This is the third time I’ve tried posting to my blog this week. It’s been a rough month. Between my teaching responsibilities resuming, my partners meeting each other, and me realizing that a dream is building in my that will take me away from everything I know, but that I know I can’t ignore…
well, it’s been a rough month.
My boyfriend and I have been having difficulties lately. My SLAMpig came to visit me in Japan for the second time and he stayed in my apartment, just like before, but this time my boyfriend was also living there. When my boyfriend moved in I was clear with him that we would have to tread carefully and see how things work out; and I was also clear with him that Mr. Pig was coming to visit and that I had at the time already offered him to stay in my place. The boyfriend said he was ok with it all, and at the time I really think he believed he could handle it, but my god! did it explode!
My Pig was, and still is, incredibly patient through it all. My boyfriend and I have also since the explosion (which included threats of suicide and much ignoring and twisting of my words) begun the meticulous steps necessary to repair and move forward. I don’t have a lot of experience with people being willing to work on relationships with me. Most of the time things go great until there’s a critical build up and a critical explosion. I discover that I’ve been making accommodations that I’m not really ok with and the other person turns out to be unwilling to compromise or even listen to my needs. It all just goes to hell from there and I end up running away. I hope that we are able to work things out, but I was so blindsided by the explosion that right now I feel wary and uneasy around him.
At this point in my life I’m incredibly frustrated with how hard it is to have relationships with people. I get it, relationships come and go and they’re fun for a while and they end and then it hurts, but why does it feel like I’m the only person* in the world who actually practices active listening, self awareness, and honesty in my relationships? Why is it so hard, even when you ask point blank, to find people who understand how polyamory works and who have the presence to recognize the difference between “this isn’t working” and “you’re an awful person, you never loved me and you never will!”? That’s the way my marriage went down and that’s what the explosion with my boyfriend was alll about. No matter how many times I tried to explain, “This is nothing new and, no, I will not compromise on it in any way. I care about you and want you to be happy. Please tell me what you need so that I can try to make it happen,” it felt like there was a filter in his brain that converted everything I said into “No, I don’t love you any more, and by the way, no one will ever love you again because I’m the only one”. It’s maddening!
I read this book a few months ago with an unfortunately long title. The author talks about how we need a new Story of the World. Bryan and Cecilda talk about the Standard Narrative which includes notions of finite resources, working hard to earn your keep, and one true love forever. Maybe I’m universalizing my experience, but I really do believe that we need a new Story. It felt like everything I said to my boyfriend had to get converted and muddled because in his world it was impossible for my feelings for him and my actions to coexist. It was just outside of his reality.
More and more I’m beginning to inhabit the idea that normal isn’t just boring, it’s killing us. For many years now I have fought with the ever present sense that I am not human, but some kind of alien species. The feeling has been so strong for me at times that I really believed that a clever enough scientist might even be able to detect it in the molecular structure of my being. I used to despair that as an alien species among humans, I would always be alone. Thanks to the language given to me by Charles, Bryan and Cecilda, I can say that it is not my nature which is alien, but that my story is different. Seeing how the Standard Narrative is destroying the planet we live on, it gives me comfort to know that nearly anything that is considered good, successful or virtuous by normal standards is most surely going to kill us. I find freedom and peace in the knowledge that, if you want to save the world, weird is really the only way to be.
So, in the light of “weird is the only option”, I am embarking on a journey to discover what it is that calls me so urgently in the quiet hours. The first step on my journey is to cut the ties between my mind and my colleagues’ notion of what it means to be a good economist. I know that economics has much to say about the world and how we can save it, but I also know that fighting to be successful in a job defined by the Standard Narrative is a surefire way to miss my chance to save the world. In order to free my mind I have come up with a list of duties that constitute the minimum I need to do to still be in compliance with my employment contract. Research is not on this list. In place of the energy I used to spend trying to produce publishable research, I am going to let my mind wander to the places that call it. I believe that only by listening will I be ready to understand what it is that I need to do. Already the path is becoming more clear, though I have no idea where it leads.
I’ve said this before and it is no less true now: I am frightened. To follow my heart is to step into the unknown, but the known is a path to destruction. It is a clear path and a simple one to follow, but it goes straight into oblivion. Those who follow their hearts sometimes arrive in a place of fame and success. History looks at where they are and traces the steps they took to arrive there. Sometimes those steps become absorbed into the Narrative as another acceptable path to take. People will then encourage others to attempt to reproduce that journey in the hopes that similar success will be achieved. But we know better, right? Freedom of the heart comes because we choose our own path regardless of what company it brings.
I talk about following my calling and about saving the world and about loneliness. I can’t explain to you why but I know that these three are one and the same. My heart aches for company, but the Narrative tells me I have no company and that other than my One True Love, all other human affection is an illusion created by the forces of evolution over millenia in order to for us to better compete against each other. I see the destruction that the global economy wreaks on the oceans, the forests, and the humans that depend on them for life, but the Narrative tells me that this is inevitable and even acceptable because if it really mattered someone could make a profit from fixing it. Yet somehow, some part of me knows that if I follow my calling I will feel a communion with the world around me and I will have love and that, somehow, love is really all we need.