modmyth

Coming Out: Confessionals

213 posts in this topic

So I've spent the last 8-9 years in relative isolation, and my whole life either consciously and deliberately hiding aspects of myself (don't we all?). I find that I've turned from being naturally a very open and sociable person as as a child into someone who lives in a very insular way.

This does not fit in with my life purpose anymore. I have to figure out a way to share, communicate properly, and to move people. To figure out what it is that I have in me that other people need and find of value. I find myself stuck at times, and moving far slower than care for, thinking about and fixating on stuff that I know really doesn't matter in the long run. Mostly because there is this sense of guardedness which isn't dissolving without giving myself that forceful push.

Everyday (or as semi-regularly as I can manage to post something relevant), I'm going to be posting or writing about something which I typically hide from others in my "normal" life. Some of these things I've been hiding for YEARS and YEARS. Some of it's major. Some of it might be a bit trivial, but probably has some significance in the greater scheme of things/ my life. Sometimes it's going to be some details about the way I think and process experience/ information, and sometimes it will just be details about my life, as it's been. 

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A First Memory: My first coherent, solid memory was around the ages of 4-5, after I had recently moved. I had the most overwhelmingly and absolute sense of clarity, and this knowledge of who I am as a soul. This feeling of being absolutely illuminated. My physical vision was... different. And in general, it is still. I was acutely aware of each particle as being of light, infinitely uncountable, and a point of perspective in itself. That each particle of light is aware in a way, is capable of being self aware, that my consciousness is naturally merged and inseparable from it.

There was this sense that each particle of light was looking at me, and I was looking at it. Separate, but completely unified.

And my first actual thought in words was, "I'm going to know everything". In the years that came to pass, I would think about it very occasionally (and wonder, what does everything even mean?? I feel like I still absolutely know, but then I don't.). Mostly though, I pushed it out of my mind, like the rest of my childhood.

I've spent most of my early life trying to forget myself. Dissociation.

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I find a lot of similarities in your experience. I was extremely outgoing and creative as a child and somewhere along the way due to traumas/social conditioning ect. I lost a lot of that in my ability to be open with other people. With my close friends I still kept it, but over time as those friends disappeared from my life it got harder to have that openness and free flow with others. Now I am on a journey to recapture all of that charisma I had and lose all the fear in expressing it. Also trying to find that clear value I can give others as my gift in a way I can autonomously control. I appreciate your journaling here, I think it will be a healthy way of understanding yourself more deeply and will positively affect others who can relate. :D


"Started from the bottom and I just realized I'm still there since the money and the fame is an illusion" -Drake doing self-inquiry

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9 hours ago, TrynaBeTurquoise said:

I find a lot of similarities in your experience. I was extremely outgoing and creative as a child and somewhere along the way due to traumas/social conditioning ect. I lost a lot of that in my ability to be open with other people. With my close friends I still kept it, but over time as those friends disappeared from my life it got harder to have that openness and free flow with others. Now I am on a journey to recapture all of that charisma I had and lose all the fear in expressing it. Also trying to find that clear value I can give others as my gift in a way I can autonomously control. I appreciate your journaling here, I think it will be a healthy way of understanding yourself more deeply and will positively affect others who can relate. :D

Thanks for the feedback. ^_^ Your sharing makes me curious about your story, and what exactly your ideal self looks like. Do you feel like you have a really clear idea of what it is you're returning to?

It's the hardest thing, isn't it... getting back that sense of something lost.

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17 hours ago, modmyth said:

Thanks for the feedback. ^_^ Your sharing makes me curious about your story, and what exactly your ideal self looks like. Do you feel like you have a really clear idea of what it is you're returning to?

It's the hardest thing, isn't it... getting back that sense of something lost.

Yes indeed, when I was a child I was pretty fearless, I would always express myself creatively, a lot of the time being the center of attention during class, but not because I wanted to be that, I would just try to be funny because I enjoyed making people laugh and other kids were more closed off. But over time I started not expressing myself openly, mainly because I was raised in a cult religion (jehovahs witnesses) and I wasn't allowed to make friends with people from my school. And the older I got the more problems this created, I felt like a loner at school, all I had were my other friends from the religion that I could only see on the weekends (Im an only child, no siblings). I left the religion around 3 years ago now, have had a lot of growth since. My mom and I were the only family I have that left. So now I am cut off from the majority of my family. Despite this unpleasant reality, I am grateful that I woke up and left. But still during my adolescence I picked up social anxieties. Ive conquered a lot of them now but I'm still trying to get back to that carefree state I was at where it was so easy to make new friends and not be closed off to new people. 


