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A Ferret Called Wilson

Chasing Happy, Chasing Dreams

Month

October 2014

Marketing, or how to trick people into giving you money.

So, recently I got the idea that it would be nice to publish some fiction. So I started poking around on some blogs and I found this article with “7 bestseller marketing strategies for fiction writers!” I immediately regretted my choice. If I write it will be because I want to tell a story about a better world than the one we’re in. It was a mistake to read this advice because the more I read the more I felt like being a creative author means that you have to lie and tease and trick your readers into giving you money. It just repels me.

And actually, it reminds me of a short story I read once about a man who loses his soul and suddenly explodes in popularity as an author. Book after book, he continues his climb up the success ladder until one day his wife says to him that she misses when he used to write with soul. I can’t remember how it ends, but I think he gets a chance to trade his success for his soul back at one point and decides it isn’t worth it. Hmm…

Old Things

Amber

My heart stings today. Well, my “Heart” is blowing out his summer coat with wild abandon and making a point of discovering if any new Things have been stashed around the house. His girlfriend sleeps. They both had a hard day yesterday.

My weasels are both officially adrenal. Treatment in Japan is expensive and inconvenient, or else just dangerous. Wilson is showing signs of some other old-weasel problems.

Wilson

At eight years old it’s no surprise. But last night when I was talking to the doctor I couldn’t stop myself from imagining life without them. I can’t… it just hurts.

Crazy Idea

So, why is “organic” no longer a trusted label in the food industry? Answer: because it’s part of the food industry!

Once “organic” became a term legally defined by the FDA, corporations that produce our food had an incentive to shirk on the spirit of the law to make maximal profits while still obeying the technical definition. Law is, after all, just a bunch of technicalities. Economically, organic allowed the food industry to discriminate between its customers that cared and had enough money to pay for healthy food from those who were just trying to fill their bellies or otherwise did not have the funds to pay for the higher priced organic products. Discrimination almost always results in a higher profit for the producer and a lower surplus of benefit for the consumer.

As of today there are twenty seven states with laws defining and recognizing the organizational structure known as the benefit corporation. Such corporations, in stark contrast to traditional corporate structure, are required to adhere to higher standards of transparency and social responsibility which they must report publicly on a periodic basis. The legal structure of these organizations was proposed in a large part due to work by B Laps, a non profit organization.

So, my question is, can we use our experience with the failure of the organic label to somehow bolster up the spirit of the B and benefit corporations? How will corporations attaining this legal status use the loopholes of the law to extract more profit from their consumers than they could if registered as traditional corporations? Or, just maybe, it’s not possible. In which case any organization registered under one of these titles might actually be trustworthy in that it might, just might, be actually attempting to improve the welfare of the people…

All the Same Humans, Sort of

I said to a friend of mine about half a year ago that boys are really all the same. She was itching for some sexy time with a local and was having difficulty reading the Japanese. I had just bedded the most ostentatious man in the entire gym and had discovered, much to my dismay, that he is terribly broken. He was a free spirit and a romantic, of sorts, and had suffered a breakup of the worst kind. He confessed to me on our first night together that he had tried to kill himself. In a matter of moments the image that I had of this man as strong and self confident, if a little obnoxious, crumbled into the reality that he is, like all of us, just a human suffering through a world that never taught him how to find his own happy.

At first things seemed to go incredibly well. Now in hindsight I can see that this honeymoon period was due entirely to the honeymoon effect*: when you are on your honeymoon you don’t have to work or take care of children or attend to other responsibilities, it’s just you, and so you are able to experience a period of uninterrupted, artificial bliss. Certainly there were differences in the way we preferred to live our lives, but he verbally acknowledged my boundaries at the same time as I was emotionally willing to try doing things his way, so it seemed like it was working. Everything came crashing down the day he was forced to acknowledge that my polyamory was not just a theoretical personality quirk, but a reality that involved at least one other man besides himself. It was at that point that he and I were called to employ our respective Relationship Skills to either forge on ahead, or die in the fire.

Well, it would not be much of an essay if the story ended with us just talking through our feelings and renewing our intimacy through shared understanding. The man folded in on himself, exploding at me while imploding emotionally. I used every trick in my box. I tried to listen to his perspective and to ask him what his needs were, but he refused to tell me on principle. I tried taking his words at face value, but he repeatedly failed to be honest with me. I tried talking to his friends. I tried getting his friends to talk to him. I tried getting him to talk to his friends. In the end I tried just avoiding him and cauterizing the emotional wound. This seems to be the only sort of relief I can get.

