depression. The positive side is that my old self is gone, and is replaced with something real and solid that was always there, only masked, hidden, under years of detritus and social conditioning.

The truth is, that I don’t know if there was another less painful and destructive way.

But I’m happy I made it here, and I decide how the story ends- or rather, continues.

It’s up to me to reflect love for myself in all my daily choices, in the way I speak to myself, in the people I choose to hang out with, in the ideas I let influence me.

With the help of a psychologist, I’ve identified and treated the underlying emotional problems that finally erupted in depression. I felt the whole time like I was struggling and crying for help but no one could see me, but with therapy, someone has, and I am doing much better. There were many hurts that needed to be acknowledged before I could let go of them. They all had a message- I have a right to be here, I feel, I deserve to be me.

What’s next? Life, on my own terms, lived to the fullest.

🙂

Namaste

MJ

 

There is no result

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At 27, particularly as peers buy houses, make babies, get engaged, get married, hit career milestones, finish grad school, pay off student loans, and buy cars, I sometimes feel a little left out. Not to mention, there are moments I have felt that with all my personal package, not limited to student loans, I will never be able to find my way out of the imperfect mess I made, the choices I made when younger and less full of piss and vinegar that seem to put boundaries around my life, like a pet carrier or a baseball diamond.

For a long time, I grew like a goldfish within them, until I got a sense of what it felt like to be accepted for who you are, to finally fit in without trying, and then I realized I was a goldfish and started hating my container.

I did everything I could to protest it without actually breaking the bars.

I took up more space, ate too much, ran late to things, spent too much money, let everything be a mess and refuse to clean it up, because it was hopeless anyway.

And the more I tried to set a goalpost, the more squished I became in my container, unable to move towards it, going backwards, just shoving it down with all my supposed flaws, trying to tell myself I could consume my way to happiness if I just learned to live in the box.

I went to a psychologist, like a Victorian woman, hoping to be fixed. That a better girdle could be found for me, that my insane modern life was just in my head, that everyone who loved me was right and I was wrong and I could go back to being a good little girl and hit the milestones, and stay in the cage where it’s safe.

Why should I be the one to break my chains and stare towards the light rather than the shadows on the wall?

How could I know I wasn’t wrong?

I stopped going to church, I read up on Buddhism, and released, drop by drop, the traumas of being conditioned by the hive mind.  A few days ago, I woke up in a hostel bed in tears, realizing I may have been cared for but not loved, and they may have been proud of me and supported me but never really accepted me, which is what I needed  more. Or at least, that’s how I experienced it, and why my life was built within four walls of shame and a big lie about who I was, and the belief that I am always wrong, dirty, shameful- something is wrong with me.

Not long after this suffering, which passed through me with sobs but like a storm washed me clean and fresh, I got a glimpse of who I might be, who I might have been with no boundaries.  And I realized, with all the soul that’s in me, that I have to be that person.

I have to be Joan of Arc whose father told her brothers to drown her if she ever went off with soldiers.

I have to be Ernest Shackleton, called a dick because he beat his competitor, the hometown hero, to the South Pole.

I have to be a witch of a woman who doesn’t live by and for men, who doesn’t predicate the value of my life on ensnaring one and doesn’t think a baby is a valid reason for being.

I believe we are not simply born to serve others, or to please others. We are born to be ourselves, and the deepest most wonder and awe part of the divine that exists in each of us is the still small voice pushing us to our greatest joy and highest truth. I don’t believe god is the bogeyman they use to keep children out of the wild woods, nor the scarecrow put in the fields so no one will come further than the bounds of the town.

I believe we are, with God, both the bow and the string. We don’t simply lie there, passive, accepting, receiving, gestating- God also calls us to do something and to ask Him for things, to use power on His behalf.

And the truth is there is no process. All the mess I made, which I would still like to clean up, in the eyes of God is so much rubble at a construction site, so much rock that was hewn off to make the sculpture. The pain only came from me believing that I was the extra bits laying on the floor, the perfectly square factory made block, rather than the sculpture within.