"Started from the bottom and I just realized I'm still there since the money and the fame is an illusion" -Drake doing self-inquiry

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The Search for Truth: When I was about 7 or so, the search for truth hit me in a big way. My intrinsic desire to "know everything" resulted in me reading everything that I could find. Everything that I could find that interested in my dad's library, everything I that interested me. A lot of history and literature. Big tomes full of it. Science. Novels, especially classic speculative sci-fi, like Issac Asimov.  Religious texts (it's worth noting that I come from a secular background). I was absolutely determined to find the truth in it, or the lack of it.

I got the sense very early on that my parents did not like excessive questions, although I had many, being naturally very very curious. Instead, I felt that I was mostly left to my own devices to ask questions and draw my own conclusions. Some combination of reasoning and intuition since a very young age. Like a sort of... truth compass. So I just watched and watched, and let people talk. I kept my true thoughts and feelings to myself; no one asked anyway.

I was extremely aware, and I overwhelmingly got the sense since I was that age, that if I was to be as I truly was, I would be a massive inconvenience..to my parents. To my teachers. That I probably wouldn't have any friends either. And friends was what I wanted. I did not like feeling isolated, so different or "special". I was hyper socially conscious even at that age. Be one person when I'm by myself, and be another person around your parents and your teachers. No one had to tell me how to act or reprimand me. I picked up social cues very easily. And I also felt that I should, with whatever awareness I possessed, do the benevolent/ proper thing and mold myself to their expectations and desires, since I felt and knew I was capable.  It's the strangest thing typing this; I felt like I had to take care of them, rather than the other way around. In retrospect, my dad said that I was so good as a child, that sometimes it was if he forgot I was there. It really hurt hearing that some years back, because I was hoping that if I was good enough and waited, I would be noticed.

 

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I was prodigious in a number many ways, but for years I would have denied it adamantly. Like, I was never a human calculator. I didn't look at a piano and then was suddenly able to play it. There's nothing to see here folks, move along. Anything that I wanted to be good at, I was (with the exception of athletics; my parents didn't think it was very important. You got to suck at something, I guess xD). More importantly, anything that I wanted to be good at, I felt like I was capable of it, and that I should be able to do it. I have heard some say that this is intrinsic to childhood,  before someone teaches us what we are/ aren't capable of. I'm optimistic at heart about it; I'd like to believe it's true. That everyone should be able to master/ learn anything that they truly want to, without dealing with the sense of limitations that comes from socialization.

 

Other examples of prodigiousness, or just general weird behaviour that I would have not thought about as a big deal until I became aware of it, or somebody made a big deal (this rarely happened though):

1) READING: Taught myself how to read at around the age of 2-3 according to my parents. Apparently I was very articulate even then, and it was a bit freaky. I have no memory of this, so it didn't shape my sense of self much growing up. When I do remember reading though, I was reading in visual blocks, like alinearly, not sentence by sentence most of the time, or word by word. But my line of sight (along with my thoughts) allows me to move around a whole paragraph or a whole page, making me able to both read much quicker and process the contents quicker as well. Honestly, it depends on the "information density" of what I'm dealing with, this effects my strategy.. tends to arise spontaneously.

3) MUSIC: Taught myself how to play keyboard as a young child, because I begged my parents for one. I begged my parents for a piano. I never got it. They thought it was going to be just another one of my passing whims, and then I was going to get bored of it in a couple months, then they would be stuck with this expensive instrument taking up space. I wouldn't say that I was extraordinarily skilled, but then I thought I was supposed to be able to teach myself without being taught or helped by anyone, or else it "didn't count". At around 11-12, I found my brother's music software, and starting writing songs and experimenting with the placement of notes in Cakewalk (which at the time was mainly a notation software?), both in terms of how it sounded and how it looked visually. In retrospect, it seems like I was experimenting with tonality/ atonality, different note lengths, overlapping notes/ intervals, etc. It seems like I was looking for something that was pleasing to me... or had some kind of resonance. Sometimes I would get frustrated easily when I couldn't get it to sound how I wanted it. I wish I had that stuff still, even if it sounds like shit in retrospect.