In my frustration I talked to my friend who had, months prior, looked to me as a role model in her own struggles. Why, I asked. Why is he so stubbornly unwilling to do any of the standard activities necessary for relationship maintenance? How is it that he can be content to turn his back into the storm of my frustration, waiting for it to blow over, and then just say “sorry” without actually listening or attempting to fix any of the problems that caused the blowout in the first place? My friend said to me simply, “he likes it that way.” Immediately I knew what she said was truth.

We humans are in many ways all one being, and in as many ways we are all unique. At a most fundamental level we all desire to be loved and to feel safe and secure in our lives and our community. We need to eat and we need to play and we need to feel respected as the individuals that we are. This is true. Life, however, does not put all of us in the same starting position. Some of us learn to ignore our own needs to take care of others first. Some of us learn that the world does not care for us and so we must protect ourselves from it emotionally and physically. Some of us learn how to appreciate each other as individuals and some of us learn that looking with clear eyes at our own reflection is petrifying.

So in the end, I have to accept that while it is beautiful to believe that we humans are all alike, on a practical level it is not as useful a paradigm as I had hoped. Some of us want to be open to ourselves and to others, and some of us want to plow through life just the way we are, never updating and never truly seeing the world around us. I suppose we can find commonality in that we all make this fundamental choice, and perhaps that commonality makes it more palatable when our choices clash with each other. But I think it is also important to remember that some people really are different and that smashing your head against a wall trying to get them to see the light is a futile endeavor. They choose not to change and in a way, you choose not to change, too. At this level I suspect the choice becomes one of who do you want to surround yourself with more than how do you make it work with who you are surrounded by.

And, I suppose, knowing that this is the choice I have to make does provide me with some peace.


*I coined that term just now ^^

Things That Don’t Sit Well

I know it’s a vice, but I was browsing the Savage Blog this morning. What can I say? When I’m home alone even reading about people complaining about their lives feels like company. Anyway, I found a link to this article about the evolution of sexual intercourse. Apparently a species of fish native to Scotland is now believed to be the first animals to reproduce via internal fertilization. In the article published on the topic, Professor John Long, from Flinders University in Australia, said:

 “We have defined the very point in evolution where the origin of internal fertilisation in all animals began. That is a really big step.”

Something about the idea that we could know, observe, document the “origin” of an activity so fundamental to life as sex, and that we could claim to have done this for “all animals,” stank of such hubris that my stomach turned over inside me when I read these words.

I will not hide the fact that I don’t believe evolution as truth. People today, especially noisy liberals who publish syndicated blogs on the internet, like to use people like me as an example of the stubbornly ignorant. They say things like, “there are people today who don’t believe that [insert some scientific claim that is supposed to be nearly self evident] is true, just like there are still people today who don’t believe in evolution!” As a Ph.D. holding member of the upper stratus of intelligence on this planet I have the confidence in my deductive skills to not take this type of comment personally. Personally, it actually irks me that the way people talk about evolution is so similar to the way they talk about religion: “Do you believe in God?” “Do you believe in Evolution?” Evolution is a scientific theory of how life organizes itself on this planet, and in the greater universe in general. It’s a theory with axiomatic suppositions and empirical predictions that can be measured and rejected with data. What many people don’t understand about science, though, is that you can’t actually verify a theory with data. You can only fail to reject it. I’ve read the published articles that supposedly prove the validity of evolution and quite frankly I don’t think they’ve proven anything other than that within a framework of belief people can find data that parallels their expectations.

When I read this comment about the supposed origins of sex in an animals I couldn’t help but feel the same sort of repugnance as I experience when people make claims to have discovered ancient relics from the Bible, particularly ones that should not exist according to scientific rules. For example, Noah’s ark. Some people claim to have discovered it on the top of a mountain somewhere. If you believe the Bible word for word then perhaps you take a boat on a mountain as unrefutable scientific proof that the Flood really happened. If you don’t believe the Bible word for word, then a boat on top of a mountain might very well appear to you like a dilapidated log cabin. It’s the same with evolution. If you believe that evolution is the One True Story of how life came to be the way it is, then you most certainly believe that fossil remains of a fish with a boner prove that ancient fish invented sex.

