March 11th, 2001

red panda eating bamboo

A bitch is born

I'm turning into a bitch who speaks her mind instead of trying to smooth things over and not really say what I think. I wonder if that is part of "Be your concentrated essence." It feels good.
  • I want to be a person who speaks her mind at least some of the time.
  • I want to be a person who doesn't spend too much time trying to soothe everyone else.
  • I want to be a person who makes beautiful things for their own sake.
  • I want to be a person who thinks beautiful things for their own sake are worthwhile.
  • I want to be a person who doesn't mind making ugly things too sometimes.
  • I want to tell the truth.
  • I want to be a person who is willing to be selfish when that is the best thing.
  • I want to be a person who sometimes does things for my own pleasure
  • I want to be a person who isn't afraid of my own goddamned reading material.
  • I want to be a person who can throw out reading material unread if it looks like I'm not going to catch up on it.
  • I want to be a person who acts sometimes and doesn't just sit and think all the time.
There is this exercise about whether you are living the right sort of life: What do you want on your tombstone? Well, a tombstone is really for other people, so they would be perfectly satisfied with "She was nice all the time." But let's say my life comes to an end and the next stage is sitting there and asking myself did I spent it properly? Am I satisfied with it? If I had it to do over again, [in dreams, I am often telling myself a story, and then I start telling it over again and trying to improve it] what would I do differently to satisfy ME? Not my mom, not my other loved ones, not the Buddha, not Gaia, not any authority or person with power over me, but just plain me.

Who is "ME"? The one who tells the truth. The one who doesn't pussyfoot around. The one who squints and peers and doesn't suffer fools gladly. [nod to Women Who Run With the Wolves] The one whose breath is taken away by beautiful things and who doesn't care about being nice for the sake of making other people feel good. "Me" doesn't think there is anything wrong with that sort of being nice but it's not "me"'s thing and "me" is getting sick of always letting the nice person who shares a brain/body with "me" have control all the time.

No, I don't think I have Multiple Personality Disorder. I just think I have lots of different and contradictory ideas of how to act, and I need to revise some of the balance between them or else I am going to have my soul muffled in gauze.

I tried to do life the way Zen and the Art of Making a Living has it -- that one's livelihood should be based on what needs to be done to decrease suffering in the world and whichever part of that one's talents and interests best match. That has led me to some really good things like maintaining my collections of info and my animal shelter work. I'm not knocking it. But it's missing something.

When I did all the worksheets and questions for ZatAoMaL, I simply could not come up with a justification for how "creating beautiful things" decreased suffering in the world in any meaningful way. So I put that aside. I only allowed myself beauty in the service of function. Well, that is killing me, muffling my soul. Whether it decreases suffering or not in any meaningful way, I need to do that. I need to do beautiful and frivolous things. Maybe I will learn that doing so addresses a form of suffering that I don't yet understand, or maybe I will just decide that ZatAoMaL is incomplete.

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