Two Sides of the Same Coin

Self-hate looks a lot like self-love.

And the only one who truly knows the difference…is…

(Scratch that)

The only ones who truly know the difference…are…all the ones around you who can feel what you feel.

MG

Couldn’t, Shouldn’t, Wouldn’t

Here’s to all who’ve ever said that I couldn’t, shouldn’t, and wouldn’t (and meant it).

To those who said I couldn’t, I appreciate the projections of self-doubt you placed upon me. You’ve taught me what it looks like to pass on insecurities that were instilled in your childhoods. From you, I’ve learned not to stunt people’s growth, you’ve taught me not to constrain them into walls, boxes, or categories.

To those who said I shouldn’t, I sincerely appreciate the caution and concern. There are some of you whose warnings I did heed, and for my own sake too: you were saving me from myself. But to those who were self-centered and not self-experienced in this regard, I appreciate how blatant you were about the lack of effort you were willing to make for me. It made it easier to gauge how much I’d exert.

To those who said I wouldn’t, it was always for one of two reasons. One, you thought my ideas too farfetched and overreached, didn’t believe that I would come up with a way to make it happen. You projected your insecurity onto me, and only challenged my intelligence to see if I’d push. The arrogance in me caved, at one point — always had to be right. Always had to have an answer for everything. I’ve learned, now, that when you properly define the problem and get to the root of it, the solution presents itself.

Second reason would be that you did believe I could come up with a method, but also that you could foresee better than I could how much effort it would truly take to convert certain dreams into reality. Thank you for humbling me, and keeping me grounded when I flew too close to the sun. Thank you for allowing me to soar, but not to get burned.

All of you, lovers and haters, makers and breakers, you’ve inspired me to be authentically me. I got caught up in the mixes of each and everyone’s insecurities, the empathy in me went mad with apathy until eventually I just reached an overload and shut down. I’m sure many of you can relate to this, we’ve all been in it together. We’ve all been running around in the chaos just trying to survive, figuring a way out, a way in, a way forward, a way backward.

But what if…what if we just…embraced all of it. It’s not about changing, friends, it’s about expanding.

My darlings, I tell you this from the heart.

You’ve come this far, not just to get this far. I did, I do, and I will do, again and again and again until it gets better and better and better.

“It’s time to more than just survive. We were made to thrive.” (Mark Hall)

Grow, expand.
Don’t change.
Embrace.

It’s less about finding yourself,
more about letting yourself be found.
MG

It’s Good to Be Back

(Disclaimer: If this post causes emotional discomfort, please confront your demons by heeding wise advice.)

I was spontaneous yesterday.

Now, for those of you who know me — it really does depend which era of me you know, now, doesn’t it?

Let’s try this again. For those of you who have known me in the past couple of years, maybe three, you’ll probably gasp when I, of all people, say “spontaneity”. And I know exactly why; I know the reasons for your surprise probably better than I let on, as I do with most things in life, to be honest.

So why was being spontaneous a big deal for me?

Because, mates, it’s good to be back.

You look at me and think, “but you didn’t go anywhere”. Physically no, but in the past two years I did go down a path I once promised myself to never venture. I promised myself I wouldn’t because of how many people I lost to it — the cancer of the mind, eating away at the soul, leaving behind a mere shell of a human body to remind us that yes, this living, breathing, entity is our responsibility.

So I left. I couldn’t leave physically — I had too many commitments out here in the city, a life I’ve spent a decade trying to build and am still dissatisfied with my efforts, knowing how far I’ve fallen when I look at how much I achieved once upon a time.

I couldn’t leave mentally — no, my brain is generally over stimulated due to intelligence, which, unfortunately for a lot of people, means I have no off-switch. I notice things. Then I understand concepts because I’ve seen it somewhere before, so I associate that and make a connection. That link tends to be more logical than emotional because I like being objective, studying the facts, understanding the patterns.

Logic is my comfort zone.

But I left, emotionally. It was one of the longest journeys I’ve ever taken — to be completely void of emotions and shut down, tuned out from the world around, still hearing details but feeling like everything is meaningless. Sometimes, this can be a good feeling, like if that emptiness is actually contentment and peace. If that emptiness is actually silence and solitude. What I felt though, was far from that.

At first.

It was a lonely emptiness, where not only did I feel like no one could relate to me, but that I hadn’t found a way to relate to myself. I was so far gone, so different, so…unfamiliar to myself. Most people think I had it done to me, that I was a victim of victimless crimes; that I was subject to whatever abuse had led me down that path. But it was my morbid curiosity, because I chose those situations knowing that I am entertained by aggression.

Aggressors find my amusement annoying. It adds fuel to the fire, pushes their limits; unable to laugh at themselves, the angry flip from aggression to full on abuse.

Of course it’s fun, it’s like that predictable explosion, a controlled avalanche.

And it’s what I do, I laugh in the face of rage. I laugh, because I understand anger, I know rage, I terrorized them a long time ago, and they are now subservient to my control. I don’t avoid it, but I generally don’t project it either. So yes, watching each and every single one of you flip out in vengeance does entertain me, because I remember what it was like to be immature.

I remember what it was like to be insecure.

But I also remember…what it’s like to be fearless in the face of insecurity.

My darlings, like I said, it’s good to be back. Oh, how I’ve missed you…

G.

Memory, or Dream?

To You:

I never did get around to telling you why I was disappointed, did I? I suppose you never stuck around long enough to realize I actually am capable of emotions. At least, I seem to have discovered this capacity to be true.

You did ask what it was I wanted. I wanted to see you write, to be a part of the process and not apart from it. I didn’t want to merely be the “muse” that inspired your creations, I wanted to be the brush you dipped into the ink.

