Tag Archives: non attachment

Words have power

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…

 – Rant


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…

 

Overcoming inertia

I try to love freely and without attachment.

I first posted about this subject four years ago, in the first month that I started this blog.  If you are interested in that post, you can find it easily here.

However, like any normal human, I do still get attached to things, people, and relationships, and when those things are removed from me or change in some fundamental way, I can get hurt and react in very human ways.

My life recently has been tumultuous.

I am not quite up to detailing everything here for the world to see, but suffice it to say, I have been missing from here and most of the rest of the aspects of life in general for some time as I have been processing my grief and doing some very difficult introspection.

Each time in the past couple of months that I have come here with the notion of writing something new, I have read my previous post and spiraled away into my own mind with unkind thoughts about myself and I manage to put nothing to the page.

The relationship that I boasted about being so strong has come to an end (for reasons unrelated to the content of my last post) and created this massive inertia around making even the smallest of steps back into the life that I was recently so happy to call mine.

But I still have good friends, and several of them have counseled me that I need to write something – almost anything will do – and so here I am, overcoming inertia.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and while it may not be much of one, this is such a step.

I am still here and still on the path.

I recognize much of this scenery though and I can’t help but worry that I’m wandering in circles sometimes, but I’ve come to the conclusion that even wandering in circles is better than not moving at all.

Control

I started writing this piece some time ago, as with many of my entries, but most of the ideas expressed herein remain true to the form they took when I first began to approach the idea.

I suppose that’s a good sign. But things have also evolved a bit, and that’s a good sign as well.

I can also now say that I may finally have arrived as a minor internet celebrity – about a week or so ago I received my first marriage proposal through the blog email address.

I responded to the person with a personal email declining her (or his) very gracious offer, and I won’t further belabor the issue, but I thought it worth mentioning as it has been on my mind when I think of the blog.

The Internet is a strange place…

But this is a piece about control, and the Internet is quite clearly outside of the control of anyone.

Hail Eris!


Part of living in human society means that you have to surrender control of some aspects of your life to other people, processes, governments, corporations… entities beyond your influence.

No matter how much one embodies the qualities of Dominance or how much of the Domliest Dom of them all you may be, there are parts of your life that are not yours to control.

As you might imagine, for a control freak like me, sometimes this causes hiccups for me.

It’s always part of a bargain though… Control is yours, like anything else, and you are coerced, compelled, or even just sometimes asked to trade it away for other things. You trade some of your personal liberties for safety when you agree to abide by the laws that we have in place to prevent crimes of property. I give control over my ability to drive my car when and how I want to in order to have access to the public roadways. These are mostly things that we’re used to and things that don’t intrude upon our thoughts very often, so it’s not as if I feel their loss most of the time.

Right now I’m having a bit of an issue though.

I’m too attached to my job.

One of the ways in which I’ve always been able to exert more control over my life is through practising the concepts of non-attachment. If I don’t become attached to things, people, concepts, preconceived notions.. well, then they can’t be used to control me.
But I’m not perfect.

It’s almost always been the case that I’ve had a great deal of liberty with respect to my job. My skills are in high demand, and there are more jobs to be had for people with my abilities than there are people with my abilities, so I’ve always had the freedom to just quit and find another job – generally equally as good, often actually better.

I don’t even really like my job. It’s not particularly important work that I do, but it pays well, and that’s part of the problem. I could be doing something more meaningful or more interesting, but if I were, I’d have to give up some of the ability to control my own life and choices that I’m provided by having access to more money.

I also have a lot of schedule flexibility with my job. I could take a more interesting job somewhere that would probably pay me as much, or at least a similar enough amount that I wouldn’t feel the loss of the income too acutely, but if I were to do so, I’d lose some of my ability to control my schedule.

On the surface, these are good things. I have the ability to control my schedule and I make enough money at my job that I’m able to finance the things that I want to do when I exercise that schedule flexibility. I can, quite literally, do almost anything that I want to, almost any time that I want.

That is a huge amount of control for one person to have, and I’ve become quite attached to it, and it’s beginning to make my unhappy.

That’s what attachment is, you see – it’s unhappiness. When you become attached to something, you vest your future happiness in having that thing be present, and when that future is threatened, you become paralysed in your attempts to hold on to it.

So – I’m too attached to my job, and this is starting to become a problem because when you fear the loss of something, you will do things that you wouldn’t ordinarily do in order to keep it.

My boss is a particularly loathsome type of individual. She is operating at the level of her incompetence, and because I have held positions in other companies which are directly superior to her current position, because I am older than she is, and because I occupy a higher pay grade than she does, she feels extremely threatened by my existence. I am reasonably certain that she has tried to have me fired or transferred more than once, but unfortunately for her, the company puts as much or more value on me than they do her, so we are stuck at an impasse.

Add to this the fact that she is extremely passive aggressive and completely incapable of dealing with someone who is very open and assertive like myself, and we end up with the situation we have now where she avoids me in person, talks about me behind my back, and attempts to undermine my authority and position through subterfuge.

I must admit, I do experience a small amount of schadenfreude every time I hear about one of her efforts to undermine me going awry, but the fact of the matter is that none of this shit should be happening in the first place. I am her most capable employee, a natural leader who chooses not to lead in the office setting because I have no patience for the political games, and I would be more than happy to let her take credit for all of my successes if she would only get the fuck out of my way and let me succeed.

But… personal success is the only kind she has ever known and she clings to it like sinking ship because she is in charge of too many people and too many projects to actually be able to do the job and I made the mistake of offering to help.

And I really was offering to help.

I do not have to be Dominant in every aspect of my life.

In fact, coming out of a 24/7 TPE relationship that ended and finding myself in one that is more egalitarian, I am finding that I actually like not having to make all of the decisions, not having to lead every charge, not having to always be certain of everything. I still naturally stand in front, and I always (much to the chagrin of those who know me) speak up when I feel that I am right, and these are not things that I can or am willing to change about myself.

And so – every day at my job has become a new alpha contest with my boss.

The worst of it is, I want her to win.

I want her to take control, but I’m not going to just roll over and let her have it.

I recently re-took ‘The BDSM test’ and was slightly surprised to find that alongside the top two categories for which I am rated (Dominance and Bondage-giver) I am also extremely highly rated as Primal(hunter).

I don’t really think of myself in such a way, but when I allow myself to observe my interactions with other people, I can see it.

I naturally stand taller around people when I want them to listen to me.

I have a resonant voice and I’m not afraid to use it.

And, apparently, while I’m willing to acknowledge another as Alpha, I’m not willing to simply roll over and let an unqualified person take the mantle. In this case, the mantle was never mine, and I never (and still don’t) wanted it. She became my manager because my manager left the company, and she inherited me.

I don’t know how this situation will resolve itself.

In the past, being unattached to my job, I would simply leave in a situation like this – washing my hands of the issue, metaphorically speaking, and letting the incompetent lead the incompetent. But now, I’m attached to this job. I am not willing to so easily give it up, and while I do strongly believe that happiness can be achieved through non-attachment, I also believe that some things are worth holding on to and fighting for.

I may be making a terrible decision here, but I’m going to hold on to this job, and I don’t think the intolerable situation between my boss and I will resolve itself until one or the other of us leaves the company through choice or force, and I don’t intend to be the one to flinch here.

I am Rant.

I am usually happy, and I am usually able to let the detritus of life slide off my back, but this time I’m feeling ornery.