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December 30, 2012

Another Foxtale

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 3:25 pm

I’m starting a little experimental writing project on Twitter, a “collaborative micro-memoir”. You can find it at: http://www.twitter.com/anotherfoxtale 

My goal is to write the story of my life: One tweet for each month I’ve been alive. I’ll begin tweeting on January 1st and aim to get up to realtime by my 31st birthday, April 16th, 2013. That’s 372 tweets — roughly a hundred tweets per month (or about two years a week). I’ll also incorporate tweets from other people who have memories of me. I’m pretty excited about it, and a little nervous, and I’d love to have you read and/or participate. 🙂

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December 12, 2012

Snippet: Dasein as Mit-Dasein

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 10:16 pm

6.27.10

MATTHEW: Remember back when we were 21 and trippin’ on Heidegger

ME: Oh yeah. For a while I’ve thought I needed to get back to that place. Like, maybe I see the world differently now than I did then because I’ve gotten complacent. But it’s like we were on drugs, really.

MATTHEW: YEAH. Well, actually, I was on drugs…Literally. I was taking acid like twice a week.

ME: I still like being in that state sometimes, though. It’s why I like falling in love. Because it feels like Heidegger Reading Group felt. Studying that kind of philosophy together felt as if we were falling in love with being. And now we’ve been in a longeterm relationship with being for a while, we’re kinda comfortable with it, we’re sitting around at home with being watching TV and occasionally bickering about grocery shopping. But there’s this deep foundation of passion and commitment there. And still those occasional moments of, “Oh fuck, yeah, I’m totally in love here.”

MATTHEW: Yeah.

ME: And, y’know, you think back on those acid trips you had as a kid, where you had these incredibly profound experiences and it felt like everything you were experiencing was way more real than real life. And, in this certain way, it was. In this certain way, you WERE tapping into something ultimate and profound that has an undeniable long-term impact on your life. But, in this other way, you were just trippin’.

This stuff we went through in college, this howling manic existential hurricane, this total immersion into a universe of pure abstract idea and meaning…like, it really had a fundamental REAL impact on who we are. But, also, we were just trippin’. And we don’t need to discount or devalue the significance of that to accept that we’ve also grown out of it and that “growing out of it” is also valuable. For the first time I’m in a place where…I get that my choices have meaning, but I also get that I don’t need to totally understand what all of that meaning is completely immediately. That I can just chill for maybe a couple of years and collect data and see how things play out.

And it may have been that exposure to those particular ideas in that context at that time in our lives didn’t make us “better” or “worse” people. It just set us on a path that’s distinct from kids who didn’t have those experiences. There’s ways in which that path is superior and other ways in which it’s inferior. I partly buy into this idea that there’s something really superior about cognitive simplicity — and you and I will never have access to that kind of simplicity because we see too many existential possibilities when we look at the world. But whatever it was, that experience, it marked us indelibly in a way that others who had the same experience can recognize.

And this is true for all kinds of experiences. I have this experience with other people who used to cut themselves, too. Yeah, we can argue about whether or not that was “good for me” for whatever reason, but I’m connected in a particular way to other people who did it. Maybe it’s just like a tribal thing. It marks you as part of a certain tribe. And THAT’s valuable.

. . .

If, as a child, you ever considered suicide because life seemed meaningless but chose not to do it because you fell in love (with anyone or anything, with any moment in time, with yourself or with the experience of being yourself); if you’ve ever contemplated self-annihilation on the basis of something as trivial as semantics but stayed your hand because that sunset was just so beautiful; then you are my brother, my sister, my lover, and you should come stay in my house and we will cook together, and we won’t say much and the things we do say will be mostly silly, but we will smile shyly at each other over the bread we’ve learned to bake together and we will sleep in each others’ arms. And, in the morning, or late the following afternoon, we will probably kiss each other and then go blow some shit up.

December 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 2:02 am

I was about to attach an addendum to that last post about how all these feelings are additionally influenced by a fear that I made all this shit up and somehow manipulated a bunch of other people into believing it…but then I realized: I didn’t. That’s ridiculous:

a) I’m very persuasive, but I don’t have magic brainwashing powers and my friends are intelligent critical thinkers with agency around their own belief systems. If other people can see what I’m seeing, that’s confirmation that it’s there.

b) I’m right about this shit.

