Split the cost, split the gain

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I am a person who divulges all to those who I find similar wavelengths with. I have no real interest in being fractured or splintered to offer only parts of myself to different parts of people. Probably why I have a hard time understanding people who keep so much of themselves hidden away or held back. I don’t know that discipline or that preference.

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I was watching “Iyanla: Fix My Life” last night because…well, I cannot explain myself and retain any self-respect or dignity so shutup.

ANYWAY. Bat-shit crazy Iyanla, in her best impression of Rafiki, was speaking to a family who were having issues coming to terms with their son’s homosexuality. As the son pointed out that he felt that his parents, specifically his father, didn’t address his sexuality, he didn’t feel that he was being ignored – which Iyanla was suggesting. Her viewpoint was that the father was denying the son’s existence.

Her point was that – whether he felt his sexuality defined him or not, it was part of his fullness and that when he walked into a room of people who would not get to know his fullness, they could easily and simply sum him up as a gay man.

I guess I got the point. I, too, feel my sexuality is just a flavor of my personality but to ignore that part – even for myself – is to deny the fullness of my existence. And for someone else to ignore that part of me is to not fully know me, love me, appreciate me or accept me.

I’ll buy that.

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I have these weird moments where I feel unjustifiably ‘wise’ in comparison to other people. Or at least help others come to terms with shit they are unwilling to face head on or deal with in the simplest of terms. Sometimes I think maybe I should have gone into counseling. I guess I still have time to do something about that if I really want it.

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This is in my mind on repeat. The drama. The tension. The Bond-ness of it all.

A lack of resolution.

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fO07POv5IU

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I have been having this itch of ‘What’s next?’ in the last few weeks. I think it’s that time of year where you reflect on the year and your life and get stuck into that weird and unproductive pattern of hindsight judgment.

I learned this week from my training class that hindsight is a trap. The best thing you can ever do for yourself is to recognize what happened and LEARN. And apply what you’ve learned as you continue to move. Motion is more important than planning. The planning is a tool to help organize movement but does not account for the entirety of the journey. If you stick to the plan, you’ll be in grueling pain.

That’s the thing I’ve learned both professionally and personally this week.

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I feel released from pain. Released from torment. Released from obligation to this world, from capitalism, from societal expectations, from people’s judgment, from all the baggage of the past.

I feel equanimous and at peace. That state makes others really uncomfortable. Being at ease is so foreign to so many that it it’s terrifying that others don’t understand that an absence of all feeling is a neutral state of bliss.

Those who try to be happy all the time – and I’m talking about the people who FORCE themselves into that state – are no different than coke addicts doing lines one after the other. Addicts chasing the high. The same could be said for those who wallow in pain.

I watched Sarah Silverman’s recent standup special and she made a really good point:

If you quit being cunty the whole world will stop being against you!

Amen. The people who think the world is out to get them are so wrapped up in their own perceptual shit that has nothing to do with the rest of us who have to deal or interact with them. Just stop being shitty.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bZfzscQMjU

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Photo courtesy: Love/ Flickr by Walisz

 

Where you can never return

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Oh, hello. It’s been a minute. As promised, I’ve come here less often – with less to say and less to process.

Time shifted today. But my body only obeys its own rhythms. I am slowly losing connection with time. I have no use for it; it rarely matters. It seems I just don’t know what day it is and I find that it’s all so inconsequential anyway. It’s a construct we invented for the purpose of laboring away and perhaps setup the entire ‘Cup half-empty’ mentality to always be aware that this intangible thing called time is slipping away from us.

Fuck it. It just doesn’t matter. Why bother keeping track. Being true to your biology seems so much more keen.

New breathing now. Better breathing. Better sleeping. All good. And bless those who surrounded the crunchy, bloody ordeal – however brief it ’twas.

“No going back” keeps being repeated to me. And maybe there’s good reason. That instead of looking at the card catalog of where I’ve been, I should be more focused on the future and the present state of my feet.

There are moments where I realize how cruel I am to myself. How much I beat myself up over food, diet, body, relationships, work, etc. Could I be a bit more sensitive to my own delicate nature, which I’ve always known was there. The exoskeleton rose from this and now has overpowered the rest of me. It’s time to just shift my own self. To give myself a break. To be a bit more self-preserving, self-loving.

And no going back means relying on the present state of myself and no longer lingering on the past as a crutch toward a future that is not guaranteed or promised or even likely.

