First time here? Visit my New Visitors page to catch up.__________________________________________ On the last day of 2012 I was reading the last chapter of Octavia E. Butler's, Parable of the Sower. Sometimes I reread the books of authors whose words were instrumental in my life. Butler is one of those authors. Stephen King is another. Rereading teaches me more about myself. For example, reading Butler with the wisdom of a 30 year old engendered different reactions in me than today. Comparing the difference gives more insight. During my first read, I remember being captivated by Butler's imagination and skill in character development. This time, as I closed her book from my second read, I realized that I was deeply and profoundly touched by the woman's ability with words. How I understand my different reactions is the theme for this post: connection through knowledge and acceptance of self.
Over the past 12 months, I learned just how empowering letting go of bad habits, negative people, and unhealthy food can be. Indeed, the bulk of my posts last year were about sharing what I experienced and learned while eliminating connections that were not good for me. One thing that became obvious early on was that refraining from efforts to stay connected--whether mentally, spiritually or physically--to things and people who were familiar and, thus comfortable to some extent, forced me to face myself with all of my fears, strengths, talents, and shortcomings.
This meant that I took a 12 month long look in a mirror at myself. My mirror was not distorted by distractions such as anger, blame, revenge, self-pity or denial. The results were I lost my connection to many things and people and gained awareness of the intact me. I now know me. I accept me. I respect me. In addition, I realize that using most of my energy in efforts to foster unhealthy connections is what led me to feel isolated and alone. I was isolated from myself which meant that I could not feel the presence of another. I was alone while surrounded by things and people because I had not done the work necessary to know me. Since I did not know me, I could not know another.
Here is a real-life example that I hope will bring clarity. Earlier in this post I shared that Stephen King was another author who was instrumental in my life. King is a master story teller and, as a person who preferred reading non-fiction, I always admired his ability to keep me engaged throughout his books. Even though, there was a time in my life when, after reading everything that King published, I felt that I could not read his books. Consequently, I stopped reading him for years, and never really analyzed, until now, why.
At the time of my hiatus from King, the only explanation that I could offer myself and others was that King's stories were written so well that I was drawn in to the point where I was not comfortable. In other words King, the man, had the ability to deeply and profoundly touch me with his words and I ran like a rabbit from the threat of such intimacy. For you see, as long as I could contain my reactions to King's writing to the intellectual I felt safe. The second that my reactions were deeper, beyond intellectual, I could not withstand the connection.
In retrospect, running from the possibility of true intimacy which freed me from feeling the presence of another was how I lived my life. People who were also avoiding intimacy and awareness of others were who I drew to me and with whom I became entangled. In addition, fear of intimacy is what kept me from taking that long, clear look at my reflection so that I could consciously build the connection that I so craved; self-knowledge.
With the start of the new year, I have now begun reading a new, to me, book of Butler's--Kindred. I do not remember reading this particular novel of hers and I am very interested in experiencing how the woman will touch me this time. I expect her touch will be just as profound as before. The difference is I am not afraid of the possibility. I am also excited about learning how the author uses her skills to craft this story.
With the start of my new year, I find the welcome connection between my emotions and intellect to be empowering rather than frightening as before. This makes me happy about the new year, and open to what future experiences and people will bring. While I am not actively seeking a love relationship, I will not put on my bunny ears and hop away if the opportunity presents. Indeed, in place of seeking to fill the void that I felt from my lack of self-knowledge with another relationship, I am continuing to invest in my health, well-being, and personal development.
For instance, this year I look forward to continuing my tango lessons with Queer Tango Boston. I will also continue to develop a healthy body, mind and spirit by following the Living PowerLife approach to health and happiness. Part of successfully fulfilling these goals and more will be to define and refine my butch identity. To date, I have found A. James' One Butch Gentleman blog to be a good resource. For the record, I love the term butch gentleman and officially claim it to describe myself. Reading James' blog led me to a second resource, The Art of Manliness.The information about the use of calling cards again and social etiquette is refreshing and informative.
Here's wishing you and me a healthy, prosperous, loving, powerful, and peaceful 2013. Thank you for reading my blog, and for the comments you have shared with me. I especially want to thank my family as I publish my first blog post for the year. You have made my life richer, safer, and more loving than I could ever have imagined. Much respect.
Look for more from me as I continue to claim my power in my life and to encourage you to claim your power in yours.
From My PowerLife to Yours,
2012. All rights reserved.