Tuesday, June 07, 2005

On Turning 30.

Right Now: I'm waiting for Ramon to come home and listening with pleasure to "Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ" by Peter Gabriel.

* WARNING - those of you who have already crossed this terrifying threshold will no doubt find the following entry full of banalities, ideas that have been thought up and chewed over an infinite number of times since the beginning of history, and many thoughts that seem deep but are not really upon reflection. I can't help it - I'm not that smart, don't think of myself as terribly deep (an imprecise and rather arbitrary descriptor anyway), and was a woefully indifferent student in school and college, so I'm not that well-educated either. That said, I do like being me and like thinking my thoughts, so since this is after all my blog, I'll write them down and let the demons howl.

So. I turned 30 two weeks ago tomorrow. This birthday was preceded by about 3 years of worry (fear of aging), frustration (that my Youth was very nearly wasted and I hadn't done any of the things I was supposed to before I turned 30), and not a small amount of anticipation - mostly the firm belief in the assurance that I couldn't help but become a kinder, wiser and more circumspect human being with the onset of years. This last event (Becoming Better) I have anticipated with a feverish desperation for a great deal of time - ever since I realized that I was blundering around hurting people's feelings with my (supposedly witty) sarcasm, making people feel uncomfortable trumpeting my beliefs, embarrassing my loved ones with my abrasive behavior and generally not, as my good friend Aly puts it, building true community with my words and actions.

I realize that no one visits my blog to hear me list off a bunch of complaints about myself, so let me say that a lot's going RIGHT with me. I love being me. However, I could no longer escape three facts as age 30 drew nearer and I began to seriously reflect on my life and my self up to this point: 1. I want to make people around me feel loved, respected, and comfortable and for the most part the social habits I'd formed were accomplishing exactly the reverse; 2. I want to live authentically but again hadn't formed habits that made me feel I was well along that road; and 3. I want to Do Things with the potential I carry within me, but once bloody again hadn't formed any habits that made me at all effective in steering my own life and development in any good directions. One major problem that I've entered therapy to deal with is a general lack of belief in myself. I've spent so many years being blinded by stupid things that I don't like about myself (I'm too fat, not beautiful enough, not smart enough, my motives are all bullocks, I'm a selfish, lazy person, etc.) that I haven't been able to see what's really wrong. Just habits. Habits that make me unhappy and ineffective. Not practicing skills that will make me content, loving, skillful, triumphant.

So, when it came time to really turn 30 - in the last 6 months or so - I started to really concentrate on my habit-forming. Since my birthday's coming and going, I've been ever more conscious of the small things I do that reinforce either that which makes me unhappy and ineffective and unhealthy (mentally and physically) or the things that make me into a more complete, fulfilled and actualized woman.

OK, I'm starting to bore myself.

For your amusement, I'll make a list.

Things I Was Supposed to do Before Turning 30: 1. Bring my weight down from 215 to about 150 or so - this has not happened. I'm not as sad as you might think about this since my ideas of beauty are changing and I have a husband who...uh...wants me bad. Real bad. All the time. I won't lie - I'd love to be little and firm and drive men and women around me into a fever of lust, and I'd at least like to be healthy which is why I haven't given up. But the desperate unhappiness I used to feel whilst looking in the mirror is gone. 2. Find True Love - this one I'm proud of. Ramon's the light of my life - my lover, companion, playmate, helper, sibling (rural Kentucky moment) and friend. I've worked hard to become a spouse that loves him as well as he deserves. And he's just hot. 3. Become a successful and popular recording artist - don't make me laugh. God. OK, I'm a singer, and I'll say a good one, but the idea of doing it for money day and night is not an appealing one for me. The sacrifice to become Great and Recognized is not one I'm currently willing to make. Every so often I get the urge to stand in front of large audiences and pour out my soul and receive blinding accolades, but for the most part my little job and little life with Ramon make me too happy to describe. And I have peace that if I someday can't NOT sing for a living any more, I'll get to it and it'll happen or not happen. Don't mistake me, though. I fully intend to reach my full potential as a musician. Right now I'm learning to play the guitar and I will drag it wherever I go and drive people crazy singing, singing, singing and you WILL like it. Oh, yes. But I no longer find my identity solely as a Singer. That habit was truly eating me alive.

One more thing - losing my innate arrogance has helped me a lot. I mean, not that it's totally gone...but for some reason I was walking around thinking a lot of myself and therapy has helped me see that though I'm a wonderful woman and deserving of love and happiness, I'm not anything much. And as the Hermit said to Bree in C.S. Lewis' "The Horse and His Boy", "It doesn't follow that you'll be anyone very special in Narnia. But as long as you know you're nobody very special, you'll be a very decent sort of Horse, on the whole..." My deep need to make fun of people is slowly tapering off. It seems odd that someone like me, growing up with a rather low opinion of myself, should also grow up arrogant, bullying and feeling pretty superior to people in general. But the more I truly love the person I am, treating myself gently and courteously and with respect, the more I find myself treating others the same way. And the more I see of my REAL shortcomings, as opposed to the false ones (fat, etc. - see list above), the more compassionately I deal with other people when their faults come to light.

So, Ash, you asked a simple question and got a long-ass blog entry in reply. To recap in a nutshell: turning 30 had great import for me because I decided to give it great import. I promised myself on May 25 to believe in me, to believe in my new attempts to form myself into someone better, to believe in the nobility of my motives in implementing change. I promised myself to live more authentically, to love people better, to let myself fail and fail again and earn no cruelty in my own response to my failure. And the thought of Time Passing, instead of frightening me, gave me hope. In Diane Reeves' words "I believe that God and Time are synonymous." And as time heals all wounds, time also makes hearts kinder, minds wiser in those who seek it. Though time pulls down all things, time is also required to build things up. Now that I'm 30 I've decided trust myself. Trust Time. Trust God.


