Update: Waiting by the phone, waiting for my heart to be moved

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So the guy was apparently working until 1 am with no access to his phone. I didn’t hear from him until the morning. He didn’t directly say sorry he just explained, and I said it was not a lot to ask for a word here and there. No response to that, and I can tell on whatsapp he really didn’t look at his messages until late afternoon. The joys of consulting (his job).

I’m really genuinely deeply sad because I realized that I did trust him that he was not to blame for whatever happened and he wasn’t doing it on purpose, although I am not happy that I didn’t yet get an explicit apology and that he didn’t respond to me after I specifically told him that it bothers me and he agreed.

I think the truth is that it’s not about me. But it remains to be seen if I can fit in the picture.

It occurred to me as I waited for him to eat dinner just how much I wanted someone to eat dinner with. It occurred ot me how much I was hoping that this relationship might take off and give me someone to kiss at New Years and buy a Christmas present for. I imagined cuddling and soothing him after a long day’s work and admonishing him to take better care of himself.

That being said, there hasn’t been a moment that I’ve felt my heart leap out of my chest. I am approaching this relationship o so soberly as much as I might affect or try to affect a devil may care attitude, because the truth is that it’s not everyday you meet someone smart and adventurous and bold and directwho seems to be genuinely kind and responsible towards others. But for various reasons despite quite a lot of speaking online in the first few weeks I’ve only met him in person once, and yesterday was planned to be the second time.

Maybe it’s for the best. I’m actually relatively glad of the virus that took over his phone that prevented the first meeting, it gave me a chance to heal from depression in ways I didn’t even realize I needed to heal.

And now I feel so grounded, like I have an unshakeable, deeply rooted care that isn’t planning the self worth how is this my fault that I am not loved game, at least not as i would have before, but I am really genuinely sad because I want a relaionship very much.

I want to make joint vacation plans and discover new things with someone who sees the world a different way. I know I can have a blast by myself but I want a new adventure, a new person to challenge me, and someone to share the highs and lows with.

I have always wanted this, and coming out of depression has made it all the more clear.

Because while travel has become very important to me and understanding other cultures and stretching my mind always was, I have travelled far enough to meet myself. And the Megan show, while amazing, needs not just an audience but a co-conspirator. And a bit of romance, seriously.

I get that no one is going to be perhaps, but it will be hard to move from judging on how inadequate my friends boyfriends are to consciously accepting the flaws of my own. I don’t know how much is too much. I do know that feeling ignored is very painful for me, and it’s important for our flaws to fit each other.

It doesn’t have to be this guy, but man, I am fucking tired of looking. And there’s never going to be anyone perfect.

Despite how open I may seem, there is now a guardrail around my heart. I’ve blamed my heartbreaks on myself, for trusting too fast, for not being circumspect enough. Now I wonder if mature love is a boring ass feeling that mostly consists of coming to terms with the fact that life is disappointing so you might as well accept flaws you can tolerate.

I do think there’s some magic to it, somewhere. ANd the magic is probably rather latent, in hiding, and has to do with remaining an interesing person.

All I know is in my heart of hearts, and I don’t think i’s p;urely biological, I genuinely don’t want to be single anymore and I really want to be part of a healthy couple.

And soon. I resigned myself for waiting as long as it taok, but to a certain extent that’s procrastination and the refusal to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of our own blessings.

Damn I am disappointed.

I didn’t know that the process of getting into a relationship had to be so difficult and trying. I feel so freakin exposed. I let someone know I give a shit. I lost my cool.

I am not in control.