5) Was very good at math, but not extraordinarily so, imo. A few people who knew me in elementary school remember this about me; like I was some kind of math wizard. I didn't find it very interesting, as it was presented.

6) SPIRITUALITY, up until the age of about 12-13: The interest in understanding or questioning spirituality started at around 7, with the focus on religious/ institutional spirituality, since that was what was most obviously available. As soon as I learned what meditation was, at around the age of 10 or so. I just knew what it was, like I felt that somehow I knew everything that there was to know about it, in the sort of way that I can be certain about having the experience of seeing my hand, or having a certain feeling or having thought. It's just there.  Unlike some of my friends who were psychically/ energetically attuned as children, I did not experience a lot of phenomenon or feel like I had many visitors; I was not particularly psychically gifted then. Mostly I was able to focus on the task at hand. Puberty shook this up completely.

7) Hyper sensitivity and excitability is something that often goes along with "giftedness", emotional, sensory, and intellectual. (You might be able to add energetic sensitivity to that list as well, as a category that is distinct but not necessarily separate... why not). It gave me the drive and the mental speed in my quest for knowledge, but at times it made it impossible for me to move too.  Along with the feeling that I can do absolutely anything, there is a tendency towards a crippling sense of perfectionism and sensitivity to criticism from others, especially parental.

 

Around this age of 7, I knew what I was doing, the way I was thinking and feeling, my awareness and my drive, was absolutely not normal. I felt freakish and incredibly isolated deep down, married with that sense of absolute certainty. I would have these crushing existential crises from a young age, and no one to talk to it about, the fear of being absolutely isolated from everyone and everything at times, and this ... fear of my own inability to conceptualize infinity. Not sure how else to describe it.

The only thing to really do about it then was to be swallowed whole by it, or to turn away, run away. Pretend that I didn't see it. Pretend that I was never there. Erase my past, in retrospect.

 

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This is my vision for humanity. For everyone, the best possible, the most pure, the most unified version of themselves. Whatever it is that you want, in awareness, in knowledge, in being able to create whatever you want artistically and intellectually.

Infinite vision (or perspective itself). Unlimited knowledge. Unlimited expression, in depth and in scope. Absolute embodiment.

What I am does not need to negate you. Why should it?

This is not a zero-sum game. It wasn't then, and it's not now. And anyway, I think I've aged of former smartypants status, which is something I've been looking forward to, honestly. :/ It's only what I accomplish now that matters, right?

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2 hours ago, TrynaBeTurquoise said:

Yes indeed, when I was a child I was pretty fearless, I would always express myself creatively, a lot of the time being the center of attention during class, but not because I wanted to be that, I would just try to be funny because I enjoyed making people laugh and other kids were more closed off. But over time I started not expressing myself openly, mainly because I was raised in a cult religion (jehovahs witnesses) and I wasn't allowed to make friends with people from my school. And the older I got the more problems this created, I felt like a loner at school, all I had were my other friends from the religion that I could only see on the weekends (Im an only child, no siblings). I left the religion around 3 years ago now, have had a lot of growth since. My mom and I were the only family I have that left. So now I am cut off from the majority of my family. Despite this unpleasant reality, I am grateful that I woke up and left. But still during my adolescence I picked up social anxieties. Ive conquered a lot of them now but I'm still trying to get back to that carefree state I was at where it was so easy to make new friends and not be closed off to new people. 

I've known some people who have left this sort of hyperreligious background, and have also found it profoundly isolating. I actually don't know much about the Jehovah's Witnesses, like what their actual doctrines are, despite being visited by them and actually listening to them at the time. Mostly they would just chat with me and leave their literature with me... which I would skim through.

How are you managing without your family at the moment, despite it being challenging emotionally? Like what is your level of isolation?  Do you have good friends/ a good friend group, or are you still looking?

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18 hours ago, modmyth said:

I've known some people who have left this sort of hyperreligious background, and have also found it profoundly isolating. I actually don't know much about the Jehovah's Witnesses, like what their actual doctrines are, despite being visited by them and actually listening to them at the time. Mostly they would just chat with me and leave their literature with me... which I would skim through.