Blogger Aly H. said...

"I promised myself to...let myself fail and fail again and earn no cruelty in my own response to my failure."

Wow, Cerise. I can't express the joy that bubbles up inside me when I read this sentence. I've been musing a lot lately about that crazy, crazy word "redemption", and I can't help but think that God's magic of abra-cadabra-ing our failures into beauty is one of the most stunning things about it (redemption, that is). I'm not saying I'm going to go out and try really hard to fuck up...but I am going to try very hard to trust that beauty is speeding on her way even before the word "Oops."

Your grace to yourself is a pale (yet gorgeous) reflection of the love God bears you.

6/08/2005 9:40 AM  
Blogger Morphea said...

It's funny you should say this (and thank you! Anything to make Aly smile...) because the whole failure into beauty thing came to me slowly and by accident. I would be sitting in Maria's (therapist) office, having just peeled off my skin with her in talking through stuff I had done poorly the previous week, hanging my poor old head. I'd be literally so overwhelmed by how often and how thoroughly I was failing that I had nothing to say (!). And the only consolation was to say to myself (instead of the accustomed, "You IDIOT! You're never going to succeed if you keep being so lazy and stupid and...!") , "Never mind. Do better next week and see if it makes you a little happier." And weeks and weeks of my saying that consolation gradually, accidentally taught me compassion. It was something I had theoretically known of before, longed for even, but had never experienced - just between me and me and God, I mean. Every time I've asked God to show me (whilst hanging my head) why I'm even worth the effort, I've gotten a clear answer that my worth lies, in part, in the fact that I fail and comfort myself and ask for help again and again.

So your last bit about beauty speeding on her way before the word "oops" is more comforting than you know - because practicing compassion and trust in God even BEFORE I fuck up will make it more likely that my response to myself (and others - nice how the lesson goes both ways, don't you think?) when I do fail will be kind.


6/08/2005 12:39 PM  
Blogger Abram said...

This is some serious shit happen' on this blog and I don't think I can handle it. Mostly I don't find there any diference between my precieved "errors" and my everyday interactions. The more time spent stopping my interactions for higher meaning and conceptualized beautification of my own precieved errors are moments away from the world and missed interactions which can out-weigh the time spent in introspection with constant action and awareness of the moment by moment. As the moment passes, you are only bringing other influences and ideals into a time that has passed and cannot truly be explored without corrupting the experience with backword thought. Keep the writing up, nice to see you vitual side of the world. I can't stand loggin' in to post comments so I might not ever post again, but we'll see. Peace, Abram Deslauriers

6/11/2005 10:54 PM  
Blogger Morphea said...

Thass cool, Abram. Thanks for the other side of the coin. In the immortal words of Aaron Dixon, one of the founders of the Black Panthers, "...practice is the criteria for truth...anybody can talk, but the truth comes out through action...". I'm pretty sure he meant something slightly different that what you're saying, but I agree with you that jumping into life moment by moment and learning by living is the way to go. The reason for all the thinking and agonizing and therapy basically boils down to the fact that I needed to learn to practice compassion - for myself and for those around me - and that the small decisions I was making weren't promoting that.

Thanks for stopping by, bro.


6/13/2005 9:06 AM  
Blogger the_blacke said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one having a kind of existential crisis about turning 30! I've got a few days to go and I'm still not adjusted to the idea!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences!


6/13/2005 5:09 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Folks...so this is what I have to look forward to in 5 years?!? PLEASE, give me some hope!!! j/k :)

Anyway, what a great post! Thanks for disemboweling yourself and being real about your struggles...very inspiring to see you examine and strive to change. I love the words of Paul on this subject. He said: I am not saying I have already reached perfection, but I press on to experience true restoration through Jesus. Fellow Christians, I am not saying I have already become like Jesus, but there is one thing I do in this struggle called life: I forget what has happened in the past and strain toward the future God is drawing me into. I press on toward the goal of being like Jesus to win the prize of hearing the words "Well done my good and faithful servant." (my paraphrase of Phil. 3:12-14)

Just 5 more years to go until my own personal existential crisis...woohoo!!

6/15/2005 8:36 AM  
Blogger Morphea said...

Aw, Jeremy, it's not that bad. Is it, Ross? Come on, help me out here. Seriously, this a good time for me. One of the best times of my life. And you're a cool guy, it seems - well on your way to being a killer 30-year-old.

But do yourself a favor and go to the gym regularly, OK? For me? I joke, I joke.

Thanks for that quote from St. Paul. I like the way he contrasts the words 'perfect' and 'restored'. I like the word 'restored' much better.

And Ross, hang in there, fella. And if your birthday's come and gone, HAPPY BIRTHDAY FROM ALL OF US AT THE KICKING AND SCREAMING BLOG!!!



6/15/2005 4:21 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

It sounds to me like you are heading in a great direction!

Your example inspires me to turn thirty in five or so years!

I can live with my major character flaws until such a time as I am no longer carded in restaurants.

I am still fervently clinging to the mythic fountain of youth, although I suspect that most "young people" would wonder why I'm still trying to hold on.

I've got "issues".

6/21/2005 5:21 PM  
Anonymous bananie said...

so...did you have to sing lots of twila paris and/or sandy patti songs growing up?

/raising hand.

11/29/2005 4:36 PM  
Blogger Morphea said...

Oh my God. You too?

11/29/2005 5:03 PM  

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