Most of my work from this last year is sitting in a hard drive, unreviewed. This time of year is always difficult to get through, partially because the holidays make me want to firmly place an ice pick in my brain, but mainly because I am forced to go back through another lost year and review what I accomplished, and, while we (not the royal) did accomplish a lot this year, I spent most of it wondering what the fuck I was doing, and flailing about like an angry child. Now that I've really understood that I've spent my entire life apologizing for existing, I'm beginning to understand that the wall I hit earlier this year was less about where I'm going, and more about who I am. I've always felt like an impostor. Everything I was always praised for were simple things for me, and I knew that I could really be amazing at things if I tried harder, but I never reached that point, always seemingly waiting for the right time or opportunity. Now I'm just an old face that used to be good at things, like the trailer-trash, 40-something cousin who still tells stories about being the quarterback in high school.
...Your head will collapse if there's nothing in it.
And you'll ask yourself...
We met some great people on this last adventure, and I'm glad we met them; I hope we remain friends; but I felt so incredibly out of place, and walked away feeling ashamed of myself for how I see the world. Clearly, what I have to say and how I feel doesn't matter, in that it isn't changing anything. I've been repeating myself long enough to finally be convinced that there is something wrong with me. Call it what you want; dig up some elusive psychological dysfunction; I must simply be a little bit retarded, and I have to come to terms with that at some point.
I recently started a new project with one brave soul, and was completely excited about it until I really watched the footage. What was supposed to be a project about a "normal" person's experience with the vulnerability of being naked, turned into me going on a on about me, and what I'm doing. I've been doing this for twenty-five years, and I'm still defending myself; I'm still trying to convince people that I'm not doing what they assume I'm doing... which was what I did for over a decade of said time by complete accident... and I have come to terms with the fact that no one will ever understand that I ignorantly didn't know any better.
I'm forty-one years old, doing what I love (time and finances permitting), and investing most of my time and energy into making excuses for something that I have been obsessed with since I was a child; I've spent most my life making excuses for existing... and like five people get it..... so what the fuck am I doing? I really never felt like I was good enough. I always put unrealistic expectation on myself that I could never live up to; not this guy in this world. More importantly, I have always demanded that people understand things that I clearly don't. How do I expect anyone to just be, with someone who spends so much time apologizing for being? At some point I imagine I will have to stop apologizing for being me, but this has been a depressing couple weeks for this stupid guy in this stupid world. Everyone is free to not understand what I'm talking about, including me, and I am also free to keep going. I still don't want to conform to your spoon fed ideal, but I'm tired of feeling doomed to fail, while worrying about paying bills. I've been approaching a cross-road for the better part of this year, staring blankly in the mirror, obsessively checking on likes and followers like a child searching for approval from his parents.
Going on four years since that fateful message asking me if I would be interested in shooting her because she had some "self" to figure out and love, having no idea that I grow on people like a fungus, we have found ourselves with a family, living a life together, and, surprisingly, she isn't as sick of looking at my dopey old face as I am. I have referred to her as my wife for years, because we're doing this, so most assumed that it was so, but it wasn't, and now it is... or is it?
Either way, I am strangely happy.
We wanted to have a simple little ceremony at Yokoji, with just Tenshin Roshi and the kids, but that gradually evolved into close family that made the journey, which was exactly what it was supposed to be. I've been into my history with this place, but while I was at home reading about Zen, she was actually going there. I doubt that I would have ever checked this beautiful place out without her to hide behind, and quickly felt like part of the family, until I had to wander back off into the world to carry water and chop wood for my own family.
We all got sick the week before the wedding, and I was naturally the last to feel it, so by the time family started to show up from out of town, I was curled up in the corner. We managed to level off before the ceremony, and everything went beautifully. It was wonderful to meet family that I have heard so much about, but a definite highlight was that my first born daughter, who has been noticeably absent in recent years, made it up, which really made me feel this second chance that I am blessed with.
I have written about that often, but I am finally really starting to feel it. My first two marriages were complete opposites, and both maliciously destroyed by me, but I needed them to become who I am. What really weighed heavy on my heart these last twenty years was the kids I left behind with the first marriage. While they have been thoroughly taken care of, I wasn't there, other than to pop in and take them to a movie every now and then, par to their mother's wishes. Then when I was banished to the desert it was reduced to holidays, and the birthday/Father's Day calls stopped. Since I have settled in to this beautiful new family, we have tried to bring my older kids back into our lives, but haven't been successful. I still have no way to contact my daughter, and my son is nowhere to be found. In the mean time, we have so much to be grateful for, and still have a lot of each other to figure out. My first two marriages were fizzling out by three years, but we didn't start in the chemically induced blindness of standard societal relationships; we fought to build this family, and will keep fighting, whether a piece of paper says we are or not.
This is still sinking in for me, and we are both recovering from the weekend. We had our reception at my work, where I brewed a bride ale with manzanita berries that turned out to be a pretty good beer, that the "religious" family didn't drink. Though, despite their religious differences, they all enjoyed the ceremony, except for my mom, who used our fidgety youngest to leave the Buddha Hall and narrowly escape bursting into flames. I will have much more to say about this, but as for now, we are just tired, and the world is up one Ellirand(Borntrager)..... and my head is cold.
"There is a war between the sexes in this nation, between those who believe they are destined to be predators and those they deem prey. Resistance to gender domination has intensified that war. As feminist thinking and practice looses visibility, many females look to patriarchy for their salvation. More than ever before in our nation's history, females are encouraged to assume the patriarchal mask and bury their emotional selves as deeply as their male counterparts do. Females embrace this paradigm because they feel it is better to be a dominator than to be dominated. However, this is a perverse version of gender equality that offers women equal access to the house of the dead. In that house there will be no love."
~ Bell Hooks
Feminism as we know it failed because they were doing it wrong. I finally understand that, and there's nothing I can do about it. The Zen puzzle and the patriarchal conundrum cancel each other out. You can not destroy something by becoming it, but it is you, so neither it nor you exist, only what you want them to be.
"What does it mean when I'm in a trap that I can't get out of? There's no way of getting out of this trap. Well what it means is that you and the trap are the same thing. You're not caught, because when there's nobody in the trap, there's no trap. See that? As long as you think that you're in the trap, then the trap's got you, but when you know you're the trap, then what has the trap got? If you're trying to get out of the game, you're trapped... no way out... but when you have found that you and the game are the same, there's no game to get out of; there's no one to get out of the game...