My first and only serious relationship, I was definitely in control. He was devoted to me like a puppy ad i ended up nagging and mothering him. people asked me why i had to be the better half in my relationships at some point.

but after that i was always unrequited “love” with someone who didn’t respect me. just last year i went round a round with a guy who kept cancelling dates at the last minute or just not telling me when he couldn’t come. i kept giving him chances though but eventually he unfriended me.

i just want ot dance with somebody who loves me and feel something again.

maybe that means things ahve to go slower.

i was really happy about this guy because i asked him in my direct but joking way if we were seeing other people and he said no he’s not when i told him i wasn’t. with his work schedule i don’t doubt it.

but i can’t be with someone who doesn’t have the time and energy for me.

i hope that’s not the case.

i’m sad.

also today i became obsessed with doing a silk road vacation and had the feeling that perhaps i’ve been outdoing myself in the travel department as i feel making the kind of home i want in paris is just so completely and utterly out of my control. up until my last trip, i feared misisng out on things because of a significant other. now, i know that i want a signficant other more than i want to get to all my dream destinations.

maybe someday i will feel like that about a baby, and i don’t think this desire for a man is a purely biological one. i’m sure it’s just coming out of depression and admitting how human i am.

and perhaps i need to be compassionate and realize not all men are trying to manipulate and gain the upper hand. i think i need to go back to the psychologist to get some toxic stuff cleare dout.

please cross your fingers for me. i want to make love out of nothing at all, for real this time.

i even recognize the calmer steadier feeling instead of the heady rush of something that can never be. we’re not in love yet but i think if the right circumstances and conditions and respect can be created we could be.

namaste and wish me luck.

MJ

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So I am waiting by the phone again, hoping for a man I’ve let into my life to be worthy of the space I am making for him, and the effort that will go into a last minute scramble to put my apartment to rights after nearly nonstop traveling.

There’s definitely a metaphor in there somewhere.

The table is not set, the clothes are not washed, some bills are not paid, I don’t look like I thought I would look.

And he is good, even great, but not perfect.  Traveling for work himself, we haven’t had a proper conversation in a few days.  I asked him to confirm our meeting tonight and I haven’t heard anything from him recently, although I can tell he is not ignoring me and just hasn’t looked at his phone. When I reproahced him for not responding early, he apologized in the best possible way. I of all people can understand some times are difficult, and there’s more to a connection than constant contact. That was how my first love reassured my fears, but maybe it’s not about my fears and to be honest, it’s not that big a deal.

It is a not a soul shattering, self-worth questioning, where did I go wrong, shouldn’t I have followed the Rules, something is wrong with me feeling. Because deep inside, I know I have done nothing wrong, that this is just one verse of the powerful play.

Whatever happens with or without this guy, for the first time in my life, I’ve learned to show up for myself.

To love myself even though nothing is ready, nothing is perfect, and I’m recovering mentally, physically, financially, spiritually, socially etc from a depression so insidious and so linked to my social conditioning since birth that I am a little groggy as though walking up from a long sleep.

But I believe I am beautiful with my morning breath and old yoga pants and messy apartment. I can love me even though I am far from perfect, and that’s what I have always sought outside, but was not surprisingly never able to find.

It could be that the dog that growls in a room full of mirrors sees only a multitude of growling dogs, or it could be that love begets love. Even my mother’s love seems more unconditional now that I have fully come out, or rather, committing to the continually process of becoming more and more myself.

Not about a best or perfect self. Just a healthy, fully human self, radiant as a goddess.

For my entire life, I’ve been waiting for the weight to fall off, the money to come, the elusive “success” to be achieved, the adulation of the masses after feeling like an outcast for large portions of my life, and to come “home” to a place where I’d find that hero’s welcome.

Well, it seems that my actions were not entirely misguided, but I was like a dog chasing its tail.

And that’s why it’s an afterthought, just a coda to a love song about me, that I have no doubt that I will find the love that is in inside me out in the world somewhere. I accept nothing less, I deserve nothing less, and the world, in all its craziness, cannot fail to offer up at least one person to really love me.

I found what I was searching for climbing up and then down into the crater of a sulphurous crater with its bushless burning of blue flames in Indonesia. A miner who earned around 10-20 euro per day for winding his way up treacherous paths with baskets of sulphur took care of me amidst a group of 20, staying behind and urging me on, holding my hand during the difficult spots never making me feel judged for being overweight, out of shape, a born a cosseted princess by the injustice of being born in the right place, unprepared for the climb through extremely dangerous paths in the dark. I realized that kindness and lack of judgment as well as perserverance and encouragement to be my truest, bravest, boldest, greatest self was what I wanted in a man. But then I realized there was no need to wait around for a man to give it to me, I should be doing that for myself. It changed my life.