How are you managing without your family at the moment, despite it being challenging emotionally? Like what is your level of isolation?  Do you have good friends/ a good friend group, or are you still looking?

Even though most of my family (father, aunt's, uncles, cousins) are witnesses and I can't have normal relationships with them anymore (not because I dont want, but they are dissuaded from having close relationships with even family members that arent active church participants) I still have a great relationship with my girlfriend of 2 years who I live with and my mom who left the religion with me, even though she lives across the country. I have a few people at work I am close to which is also gives me happiness. Right now my main goal is narrowing down the specifics of my life purpose and becoming financially independent, which is hard right now because I'm a college student. I don't really have a friend group now, tbh I dont think it serves me at the moment, I am investing that potential free time with friends to personal growth, but its something I want down the line for sure. I want to find like minded people who arent "stuck in the matrix" lol. 

Edited by TrynaBeTurquoise

"Started from the bottom and I just realized I'm still there since the money and the fame is an illusion" -Drake doing self-inquiry

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Also around the around the age of 8+, there's been this feeling like my ship has sailed; I'm so weird in such a specific way that no one's gonna love me, let alone understand me. I'm gonna end up with a thousand pet rabbits instead.

There's been this haunting feeling like my whole childhood and youth was defined by this emotional barrenness and sense of absence. That there seemed to be a hole in the shape of someone... and I am making sense of myself, in relation to myself alone, in the way that I am absent. It was a hazy feeling. I was never sure if I was waiting for some specific, or if I was just waiting for someone who was shaped enough like what I imagined/felt to fill the hole. I had no hope though.

I remember playing M.A.S.H as a kid, one of those fortune telling games, and thinking yea. No kids.  Pretty sure I'm gonna marry no one.

The few people I've shared this with before... I expected them to laugh, they never do. I guess I'm the only person who still finds it funny in an absurd way.

It's good to be able to laugh at yourself.

 

...The next few things I post have to be less of a sob story.

Edited by modmyth

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Something less serious, but from a time period that I immediately dissociated from, after I could start choosing my own music to listen to (as opposed to whatever was on the radio and whatever my friends happened to be listening to) around about 14 or so. Then it was mostly metal and trip hop. I was influenced by my brother's taste in electronic music/ trance at the time as well, but I had already been for a couple years already. I had the good fortune to discover Massive Attack at that age, while flipping through the TV channels. It was pleasure and confusion; a shock to the nervous system. I heard this song and I was hooked.

 

But before that there was the early 00s/ late 90s...

The Elder Millennial Playlist: Thanks Iliza Shlesinger, this is painfully period accurate for the most part, unlike some of the other playlists I've seen. I'm not sure why there is Little Earthquakes era Tori Amos, wasn't that the early 90s? I would add some other songs there like...

Anything by the Cranberries. Jewel. Loreena Mckennit - the Mummer's Dance, The Cardigans - Lovefool, Donna Lewis - I Love You. Stuff by Nobuo Uematsu in general, particularly from FFIII. Faye Wong, cause I'm Asian, and she was really influential in the Canto/mandopop scene in the 90s. Her Cantonese version of the Cranberries - Dreams was everywhere. Also, she was the voice of Eyes on Me, which was in FFVIII.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6orWsx197Y45VFuObfqBsn?si=4keoTNS8RD2fhGazTyEeYg

 

I hated it at the time: New Found Glory.  That Blue song by Eiffel 65.

More annoying in retrospect: Vanessa Carlton - A Thousand Miles (her voice, that piano roll at the beginning)

Less annoying in retrospect: Nelly Furtado's voice. The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony (my brother played this song WAY too much)

Of Sentimental Value: New Radicals - You Get What You Give (+positive message), Third Eye Blind - Semi-Charmed Life. anything from ATB - Movin' Melodies  (in retrospect, I think my emotional attachment to some of these songs is largely dependent on the time period, that I hadn't checked out yet). Savage Garden, the first album only.   

