During my college experience, there were 3 boys I had intimate relationships with. All of them were distant. When my first “relationship” post-college fell under the same arm-length umbrella… I couldn’t help but notice the common denominator and yet, I did not at all notice the greatest common divisor.

If the common denominator of my intimate experiences was men who are distant, the greatest common divisor was me seeking them out, making their behavior into my enemy, and doing absolutely nothing to rectify the situation, so that, no matter what, i continue to have a problem. So that I could continue to be the victim.

Well, fast forward however many years later. I have read, I have learned, I have grown. Wonderful. If Abraham Hicks was right when he said, “The universe is not testing you, the universe is yielding evidence of where you are vibrationally”, then this yielding of evidence is illuminating.

A month or so ago, I met a man who fit all the requirements my “pain-body” requires in a man, so that I can perpetuate said pain; somewhat attractive, vaguely interested in me, and distant. Initially one is fooled by the familiarity, one thinks, “there’s something about this person.” Yes, you are right! There is something about this person’s behavior. It resembles that of people you have encountered in the past, behavior that allows you to rehearse your favorite type of pain, instead of actually existing in the moment. Well, to my surprise, it took merely 3 encounters with this person to recognize this and for the first time in my adult life, I took responsibility for the situation and told him that I couldn’t see him anymore and that I hoped he understood. Damn Universe! This evidence you are yielding is bomb. I’m feeling my vibrations!….

Oh, what’s that? You not done? Shit, why you ain’t say so…. Lettin’ me get all damn happy and shit.

This nigga (the universe) was not done. Is not done. Will never be done throwing that mirror up in my face, so I could take a good look at my vibrations.

So, recently, I thought it a decent idea to date. Just a little. To get my dick wet (as opposed to my feet). Well, I met this 27 year old boy. Handsome. Wants to hang out. Where’s the problem? To make a long story short, we talk for hours, seemingly get along very well, we fuck, and then he ghosts. My new vibrational frequency didn’t know what to do with this information. There was the initial shock of, “his behavior leading up to this point was nothing like that of those from my past.” “I actually thought this was going to go somewhere… where I don’t know, or care.” “Why am I feeling this?”

But, I talked to myself.

I knew this feeling of “hurt” was my pain body trying to take control and make me a victim again.

I knew there was nothing negative happening here.

Someone just stopped talking to me. That’s it.

I knew this person was not my enemy.

I knew that I should accept the situation for what it was and be grateful for what I was able to enjoy in the situation.

But, even with knowing this. I still felt something.

And I think my life force, suddenly and unexpectedly thrust me out of the situation by forcing me COMPLETELY into the present, where this situation was not actually happening. The situation happened in “the past” and so, if I was in the present, the only thing that is actually existing, I have nothing to rehearse or mull over. But, the funny thing is, this has happened before. This always happens.

Usually I rehearse pain over and over and over again, until the necessary occurs. Until it blows up. And in that explosion, I am thrust into the present, where I feel empowered and “over” the situation. BUT, this time, the necessary didn’t occur. As a matter of fact nothing “happened”. And yet, I managed to be thrust into the now, in that special way. But, this time, I wasn’t empowered by being “over” the situation or “over” him, I was over that behavior. What happened, happened.

This guy was a bad bitch.

And I thought loving bad bitches was my fucking problem.

But, I was my problem.

And being somebody real, was my way to solve it.

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It turns out, I have been asleep for years, completely knocked the fuck out, watching this dream-series unfold before my eyes.  Like any other series, I’ve learned what to expect from the characters (including mine), and the rules of the world. And about 27 or 28 seasons in, I started to wonder, “why the fuck is my character written this way? This shit is straight garbage.” If my life is the series, the network is human existence on Earth.  So, I started doing some research on the network. Book after book after book. And finally, I got some info on how my character was developed. This series is sort of a devised piece. For years, I improvised in scenes with a mix of fully developed characters and other improvisers. I learned who my character was based on how other characters defined me, be it based on their interactions with me, my appearance, or my geographical location.  I was given two dramaturgs with the mission of heavy-handedly guiding me through the development of my character, interpretations of other characters, and the development and execution of the script. And after about 6 or 7 years of this process, the script was approved and the show began. So, here I am now, 30 years into this process, and somehow along the way, I started to confuse my character with who I am, who I was before any of this rehearsal started.  Behavior that was necessary for dramatic scenes has carried over into every other scene. A narrative was written for me decades ago, and that narrative dictates my interpretation of everything! This character is my mind’s conditioning and somehow I’ve started to confuse it with myself.