No wonder so many men I attracted and allowed in my life were just as critical and persnickety, or actually somewhat less, than my own incredibly harsh and never satisfied inner critic.

That’s probably one of the turning points of my depression ending.

And a few days later, I heard from the special person I am waiting to hear from, who I realize explained to me that he is giving a conference at a hospital and will be getting out late so I am going to chill the fuck out.

And realize there is always a risk in giving your trust, and it’s never been in my nature to be miserly. I give generously, because I trust myself, and inside me, as Pearl Buck says, there is a place inside me where I live all alone where I renew my springs that never dry up. And I have good judgment, a good  gut.

Even if you love with all your intelligence, even if you choose carefully and enlist all the wisdom at your disposal, you will slip into love even if you don’t fall into love.

There is an element of losing control, of something like dependence. There is an acceptance that you can be hurt, even if your core is solid and grounded and your roots go deep. There is an acceptance of change and chance, and joining a game that is bigger than you, that if you don’t want to be alone any more well honey, you have to let someone in.

There are guys that are worth stressing over, and growing with, and bending for, just a little bit. There are guys that are capable of dancing along to my beat.

It becomes all the more clear why I have taken so many vacations alone, why I have eben afraid to try to find someone to come alone, why I feared wasting a moment in company that ruined it. I know why I have been on my own, and the reason is simple- I wanted to enjoy my own company, and to not need anyone.

But now I have beenaround the world andback again, and my tenderest dreams have true, I will have to step into the fire, like Sita of the Ramayana, like the Javanese ballet I saw in Indonesia, and trust, that either his love will be so pure I  will not be burned but instead be transformed to a truer and shinier, intertwined and yet more genuine self  or to rise again, as I have so many times, like the phoenix into one of the myriad versions of the same, becoming me one way or the other.

This is what it means to trust life- not that there will be no pain, but that all choices lead to the same place, and that place is LOVE.

That’s what it means to be capable of giving and receiving love, and more importantly, of creating it where it wasn’t there before.

I want to stay wild

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I don’t want to be tame, there I said it.

But how is a woman to love or be loved in this world, how is she to live a fulfilled life as part of a community, can she ever use her godgiven power to give life, to become a mother, if she keeps her wildness?

Can a free woman love or be loved?

Can a woman stay free and yet take on the responsibility of giving life, nurturing it, tending it?

I want to travel, have a career, climb mountains, surf, and be full of sexual desire all my life.

I don’t want to give up this part of myself.

I don’t want to become a virgin or mother or crone or whore. I want to be all of them.

I don’t want to choose between Athena, Aphrodite, Hera, Hecate.

I don’t want to be a sinner or a saint.

I want to be a well dressed business woman who can offer herself all the comforts of life and the reward of building a career, becoming a leader, responsible, masterful.

I want to be a backpacker who left the pearls at home and wears the same pants for a week in a row sometimes, who carries all her possessions on her back, who owns very little except for the world unfolding at her feet, who is so unbelievably free.

I want to own a house and have a full 401k and travel the world continuously. I want to carry my baby in my backpack and stay childfree forever a girl in my heart. I want to take a lover when I fancy it, and to love one man for the rest of my life.

Freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.

But wildness, the deep knowing that stability is an illusion and there is nothing less stable than your own illusory, transient self, that is more priceless than gold, and it could fit in a backpack or a briefcase, it could take me to the top of Mt Kilamanjaro and the top of the corporate ladder, it could sustain me through orgies or maybe, make every day an adventure till death do us part.

I want to be wild, I never want to be tame. Does this mean I will never give life? That my breasts will never give suck to an infant? That no one will ever truly love me because I refuse to sacrifice my deepest self for him, for the family, for the community?