I feel more able and willing to trust my own experience of reality than I did a year ago, or even a month ago. Hm.

Corrolary: Sensitivity

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 1:18 am

A few years ago, I wrote a post called “Sensitivity” in which I argued that “There is no such thing as being oversensitive. When a person or population is described as “oversensitive,” what is actually being described is an imbalance of sensitivity” i.e. that the burden of perspicacity required to solve a particular problem is being distributed unevenly.

I closed this post in my typically emphatic motivational-speakery style:

Sensitivity is not itself a problem. It points problems out. You’ll find, if you think someone is being too sensitive, that the way to get them to be less sensitive is probably not to harden your heart further and close your eyes tighter, but for you to be more sensitive about what’s going on.

You probably still won’t be able to come close to being as sensitive as they are – not for a long time, anyway. But you can take some of that burden off their shoulders and share it around a little more equally. If you take the trouble to be a little more sensitive, they can relax and be a little less sensitive, because they can count on you to be looking out for them as well.

And this was all very well and good in terms of abstract theories about allyship, and I wrote the post, and I posted it, and I carried on about my life thinking, “Great! I said a thing on the Internet. A pretty reasonable-sounding thing, too. Right, then.” *dusts off hands on pants*

But then this thing — this thing where other people start noticing things in a way that takes on some of the burden of your hypersensitivity and insodoing cuts you a break — it went and happened to me. And wow does that feel…like a lot of things.

There are certain things about the intersection of BDSM, mental health, consent, and oppression culture that I’m particularly sensitive to. To put it in extremely oversimplified terms, this hypersensitivity fucks up my sex life six ways from Sunday. I was afraid to talk about it for a long time and didn’t even know how. Then, tentatively and stumblingly, I started to try. And then, magically, somehow, some of the people in my life started to listen. And notice more things on their own. And talk to other people about it. And suddenly I wasn’t the only person in my universe clocking these tropes and feeling insane for crying in bed because of them.

And, lo and behold, having some of that pressure lifted meant my sex life gradually started to get better. I started to feel more comfortable in my body, have more orgasms, feel more capable of connecting with my partners in ways that felt safe and hot to me, become more able to navigate emotionally tricky cultural contexts without getting as triggered, and feel sort of, like, hopeful. In short, things got a little easier for me.

But the mechanism by which they got easier for me was, in some ways, by getting harder or more complicated for other people than they were before. People I love. That feels…so…heavy.

Even if these shifts in awareness weren’t for my sake. Even if they are ultimately beneficial for and authentic to the people doing the shifting. Regardless of whether the people who are experiencing them are even aware of the positive impact their extra work is having on my life. (And I suspect that several of them aren’t, although I think and hope that at least a couple of them know.) There’s some way in which I still feel responsible. Like, it was my job to carry this particular weight and I totally could have, should have, handled it on my own and kept it to myself. Now, good people who were already dealing with plenty of other shit are dealing with this shit, too. And I get to have a slightly better time because of it?

I try to remind myself that this isn’t a zero-sum game and that “many hands make light work.” I know the idea that I don’t deserve to have other people have my back is an artifact of internalized-oppression. And that it’s not like the tables have dramatically turned; it’s still easier for them than it is for me, it’s just harder than it was before. But I think this is an emotional experience within the context of allyship that’s seldom written about and it’s an important one.

In short: That watching your intimates divest of privileges you’ve never had feels fucking complex — because, on the one hand, it feels like a blessing to have people you love come into solidarity with you. Yet you know how hard it can be to live without those privileges — and these are people you love. So, I feel sad and scared for them. And happy and excited for them. And grateful. And weird about feeling grateful. And guilty. And mixed up about feeling guilty. And, in moments I feel a little bit resentful like, “Yeah. See? This thing you’re feeling now that feels like the end of the world? That’s what my whole life feels like.” But also proud. And nervous. (Is it real? Will it stick?) And lucky. And loved. And, wow, all the things. Big. Complicated. Yeah.

December 6, 2012

Encapsulated.

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 1:28 am

Hi there, Internet.

