Am I who I am or where I belong?

One wonders why this craving, longing, for identification exists. One can understand the identification with one’s physical needs – the necessary things, clothes, food, shelter and so on. But inwardly, inside the skin as it were, we try to identify ourselves with the past, with tradition, with some fanciful romantic image, a symbol much cherished. And surely in this identification there is a sense of security, safety, a sense of being owned and of possessing. This gives great comfort. One takes comfort, security, in any form of illusion. And man apparently needs many illusions. In the distance there is the hoot of an owl and there is a deep-throated reply from the other side of the valley. It is still dawn. The noise of the day has not begun and everything is quiet. There is something strange and holy where the sun arises. There is a prayer, a chant to the dawn, to that strange quiet light. That early morning, the light was subdued, there was no breeze and all the vegetation, the trees, the bushes, were quiet, still, waiting. Waiting for the sun to arise. And perhaps the sun would not come up for another half hour or so, and the dawn was slowly covering the earth with a strange stillness. Gradually, slowly, the topmost mountain was getting brighter and the sun was touching it, golden, clear, and the snow was pure, untouched by the light of day. As you climbed, leaving the little village paths down below, the noise of the earth, the crickets, the quails and other birds began their morning song, their chant, their rich worship of the day. And as the sun arose you were part of that light and had left behind everything that thought had put together. You completely forgot yourself. The psyche was empty of its struggles and its pains. And as you walked, climbed, there was no sense of separateness, no sense of being even a human being.

– Krishnamurti to Himself Ojai California Tuesday 10th March, 1983

It’s easy to confuse having a strong sense of self to the comfort of a well-established social identity. Personally, I have been grappling with this dilemma in my head. It began with reading some scientific research-based book on what it takes to succeed at dating and get into a relationship. This is something that has been on my mind a lot as my family begins to pressure me to take my personal life more seriously, and some of my best friends sign up for holy matrimony, even while others are in long-term, stable relationships.

Turns out that in the early days of courtship, once you identify your prey (that’s the language these books use :/ ), you need to showcase what you bring to the table. No sooner that I count my virtues (which include loyalty, friendliness, independence), another article tells me that there is no reason to think that these are flaunt-worthy. Apparently, this is doing the bare minimum, and any attempt at making them out to be more than that, is simply going to seem unattractive and entitled.

I’m caught between a rock and a hard place here. So, I start to wonder if my social identity is worth anything – but thanks to my peripatetic childhood, that extended a little into adulthood as well, and my parents relatively unconventional choices of lifestyle and community, I have always felt like an outsider. I have embraced it thus far, because it has given me a unique perspective into things, but apparently, when it comes to dating, people seek out the familiar.

I’m really lost here, as you can see. I think of public figures like Oprah and Obama who have struggled with their own sense of identity, carving something out for themselves, and I wonder how I am going to figure this one out in the coming months… Or if it is worth figuring out at all?

 

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I’m scared, honey.

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I still believe.

In the recesses of my heart, there is no doubt.

In my mind, I do not question it anymore.

It is a reality, and I am in acceptance.

However, it is here that I cleave.

To pursue dreams that were long before you were sought.

To become the person I always was at my core.

How these paths may converge, I can only sense.

Against destiny, I have no defense.

Violent, twisted, forceful love.

Love, for me, is an extremely violent act. Love is not “I love you all.” Love means I pick out something, and it’s, again,this structure of  imbalance. Even if this something is just a small detail… a fragile individual person… I say “I love you more than anything else.” In this quite formal sense, love is evil.

Ah, Zizek. In my naivete, I rejected your theories. Today, I willingly reconsider my stance.

Whenever I speak or write on romantic love, I seldom feel like I’m on steady ground.

Romantic love is widely, well, romanticized. It is portrayed as beautiful, soulful, inspiring, touching, calming, capable of inducing joy. It’s worth the jump, they say.

Consider this: you are wise enough to know your vices. You have found beauty in another. You wish them happiness, and feel like you have a shot at channeling unconditional love. This is the metaphorical flower which you must not pluck, if you wish to see it’s beauty continue into eternity. Yet, you do. It’s a selfish act. You draw someone out into their most vulnerable states, and expose them to your darkest, ugliest sides. And what is more, you insist that they love you the better for it.