Me? I don’t believe the theory of evolution to have a monopoly on the Story of Life. I believe that scientists who study the fossil record are very skillful. I believe they have robust and precise techniques for measuring the age of things that they discover. I also believe that scientists are generally eager for fame. They all want to be the ones to discover the “missing piece” of the evolutionary puzzle. It isn’t once that scientists have faked evidence with methods so base as to have actually glued separate fossils together to create the evidence they wanted to discover. But whether or not the evidence is reliable isn’t even the point. The point is that there is a movement today within the People that seeks to overthrow God’s thrown and replace it with hard, cold, unrelenting and merciless Science. Frankly I don’t want to worship science any more than I want to worship a god who creates an imperfect creature and then punishes it for its failings.

The hubris, the mere suggestion that we could in any way observe the origin of All Life Everywhere, this doesn’t sit well with me. Those people who would tie themselves to this Story, they frighten me.

Candida and My Physical and Mental Health

I’m three weeks in to my candida cleanse diet. The first week was the absolute longest, with the cravings for pasta and other simple carbs so strong that my sides could be bulging from dinner and I would still feel the ache like emptiness in my stomach. Since then I have slowly felt the tug less and less. I’ve never fought with an addiction, so to speak, but I am pretty sure that I had become addicted to carbs.

Since then I have started to get accustomed to this new eating style. I can go to most restaurants now and find something to eat. I thought I would feel frustrated on the days when what I really want to eat is just not available, but in fact I’ve found that my body is easier to satisfy than I expected. If I give it enough vegetables, and I find I prefer them cooked or smoothied, and a satisfying chunk of protein, I tend to be ok pretty independently of what the details are. It’s surprising, even though I know the importance of listening to one’s body, that one’s body can actually be heard as loudly as mine is.

Physically I feel amazing, and light! For months I was bogged down with this bloated and heavy feeling. I thought I was eating healthy, but my weight was up by about three kilograms above the top of my happy range and nothing I did would budge it. I knew I was retaining water, but I would drink until I just couldn’t drink any more water and it still wouldn’t flush out. Climbing or riding I felt this unnatural heaviness in my limbs as though there was more strength in me but I just couldn’t access it. Now that has cleared. At night I don’t get the gas and bloating that was messing with my sex life, just this clean feeling of not being hungry any more.

Emotionally I’m a different person! In the last five days I have suddenly rediscovered my raging insatiable sex drive. I had spent so long fighting yeast infections that I forgot my body craved sex! One evening the feeling came back with a vengeance and left me almost in a cold sweat. Certainly it’s more convenient, as I believe Aristotle pointed out, to not have a sex drive, but to me it’s a sign that my body is alive and healthy and so I’m happy for it. I’ve been sleeping better, too. Most nights I sleep the whole night despite my housemate snoring like a chainsaw and not waking up to his alarm in the morning. My head is clearer during the day and most importantly, that unbearable sense of dread and hopelessness for the future has lifted! I feel as clear now as I did the first week I took antidepressents, only this time I’m not on medication. Moreover, I’m not afraid that this is a passing break in the clouds. I feel like this is me, the way I’m supposed to be, and that my chronic anxiety and inability to focus and get done the basic administrative tasks that lube the life machine were just symptoms of a temporary illness.

Part of me is sad that I don’t have a doctor overseeing my healing. I would like to have some kind of medical test or something to prove that this syndrome of dullness and irritation that is lifting from me truly was the result of a chronic, systemic candida overgrowth. But at the same time I am happy to see that I have the power to return my body to health without the need to be poked and prodded and lectured by someone with a degree who thinks he knows my body better than I do. Medicine is nice, and when it comes to catastrophic injuries and things like that, it’s a good thing to have in one’s social toolbox. However western medicine does not talk to the body and that’s a major source of information on how to heal that gets left out of the picture. It doesn’t heal on a holistic level, just takes away symptoms here and there. So in that sense this is really a good thing.

Since I’ve been tracking my physical and mental condition for three weeks now, I actually know where I am in my cycle! I should be ovulating in the next week, which is when my yeast symptoms have been the strongest in the past. I’m starting to crave carbs again a little more than I did a week ago and part of me wants to say it’s fine to have them now because I’ve been so successful, but I think I’m going to instead interpret this hunger as a sign that the candida is not yet cleared from my system. I would like to observe one complete cycle without candida symptoms before I give myself the green light to allow various sugars back into my diet. It’s unfortunate that it takes so long, but unlike many women who are dieting to “slim down,” I am dieting for health and I have a clear goal and a timeframe, and rigorous documentation of my progress. I am not worried that I won’t succeed!