I thought maybe we could just hang out for a while. I’ve posted a lot of stuff lately about the deep inner workings of my mind and soul but not very much about just, y’know, what I’m up to. But I’m chilling on the couch in my house in Las Cruces and I’m feeling kinda chatty, so I thought I’d come say Hi.

So, yeah. I’m living in New Mexico. With Dakota, my partner of about two years. They’re sitting beside me on the couch right now, toiling over PhD school applications and putting finishing touches on their CV. We’ll be in New Mexico for a few more months while they finish up a Master’s degree at NMSU, and then we’ll be moving — but we don’t know where yet. It will depend on where they get into school. I think the uncertainty is a little stressful for them, but it’s pretty exciting for me. Both the moving itself, and the part where I get to move somewhere with them. Possibilities that are high on the list include: Canada, California, and middle of nowhere Indiana.

I’ve been down here in the desert since August — although I’d been visiting on-and-off since Kota moved down here to start school last year. I originally planned just to come for a semester and then return to Boulder in the Spring, but circumstances changed such that I’ve decided not to go back. To wit: I’ve always had a “like/hate” relationship with Boulder; it’s pretty and close to the mountains and has good public transit and there are lots of interesting things to do there for free if you can motivate yourself to get out of the house, but it’s also expensive and bougie and a cultural bubble and I’d been there since I was 12, so I often felt overwhelmed by the density of personal history and by the sheer number of cool people I knew and never had time to have coffee with. (There are a couple of people there who are really key parts of my intimate network and I do miss them a lot. But most of the people I’m closest to had moved away before I did. Many of them to the Bay Area and close by each other, conveniently enough.)

Still, I’d been wanting to get out Boulder for years, wanting to get at least as far away as Denver, but I’d stayed for a relationship and a job, both of which recently ended. Well, for some definition of “ended”. August and I had been together since we were teenagers and, in some ways, I imagine we’ll always be a part of each others’ lives. But we’d also been together since we were teenagers; he’s never really been on his own in his whole adult life. That’s something that felt important to him to experience if he’s ever going to figure out what he wants to do with the rest of that life and…it’s much more complicated than that, of course. But that’s the shortest possible version of a very long story.

As for the job, that has definitely ended. I worked with these folks on-and-off for a little over ten years, usually when I wasn’t working on the Ice. The job had it’s good sides and its bad sides, but I had an major falling out with my former boss after I filed a claim for Unemployment that painted her in a pretty unflattering light. I’ll be surprised if we ever communicate again. That was kind of a punch to the gut, although possibly one I deserved. I handled the situation badly and wish I’d done some things differently in retrospect. But, although I still feel bad about it, that may be a bridge it was best to have burned. That, also, is complicated.

So, now I’m here. I just got back from about a month of traveling on the East Coast. I went to give a talk on metamour relationships at a conference called Transcending Boundaries. Then I spent a few weeks traveling with Maymay. That’s another thing that happened to me in the past year: I met and fell for a boy named Maymay. The nature of our relationship is sort of inherently kaleidoscopic and illegible, which means that when I try to describe it, my words come out…well, sort of kaleidoscopic and illegible. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I love him and that’s been a pretty steady state since not long after he showed up in my life, so I pretty much just go with that. So, we dodged a hurricane in New England (but got caught in a snowstorm in Rhode Island), stayed up all night in New York, and eventually ended up in Baltimore for Thanksgiving.

I’m probably supposed to say something here about what I’m doing for money, because that’s what “what I’m doing” is supposed to mean. The short answer is: Not much.

I’ve maintained the no-contact separation between myself and mom for almost a year now. I’ve been continuing to see a therapist, when I can afford her, to work on stuff related to that. I’ve been putting energy into rebuilding connections with the other people in my family. I’ve been trying to habituate myself to regular exercise, meditation, journaling and other things that are good for my brain — although I’ve fallen off the wagon a little bit since my trip East. Traveling is tough on routine. Generally speaking, though, I’m in pretty good shape. I had another goal of trying to bring more awareness to my spending and my financial situation in general, but I haven’t done so well with that.

