Large energetic shifts cause the old compass to go kaput...
Decades of hard-developed coping and anchoring mechanisms no longer seem to work...
In the face of this near total eclipse of the heart, only one "unthinkable" option appears viable:
I felt like my idiocy knew no bounds. And yet still there I was, there BlueDorian was, persisting. But at some point, the voices, they started up again: Okay. I love you, you’re perfect, now change and go back to something safer. Be quieter. Stop believing you have something positive and worthwhile to offer to the world. Be what you were taught to be by your schools, your family: a small, quiet, obedient child-person. There is a “Chinese” (a hideously vague word when referring to the language, I know; I think in this case, but can’t be sure that, it’s Cantonese) word I heard a lot growing up and into my young adulthood. The way I heard it it was pronounced “kwai” (as in the bridge over the river). Transliterations in Chinese are odious, especially given the numerous dialects—in Mandarin I believe it would be “gui” (pronounced like “grey,” if you were a member of the British Royal Family; I’m kidding, it’s “gway”).
And, yes, ancient cultures are fascinating, but I’m not talking about ancient cultures. I’m talking about static belief systems that seek to keep people in their place by the systematic suppression of their creativity. Go fish.
Give up. Give up. Give up. You are small. What you’re doing will never be worthwhile. You will never be as big as we. We recruit people and make them ours and we own them. They become our servants, do our bidding, and their toil becomes our success. You will fail. You are a bad apple. A black sheep. And you are certainly not kwai. So those voices say. And before, it was the old compass that would guide me: Don’t worry about them, it would say. Be on your path, it would say. Not there now. I remember a lyric from a show I obsessed about as a young adult: “I raise my eyes to see the heavens, but only the moon looks down.” So it seems. And so as one more madman barks at the moon, the realization, this terrifying realization, starts to occur to me: you know what, maybe I'll just “be” the biggest fucking idiot I can be. Maybe I keep apologizing, keep being over-polite, keep dithering, keep worrying, keep doing every single one of those things, keep being laughed at for it all; anything, just don’t give up.
But to not go back is to choose from two options, neither of which I can now stomach. The first, as we’ve talked about, is to give up completely. Sell the farm. Or buy it, I suppose, in another manner of speaking. Just become small, as small small small as you can be. Hide from the world, hide from the universe, bury your head in the sand so much that you don’t notice when the weather changes. Then you stop feeling pain, you stop feeling anything. I’ve seen this. I know people who do this. And it’s tempting. But ultimately not for me.
The second option is a subtler, more pernicious version of the first one: to posture. Take all you feel and think and are aware of, any pain, any doubt… and go and do cross-fit until you are so buff they can’t help but think you’re hot. What? No, I’m not talking about personal alchemy, which is a beautiful process, but one that in my experience requires a compass; it’s when the compass is gone and you’re in the doldrums trying to rebuild it, that’s what I’m talking about.
Posturing is something I’ve never been able to do. You know those people who run marathons and casually drop into conversation at the first chance they get the fact that they just ran the Reykjavik marathon or whatever? (A friend of mine claims it’s “all” marathon runners, but I’m willing to give some the benefit of the doubt) In any case: posturing. If I’m so buff, so hot, so hip, so cool, so able to run twenty-six-miles-and- change so many times, then I can pretend to the world, and thus, hopefully, myself, that there’s nothing bothering me, that I don’t have doubt, have fear, have moments when I want to fly to San Francisco just so the bridge I jump off can be a beautiful one.
There is a chance this pattern may continue in future entries.
I acknowledge that this type of open exploration may offend some people. It is what it is. It is certainly not my intention to do so. But I’ve offended so many people in my life for so many reasons, all of which stem from me simply being who I am:
- to many in my country of origin I am too international, which really means "too Western," whatever that means;
- to other muslims (my father is muslim so I am one by birth) I’m more or less reprehensible for about a dozen reasons (mostly the bacon, though);
- to certain British schoolchildren in the 90s I was foreign, and had, like the other “pakis,” as we were collectively called, the wrong color skin;
- to certain members of my own family it was my mixed heritage, including Malay and European, that made me an undesirable in one way or another; in one instance I was more or less ordered to "marry a good Chinese girl" so as to cleanse the bloodlines and "swing the genes" in the right direction. That's a direct quote, and I was twenty four and in a long-term relationship with my would-be (and very much not Chinese) wife.
And this really is just the start. So I’m not sure if I’m super bothered by that kind of thing any more. Or rather, if it bothers you that I’m the way I am, you can feel free to carry that for yourself.
And that might just be what makes me sane.
So I will make it work.