My social conditioning interprets every interaction I have, favoring scenarios where I am a victim, perpetuating the same ideas, over and over and over again. I haven’t been myself, I’ve been my mind.  The mind is very active, rehearsing scenes repeatedly, to cement in your mind who you are in relation to the world, that you are different from the world, that there is “you” and “them”. And after years of this, a whole lifetime of this…. I finally found the tools that helped me learn that I am not my mind and how to silence it, but now, within that silence, who the fuck am I?

When I was a child, I developed behavior that helped me navigate the loudest and most unpredictable people in my life; my parents and homophobic peers.  These people heavily projected on me and interacted with me violently, demanding a response. Even as young as 5, I could see the insanity in this. So, I started behaving in ways that seemed to bring me minimal harm. I started performing. My father often complained that when he would beat me, I didn’t cry. So, I gathered that is the response he wanted, so I gave it to him. My father very much disliked when I displayed any sort of confidence, and would say things like, “you think you’re smart ass, don’t you?” So, to avoid these interactions, I often pretended to be uncertain. I even would ask questions I already knew the answer to, because I knew it would make him feel better about himself. I figured all this and much more out before the age of 10. The problem? Somewhere along the line, I got so good at it,  I forgot that it was a performance. And one day, it was my “personality”.

As a child, my male peers presented many a problem. I wasn’t socialized in the way they were, because I moved so much, so I never had long lasting relationships with other boys and often their behavior resembled that of my father’s; a violent bully. So, I did what I knew how to do. I handled it. Surprisingly, in the opposite way I handled my father. When verbally attacked, I would show absolutely no reaction, even ignoring their existence (the most effective way I had found of putting an end to our interactions).  Groups of laughing boys were met with a straight face and unaffected voice, and some sarcasm for good measure. I did this for long, that I find that today, I interact with many adult men, in the same way. I forgot it was a performance.

After reading this, one might think, “bad stuff happened to me too pall, what’s your point???” The problem is that not only did I forget this was performance, but I started identifying with these problems, allowing myself do be defined by a small range of extreme experiences and my mind’s interpretation of them.

For example. A painting hangs on a wall in a museum. That painting is what it is. Thousands of people enter the museum, come up with their own conclusions about the painting based on their social conditioning and define it for themselves. Do their thoughts change what the painting actually is? No. The painting is what it is. Your interpretation is what it is. If this paining had a human mind, however, it would internalize and defend itself against negative interpretations and then most likely project an “abuser” or “attacker” identity onto those it encountered in life who resembled anyone who gave it negative criticism in the past, and when no one was around, it would think of every negative interaction it had with a person, and think, “why is this my life?”

This is insanity.

I remember having an argument with an ex of mine and it was dramatic and I was crying and blah blah blah. And when it was over, I remembered thinking, I know I don’t care about this, and yet a carried this entire performance out. I could hear myself responding with words from the script, but didn’t actually care. That’s how I first realized, I am not my mind. I am the consciousness that observes my mind and experiences what happens to this body.

Once I was able to identify what was happening, I was aware. Once aware, you can slip back into patterns here and there, but it’s never the same. You know what’s happening. It’s like leaving the Matrix and then trying to go back. It just doesn’t work.  But, the problem is, I don’t know how to live life, because I never have.  All of my instincts and habits and “personality traits” are rooted in this social conditioning, this code that was given to me and my interpretations of people and situations are the same. We navigate the world in the same way that we read, we don’t actually give our full attention to every word, we glance at them and our brain instantly recognizes them, and that’s how our minds handle a great deal of their interpretations of the world. So, I know nothing.

Now, I have to fight to stay conscious as much as possible. To accept that I know nothing. That these situations are neutral, until my mind makes it otherwise. Who the fuck am I?

