My life is awesome.
What appears below the fold, after this entry (and now encapsulated as a part of it), is a piece of writing that I first posted to my fetlife account about five months ago.
In it, I recount a rather simple change in the way that I interact with the world. I literally changed one phrase that I commonly uttered to another phrase that had exactly the same meaning in my own mind, but where the words that I used to express it were different – in a rather fundamental way.
Think of this as the update that I hinted at with the original fetlife post – and a way for those of you who do not know me on fetlife to catch up to an important change in the ways that I perceive and interact with the world.
Six months ago, when my friends would ask me, “Rant – how are you doing?” my response would likely have been, “I’m alive.”
Six months ago, when my friends would remark on how well things appeared to be going for me, I would agree with them, but I would say, “Yeah, my life doesn’t suck.”
Six months ago, my trademark method of self-expression was to use understatement as a means of conveying my real feelings. If I were to ever say something like, “It’s better than a sharp stick in the eye,” what I would really mean is, “It’s fucking amazing.”
It was an inside joke. It was a ‘clever’ way to express myself without overextending myself. I felt like those that really knew me would know the difference, and it would mean that I was somehow at least understood a little bit by a small number of people in a way that is not obvious to the uninitiated, and for some reason, that was important to me.
But, fuck, was it a limitation on how awesome my life could really get… and that was something that I completely failed to anticipate.
In the past several months, I’ve taken that narrative and completely rewritten it.
When my friends ask, “Rant – how are you doing?” I emphatically reply, “My life is awesome!” and I mean it.
When my friends remark on how well things are going for me, I don’t respond with, “Yeah, my life doesn’t suck.” Instead, I say, “Yeah, I know! My life is fucking amazing!” and I mean it.
Oh sure, I have off days. Today is kind of an off day. Life has been keeping me very busy, and while 90% of those things are wonderful (at least for me) and I would not trade places with anyone I know or even that I know of, not every day is perfect.
I wish I had more time to write.
I wish I could finish Part 8 of My Personal Journey (and Part 9, and 10, and however many more parts it will take to finish). I wish I had time to compose the follow-up to my piece on subspace that I’ve been tinkering with for years. I wish I had time to write general responses to some of the questions that I receive in email rather than just barely keeping up with responding within a week or so on an individual basis. I wish I had time to finish the novel that I have decided to complete and try to get published before the end of next year. But the things that keep me away from doing the things that I want to are just some of the most amazing and wonderful things I could ask for…
I am living a life of embarrassing riches in terms of love and joy. I have the respect and support of dozens of people in personal, romantic, and professional capacities. People want to be around me.
This is not exactly new – but my previous self-deprecating behavior was serving as a barrier to forming new connections and standing in the way of expanding or strengthening those that existed. My confidence and competence were always there, but my demeanor was standoffish or aloof or even anti-social and it was limiting me in ways that I didn’t even understand.
Words have power.
I’ve known this for a long time. I’m a writer, after all. And even before I could recognize that, I always had the capacity to be persuasive and elicit responses in the people with whom I would interact should I choose to make the effort – I just rarely did… and I have no idea why.
Perhaps I was afraid of rejection – that was certainly at least part of the problem. While I’ve always had reasonably high self esteem – years of social pressure to be like someone I am not turned me into a bitter and angry man at points of my life, and even when I thought I was out from under the weight of those things, when I thought that the stark depression that kept me holed up inside my house for days at a time was gone for good, I was still not realizing my potential because I was holding back. I was holding back with my actions, and I was holding back with my words, and I was holding back with my emotions.
Deciding to never hold anything back any longer and believing that I have the power to overcome any awful thing that life might throw at me, and then proving it to myself, over and over again, with everyday annoyances and life-shattering realizations, was the thing that opened the world to me.
I am living my on my terms now – and part of the reason for that was really just as simple as choosing more carefully the words that I say.
It’s been awhile since I’ve said it, but I am Rant.
This was neither a rant nor a story nor a lesson, and it may be ultimately nothing more than a piece of mildly masturbatory self-praise, but it is my truth for now, and my life is awesome.
What follows is the text of the original fetlife post. There are reasons why I won’t link from here to there, but I will likely repost this to fetlife as well and link there to here. Feel free to drop me an email if you’d like to understand the reasons why or if you’d just like to let me know that personal stories like this are something you actually care to read – or use the comment form below.
I will find a way to carve out more time for Part 8 soon – do not despair.
Until then – I remain…
My life does not suck.
It’s a mantra… almost a catch-phrase. It’s a common part of my personal vernacular, and it’s undoubtedly true. I use it to express pleasure.
But words have meaning, you know?
My life does not suck is the thing that I tell my friends when I am happy.
I say My life does not suck when I realize that the choices I have made have led me to a place, or a person, or an event where I feel at home.
But a friend recently pointed out to me that there is a kernel buried deep within that phrase – that it conveys doubt or uncertainty.
At first I blew him off – I don’t mean anything bad by the phrase, I see it as a refutation of a state that feels unpleasant. I see it as a positive affirmation of my choices and direction.
But words have meaning, you know?
Yesterday, before meditating, this was one of the last thoughts to pass through my mind. An offhand comment at a party where I had a hard time hearing over the din led to days of percolating thoughts and introspection.
I kind of love it when things like that happen.
They give me a chance to see the things that are hidden from my attention, but that have an effect on me, my presentation to the world, and even how I see myself at a subconscious level.
To say My life does not suck is the bare minimum above My life sucks.
Does this mean that I am afraid, most of the time, that my life does suck?
I do often feel misplaced, like I don’t fit anywhere, like no one will ever really understand me. This community accepts me, but still does not understand me. The moments when I feel like I belong are few and far between, but I fake it as best I can.
Am I contributing to that feeling with the words that I use, even if the meaning is completely distinct in my own mind?
I’m still not sure, but while my life does not suck, from now on I think I am going to say My life is awesome! instead – even when I am not feeling quite that strongly that it does.
We shall soon see what difference, if any, this makes…