How is this not violent? – Zizek says it is to the rest of the world; I say it is violent to the victim of your choice. How is this not as bad a manipulative tactic used in war?

I’m not saying I don’t believe in seeking love in romantic relationships. I am merely suggesting that we stop lying to ourselves. Love is ugly, messy, gut-wrenching, selfish, violent, despicable, deceiving. ‘Bad Romance’ is redundant copy. Romance never had a shot at being describe with a positive adjective.

Girl seeking home.

I have led a rather peripatetic life, thus far. And it has been accompanied by a lot of personal upheavals too, you might say. I sometimes feel home-less. Don’t get me wrong, I have a roof over my head, and a warm bed to sleep in, with access to good, home-cooked meals. But homes are supposed to be more than that – they are the place you can drop your anchor in, return to on a whim, even after a prodigal adventure, expecting to not be judged – that’s the sort of home I’m talking about. Where you can reflect on your story, and feel safe in, emotionally and physically. I can’t put a finger on where I felt it, perhaps it was an ephemeral time in the past and I no longer have access to it, but I miss it. Nay, I crave it. My heart yearns for it in my every breathing moment. To be shown that I have a home, would a glimmer of hope. It would quieten my inner chatter, and allow me to realign myself to ‘point north’ once again.

These days, I’m trying to build my own hearth. I bought myself a comfortable bed, and a cupboard to put my stray things in place. I have a bunch of friends I can call and talk to, but the only constant I have is myself – my sometimes-arrhythmic breathing, my quirks and idiosyncrasies that I wryly see right through, my body that if perpetually asking to be paid attention to, to be taken care of. I wouldn’t mind catching a break…

Lachesism: Finding a word that fits.

A hunger for chaos. Patiently anticipating a meltdown. Something to give you clarity about what the world really is when it is tested by fire, and who you really are in such a state of affairs.

The reason I love words and reading them so voraciously is so I may stumble upon a hint, an explanation, a sign of shared perspective and similar inner worlds. Sometimes I find myself wishing for harmony to be done away with, to be stripped naked, to be confronted by the climax that ‘ought’ to happen, so there can be a face-off, a revelation of secrets, a submission, an admission, a certain moment of vulnerability and intensity neither of which can persist without co-existence.

There’s a word, and therefore there is a validation for the undercurrents of my soul. It is shared, I’m no alien or uncommon martyr or idiosyncratic eccentric or ill-tongued demon to reap this product of my tumultuous emotions. It is human, as it is shared.

Value#2: (Sex) Positively Sensual

After much thought and many doubts and some aha! moments, I struck upon my 2nd value. Something that means a LOT to me.

Before I go into it, I wanted to write about why I am trying to define my values. Values, as I understand, are important for a sense of identity and confidence. My values are rather broad and basic, and aren’t too restrictive, because for me, identity is rather fluid. It changes over time, and it should be allowed to – in the self as well as another.

So what do I mean by being (Sex) Positively Sensual? Much of our identity is tied to gender and intergender dynamics, given how we are all born out of the coming together of the masculine and feminine, whether in spirituality or sexuality. These polarities, often cause some level of conflict in our lives, our sense of identity, and our approach to the world.

I choose to be someone who acknowledges the importance of sex and sexuality in the shaping of these realms of our psyche. I choose to be someone who talks about it, especially the sensuality that comes along with it. No matter what, we all live in the physical world, and the physical experience matters extremely, as nothing comes close to ‘reality’ better than the physical. Or so I believe. The sensory experience of the physical world is a very surreal form of pleasure, that is key to creating memories and registering experience, in my humble opinion.

Sex and sexuality requires open communication. It requires debate and dialogue. It is in dire need of building trust and openness. If someone avoids complimenting another, or does not believe in the mutuality of pleasure in a sexual/sensual transaction, then I feel personally disappointed for them, for I believe in its necessity for the human experience.

 

Here’s the first post about my values: on Community.

A partner in grief.

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I have made myself an open wound to grief. I allow it to quietly settle into the recesses of my heart.

Its tentacles spread out in directions countless, frozen – it binds everything that it touches.

I nurse it, for I am addicted. Within its blue knot, there’s an orange fire secure.

That’s where the embers glow amid dead coal.

In that deep pit, my sturdy soul.