Now that Earthlings have the internet, they don’t play that no more. Their attitudes seems to emulate the words of a Mr. Swizz Beatz, “If you got a problem, start it up. Vroom Vroom. Start it up. Vroom Vroom. Start up.” And social media know how to get it started.

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H&M Monkey Hoodie

 

Pepsi Commercial

https://twitter.com/the1arkofthecov/status/946551530064199681

Today, I vomited for the first time in 4 years. Whenever I return to Mexico, I endure some level of sickness, as my body adjusts to the altitude. When I returned to Mexico City for the third time this year, I imagined that I no longer had anything to worry about. Perhaps, my body was finally used to the altitude. Well… It turns out, I spoke too soon.

I hadn’t been eating very much and by “very much”, I mean, at all. Often, when I travel, I lose my appetite for a couple days. I didn’t think much of it. Then, last night, my stomach began to bother me. I figured, I would get some rest and eat in the morning. My body had other plans. I woke up in a sweat, shaking, and with only about 5 seconds to run across the room to the closest receptacle, to throw up. There are not many normal bodily functions that I hate more than vomiting. I hate it. And it is so rare that it happens to me, and yet, there I was, vomiting. Because, I had nothing solid in my system for bile to hold onto, it was literally oozing out of me. And for the first time, in a long time, I felt very scared. I needed help, but I was so exhausted, in so much pain, and lacking so much energy, that I didn’t know what to do. Who would I even call in Mexico City that would consider me a priority?

I stayed in bed for 14 hours, because I just couldn’t move, even though I so desperately needed to. I needed to drink water, I needed to eat something, but I just couldn’t move. In times like these, I think about people who live normal lives and have friends and family they can depend on and for just a moment, I understand part of why that sort of life can be so enticing. These people always have someone. I recently read an article about a foreigner in Mexico City who had an emergency, at home alone and died. They only died, because they were unable to get up and call for help and because they were living alone in another country, they had no one who would check on them from time to time to be sure they were okay. How frightening is that?

I say all this to say, check on your loved ones. It doesn’t cost anything and you could save someone’s life.

I feel like, I could have something much more profound to say, however, I have been awake for 7 hours today and my exhaustion is already hitting me hard. I apologize for my lack of groundbreakingness.

My mother told me, “life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.” She was inspired by George Bernard Shaw when she shared this quote with me, as I cried over the phone, confused about my life and my choices. Since then, this thought has echoed in my mind. Who am I? Who do I want to be? I first used a tool I learned in my Theatre training. Sometimes narrowing in on an idea can be difficult. So, first, I asked, “Who is it that I don’t want to be?” A much easier way to begin, no?

-I don’t want to be a person who doesn’t take care of themselves.
-I don’t want to be a person who takes out their own insecurities on other people.
-I don’t want to be a person who uses assumptions as an excuse not to ask questions.
-I don’t want to be a person who wallows in worry, as a way to avoid making tough decisions.
-I don’t want to be a person filled with hate.
-I don’t want to be a person who blames their unhappiness on the world.

In fact, I want to be a person who does the opposite of those things. Okay. That helps. But, there are other ideas that plague me, that aren’t so black and white.

-Why do I feel so sexually repressed at times?
-Why do I police my every move?
-Why do I feel I have such trouble making connections with people?
-Why am I so sensitive to the energy of other people?
-Why isn’t so hard for me to be 100% of the person I am on the inside?

I don’t have the answer to these questions and, honestly, I’m not sure if the answer is what is important. Because, these questions alone help inspire me to make the change.

I am 30 years old, whatever that means. I have spent my entire adulthood unlearning behavior developed as child to help cope with the mental and physical abuse I faced at the hand of adults and peers. This coping behavior was very useful when I was surrounded by said violence, but in any other setting, this behavior alienates me and hurts my relationships with others.

How could anyone I met in my 20’s know that I’m quiet when I meet people, because I am scared? How could my roommates have known that I was afraid of leaving my room when others were occupying communal space, because I was always afraid to leave my room as a child? How could people have known that I flinch at contact or close physical interactions, because I was hit as a child? They couldn’t know. But, that isn’t my reality anymore, so my behavior had to change. And it took me so many years to realize that.