Like all great works of art, it’s never finished, and it’s made for the sculptor as much as or more than for the world. And God is both, and sometimes the adze that chips the old parts away and the sun that lets me see what I am doing and the moment of fatigue  that causes me to make an “error,” to take what I think is too much away because it doesn’t go according to my original plan. The divine plan looks like chaos sometimes, and I don’t know what I’m doing.

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.

Luckily there’s no finish line to be found, the Odyssey is just a ruse because Penelope is hidden on the ship the whole way long, Ithaca is not just the goal that gives you the journey, it is the journey itself.

There’s no where to go  but here, now.

Enjoy.

My career as a writer officially begins today

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Coming home from my latest trip, when inspiration struck me and illumined the person I want to be, here I sit, typing, because from here on out, this is my real work, my vocation, my top priority, and I recognize it as such.

Not family, nor social pressure, nor fear of speaking truth to power is going to keep me away from it. I am working on a new blog, meant for wider distribution, but I will certainly direct a lot of meta commentary here as I always do.

Thank you readers, for bearing witness to me when I didn’t believe in myself and literally just used this blog as a place to lament the rejection of boys I believed knew better than I did.

Thank you for teaching me that my lack of perfection can be loved and the hard edges, the typos, the rambling paragraphs and wandering essays of my peripatetic mind can be loved and of service to others. Thank you for seeing me, in all my anonymity, and making me feel truly beautiful for the first time in my life.

I thought my golden age in Paris as a student was because of the environment, but I also realize that you played a huge part too. This blog gave a home to parts of myself that had never seen the light of day before.

Now the time has come to bravely, dutifully, joyfully, prayerfully shine.

Love is mortal, we are free

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I’ve put a lot of physical, chronological, and psychological distance between me and the person who fell in love with C. Telling the story of how we met and how what I imagined as a Notebook level romance degraded into him cutting me off without so much as a good bye after 4 years of friendship feels distant. This is just one incident, among many, that has made me want to lock my feelings up in a box and wait for Arthur to pull the sword from the stone that is my heart. The truth is that the stone chose Arthur, and my heart is not a dead dumb thing that has to wait to be saved.

One thing that has helped is devirginizing a Moroccan boy, who apparently meant what he said when trying to get me to sleep with him enough (not that I believed it) to check on me after my flight back home. This was a good experience for me. It showed me that I am not wrong to be open, and that cloaking myself in my family’s prejudices is not going to keep my heart any safer. The check list of things my parents would like to see in a man, even if I once thought it was my own list, is not going to guarantee me everlasting perfect love and happiness or even just a life like my parents’, which I’m pretty sure I don’t want in all its details anyway.

The truth is that love can die, and this is a really good thing. Compatibility can change too, people grow, and even if you stay married for 50 years the person you are married to won’t remain the same. I was always taught that divorce was one of the worst failures a human could commit, and now I realize that while there’s more to it than the luck of the draw, a happy long lasting marriage is really not in one’s control.

Looking back on past loves, I’ve felt disgusted as the more confident, self-loving and yes, feminist person that I am now could never accept their bullshit. I have been mad at myself more than at them, thinking it was my mistake and on me that they screwed me up. The truth is that we are all young and make mistakes, and it’s not fair to expect myself to know everything about life and love at any age, let alone tenderest youth, and it’s fair to win some and lose some, not reasonable to expect I will win them all.

It feels like another life, when I think of C and my time in Washington after being hell bent on it being my home for life, although some confidence from the old days is coming back, and I’m not so depressed anymore.

Love dies, and it’s a good thing. It’s better than being eternally yoked to someone when you’ve changed and they’ve changed. THat doesn’t mean I don’t believe in marriage- marriage and love are distinct entities. But the fact that are hearts can slough off old loves like a snake shedding skin, that is reason for hope indeed.

THe fact that love doesn’t last forever doesn’t mean it’s not real at the time. Or valuable, or an experience worth having lived. It doesn’t mean it was a mistake.

I feel like with C, it was the culmination and what kept together a lot of my contradictions which have since melted away.