I have a hard time not being alone. I revel in it. But it is sad. It does make me a bit lonely at times and it’s hard for me to overcome it for the sake of being around people. Again, delicate like broken glass that no one wants to clean up. That’s how I’ve made myself. And those with the balls to do so, I become as loyal as a dog and will protect forever. Because I am grateful and thankful and humbled and loved. When others can love me a bit better than I can love myself – I have to allow these folks in and let them teach me how to be better at this myself and see what they see.

Don’t get so worried that I’m down on myself. It’s just a lot of thinking that’s happened. My life is blissful in how simple, in how peaceful, in how easy and in how transparent I have become with myself.

I had the reason to believe today that I may never have the love of another man but that absence doesn’t negate or overpower the other love that’s swirling around me and propelling me and keeping me smiling. It’s just a reality. I no longer have the expectation it’s coming. I’m no longer looking. I’m no longer hopeful or hopeless. I’m just here. Me. Solitary but not alone.

Always resilient and always flawed. Like a model with a defect. But is there such a thing as a the ideal? No. It’s a farce.

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpLx0qw3TsM

After a trip to Atlanta and a conversation in a hotel room that was soul-baring for many, we came to this concept of bucket-fillers. And the truth of the matter was you have those who are filling your bucket and you are filling theirs – mutual beneficial relationships. Then there are those that just take, take, take, take. And you give, give, give, give. And those are the relationships that will suck you dry. Will leave you crying alone at night. Leave you questioning your worth. Leave you wondering why you’ll never be loved.

And I’ve become more protective about my bucket-filling tendencies. Because for those that I flutter to, I give so easily and freely. Sometimes without return and to the detriment of myself. And I see it now. It’s all so clear.

…you just can’t go backwards. I’m going to stop trying.

A changed perspective.

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You choose what you want to see. In life. In people. In yourself. Perspective is nothing except perception married with (or soaked in, however you prefer) lots of emotional layers and subtext and history and baggage that you bring.

So it always feel like a slap in the face when your brain is jarred from the repetition of categorization and processing to see a new reality in front of you. Call it a trick of the eye, but sometimes it’s just a shift in the brain.

And usually for the better.

Because you’re wiser. You know that your eyes can only tell you so much. That sometimes life is not exactly how you see it – something that can either destroy you or empower you.

I welcome the moments of being shaken awake. Because those moments define who you are and whether you refer to fear or you refer to blaze a new path. Bravery personified.

Also coming to grips with allowing goodness in the door and not holding out for history. Being able to let go of the past and truly be in this moment, in all these little moments and just relish in the here and now with an open mind, an open heart, and the ability to smile.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUQsqBqxoR4

Haunted.

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This simple thought:

All loves will haunt you for the length of your life.

You cannot recreate them. You cannot replicate them. You cannot return to them. They are finite moments. Unable to be captured but burned into the visceral memory of the heart.

That’s what I’ve learned.

Sometimes it’s so disappointing. Sometimes it’s such a relief. And most of the times you feel in flux and wishing for moments past and moments future that will take you away from the moment you are in.

The fallibility of human cognition.

Knowing what’s come before and what could be without just living for the moment. Chasing the dream or chasing the past.

Sometimes I see myself doing that – for love. For the love I felt. Silly me.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_1aF54DO60

A week of hell.

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This has been a doozy, this week. But it’s led to interesting conversations. First, I want to again give a hearty thanks and prayer to the generous PEOPLE filled with LOVE that risk their lives in order to protect, save and defend the lives of fellow brethren (and yet total strangers).

We have to admit that the idea of ‘terrorism’ is changing from a “them vs us” mentality to a “us vs us” reality. Terror can be homegrown and the radicalism we want to believe is not here in the heart of our nation – well, we’ve now seen in many cases that it’s just not true.

I also have issue with the flagrancy with which we say ‘terrorism’ in blanket form. There are radical acts of violence meant to instill panic, fear and disorder by people who want to be heard and feel that their voice is being drowned out. But don’t believe for a second that each of us has not at some point engaged in levels of emotional terrorism (bullying, name-calling, finger-pointing, shame and blame laying). I don’t believe in a time of innocents anymore.

It hurts my heart to see individuals maimed and murdered for the sake of someone else wanting to make a point. But we must face the fact that these types of acts that have been present in other developed nations would eventually emerge in our own great united states.

Killing innocent people is terrible. And unforgivable. I understand how someone sees it as an only resort to feel seen/heard/understood. I do not respect it, condone it, or understand how someone can reach that place to believe that this last resort is truly the LAST option available. It’s like suicide. I understand how people get to that place and why they make the choice – but I can’t imagine believing it to be the final solution/answer.