Does wildness mean living alone in the woods of my own solitary heart forever?

I hope not.

Maybe wildness is the deepest root, the longest love.

 

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the guy i wrote about in my last post dropped off the face of the earth for a week, so i decided to call him. when i called him, i was pretty sure it was already a lost cause but i try to give people the benefit of the doubt. and maybe someone who was really good for me wouldn’t mind me making the call.

what happened is he called me back on whatsapp and then blocked me. i sent him some text messages asking what happened but telling him i’m not going to chase him.

no response.

it’s so bizarre. earlier this week i was supposed to meet someone who has the same first name, and who didn’t show. this is the same name as the guy that i fell in love with the idea of, spilled much digital ink over, and who cut things off with me rather abruptly. i haven’t spoken to him in about two years, and i think this is what made me lose all hope and faith in fairytale endings.

not a bad thing, i guess. i guess these things have to happen not because you will them to and persist in wishful thinking, but because they do. you can’t beleive in the goodness of someone and will it into existence.

i guess this latest and greatest case just shows once again that maybe there really isn’t anything wrong with me for the fact i have not yet attracted being in a relationship. at a subconscious level, i thought it came down to the Rules, and how i wasn’t following what my mother would do. but what i really think it comes down to is self respect and to finally really believe that it is really not me, it’s them.

I didn’t do anything wrong, and I didn’t deserve to be treated that way.

With the original C, I enabled and pushed and prodded his behavior and strung it out literally for years, holding on to the hope of a Disney ending. I was in love iwth the idea of him more han the actual him, and he knew it and fled.

I have to believe that these guys know themselves better than I do, and they are doing me a favor by getting out of my life. I do earnestly believe that.

I think what’s holding me back the most from love is my inability to receive it from myself, and a persistent feeling that I don’t have it all, that’s something’s missng unless I get the final brass/diamond ring. That if someone doesn’t want to own me, I must be defective, and if I attract/am attracted to shitty guys then the problem really is me.

I do believe that I am the common denominator of all my problems. I also acknowledge I’ve eben depressed for at least 3 of the last years, and that’s not the ideal time to meet someone since no one, absolutely nothing and no one, could lift you up out of your own mire. Someone can throw you a rope, but you have to clutch it. I have to believe life threw me many ropes over the course of that time, and while I didn’t get out of it, at least i controlled my descent somewhat.

Love is not a cure for depression. In fact, I’d say it was probably an accelerator of it.

I’m not really sure how or where I got the idea that I was unlovable, but it was probably from the fact that I couldn’t rearrange the universe to make someone who both loved me and had to let me go, because he could see we were heading in different directions, and was also a dick enough to keep stringing me along to some extent. it was probably before that, when i left my first love and saw him colllapse, or in his long slow decline before I finally left him. He was depressed too.

things got more poisonous with the rebound guy, nearly three years of toxicity and believing I deserved it because I didn’t play by the rules, and hen I finally realized that my friends fed into the system too and it was no wonder I bounced between both, one form of toxic more obvious than the other.

and then there was C, the knight in shining armor who wasn’t. The man who could have been my husband, I told myself. The one who got away because I didn’t stay at home, I dind’t follow plan A, I didn’t save the world, I didn’t go to Washington, I wen tto France. The guy who pushed me there and supported me sometimes, the one who helped me be sure I was on the right path when I doubted it the most. The guy who left me completely rather than see me run after him. The guy who couldn’t cross town for me when I crossed a country and would ahve crossed an ocean for him, and all the Captain America righteousness he represented. Like the comic Captain America, he was working for the other side all along.

Or something like that. Because even comics aren’t morally black and white these days.

And then the past two years of empy, broken, healing heart. Just nothing, no feeling, just a tad bit of crush from time to time, and disappointment. My heart has stayed pretty broken, but not in a way that would let someone new in. And no one seems to love em either. I rallied at the sight of this new guy’s name, another one sharing a name with the patron saint of travellers, another one who seemed to share so much with me. I didn’ have particuarly high hopes.