Just Tired, Really

So many things have happened in the past week that I feel, most of all, wrung out. I went to a conference over the weekend and it was full of new experiences, most of them amazing and the rest just ok. Then I came back to an emotional mess at home. I don’t lose my temper often, but I felt like I was going to erupt. When I did eventually lose control the seething frustration and anger seeped out from every crack in my composure and stained whatever it touched. I could barely keep from ripping to shreds the people that were caring about me. Thankfully I’ve developed a habit of extreme dogged persistence and I refused to give in to the helplessness. Truly my situation is a right disaster, but I was able to connect with someone because of it. The sense of entrapment that was so completely unbearable eventually eclipsed my fear of rejection and I was able to ask someone for help, bringing him one step closer to the range of true friendship, which I need very desperately.

The wave of emotions has somewhat subsided, and I feel like I can breathe a little, but I know better than to believe that this will be the last of it. I’ve gotten myself in deep and I know it will be a long way out. I’m happy, though, because today I can see the difference between living a life where the stakes are large and the going often difficult, and the deep crevasse of despair that is chronic depression. The difference, I think, is presence. While I won’t say for a moment that the last few days have been pleasant, or even tolerable, I can say that at every moment I was awake and alive. I felt the suffocating pressure of my limited options and the need to continue moving forward regardless of how imperfectly I was walking, but at the same time I could see, as if from a third eye, that the passage I am currently navigating does eventually open up. I was able to experience, digest and dissolve my circumstances each as the individual pieces of a greater experience and a larger, more permanent existence. In contrast to the view from the depths of depression, this perspective carried the comfort of knowing that things really would be ok, eventually, and that the issue at hand is not whether they will be but simply how to get from here to there.

I think, perhaps, this clearer vision is the product of experience. I have been practicing taking controlled risks and fully experiencing the revelation and resolution of my uncertainty. I think my greatest challenge in life is battling my anxiety. Anxiety is when you worry about something that you know you shouldn’t worry about, but can’t stop anyway. It’s that feeling that you forgot to lock the front door despite remembering clearly that you turned the key and twiddled the knob to make sure. It’s how you never worry about if you locked the door until you are sitting on an airplane on your way across the ocean and there’s no way for you to go and check it. Anxiety, I think, is the irrational fear of the unknown. For me, anxiety is the fear that something will go wrong and then it will be my fault. Either I forgot to prepare for some obvious contingency that everyone else would know about, or I read the address wrong or the date, or maybe I just didn’t work hard enough and people will think I’m lazy. When you live with this feeling of constant inadequacy it’s really difficult to relax and enjoy your successes. That’s where my depressions are born.

The great difficult in battling anxiety is that unless you become conscious of it, you never get the chance to prove to yourself that you didn’t have to worry. Sure, you come home from vacation and the door really was locked and you didn’t have to worry after all, but the fact is that you did worry. You worry all the time about this stuff and so you don’t have any experience to prove to yourself that it was really ok not to worry. The antidote for anxiety is, to be cliche, to face your fears. You have to go on that vacation knowing that you might not have locked the door, but consciously determined not to worry about it anyway. This part is key. You can’t just tell yourself that you don’t have to worry, you have to really stop doing it even if only for a few brief moments. Only then will you have under your belt the experience of not worrying about something and it being ok anyway.

Many people might think that it’s easy to think of circumstances where you didn’t worry about something and it turned out ok anyway, but that is somewhat naive. I remember my youth pastor saying that “God does not test your faith with easy stuff, because that wouldn’t be a real test. Bats are forbidden to eat, but that’s not a big deal because no one really feels tempted to taste a bat.” Bacon, on the other hand, this can be a problem. To be fair, I’m neither Christian nor Jewish, but I think this makes a good point. Anxiety tends to come with a theme. I feel anxious about being rejected by people. I live with a deep and constant dread of being alone and anything that can trace back to being abandoned will trigger those feelings. I can think of tons of situations where I gave a performance and wasn’t nervous at all and it turned out great. It’s a lot harder for me to think of situations where I shared an intimate piece of myself with someone, suffered the pain of being rejected, and still found the strength to stand up and try again with a new person. Most of the time I dance around the subject so quickly so as to distract them from what I’m really trying to say. This is my anxiety taking over and it robs me of the experience I need to be a stronger person.