Stuff I like nonironically as as adult: Savage Garden. Ace of Base. Olive - You're Not Alone. The Bloodhound Gang - The Bad Touch (catchy AF... I have no regrets),

Makes me laugh as an adult: Toni Braxton - Wasn't Man Enough (mainly because I can terrorize my roommate with this). Teenage Dirtbag/ Stacy's Mom. Early 00s humour was stupid in a particular sort of way. American Pie era, etc.

Edited by modmyth
added more stuff to it, rather than making a seperate post

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I have, sitting before me, a short science fiction anthology that was extremely influential in my early childhood, imagine! (Walter R. Bremmer). This was the cover:

imagine.jpg

And there was this poem that has been etched into me, the poem which the book was named after:

 

Imagine! (Fredric Brown)

Imagine ghosts, gods and devils.
Imagine hells and heavens, cities floating in the sky and cities sunken in the sea.
Unicorns and centaurs. Witches, warlocks, jinns and banshees.
Angels and harpies. Charms and incantations. Elementals, familiars, demons.
Easy to imagine all of those things: mankind has been imagining them for thousands of years.
Imagine spaceships and the future.
Easy to imagine; the future is really coming and there’ll be spaceships in it.

Is there then anything that’s really hard to imagine?

Of course there is.

Imagine a piece of matter and yourself inside it, yourself, aware, thinking and therefore knowing you exist, able to move that piece of matter that you’re in,” to make it sleep or wake, make love or walk uphill.
Imagine a universe-infinite or not, as you wish to picture it- with a billion, billion, billion suns in it.
Imagine a blob of mud whirling madly around one of those suns.
Imagine yourself standing on that blob of mud, whirling with it, whirling through time and space to an unknown destination.

Imagine!

 

As a hyperimaginative 7-8 year old kid, I took the proposition in the latter part of this poem pretty seriously. :D

Side note: the first three stories may have traumatized me (The short-short story of mankind - John Steinbeck, History Lesson - Arthur Clark, Side Bet - Will F. Jenkins).

Edited by modmyth

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Something silly: I was in late immersion for a handful of years, which means I spoke French all the time at school. One of my first formal introductions to the French language within the first couple weeks was learning such useful phrases such as:

Tu es un ananas. (You are a pineapple.)

Oui, c'est vrai! Je suis un ananas. (Yes, it's true! I'm a pineapple.)

Mais les ananas ne parlent pas! Ce n'est pas possible! (But pineapples don't talk! It's not possible!)

The top comments section for this video is the best; a compilation of people who either loved this series because of how absurd it was, or who were completely traumatized/ baffled by the existence of this particular animatronic talking pineapple.

I had forgotten about this completely until it was brought up in conversation unexpectedly during the last year. 

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Teenage Anger, Phase 1:

When I was 14, I became both very angry and withdrawn, seeming without an obvious cause or context. I turned from a model student to...

  1. Angry music, which I found cathartic. None of my friends at the time were into metal or aggressive music, so I was just listening to it by myself that year, mainly.
  2. I had a lot of questions/ anger towards my parents and society which I could no longer hold in,  no longer take not being taken seriously or ignored. Personal ills. Social ills and hypocrisy. The stuff that people hide from themselves and from others. So I went from being very agreeable to talking back and picking fights with authority figures a lot more.
  3. Kleptomania(?): I usually stole small stuff I really didn't need, mainly clothes and makeup. Very strange feeling, like being possessed overwhelmingly by the urge. I did get caught eventually.
  4. My best friend and I almost got suspended for lighting something on fire in the school washroom like idiots. I still find this process of burning things therapeutic. A thing I did a lot during this time period was that I would write my thoughts/feelings out, and then burn the paper it was written on. Somehow, this act of destruction felt very emotionally resolving.
  5. I skipped a lot of school. My reasoning for it was that I mainly focused on skipping the most useless subjects where I didn't learn anything, so it was justified, right?
  6. I ran away with my best friend. We didn't have a plan, and our parents reported us as missing people, so the cops found us. We ended up in the roughest part of the city. That was... an interesting day.

Danger Zone: What I did not do, and really went out of my way to avoid like the plague. Trying to keep myself alive and intact as much as possible?