From now on, I want to live and love a bit more spontaneously, secure in the knowledge that things can die when they are not right, and life is an adventure meant to be lived.

 

To defeat demons, face your dream

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The road doesn’t end here. It never does.

I followed my bliss and got here. According to my standard of wanting to live in Paris and have a great job, I have succeeded. I am living the life I choose.

But this isn’t the end of the road. I do want to get French citizenship, but more importantly, I want to travel. A lot. And write.

I miss being a teacher.

I think my life needs to change.

And yes, I want a family. I want to fall in love and have a baby.

I want to have the balls to love someone regardless of whether it will be forever or not.

It’s time to move again from comfort and satisfaction to a new challenge.

And this challenge hasn’t entirely taken form.

I hope to take a new job soon, and I do like my corporate job and my vacation time.

It is great. There is nothing wrong with it. I deserve to enjoy my success.

And I would like to get a chance to be a producer in the business world, and not only a performer. I want a chance to lead, innovate and transform.

but even more than that, I want to have the wherewithal to work away, and a blank canvas to create.

Yes, I want both. It doesn’t all have to be either/or.

And whatever I do, there will always be a path that I didn’t take. And the choice of right vs wrong is rarely simply binary.

I think that’s been my biggest and most troubling dscovery these past years.

I am both a hero and a storyteller, and a good listener.

And all my family just wants me to be safe and well taken care of.

But my heart yearns for adventure. My story is one of choosing truth over comfort, every time.

It is also one of being adaptable and keeping an open mind and open heart.

I want to work in a place where it doesn’t matter if I have tattoos and big opinions.

I don’t want false security. I want authenticity, belonging, to be valued for who I am.

I want to start my travel blog and post my pictures.

I want to do the backoffice administrative stuff to make my life here easier and better.

I want to take care of my body so I can be a better adventurer and feel more peace in my journey here on earth.

I want to be happpy with who I am.

I want to name the demonds of caring what other people think and believing I have no value besides what the world ascribes to me.

I want to disobey my family or at least the chorus of voice sin my hea dthat claim to speak of them and dare to be loved for myself alone.

I dare to love someone and make a committment and have  child without accepting it as a lifelong tether to a life that is stale and not what I want anymore.

I dare to love myself enough to do all this.

I dare to take it slow and easy on myself and ot make steady progress.

I chdare to change my life right away in accordance with the wisdom of my heart.

I dar eto be.

 

 

Tearing the Veil/ Hatching out of the Egg

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I’ve been seeing a psychologist and it’s been great. It’s been great to have someone hear me, and apparently know me and like me, in the flesh, uncensored.

It’s been amazing to have someone help me understand my thoughts and feelings and where they are coming from, much better than just going around in cirlces in my head.

Talking to you, lovely reader, is also one of life’s great consolations😉

When things you never dared to put into words get said, it has a bit of an earth shattering influence.

I tend to discount my supposedly petty worries of my middle class childhood and largely happy family, and feel like I’m not allowed to suffer or make mistakes since I’ve been blessed with so much.

But the truth is, not everything is always so peachy, and my life has been difficult.

I’ve always felt rejected on account of my “weird” personality geared towards intellectual pursuits and being full of curiousity and open mindedness. My body grow up very fast and I was obese as a child, so that didn’t particularly help things either. And most painfully, even though I know I am loved and I love them, I still don’t feel like I fully belong in my family.

But that’s ok.

It’s not all or nothing, things aren’t blakc and white. There is complexity. THis is another thing I am working on.

And in addition to woes from my family, there is also society, which is not always such a sane influence. I don’t understand why we collectiely make te choices that we do.

For a long time I wanted to save the world, now I just want to live in it.

And I htink that by being true to myself, I liberate others.

I’ve seen it in action.

Thanks to me, people have realized there’s more to life than New Jersey, and the Iron Curtain has gone down. And no, Georgia is not a part of Russia.

And dreams do come true, the most dangerous and liberating and destabilizing truth there is.

God is on our side, no matter how petty and small and unimportant we may feel.