So, I attribute my sense of clarity in the face of exhaustion and uncertainty to the growing collection of experiences that I have been building since my divorce. I really think of my divorce as a new birth because that was the moment that I decided I had a right to be happy on my own terms and that I would no longer allow others to dictate to me what should and should not give me joy. Divorce was a big risk, but sometimes that new restaurant with the shaded windows feels just as big. Sometimes simply saying, “I’m tired and would really rather sleep than go out to dinner with you” can feel equally as huge. The difference, of course, is that slowly, over time, I’ve come to realize that I am more resilient than that. The risks themselves don’t actually change, but my perception of them and my perception of my ability to recover from an unlucky draw has changed dramatically. From where I am now, I only see things as getting better.

“It doesn’t get easier, you just get [up] faster”

A Stranger’s Eyes

Have you ever looked into the eyes of someone who is supposed to love you and seen fiery, burning hatred gleaming back at you?

At first I wasn’t sure that that is what I was seeing. How could it be? This man is a fountain of inexhaustible affection and romance. It must have been a misunderstanding. We don’t communicate in our native language, after all, so misunderstandings are bound to happen. I ignored it, telling myself that I would go crazy if I reacted to every glint, twitch and shrug. Communication must be intentional if it’s going to work, and the only way to get that is to be firm about only responding to intentional messages. Then it happened again. In fact it happened several times exactly during a period when our relationship was particularly tense.

I believe I have mentioned that I am polyamorous. I am more emotionally stable in a triad or quad of some form than I am single or as a couple. More than that, I have fuzzy sexual bounaries so that I become stressed when artificial barriers, such as the confines of monogamy, prevent me from expressing myself sexually with others. My boyfriendlike partner is a romantic and a pretty solid monogamist (masochistically monogamous, if I may coin the term) so when he was faced with meeting and interacting with my long term partner he lost it. Unfortunately he wouldn’t admit that he was losing it. Instead he tried to bottle up his feelings and chase them down with a glass or ten of beer every day for three weeks. It was during this period where I became aware of the look in his eyes.

It would happen whenever I tried to assert myself. He wanted me to stay out drinking with him and I wanted to go home and sleep: the look. He wanted me to agree that I misused some vocabulary word and I insisted that I said what I meant: the look. Last night he wanted to cuddle and I wanted circulation in my leg, so I shifted off my side, and there surfaced the look again.

When I see him looking at me that way, I am suddenly in a different dimension where reality isn’t what it was. There is this beast in the room that shouldn’t exist according to the normal rules of nature, but there it is and it is filled with pure, boiling hatred directed entirely at me. I don’t know what it is that contains that beast and I don’t know what it is that calls it out. All I know is the eery sensation of wrongness that seeps through my pores when those eyes focus on me. I’ve never seen eyes like these before.

The Hardest Thing

M.C. Escher's Circular Staircase
Always moving upward, never getting anywhere.

I doubt anyone would disagree with me if I were to say that from our earliest years of cognition we are exposed to dogmatic and yet conflicting advice for how to live our lives. Broadly speaking, we are told to abide by two golden rules of personal success:

  1. Learn the rules of your game, learn what people who have power to help you succeed want, and give them that.
  2. Just be yourself.

For example, think about a job interview. If you want the job, you should almost certainly follow the advice in point one. You should look the part. If your job is not in a creative field, you should probably wash the cherry red out of your hair and tone the mohawk down to something more office worthy. A suit is a must. When the interviewers ask you why you are applying for the position you should tell them about how their organization is an amazing organization and you see potential there for your own personal growth while simultaneously contributing your unique skills to their mission. If possible, you should also relate a personal note that suggests that you are not simply reciting from a handbook of good interviewing skills, but that you really thought about it (this advice is also in the handbook). A good personal note that I used in one of my job interviews was that I had family who lived nearby and it would be a great opportunity for me to be closer to them. This kind of comment is both personal enough to be credible, but vague enough that if pressed you can back it up with further vague details.