I have been teaching myself to cook, with Dakota’s help. That’s been fun. Tonight I made pasta with veggie-licious red sauce from scratch. (Just the sauce from scratch, not the pasta.) Simple, but I still felt good about it. I’ve also been teaching myself more about the Tarot. And I’ve been spending a shitload of time on Twitter. Generally speaking, though, I feel like my relationship to the Internet right now is the best it’s been in years — in that I’m interacting with it pretty regularly, but don’t feel psychologically overwhelmed or like I can’t make decisions about those interactions thoughtfully, and I’m getting things out of it that I enjoy. For the most part. Some days are better than others. My panic attacks seem to have subsided a lot, which I worry a little bit about stating outloud because I don’t want to jinx it. But, even if that’s only temporary, it’s nice. And I’m slowly starting to feel more connected to my body and capable of coping with some sex-related things that I’ve been struggling with for a long time. So, that’s nice too.

I’m reading a book called Waking the Tiger, which is about somatic trauma and methods of recovery. Mel Li, my massage therapist friend from Antarctica, recommended it to me a million years ago, and I just borrowed a copy from a different friend recently. I also started reading Mark Twain’s Roughing It, but I haven’t been making time to read books a priority, so I’m not very far into it. I have been writing a lot. But, to be fair, I’m always writing a lot. I like what I’ve been writing lately, though, both publicly and privately.

I’ve sort of decided that I want to make comic books when I grow up. We’ll see if that happens.

December 5, 2012

The Heaviest Moment

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 11:01 am

The Time: June 27th, 2010

The Place: In my car, driving alone from somewhere to somewhere else. The phone rings.

* ring ring *

* click *

ME: Matthew Guzzo.

MATTHEW: Rebecca. You might get this thing, ’cause you’re kind of a vagabond: I’m pot-committed in all of these places now. You understand what I mean? I own this house in a place that’s like a million miles away from me. I’m in the Navy. I’m going out on this ship. I’m working here. I’m teaching all these young kids; I’m like the guru now. I have this ongoing conversation with this mathematics professor where we go exploring and bring each other back treasures. I have this longterm relationship with this philosopher in fuckin’ Scotland. I’m connected to this crazy intellectual mystic in Poland who’s like my soulmate. I have a wife and a son. And a horse. Life is so dense.

ME: Yeah. I was just crying about this the other day, actually.

MATTHEW: And your mom says, “Why don’t you just come home, son?” And you’re like, “I CAME home, Mom. But I can’t stay here. I can’t live here.”

ME: That’s the problem. For them ‘home’ is this one place. They don’t understand that everytime you come home, you have to LEAVE home to get there. It’s constant heartbreak. And the worst part is that it’s a choice. It’s not like you’re being exiled. It’s not like you’re being dragged. Everytime you choose to go home because you miss it so bad, you’re choosing to leave home too, you’re choosing to leave people you love. You’re the one breaking your own heart. All the time.

MATTHEW: Oof. Yeah. What you just said. That’s the heaviest moment of our whole conversation.

. . .

The more we love, the more we have to deal with loss.

The more we love, the more we have to deal with loss.

The more loss we can deal with, the more we get to love.

The more loss we can deal with, the more we get to love.

December 1, 2012

In Which I Foreshadow a Larger Work

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 11:43 am

sadbunny

I have this old friend from college who’s a real animal lover. She also likes to eat meat. The way she resolves this contradiction within herself — as many people do, I’m sure — is by pretending that meat doesn’t come from animals. She’s happy to chow down on some delicious ribs or a turkey sandwich as long as you don’t remind her that what she’s eating used to be an adorable living thing.

I love my friend. I think she’s very sweet and a better person than me in many regards. But, I’ll be honest, I find this “chicken strips grow on trees” mentality patently ridiculous. If you can’t stomach the idea of killing a conscious being for food, or that you’re paying someone else to kill one for you, don’t eat meat.

This doesn’t mean that nobody should eat meatI eat meat pretty much every chance I get. If that’s a kind of food you need to feel happy and healthy, go for it. If it’s too hard to figure out how to survive on a vegetarian diet or more expensive than you can afford, I get that, too. Maybe you feel like eating meat is an inescapable and important part of the human experience. Fine. We grow up in a meat-eating culture, after all.

But in that case, let’s do the decent thing and let’s do it together when we can: Before we bite into that juicy, mouthwatering double-bacon cheeseburger, let’s bite the bullet and spare a thought for the creatures that have died so we could live.

#BDSM #analogies

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