The truth that I’ve known all along is that I don’t need a man, I need a super hero. But I need to be a super hero first. I cannot attract the love of my life when I’m in the depths of depression and spiralling out of control, much as I want to beleive I am lovable then.

But I’m not going to attract the best partner if I’m not working towards being the best partner.

The flawed belief that’s been hiding inside me is that I think I deserve what I’ve gotten from these guys, because I should be in control, should know better, should always have the right thing to say, should be a better manipulator, should be better, thinner, richer, more put together.

And also that I don’t deserve it because who am I to be both a strong, independent woman who follows her dreams, and a loved, feminine, romantic girlfriend who is treated like a princess? Why can’t I be a princess and a person at the same time?

Maybe I can or cannot combine, work, travel, and family- I actually think I can- but I know I deserve love. I deserve the happy ending. Not because I put in the work of dealing with a bitch ass guy and manipulated him into it, not because I waited a million years until my dream of having a family was no longer possible, not because I decided to pick someone whose flaws don’t fit mine just to have someone.

Being in a couple is important to me, as much as it scares me. I am mostly scared about making sacrifices for someone and not having it work out. I am scared about not following my path and all the things I would have missed had I stayed with my first boyfriend.

But I guess I have to trust life a little bit. Life intervened. And admit that love and partnership are not my highest values. They are really not.

It’s not so much that even travel is, or career. It’s beign the best person I can be and living my life ot the fullest. And I do believe there’s many possible partners out there who could help me do that.

Maybe the most important step though, is to have the courage to decide what it is I want, at the moment at least. Which is becoming a French citizen, for me. This is the battle I’m in, that I want to win, so help me God. This is my major life goal for the next approximiately three years, while travelling and working.

After that, I don’t think I want to necessarily travel for 6 months at a time, or radically change careers. I want to make my life in Paris as rich as it can possibly be. I don’t need to become a long term traveller, and I don’t think that lifestyle would fulfill me. I need to write, take photos, live healthfully in mind, body and spirit. I don’t think a radical lifestyle change is the answer is this time. I just need to win the battle I”m in.

And as for the kids question, I have to surrender it to a higher power. If it’s meant to be, it will come.

This is the faith that has been lacking in my life during these years of depression, the feeling I had made some kind of choice that was fundamentally wrong and because of this my world had fallen, the world was fallen, and I would never get back to a state of grace.

instead I’ve found the basic goodness of things, and that I’ve been good, and even great, all along.

Instead of wondering how I’ll achieve greatness or map my ideal life plan, I need to plan my days. Instead of trying to change careers or countries, I need to flourish where I have planed myself, with good reason. The lack of self trust has been the biggest torture.

When I find a relationship, it won’t be the be-all end-all sign that I’m on the right track. It will be another pillar of a flourishing life, another flower in a garden that is green because I watered it.

I know, when I am in Paris, I am in the right place. That I shouldn’t move to the suburbs, or change countries, or think it will be any better anywhere else. It won’ be. This is my place, and it wasn’t an illusion or selfishness that I made it my mission to come here. However strange and vain and unglorious it sounds, this is my fight. To stay, to thrive, to make the place itself flourish. To be happy here, to let myself finally be happy.

And it has nothing to do with getting away from my family, or the US. I just fell here, a seed carried by the wind, because this is where I am meant to flower. This is, it is good.

And just like I had faith that I would come here and things will work out all right, I have faith I am going to find hat special person. That life will put him on my path the way I landed in Paris, and I will have the grace to receive that love when it comes to me, and to give it uback.

I don’t want to be depresed anymore. i am not depressed anymore. My depression was based on the idea that I had made mistakes in my life and I was not where I was supposed to be, and everything in my life was suboptimal and I couldn’t be trusted.

But yes, I can, I can be trusted, I am wise, and my happiness, my joy, is the singing of the stars.

Namaste

MJ

 

 

 

 

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.