But, that’s just the beginning. Leaving the country for a year, as an adult, showed me a new world. I didn’t realize how much racially bias/hostile energy I felt on a regular basis, until I left the country. Was it all my imagination? Did I make it bigger in my mind than it actually was? Who could possibly know the answer to that question? But, what I do know, is that I found a way to finally free my mind of the worry and stress I was enduring, regardless of what others are doing. And that is very important. I can’t control other people, but what I can control is the way I think.

Then, I think about my career. When I was in college, I felt unstoppable. Big fish in a little pond, right? Then when I entered the world as an adult in Philadelphia, I not only felt over looked, I felt boxed. As though, the people of Philadelphia Theatre and Drag were conspiring to make sure I did not make it. Entering a world, where talent and effort are not all that matter. So many other things are more important, like the way you make other people feel. And there are a million factors that play into that. Race, appearance, a sense that others have something to gain from you and so much more. For some reason, I decided to internalize everything. Not a good choice. It only leads to needless suffering. I know that now. One of my favorite memories to recall, is after my first sold out, self produced show in Philadelphia, my dancers were at the bar, celebrating, gloating, enjoying the pleasant energy our hard work had gifted us. A person approached us, to congratulate us. The person shook hands with everyone but me and told my dancers what a wonderful job they had done putting the show together. They all said, “it wasn’t us, it was Sebastian. He did everything, we just did what he told us to do.” But, this person still refused to even make eye contact with me and not only that, but continued to praise “their” choreography and storytelling. The dancers continued to tell this person that they didn’t create any of it, that I had, but this person never acknowledged or spoke to me. As a young person experiences like this burrowed deep in my mind, planting seeds that should not have been there. Molding the way I would navigate future interactions, consumed with hostility and negativity from the past. Hurting only me. And it took years to first realize it had happened and then change.

But, then a new question arises. Now that I have an idea of who I don’t want to be, the behavior I don’t want to continue, and the fears I need to let go…. What? What now? I have never navigated the world as this person and it feels odd and for some time I have been frozen in thought, unsure of how to continue in the way I so wholeheartedly did when I was emotionally broken. Which seems a little backwards, right? I locked myself in solitude, holding on to everything that I loved about my self, post epiphany, afraid that interacting with others would emotionally drain this new version of myself or hurt me. But, what is the use of learning and growing, just to hide out of fear because it is easier?

Why am I so worried about being a Kelly to someone’s Beyonce? And what does that mean? Living in fear, not gonna work, we know that, but also, one should be so lucky as to be Kelly. Where does that come from? I don’t know, but I know it’s time to let it go. What use is talent, if you refuse to use it, because, “the time isn’t right” or because you are afraid. And a thought that continues to circulate in my mind is, “Did Harriet Tubman do all that she did so that one day, I could be talented and prepared, but too afraid to do something about it?” Ms. Tubman escaped. She escaped and returned repeatedly to save others. And I’m too afraid to follow my dreams, out of fear that I might loose some sort of centered-ness it took me years to develop? Is that what she risked her life for? I don’t think so. Then, I think about myself as child, full of dreams of the future, when one day I would be free of my father and step-mother. Imagining all the things I would finally be able to do, how free I would feel. Fantasizing about one day being my true self. Sitting in my room every night, bargaining with this idea of God, to help me get where I want to be. Sad and scared. How could I let that child down? How could I look back and say, “I’m sorry you are enduring all that you are right now and it’s true, you will be out of this situation one day, but I’m too afraid to do all the things we so desperately crave. I’m scared”? How could I look in his tear-filled eyes and say that? How could I look to my future self, on his death bed and say, “I’m sorry, you are filled with regret for not putting every ounce of energy into being and doing all that we wanted. I was just too scared.”? How the fuck could I do that?

I truly believe we convince ourselves of whatever it is we want to believe. We work hard to shape circumstances to fit the narrative we want. Whether it is good or bad, we convince ourselves and others. Well, it’s time that I convince myself that there is no excuse in this world for me not to be all that I can be.

In closing, I will share two quotes from Michael Burnham of Star Trek: Discovery.

Just as repetition reinforces repetition, change begets change….Sometimes the only way to find out where you fit in is to step out of the routine. Because sometimes, where you really belong was waiting right around the corner all along.

See your path. Stay on it. Reach your destination. Cadet to Captain. Just like that.