There are many other life situations where the advice in point one is valid. Recently I was invited to give a talk at the country’s most prestigious university. The people there are the most respected in their fields and this is a chance that does not happen often. An opportunity to share my research with these people would be great networking for my career as an economist and could help me increase my chances to publish in a more prestigious journal. I turned it down, though. There comes a point in your life, and the sooner that point comes the better for you, that you realize that being successful by hiding who you are and playing up to the rules of a game that you think you know will leave you feeling empty, unfulfilled and likely overworked in a job you hate.

It sounds very counter intuitive to “just be yourself” in a job interview, but there are valid reasons to follow this advice even in such a critical interaction. This is in fact how I got my current job. More than anything I wanted to move to Japan. When I graduated with my Ph.D I was not particularly interested in furthering my career as an economist. Mostly I was exhausted and burned out from pretending to care about subjects my faculty cared about so that they would sign off on my dissertation. I wanted a break and I wanted to live in Japan. During my interview they asked me why I applied for that position. I told them: I want to live in Japan. I can guarantee that no one else said that during their interview. Graduate students are all trained very well to say that the reason they are applying for ______________ institution is because the faculty there are inspiring experts in their field of study. Surprised, the professor leading the interview then asked me, “But, aren’t you worried about tenure? This is not a research position.” I said to him “No. A teaching position gives me extra time before the tenure clock starts ticking. And anyway, if I got a tenure track position now I would just have to take time away from my job to go to Japan because I want to go to Japan, so this is actually more convenient for me.” He was clearly floored. I found out later that my job offer was unanimous.

Being yourself is powerful even in critical moments where you are being judged and evaluated by others. Indeed this is the most important time to be yourself because you will know immediately if you are compromising on your principles. We always think that we know the rules of the game. We always think, because others are constantly telling us, that there are rules that can be studied and followed and that if done well will guarantee success. The other side of that advice is that we are all people. Even though people can be predictable to some extent, we are all unique. Sometimes when we think we know the rules, and we think we are playing smart, the other people that we are interacting with also think they are playing smart and in the end neither side is able to communicate their true desires. In my case, most high quality graduate students are only interested in tenure track positions. This was a rule that my interviewers most likely felt they had to work around in order to fill their position. Similarly, if I had acted as if I only wanted a tenure track position in an attempt to display a dishonestly strong devotion to research and research alone I would have actually hurt my opportunity to simultaneously fulfill my dreams and those of the hiring committee.

It is incredibly difficult, in fact I would say it is the hardest thing we ever do in our lives, to live with personal integrity. Personal integrity means being honest with ourselves about who we are and what we want, and being honest with others about those things. The difficulty is that it flies in the face of common sense advice about how to “successfully” live our lives. At the most critical moments, such as a job interview or an invitation that could make or break out careers, to be honest with yourself and with the others around you could, well, break your career. It is frightening, and that fear never goes away. Luckily it is also habit forming. Being yourself, as they say, frees the heart. By validating your own desires in front of others you pave the way for others to validate you in return. This is one of our most fundamental and human needs.

I was very torn about my invitation. I am no longer interested in spending energy on my old research topic, but I thought that a presentation of my research meant that I had to spend more effort preparing and honing it to something that other economists would find interesting — an activity even more soul crushing that the research itself. But after my colleague, a senior professor at my institution, went out of his way to arrange the opportunity for me, refusing to present could be tantamount to career suicide. Certainly I could make some excuse about time conflicts, but in the end I chose to share my honest feelings about the topic. I am desperately, passionately engrossed in answering a completely different question, I told them. It is a new question and is only just now beginning to form itself into something concrete that can be studied. I am so completely absorbed in answering this question that I frankly consider time spent on anything else a waste. That time includes presenting old research at the country’s most prestigious university. I told them this and I told them that if they were interested in hearing me talk about my new passion that I would be happy to do that, but that otherwise I would have to respectfully decline their invitation.

I was so frightened that I had to look away as my computer processed and sent the e-mail. As soon as it was done and there was no going back, though, I felt a welling up of joy and energy inside me that told me I had made the right choice. Perhaps I just burned my best bridge to success as an economist. That may be true, but I can not know that for some time. What I could know immediately was that I made a choice that was true to my truest self and my truest desires and that I did not hide any of it from people who matter. It is possible that by doing this I damage my career, but it is certain that by not doing what I did that I would hurt my chances of following my passion, hurt my chances of living with integrity and hurt my ability to break out of a pointless cycle of pleasantries and assumptions that doesn’t bring anyone closer to their dream.

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