  1. Drugs in general. Drinking, smoking, etc. I'm very sensitive to substances anyway, including excessive caffeine (from coffee specifically). I spent pretty much every summer in Hong Kong/ China proper (I remember when HK before it was returned to the Chinese government) with constricted breathing and coughing my lungs out because of second hand smoke on the streets, due to lack of laws and regulations relating to this. This turned me off of smoking forever. Likewise, I'm alcohol intolerant, which I've gotten from my mom. I turn red and I throw up really easily, especially if it's wine or hard liquor. Experiencing all of the effects of a hangover very soon after drinking... has been a major deterrent to drinking. Probably no one would be motivated to drink under these conditions unless they are masochistic. I have overwhelmingly had this instinct that it would just be better if never started. So in general, I have lived an extremely sober lifestyle.
  2. Sexual excess and recreation. Keeping that stuff in my brain, for the most part. I have also had this odd feeling that without technically experiencing it all... I have seen it all already. I'm just naturally jaded, I guess.  :/
  3. Putting myself in the centre of attention in general, I was generally happy to let my best friend or friends fill that role.

 

Definitely, I could have rebelled far worse than this, and far more violently and self destructively. I have just known. I have always been watching myself, to the best of my ability. It's not been any fun. 

I have been feeling this whole time that... my anger is not something intrinsically bad, and I am not going anywhere in life unless I own this aspect of me. No emotion, no thought is intrinsically bad, but we are stuck with the ways in which we're conditioned to react to them. What good does this approach do for anyone, practically? 

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Things no one asked for + a disclaimer: Yes, I'm aware that this whole thing possibly reads as r/iamsosmart, which is partially why I have had deep issues related to this in the first place.

My parents actually blamed my behaviour on just the school system in general, and which is the most ridiculous thing in retrospect. I was never angry that the post-industrial education system didn't cater to someone like me, a statistical anomaly. Why should they? They have everyone else to worry about, people who probably need a lot more help than I did. I had told my parents as child, in way where I strove to not be overly invasive or to stress them out about it, that I wasn't learning or doing anything at school. At all. They wanted me... to feel normal, I guess. They turned away from this issue. In general, they perpetually turned away from my issues. If you don't see it, if no one else sees it, the problem is not there.

I would perpetually get these comments on my report card as a kid, something like... talks to much, needs to talk less during class. I really didn't see the point of school otherwise. School was for passing time and making friends? I did my best to do everything perfectly, and everything that was asked of me, until I just couldn't anymore. There was the ridiculousness of going to school and reading Cat in the Hat and the Berenstain Bears (nothing against those books!), and then going home and reading adult books, and possibly having adult questions (at least intellectually). I was a kid that read the English dictionary for fun and because I was bored. I was weird. This whole thing did a great violence to me emotionally.

The only thing I ever learned in elementary school was French, and I learned everything about the French language in 3-4 months, maybe 6 months top, and then I stopped learning anything new. Grammar, speaking/ accent, comprehension, etc. For reference, this is university level grammar/ phonetics, which was why I was able to stop studying it for some years, and then started studying it at that level when I was 17 for a bit. And although I was a bit rough around the edges, I didn't forget what I learned for whatever reason. (The goal of French immersion is to make you speak and write like a native speaker, but with more grammar and shit.)

It wasn't really an accomplishment to me; French is too similar to English in terms of its script. I never thought of any of this, all this stuff that came to me easily, as real accomplishments. If there was no challenge - no accomplishment. It's not like learning a new script, like Devanagari (the script basis for Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu), traditional Chinese as is used in Hong Kong/ Taiwan, or classical Arabic.  And I didn't want to make people feel bad or to be hated... simply by existing and doing what I do. In this way, and many other ways. But, I really craved the approval of teachers and people my age. I hid all of this too. It simply became natural to me at this point to hide. I think I was starting to forget who I was without all of this, at this point (age 11).

Grade 8 was mildly interesting because I started reading classic modernist French poetry (this is probably not the actual designation for it), like Paul Verlaine and Baudelaire, and started also writing poetry in French. I was really attached to les Fleurs du Mal and related to it on an emotional level for reasons I don't even remember anymore.

I think this is where I started to crave intellectual challenge in a masochistic way, like if I can't find a challenge, I will make one for myself artificially.