Again – empathy can help you go along way in conflict resolution. To just place a label of “crazy” or “insane” is unjust; without truly understanding that the evil you’re looking at started out with the same blueprint as you will always make you see yourself as better than. But think about it: if your life had been different, different and terrible things happened to you, you might be able to see HOW you could fall down the same path.

Are most of us sociopathic killers? No. In fact, most of us aren’t. But the fact is – we all have that same potential to be like the one person who actually is. It’s all in the blueprint.

And that’s the place I always come from. To be understanding and reserving my judgment of the person and their motivations, while simultaneously being INFURIATED about their actions.

Hearing the terrible stories of a child losing his life, a man losing both his legs, two women also murdered…it’s too much. Then the other news of the explosion in Texas which also seemed like an avoidable circumstance. And our government meekly shying away from the gun regulations we desperately need in this country because they’re backed by gun money.

It’s a sad and weird time we’re in, this adolescence of America.

But throughout it all, you see that in times of great tragedy, the human resilience to overcome and unite with hope toward a better tomorrow regardless of how shitty today gets…it’s beautiful.

That’s why this song is perfect for the spirit of all of us. We don’t ever give up, despite the days where we just want to. We persevere. We survive. We live. We learn to take the punches and remember that we’re all in this together. That as disjointed as we make ourselves, as independent as we want to believe we are, as uniquely different we feel we are – we’re all in this together.

We need one another. We need the weeks of hell to remember this. We need the moments of heavy tears to shake us up out of apathy and remember that we came to this nation out of a spirit of radicalism that would foster freedom and unity and acceptance and representation for common good of all.

Don’t lose sight of what we can learn about ourselves and others in these dark days. And how we must remember that even if our steps are small, we still have to take them every day.

Photo courtesy Kyle Thompson/via Flickr

We need a resolution.

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I tweeted this yesterday:

As I get older, I realize there’s no such thing as closure. The reality is you can make peace: not for or with someone else, only yourself.

I sometimes what the most sacred betrayal is. Obviously, many others have thought this to. All you have to do is look at Judas, who literally sold Jesus into death.

But does the betrayal come upon the act or upon the internal choice? When you betray your own morality and at what point do you have to make a choice that could impact your relationships with yourself and ultimately everyone else?

Sometimes you have to make the argument in your own life of who is your Jesus and who is your Judas. Who will be there to walk with you into a life filled with purpose and self-fulfillment and who will be there to walk with you into the depths of personal sacrifice at the cost of losing it all?

Like wolves in sheep’s clothes, it’s very hard to see how people will impact your life. Do they act as agents of positive change, supportive of growth and enlightenment and evolution? Or are they chains of burden, filled with weight of blame, shame, guilt and degradation? It’s so hard to tell.

Funny that this tweet and post sat in draft for so long and had nothing to do with the rest of this thought – but there’s some relation. At the end of the day, you have to look to your own center, whether that be spiritual or logic or emotional, and decide your path. Life will offer you up no explanations, only options of how to proceed.

Choices that lead to choices that lead to choices. None are wrong. None are right. Some fit with your goals. Some don’t. Life does not accept auto-pilot. And if you want to live that way, life will eventually break you. Life wants someone with fight. To live is to persevere and maybe the entire point is to find the peace and the joy in the purpose of actively living. It’s not to fight against death, it’s to be present of mind with this moment.

I’ve come to realize that there is no one to tell you what you should be doing – as much as we all want that person to just give us direction. It doesn’t exist. Or if someone is giving you direction, it’s a grand feat of puppeteering.

I choose to let go of the strife. It’s all for nought. I thought that in order to feel success or accomplishment, you had to OVERCOME. You had to fight. What a youthful construct to believe in. I’ve defined what life means to me and how I want to proceed.

And to that point, it’s become much clearer as to who will be part of my life to allow that to happen and who is afraid of this level of honesty that will try to put me down, interrogate me, or impress upon a different set of values that I should live by.

Trust is probably one of the most intimate things two people can share, even beyond sex. And it’s a sacred bond. I do not hand it out lightly. I do not receive it lightly. It is earned. And it is worth the earning.

It takes time. It takes patience. It takes empathy. It takes transparency. It takes bravery. It takes honesty.

To betray someone is to cut them to the core with no sword. It’s irreparable, but can be forgiven. And it takes a big person to offer up that level of forgiveness. But we never forget a broken bond. Ever. We never forget that feeling of having the rug pulled out from underneath our feet on a spiritual level.

