Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Life, The Buddha, and Sound Bites.

The Buddha says we spend our lives pretending to be someone else. The question of course becomes then who was the Buddha pretending to be? Maybe the Buddha was pretending to be the Buddha, which considering his history is actually correct, as he was born a prince. Of course it begs the question, who are we each pretending to be?

As Detective "Doc" Reese on Life said tonight: "Maybe I'm just pretending to be myself?"

Which made me think. The person I was pretending to be was popular enough, actually pretty popular really, but he was distant and disconnected from folks. He was amusing and not exactly pretending to be some sort of alien superhero. He'd never hurt anyone except in the line of duty (His words, not mine) and he wasn't joking. He was everything, everyone I couldn't be, and was (though I'm still not certain how that worked) super human. For those familiar with Stargate SG-1 and the race of symbiotic beings known as the Tok'ra, he was exactly that.

The great joy in my life now, the great freedom, is that "I'm" not pretending to be anyone save maybe myself. Unlike my snake, I'm not perfect and I don't try to be. As someone imperfect and growing into my own life, now that it is mine and mine alone, I find it interesting to see how people see me. While I was swapping email with a good friend of mine, who's views I respect and trust, she said:

"Besides, you may have anxiety that would put a squirrel to shame, but you are vivacious and fun and get along with people."

I read it a couple of times to be sure I'd read it right, and when I thought about it, it really was a surprisingly good sound bite about me. My sister-in-law added "kind" to the list when I mentioned Christine's comment. Having spent so many years hiding, terrified I'd never be accepted, let alone that people would want to be around me, it's kind of nice. It's also so very different than the past. It's taking some getting used to, but it is well worth it.

When and where possible, I try to live a life close to the teachings of Buddha, because it just makes sense. And I've long since given up pretending to be someone else, and you know, It's nice to find out that I'm doing a great job of not doing. In working to touch my own life with kindness and love, I'm being really messy, so it's getting all over the place. There are worse things I could be doing with my life. After so many years of trying too hard, and not really making it, I'm glad to find life easier and more fulfilling just being me. It's almost counter-intuitive when you think about it. For all the bad things and pain he brought to my life, I can't help but be amused by something he used to say: "You know, when you try to be funny, it just doesn't work. When you're not trying however you're so funny and great to be around."

Yeah, right. Problem was, it was kind of all or nothing. And neither of us were ready for that kind of investment in life. My life. But it really wasn't my life then. I'd willingly given it up when I was a child in exchange for the safety and protection that this alien superhero could provide. So now, for better or worse, it is mine and I'm not soon going to allow someone to take it from me again. Be it the person I invented to protect me, or someone I thought, believed even, loved me. Life is just a bit too precious to throw away.


Anonymous said...

I wish I could say that I no longer have to pretend to be someone else in my life, but I'm still in a position where the job is too important to give up. It's paying for transition expenses, even though I have to be that other person on the job. It's a "catch 22" situation.
Anyway, I can relate to what you say about being less withdrawn from life when you're not trying to be someone else. I find that I'm just "happy-go-lucky" when I'm home on the weekends and being myself instead of "that guy" at work.
I like that line "anxiety that would put a squirrel to shame" it's a good description of how we are when we try to hide our inner self. :-)
Too bad we live so far from each other, I'd be happy to swap Reiki energy with you, it'd do us both good!

alan said...

There are parts of me that I don't "show", though they aren't necessarily "hidden". Ones that have gotten me in trouble, ones that would...

One of many reasons I'm so happy for anyone that gets to be "themself" in this life!


Samantha said...

Hi Amber,

You're no less a woman for doing what you have to in order to survive. Eventually, you'll be able to move forward and this phase, the "Tweens" will be a memory. In the meantime I read your blog every chance I get and I think you're doing a great job with what you have to work with. I've even been out to your Flickr site and browsed the pictures there, you're doing great.

My anxiety? Wow I so wish it was transition related, but alas, I'm not so lucky. Transition went smoothly for me, with no anxiety related to the journey. Honestly my journey was at one of the worst times in my life, the only thing keeping me going. My lasting anxiety is from a lifetime of abuse, domestic violence, rape, betrayal and being pushed well beyond the limits of human endurance. That's the short version...

So, Alan, just a thought for you to ponder. Why are you less than? Why is it okay for you to be forced by someone else, anyone else, to be someone you're not? Life and relationships should be about balance, two people working together on a better life. You are worth that at the very least.

Just a thought, but maybe it's time for you and D---- to get past the past, and look toward a future that works for all of you? You are a wonderful person Alan, you deserve better. This IS the 21st century.

Debbie K said...

Dear Samantha
You have been through so much in your life. You really are incredible. Out of such adversity has come something so precious so wonderful. Your wise words are a testament to how much you have healed & grown so beautifully as a person.

Keri Renault said...

Your words hit home, Samantha. I'd much rather love outside the lines than color perfectly inside them.

The price of conformity, supression and denial is a life sentence to a gloomy world of gray. Like you, I delight in the simple pleasure of not pretending--of being me. What a beautiful rainbow!! All the best.

Samantha said...

Oddly enough, I don't really feel incredible, more thankful than anything. But yes, I have grown so much, and survived things I wouldn't wish on anyone. Thank you for your kind words Debbie. Speaking of which, I have to go catch up on your site. How goes the battle with NHS and funding and so forth? Better I hope?

Keri, the funny thing is for so many years I was forever searching for the door to summer so to speak, and I used to complain to my brother that I hated living in a world of grays. He never quite understood that. Then I transitioned and he said "Holy crap! Now I get it! Color, yeah sis, color, now I understand!"