Before I exited the higher education circuit, I read pretty much every single article and whatever texts I could find on the topic of childhood giftedness (HATED this word for the longest time). In terms of research, there's not a lot here, or not nearly enough. Big surprise. Where is the money in this? Who actually cares? The topic of Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities is particularly interesting, but otherwise... I'll post a bit more on this topic later.

 

Edited by modmyth
I can't spell

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A Challenge: For anyone who has ever loved me, have you only ever loved me because of what I can do for you? How I can make you feel and how I can make you look (to others or yourself)? Do you love the idea of me more than the reality? Is that what you miss most about me (if anything)? If I can split off and pull apart everything that is love and illuminated about me and give that to you, is that why you love me? Do you love me for my strength? For my weakness, or despite it? 

Do my weaknesses nauseate you the way they nauseate me? Why do I ask the same questions still? It's stupid.

Love is not meant to be given with anything expected in return, it is in not in proper spirit of it. I am love. I am illumination in my core. So is each and every one of you (a friendly reminder, if you happen to be reading this). And yet I wonder this anyway, and am having yet another moment (or few) of weakness and self doubt.

I have asked too many questions, I have harboured and fed too much secret cynicism, despite my best attempts to dispel it, again and again and again. My whole life has been this dispelling process. Yet another reason why I avoid love in one way or way or another, I can't trust; that's what I told myself. There's always another reason not to trust. I thought I trusted, and what I did was make another person responsible for my happiness and my fears, my life purpose, and my moving forward. It's too goddamned much. I know. It's destined to fail by design.

I couldn't help it. I thought I should do something risky and kind of stupid in that way, at least once in my life.

Edited by modmyth

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Love, Rumi, and Some Sentimental Shit: I curated and organized this selection of poems from Coleman Bark's translation of Rumi, because I was in that kind of mood. 

This is basically the only translation of Rumi that's read widely in the English speaking world now, yea? I knew someone who was capable of translating his poetry from Farsi (Persian) properly, and she told me that Bark's translation was extremely nonliteral, but strangely did get to the heart and spirit of his poems, and that his original poems were more... structured(?) following the tradition of Sufi poetry at the time, which set their poems to music. Also, apparently the original poems were very dense in metaphors and allusions which does not translate well, but the older pre Colman Barks versions are more faithful in the sense of being...  much more literal (I believe there were two other translators before him, don't remember anymore). So it goes in translation; it's standard fare where you're translating from one language to one that is very unlike the other. You have to make choices.

 

Gamble everything for love,
if you're a true human being.
If not, leave
this gathering.
Half-heartedness doesn't reach
into majesty. You set out
to find God, but then you keep
stopping for long periods
at mean-spirited roadhouses.

All our lives we've looked
into each others faces.
That was the case today too.
How do we keep love-secret?
We speak from brow to brow
and hear with our eyes.

When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you're not here, I can't go to sleep.
Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them.

When I remember your love,
I weep, and when I hear people
talking of you,
something in my chest,
where nothing much happens now,
moves as in sleep.

I saw you last night in the gathering
but could not take you openly in my arms,
so I put my lips next to your cheek,
pretending to talk privately.

I am so small I can barely be seen.
How can this great love be inside me?
Look at your eyes. They are small
but they see enormous things.

I used to be shy.
You made me sing.
I used to refuse things at table.
Now I shout for more wine.
In somber dignity, I used to sit
on my mat and pray.
Now children run through
and make faces at me.

You've so distracted me,
your absence fans my love.
Don't ask how.
Then you come near.
"Do not...," I say, and
"Do not...," you answer.
Don't ask why
this delights me.

We have a huge barrel of wine, but no cups.
That's fine with us. Every morning
we glow and in the evening we glow again.
They say there's no future for us. They're right.
Which is fine with us.

The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.

I am filled with you.
Skin, blood, bone, brain, and soul.
There's no room for lack of trust, or trust.
Nothing in this existence but that existence.

Birdsong brings relief
to my longing.
I am just as ecstatic as they are,
but with nothing to say!
Please, universal soul, practice
some song, or something, through me!

You bind me, and I tear away in a rage to open out
into air, a round brightness, a candlepoint,
all reason, all love.
This confusing joy, tour doing,
this hangover, your tender thorn.
You turn to look, I turn.
I'm not saying this right.
I am a jailed crazy who ties up spirit-women.
I am Solomon.
What goes comes back. Come back.
We never left each other.
A disbeliever hides disbelief,
but I will say his secret.
More and more awake, getting up at night,
spinning and falling with love for Shams.

