The Day I Met Olivia

At the memorial of a friend yesterday I met Olivia. I felt like I had seen her, or met her, but I needed to speak to her, I needed to know her again, to hear her, regardless of whether I had met her already or not. I saw her and I felt I had to know her. I went up to her and said just that, “Hi I don’t know if we know each other but I feel like I need to know you.” Olivia in her perfect voice full of depth, story, tenderness, Olivia in her full confident presence immediately welcomed me with a “we don’t know each other, but that is so sweet”. I sat next to her and we had a conversation that I suppose, natural to the day’s occasion, began with death. How San Miguel de Allende brings magical people together, and it’s “a good city to die”. I had never thought of San Miguel like that, as my experience was on another specter of life. But now that I had, I saw San Miguel totally differently. Our conversation flowed from politics to identity to philosophy in through in such a natural stream of consciousness that it was one of those exquisite moments in life that make you breathe truly and deeply. We had conversations about race and the way we relate to ourselves through identity where she gave me new ways to see things I felt I needed new perspective in, more properly experienced wisdom. And Olivia was that. No hyperboles, an actor who loves the art, a whole human being of a person who I feel graced to have met and spoken to.

Once the sun went down everyone went home. We did not exchange numbers or contacts. We simply trusted San Miguel to bring us back together. I tried to thank her for the conversation, but words failed me.

Conversations next to windows

“I wish I could organize my mind, you know? In like…Drawers. Filing cabinets, maybe. With subcategories. I wish the world were like that too. Because then that way, I could choose how to be. Morals and values would be easy, you would know how to live. This is all clearly ‘good’, and this is all clearly ‘bad’. Do more ‘good’, stay away from ‘bad’, then you will have these reactions and consequences. You will not be hurt, because you chose to do ‘good’. You will not hurt others, because you chose to do ‘good’.

But even then, you wouldn’t be able to choose, really, would you? Even now, choosing takes practice. It takes an awareness that also takes practice. Everything is all about the practice, it would seem. Not about the doing right, or wrong, but rather doing. The how rather than the why.”

I could feel that I wasn’t making any sense, my nerves were on edge. It was important that I convey what I was trying to say, but the words weren’t there. I felt defensive, like the words chose to stay away from me.

“Maybe it is more of an unveiling. Of playing a character and unveiling who that character is. ‘Choose your own adventure’.”

I fell silent. I wasn’t sure if I was making any sense and it felt selfish to take up air and time just to go on on some self-important tangent.

“Every emotion always ends up feeling wrong.” I said, off-topic and more to myself than her.

“I guess…” I closed my eyes, and dared to take a minute to gather my thoughts. Trusting her, in her silence. I held my breath for a minute. The whirlwind of my mind was about to begin, but before I let it take me somewhere else, I closed my eyes and listened to my silence,waiting for that moment –that tiny moment– suspended in air, the moment where I knew what I was going to say, the moment you know is going to happen right before it does, but if you take too long then it’s gone because once you realize the moment is “there” it’s already gone.  And right before I felt the moment come, because that’s when you have to seize it, not when you know for sure, and it’s already past, but right before you know for sure it’s coming. It’s a confusing difference, but if you ignore it then you will never know what I’m talking about. And so the moment was there and I breathed in and instead of being carried by the whirlwind of my mind, I was next to it, watching it. The conversation happened as I listened.

“It is not about choosing but about unveiling. You watch who you are.”

“So Free Will doesn’t exist.”

“Well…oh, is that what you meant with the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’?”

“Yes. You can maybe choose what page to turn to, but the book has already been written. There’s only so many endings. So you can maybe have the will to turn the page, but it isn’t like you’re the writer. So someone else is still in control of your fate.”

“What if Free Will isn’t choosing to turn the page but rather to read the book? To see what stories have been chosen for you?”

“So like, ‘if you don’t like it just kill yourself'”

“That’s very morbid.”

“That’s all it ever comes back to. Like, what is the point?”

I couldn’t think of anything else to say, and she was quiet too.

I sat in uncomfortable anxiety at first, unsure of how to proceed. My brain went back to the movie I had watched the day before, about Robyn Davydson, an Australian woman who had crossed half the continent by foot with nothing but some camels and her dog. The true story is remarkable for so many reasons. For me one of the things that stood out was something I had not only been in awe of in Robyn, but also Christopher McCandless (who they also made a book and movie about, Into the Wild.) It was their sense of being able to be alone, with nature, for so long. To not need a partner, their family, a best friend, or a group. I could not imagine or fathom a life where I am not surrounded by anyone, and yet that is probably only because I am so aware of our meaninglessness. So I envied Robyn’s sense of self. Lusted after her radical independence. She needed no one, for nearly a year. Under all the odds, she did what she wanted as she wanted.