I watched as you traded your soul for your body; your writing for your running. One could only hope you were merely creating the experiences you would later on depict. I realized, perhaps whatever we were was that experience you never knew existed…

But, I was disappointed, nonetheless, for you were so fixated on being a result that you skipped the entire process of us.

Pain, that’s inevitable. It’s part of life. Not the only part, of course, just the part that motivates people like you to write. Your projection of me was the pain you sought; loving me was the provocation you were looking for since you discovered your wellspring of creativity. It was the darkness you needed after being in the sun too long. Somehow along the way, you lost your torch, so you ran ‘soon as the shadows moved with the winds.

Anger, however, that was on me. That was my storm. I was looking for that provocation, knowing that your childlike desire for a utopian creation would most definitely invoke my rage. Why? Because for me, growing up was never a choice. My innocence was stripped from me the moment I could put two syllables together and figure out what words were.

Believe me, innocence of the mind is not something of which I am familiar. Innocence of the heart, perhaps, but mind? Nay.

And there you were, a physical representation of all that I had left behind, a version of my younger self that you had chosen to portray in my present. A self I thought was history. There you stood.

Still, I write this now, after all this time, because being both blessed and cursed with an infallible experiential memory renders you an experience I cannot forget.

Cannot, and also choose not to try.

While I do miss the memories we only halfway created, darling, I find it hard to miss you. What disappoints me, love, is that…

…I never knew you.

Not the way I wanted to anyway, you never let me. You feared me more than you loved me, and ran though there was nothing to fear. By the time you discovered I’m actually harmless, your shoes were so worn and torn that you wondered if it was even worth coming back. To me.

And yet here we are, after all this time, still writing, still breathing the same air, still sharing the same city space — that unrefined space of a place you know I can only call home. Here we are, after months, and all my unspoken feelings and untold truths spill like word vomit, time and time again. Here we are; here I am, still writing. Still thinking of you. Still loving you.

Still wondering…if your existence is a memory or a dream…

I miss…the you I never knew.

MG

P.S. HB, R.

Where Am I Now, They Ask

“Where are you?” they ask, then don’t stop to listen to the response. Well…

I am capable of anger. Rage, too, mind you. It is not an anger that reacts to the ordinary, mundane trivialities of social construct, such as religion, race, gender, and class. No, it is a genuine anger, not a projection. It is an underlying one, the undercurrents, which have found different mediums of release so that no more human collateral is necessary.

However, I am capable of anger. And pain. And rage.

Some call them demons, I call them artists; exploding paint into an array of beauty, of wonder in the making.

But more than anything, that anger comes from disappointment. Sweetheart, I’m disappointed. I know you are, too, but part of that springs from the knowledge that we both want the same thing and just not from each other. We want it from ourselves.

Yet, I have the audacity to write this to you, knowing that you’ll never read it –  I use audacity in the context of “courage”, not “entitlement”. I am that flux between your best dream and worst nightmare. It is my humanity I present to you, as sincerely as I know how.

You’re free to come and go as you wish, you always have been. But darling, you have become as apathetic to my presence as I am resilient to your absence.

So for once, I just wish you would meet me halfway. That said, I don’t know if I should be reaching or settling…but I’m present, somewhere in the middle. That’s me.

Balanced.

Present.

Always, the last one standing. The one they’ve left to hold up the fort.

And I do, using the pain and strength that came from shattered bones regrown. On cold days, the scars do burn a little, a reminder that there is still a fire within me. On hot days, the anxiety levels rise and my aggression is channeled into “midnight strolls” that turn into 20 kilometer strides around the city.

I have no choice but to be strong. My weaknesses are merely “assignments I have yet to complete.” The disappointment in me springs from always feeling incomplete, from the perfectionism that has been instilled in me through knowing that I can only ever improve. The disappointment in knowing that I have become who I aspired to be, and now need new aspirations so as not to become complacent in the results. There is no end to the learning process, only expansion and improvement.

But they say, moving forward sometimes means allowing the future to unravel and unfurl, the seeds that have been planted through time.

They always say “reap what we sow”, and then leave out the entire “growth” process. The longest part of the journey. They say it as if one can plant a bean and it magically sprouts into a beanstalk, instead of describing the journey of how it took to turn into a plant. So yes, we reap what we sow, but in between, there’s a whole ton of adventure and growth.

Those are the challenges: the long days in the sun, plowing through the soils, finding the right fertilizers, weeding out bad roots…and yet…those are the parts they all skip…and you ask why I’m disappointed.

I feel betrayed. Betrayed by the lies you didn’t mean to tell. Because the lies you tell yourselves, are the lies you tell me. And then expect me to swallow it like it’s not insulting. Expect me to stand there and take your projections of insecurity because I’m “strong enough” to ward them off, apparently.

Well, I’ll tell you, I’m not warding them off, darling. I let them sink it, taking the place of what used to be “respect”. Perhaps it’s not that respect needs to be earned, but that disrespect should be earned. I approached you with respect, the respect you hadn’t earned, but still expected. So I handed it to you, sampling it to see what you’d do.

You took it for granted, love. You took me for granted.

It’s not a line you’ve drawn between us, or a wall you’ve built between us, darling.

It is an abyss you’ve created, a canyon, where we’re both on the edge wondering who’d fall first.

I assure you, I’ve already taken that plunge. A long, long time ago. I’ve been down here a while now, exploring the caves and digging for diamonds.

But I’m not staying down here alone, so when the storm comes and floods this canyon into a river, I’m letting it carry me wherever it leads.

Because this, darling, is out of my control. And evidently, out of yours too.

I love you. And I’m sorry that loving you hurts this much, but I’m not sorry that hurting grows me this much.

So join me, or don’t, but know that I won’t be here forever…

MG