I tried to think of some way
to let my face become yours.
"Could I whisper in your ear
a dream I've had? You're the only one
I've told this to."
You tilt your head, laughing,
as if, "I know the trick you're hatching,
but go ahead."
I am an image you stitch with gold thread
on a tapestry, the least figure,
a playful addition.
But nothing you work on is dull.
I am part of the beauty.

You're a song,
a wished-for song.
Go through the ear to the center
where sky is, where wind, where silent knowing,
Put seeds and cover them.
Blades will sprout
where you do your work.

We are the night ocean filled with glints of light. We are the space
between the fish and the moon,
while we sit here together.

The morning wind spreads its fresh smell.
We must get up and take that in,
that wind that lets us live.
Breathe before it's gone.

I am dust particles in sunlight.
I am the round sun.
To the bits of dust I say, Stay.
To the sun, Keep moving.
I am morning mist,
and the breathing of evening.
I am wind in the top of a grove,
and surf on the cliff.
Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,
I am also the coral reef they founder on.
I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches.
Silence, thought, and voice.
The musical air coming through a flute,
a spark of stone, a flickering
in metal. Both candle,
and the moth crazy around it.
Rose, and the nightingale
lost in the fragrance.
I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy,
the evolutionary intelligence, the lift,
and the falling away. What is.
and what isn't. You who know
Jelaluddin, You the one
in all, say who
I am. Say I
am You.

I circle your nest tonight,
around and around until morning
when a breath of air says, NOW,
and the Friend holds up like a goblet
some anonymous skull.

What is the light in the center of the darkness
inside your soul? A royal radiance
or a fantasy like the way the full moon
comes up sometimes in daylight?
But this is the sun itself,
Shams and a truth prior to the soul.
Human beings cannot endure such clarity.
We make statues, apply paint,
and use words with hidden allusions.
When the eye that has seen Shams
turns to look somewhere else,
what does it see?
In the love-ocean clothes are an embarrassment.
Don't look to be famous here,
and don't expect payment.
An east wind bringing infinitesimal dust
from Tabriz is the most I expect.

The Friend comes into my body
looking for the center, unable
to find it, draws a blade,
strikes anywhere.

The ways of lovers is different. To them,
lies from each other are better than truth
from others. Impossibilities occur.
synagogue becomes kaaba.
Bitter is sweet and exhaustion, love.
The moment the Friend waves you away,
water comes from Khidr's spring.
No is a thousand yesses
in the code of emptiness.
Criminality fills with forgiveness.
There is no describing the windings
of this road. I have talked enough.
When dear Lord Shams pours himself,
everything I say tastes like the presence.

In the slaughterhouse of love, they kill
only the best, none of the weak or deformed.
Don't run away from this dying.
Whoever's not killed for love is dead meat.

Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you're perfectly free.

 

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The Best Way to Deal with Racism + general stupidity:

So I'm definitely resurrecting ancient Youtube history, but this came up in conversation recently.  It makes me laugh. Every single time. At the time this came up, I was stunned; I honestly didn't know how to react. How is this a real rant coming from a real person? Second thought: I can't believe this came out of UCLA, of all places. Third thought: she ruined what could have been a perfectly valid complaint about people who won't STFU in the library. Fourth thought: is that how all East Asian languages sound to her? CHING CHONG LING LONG TING TONG. Uh... I guess that's closest to Mandarin. ......

Side Note: I was much more obviously Chinese in appearance as a child, and now I get mistaken for everything. Once, a kid made the slanty eyes at me in grade 5 and my reaction was more just... confusion really (does not compute), and concern, rather than hurt. As I get older, I find that I'm more likely to just laugh at certain types of stupidity in general. Causing embarrassment and social ostractization is more effective than straight condemnation, in many cases, if you can manage emotional mastery in these situations.

 

This is pretty much always the appropriate way to respond to this sort of thing.:

1) Appreciating those subtitles in retrospect. :D

2) Learned this on the acoustic guitar yesterday for shits; my best friend/ roommate couldn't stop laughing.

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