But if you can find it and be gifted it – it’s amazing. And that’s the lesson. Sometimes it’s less about love and such. Sometimes it just has to do with trust. Sometimes they come hand in hand.

Fact is you cannot expect someone else to define what this will be, what it will look like, what it will mean, where you will find it and how it will evolve. You just have to have a bit of blind faith in humanity. And then be able to take what you’ve learned and apply it as you age.

Everyone knows how to hurt. But it takes a big person to choose to heal.

Photo via Jon Jacobsen. 

A night to never forget.

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It was time. And we had a time. And maybe our time together is not yet done. But we’ll never know. We’re just going to keep living and let it all happen. And let the feelings we feel just be. With simple breathe and honesty and simplicity. And no further explanation to ourselves, each other or the rest of the world.

Two lovers locked out of love…

…I know you care.

And I told him everything I felt. And he did too. And we’re both at peace.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BRdY0NR08g

 

Break.

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I like this picture. Probably the colors. Probably the sentiment. To me, it’s the epitome of breathing & silence and hearing your own pulse.

That’s where I’m at. Over the last few months I’ve steadily grown more equanimous about a lot of ‘issues’ that I had flagged in my life and labeled as ‘items to address/fix/correct/fill/tackle.’

It’s as if a lot of weight is lifted. A lot of worry is gone. A sense of peace and overall contentment is present because I’m easily seeing that there’s not much of a point to force your life to happen. Sure, you have to be proactive and put out the energy for things that you want, but not everything can be achieved through brute force of will.

There’s a bit of delicacy to be had with your self. Not coddling, but the ability to be self-nurturing enough to just stop pushing yourself and cracking the whip because you’re not moving, succeeding, growing, or learning fast enough. Time is slipping by and trying to rush through things only expedites your life. Some find this to be the way to live.

I do not. It’s not for me. I like the slowness of existence. And I like the process of nurturing and incubation and things growing in the time they need to. Again – it’s a lesson in being the gardener but knowing that while it’s ‘your’ garden, you have no idea what’s happening beneath the surface and what will sprout.

I’m turning a page in my book this year. The chase is done and the hamster wheel is coming to a standstill. I feel so good about so many things and I’m just  seeing my life as a bounty rather than a drought.

Tactile appreciation of my life. Tactile love for the people around. Simplicity and ease of all things. And really, really liking myself and being completely unapologetic of that and appreciating others who are as equally composed, self-aware, humble and unapologetic.

People there for one another when the going gets rough. That’s what it’s for. When it all counts.

Turning points. I just am sensing a lot of people are shifting. Things are shifting. It seems like it’s easier to ride these waves now. The chop is still rough, but we’re getting better at riding the waves for sure.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epFazRWwz0g

30. Nothing but a number.

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Approaching 30.

I think this may be the most settled and calming period I’ve had in a long time. With aging comes the hard swallow of realities that your life may not be what you thought it would be by the time you reach age X. But in lieu of panic, there’s something very ‘Ok’ about it, too.

My highs and lows are less dramatic. There’s less drama for the sake of drama, born out of boredom or needing entertainment.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop, having a green tea and hearing the barista discuss with a patron her rekindling of romance with a previous boyfriend and the ease within which they may or may not be getting back together. I recognize her nervous casualness in which she describes their interactions. I’ve told those same lies at times. That, “No…it’s not that big of a deal. We’ll see what happens…I’m just being the bigger person” et al.

When inside I know she’s eager to make this work again this time. To fix whatever broke down before and to revisit this relationship with fresh eyes and fresh breathe and more resilience toward being totally open. But there is a moment when you do realize that you can’t make two people be a thing sometimes.

I know it well. And it makes me happy. To know that we’re all built from the same kind of DNA. That we’ve got all the same basic emotional blueprint and capacity.

How does that relate to being older? I don’t know. I think if I sat here and heard her three years ago I would have had less of an appreciative smirk upon my face hearing her. In fact, I probably would have stuffed my headphones in my ears to avoid such drivel.

But now closer to 30 than 20, I’m loving the mellowness that comes with age. The comfort that most people describe – comfort with just being who you are and being less worried about comparing yourself to other people, changing yourself for the sake of another, and not punishing yourself every day with self-doubt, self-loathing, self-denial, self-punishment.

The fact that as you get older, you become closer to yourself.

I certainly thought I’d be further along by the time I hit 30. In terms of money, in terms of career, in terms of dating – that all of these things combined would have eventually led me to feeling more ‘successful’ or ‘fulfilled.’