For a long time, I thought the events that precipitated my burn out/break down/high functioning depression/ existential crisis were a sign I was going nowhere fast, and the road to Hell was paved with good intentions.

Now I know that cause all your psychic defenses to go on high alert and that really change your life and your way of thinking of yourself are the way you find your treasure, the boon of your adventure which you get to bring back with you and remains part of who you are forever.

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” Joseph Campbell

I’m also a huge believer in the Alchemist of Paulo Coelho. I beat my breasts for years wondering why I was here in France and why I’d answered the strange call, wondering if I’d just made it up, but in fact I have found quite a lot of treasure. Not only in the form of living here, but also in the way of figuring out who I really am.

A long time back, someone locked the most powerful and magical part of me in a cage, to keep me safe from those who would call me a witch, and to spare me the discomfort of being different. They tried by grooming me to help me fit in better, but that only caused me to flee once I got a taste of real belonging. Then I realized that was more important to me than anything I’d left behind, but once I was there, the angels didn’t sing as loud as I expected in comparion to all the fear and worry and self doubt that followed me.

But now I am feeling magical again, and I realize tht no, I am not this person with such sadness and lack of energy and dark clouds and painful lightning over her heart.

I am not, and will never be, the perfect princess of a girl who would settle down for good in America with her all American husband and have three children and be content as an urban professional. That does not appear to be my path at all.  I thought for a long time that was who I was meant to be, and then life intervened and destiny took over.

A few years ago I chose between working for a start up and being an English teacher in France. I think the joke is on me that they were more or less the same thing, with the same things at stake. All is one, right?

“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.”

~ Albert Einstein, 1954.

 

Also I’m pretty much getting over the relationship and even the kids thing. If it happens, it happens. I also crunched some numbers, or really, just took my head out of my ass, and realized it could be possible for me to take a sabbatical sometime and go teach English somewhere far away again. But, besides running away from the complications of my life now and trying to shed them into bohemian wanderer identity, I don’t really see how that would give me much more freedom in the long run. I htink I need to dig deeper and see what I really want to do and do that. Travel is definitely a huge part of it, but it’s not everything.

But the treasure is not figuring it out and solving the equation for the various things I want in my life and finding a solution to get all of them at one time, or without pain or adjustment;

No the real treasure, is to realize who I am. It feels very crazy to say I of all peolle want to go trekking in Nepal. But I do. No I am not a hardocre fitness enthusiast, but I could be. I would like to be. And I would like to go vegetarian, like 90% of the time ish, too.

And maybe not eat too many grains or processed foods either, and go to CrossFit in the morning, and hike and do outdoor stuff on weekends, and manage my time and money and energy in keeping with my dreams goals and values.

Yes, that’s who I would like to be.

Not perfect, but fully engaged in my life, not watching from a distance.

Most importantly, wanting the things I want without shame, without being attached to them; free to be the person I’ve always wanted to be, full of everyday joy rather than striving for perfection and trying to control the future.

some good things I’ve just stumbled across: http://www.lifeintherightdirection.com/resource/finding-joe-lifes-adventure/

  • “You could spend decades climbing to the top of the ladder, only to find it’s against the wrong wall.”
    • The metaphor of the quest for the Holy Grail. If the path before you has been trodden, it is not your path, it is someone else’s path. If you follow someone else’s way, you will not realise your full potential.
      • The metaphor of the golden Buddha. Each of us is born made of gold but a casing of stone develops over us and, by 6 or 7 years of age, we believe that we are, in fact, made of stone. One day something chips off a bit of that stone and we get a glimpse of the gold below it. We never turn back.

 

those things all hit home as I am writing this post.

 

So yes, I am and have been in the cave all long time. I adescended intoa hell of my own making of self inflicted suffering an and negative thoughts and self sabotage. I don’t deserve that and GOd would not want that for me.

I have to open the door because only I have th ekey to myinner joy and peace.

I think I need to look more into spirituality, not necessarily philosophy. And change my shoulds to wants.

THank you God.

And most of all,keep tearing back the veil to see the world, and myself, and God, more clearly.

 

Namaste,

MJ