“Just imagine…” I continued, at first confident that I knew what I was going to say. But then I was imagining. A perfect world in which everyone goes on camel rides across the desert or going into the wild to discover themselves. But in that “perfect world” there is still theft, rape, inequality. I sighed. She had chosen her own adventure, Robyn. It had felt to me like some people weren’t just reading the book of their lives, but also writing it. I tried to explain that, but the moment had passed and I felt rushed. I frowned and looked at her, then back down. “I never know what I’m going to say anymore. I feel like I start one sentence and it doesn’t ever end. It feels like all I ever want to do is talk, even though I have no idea what I want to say, but I know it’s there, dying to be said.” I said finally.

“Well,” she said, right before inhaling and looking out the big dramatic window next to her, “then maybe you should write.”


Truth be told

I am always trying, if not also failing, to check where I am lying to myself, and how I may learn more.
The reason why I am like that, is because I try to find which thread of truth within me feels most natural, which one will follow me during my life, what my own moral codes are and how I can better navigate them to live a peaceful life.

I have learned to do that by being a fierce seeker of what is true for me, while trying to avidly respect others’ truths.

A difficult task. One that is not quick to be completed, and is more of a constant choice that I am making, when confronted with different people of different backgrounds and different truths.

When I find someone that shares the same or similar general truths that I also believe in, it is comforting and unifying.

When someone disrespects my own truth, or I find their truth hard to swallow, I feel separate from them and upset. But if I grasp on to my truth as the only one to be followed, as the only one that should be, that is even more frustrating. I would have to spend my life trying to convince of others of my own beliefs. For them to see things my way. While there are brilliant careers made up of people doing just that, to me, that is not conducive to peace, my utmost top priority in life, and therefore, not really of any true importance.

Even in my own passionate path of truth-seeking and applying, however, I still paint pretty pictures (or dreadful horrible pictures) for myself that are sometimes not true, even by my own standards. I victimize myself, or glorify myself, in an attempt to control the situation, make myself feel better, or repeating a psychological cycle. I do that, and so do most other people that surround me, everyone to a varying degree of what they’d like to see, and how much “truth” they’re willing to handle for themselves.

“There are no facts, only interpretations.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

But I digress. What is truth but simply what we choose to believe? And if people “lie” to themselves for whatever reason, I don’t know that it is my responsibility to force them to come to another truth simply because I want them to.

That said, sharing truths is unifying, and not having people to speak your truth with, share it with, is lonely. I think that if there is to be a purpose in life, it is to share my life with worthwhile people of all genders and ages. I do not need it to be nor want that to just be a lover, or a man, or some romantic partner because I feel like that diminishes who I am. However some people do want that, for them, and if I am being empathetic and compassionate, I understand what that feels like. If I didn’t know how to or did not have the opportunity to bond with friends and my sister, I don’t think I would be able to handle the feeling of not being able to ever speak my mind, express myself, share my truth and life with someone, and if I had only ever been taught to validate myself with a man, then that’s how that would come out.

If I were not able to apply that compassion, I would drive myself crazy wanting the world and other people to change. I have now seen all the emotional pain I can handle. I am scared to go back there, but aware that I can get out. I do not need other people to validate the work I do, because they do not understand. I do not need people to see how I am because I don’t want to limit my depth to their perspective.

However finding those that swim under currents of perspective and beyond the limits of their fear, the people that speak your truth back to you before you’ve even opened your mouth, that is what is most beautiful to me. That is the most magical thing on this planet. Finding your tribe. Those soulmates. Your Truth family.

I wish to release everyone of any karmic ties they feel to me. I release everyone from their responsibility to care for me or make me happy, as I don’t wish to be their victim when they don’t. I wish to be loved freely, as I wish to love freely. Cat-like, being together because we choose to and not out of fear of being alone, or the need for the other to validate us. That is to me, the most magic, and I compassionately permit myself to allow others the right to seek their own magic in whatever way they see fit without my judgement. May true magic friends and family come to me, and may others find what they seek. -Self affirmation for magic and freedom

This is my truth today, and will probably lead me on to tomorrow. May I always have the freedom and will to allow my mind to grow and expand so that my truth may as well, and my ability to love greater and be more at peace continue to increase.

Yours truly,