Truth be told, I think all of these things happened and I do feel pretty accomplished. I’ve pushed myself – in some of the most extreme and in some of the most minuscule ways – to leave my comfort zone in terms of all the things above and more.

I’ve been addicted to constant change and yet I love the static nature of my core lifestyle.

Don’t get me wrong – for the most part, I’m a misanthropist through and through. But as I get older, I find more sentimentality in the little things in life. The acts of kindness I witness which inspire me to be more kind. The acts of humility that inspire me to be more humble and to listen more and talk less. The acts of care in the smallest of ways that inspire me to constantly turn down the dial on my dramatic tendencies.

I’ve learned through so many bruised-knee moments emotionally that my walls erected around my heart typically don’t serve me well. And that there’s something more empowering about being totally forthright and tending to my own well-being first rather than compromising for the sake of trying to ‘keep’ another around.

And at 30, I’m finally at a place where it’s much harder for me to justify being in a relationship I don’t feel utterly tingly about from the get-go. And I realize that it’s a battle of being someone who is holding out for that when it may never come. That what I’m expecting may just be illusory.

I used to pity people who settled down for the sake of settling down. But no more. I get it. Sometimes you just want the company. You just want the warm body and companionship there. It’s about forging a life together, regardless of all the other ‘stuff.’ I think I tried to do it. But I couldn’t. I’m not one to be backed into a corner – whether by another or of my own choosing.

I want what I want. And I’m not taking whatever comes my way. And that attitude could be COMPLETELY detrimental and leave me a sad spinster.

If that’s the case, it’s okay, too. I may just be one of those people who is alone. A wild horse that cannot be saddled by any person. I have a hard time kneeling in deference to anyone. There have been less than a handful who have made me want to.

So if the one that makes me want to wants to in return, I’ll follow indefinitely.

Always the case of being ‘all chips in’ when I feel IT. And when I don’t, I cannot fake it.

The same could be said for every part of my life – job, hobbies, etc. I become oddly addicted to the new high of anything that I’m interested in. And when I’m done, I’m completely done.

With age also comes the beauty in being less hurt by life. That when things do not go your way, it’s not panic-button worthy. And the things that are meant to be will always manifest themselves (repeatedly in some cases). I believe in ‘signs,’ if you will.

People come and go and return. In most cases, it doesn’t make any sense and for someone like me, I want to know why. But there’s never a reason. Making peace with that…that only comes with learning acceptance. And *ding* not being in control of everything.

I appreciate these moments more. Instead of being dismissive or distrustful, I choose to see the silver lining.

It’s a moment to reflect on what IS going right and to be more grateful for the things that have happened as if by chance and luck. It’s a choice in what you choose to focus your reflection upon. Pain or personal growth?

Perhaps familial health scares and my own fear of death (or let’s be honest – control of ANYTHING), make me more “So what, who cares” about life.

And that’s helped in relationship building, demolishing and reconstruction. When you see your own steadfastness emerge, you see how things in life aren’t SO delicate or precious. It all comes and goes in a blink of an eye – so just bravely face the day and go for what you want.

“Luck is where the crossroads of opportunity and preparation meet.” A quote allegedly by Seneca, a first-century Roman philosopher. Later appropriated & revised by Oprah. But the sentiment is true.

I think that there is a lot to be said for going through practice & preparation before you are then presented with the opportunity to act.

In many ways, I’m still learning every day. About myself. About others. About how to engage in the dance between the two.

Sanding down the rough edges, as it were. And happy for the experiences drifting in my life. And those that drift away. All the while having proverbial popcorn to enjoy the show, not knowing how it will end or the twists/turns in the story.

Getting older means being more forgiving toward one’s self in terms of trying to ‘be something.’ What if existing happily is enough of a lasting impression upon this planet? What if kindness is the most impressive feat you could accomplish while you were here?

What if the entire point of being here is to just soak it all in? And just nod in simple agreement.

I’m eager and excited for the crazy and winding path that lay ahead of me with brambles, exquisite vistas and delightful road warrior companions that join me as our narratives intertwine for however long they might. And being able to revel in the stories of others and just like a book, step into someone else’s experience and feel the emotional impact and be thankful for the sharing.

So here’s to 2013. Turning 30. Turning over new leafs. And turning pages as I continue writing my story. No rules for foolish hearts, as they say…

Photo courtesy James Pepper/Flickr.

A little wisdom.

Loving these two quotes by Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“Words are things. You must be careful, careful about calling people out of their names, using racial pejoratives and sexual pejoratives and all that ignorance. Don’t do that. Some day we’ll be able to measure the power of words. I think they are things. They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally in to you.”