Tag: existence

My struggle as a beat up and sick trans woman with few answers in America. I just want to learn something better

I carry so much weight. I pay child support for two children I haven’t seen in six years. It takes up half of my meager salary. I have PTSD from years of alienation. I have social anxiety and sensitivity to noises that can be debilitating. I am transgender, and, well, I have to be a woman in America. I have debt. I have fibromyalgia and fatigue that stab me all day long with weird pains in my neck and back. I have pain in my heart so deep that I lock it up so no one can see it because I’m terrified that if I show my hurt and vulnerability I won’t be able to just keep crawling forward. I’m terrified that if I open my heart, I will fall apart. If I feel, I will fall and never get up. I can’t do this on my own, and I can’t just dump it on other people too. I don’t know how to manage my life. I stagger around in life in a repeating cycle of trying to be this strong woman so this system will give me scraps. I use drugs, alcohol, and medications to propel myself forward in a stupor, carefully managing a cadre of pills upon pills that works for a while and then ultimately ends in total defeat.

I’m afraid to share. Inside I hate my vulnerability. It is the enemy. I hate it in others too because of this. I go to war against myself, and scream at myself inside to get it together or else. I tried killing myself, and death terrified me even more than living. I want to succeed. I want to live. I want to be open. But I don’t know how. My muscles and soul is tired. How do you live when you’ve been whipped and are still whipped daily? I alternate between hating that system and realizing that I’m just internalizing the system’s poison by doing so. The balance is so tight.

I know I’ve done good things with my life, but I’m tired. I’m most likely going to go back into residential treatment because I just don’t know how I’m going to manage my life. If I get a new job am I going to be able to do that without slowly collapsing from the weight? I know I have to succeed and survive. But I’m terrified of being fooled by my brain into more toxic behavior patterns. Depression upon anxiety upon pain upon manipulation upon fear upon doubt upon loss.

I made the decision seven years ago to be more honest with my gender, and that helped, but I’m very poor at certain things. I’ll last for a while and then explode. It was exactly two years ago that I decided to go into residential treatment the last time, and here I am again. Oh well, if that’s what I have to do, then that’s what I have to do. I’m not really super good at sharing my feelings. I’m good at talking, and I usually just talk over my feelings. But insightful people see through that.

I have fear and pain so deep that I’m locked up. So I just leech off of loved ones until they grow resentful. I have to escape this cycle, but right now I don’t know how I can do it. Right now, all I know is that I’m hurting people around me and hurting myself. Addiction is a scourge. I don’t even want to admit I’m an addict because I fear that everyone will run away screaming. How do I do this? I suppose just by getting through today.

Rambling stream of consciousness thoughts on life Entry 1

Most people don’t understand why they’re stressed out. This thing called the 9-5 work week is eating at them and they don’t know why. Like a good fish we’ve each gone along with the school as it has moved in its increasingly strange undulations; the dance called cultural progress moves on. But we have radically altered so many of our personal environments that we don’t really know what we are anymore. Your life would be completely alien to someone born just two hundred years ago. It’s not a matter of “where are the aliens?” We are the aliens. We are achieving liftoff and distancing ourselves from our life mates here on planet Earth.
 
What does that mean? I don’t know, but it’s true. We are getting so remarkably good at automating our mundane tasks that our brains don’t know what to do with the free time. So we are creating conflict around us to try and keep the inner wheels spinning. But what is the purpose of all of this? What is the meaning behind this big abstract thing called culture and history and language. I’ve found amazing things in silence that cannot be communicated because they operate on the level of the heart. When I first started to really get that there were things and values that were hidden away from words, I was troubled. I thought that these things must be spoken about! But of course I missed the point then. Silence is lovely, especially when it’s internal silence. And words are gaudy neon signs on top of the true existential majesty of reality.
 
My personal meaning for life is to grow as much as I can spiritually, and that requires me to feed all of the other things that support that pursuit. I have to watch my health and try and stay moderate. My being is an ever changing and evolving jalopy that requires I be both a mechanic and friend to myself. I have learned to manage my vices so that they don’t drive me over the edge. I’m happy that I’m getting old. It’s like I’m getting the keys to a new luxury automobile. I learned what doesn’t work for me, and that’s invaluable.
 
I know I can be meandering and all faddish and all over the place. It’s my own personal style I suppose. I’ve found ways of understanding it through astrology and religion, but it’s just me. And I’m pretty happy with this jalopy of a person called Abbey Pope that is doing its best to survive.
 
I’m most happy that I have learned that life is about having a good time. I’ve had some “Grade A” psychedelic/psychotic/paranormal/perplexing experiences which defy language or that I don’t have words to express. I’ve been able to discern a little bit out of the torrent of strange, and I have my personal philosophy and mythology.
 
I think one of the most important things I ever learned was nothing. Nothing is amazing! Sometimes I just go duhh… and that’s the best place to be. I used to think that I had to be thinking all the time in order to be a “valuable member of society.” But I like being a zero. If only for a while. Compulsive thought is my cross to bear in this existence. I’m learning to let it go and just be zero.

Identity Politics in the Real World

I have a very complicated perspective on identity politics. As a queer and transgender person, I am constantly surrounded by intense debates that center on buzzwords like privilege, race, and intersectionality. I came out as trans six years ago into the tumbler of Tumblr style politics, and I picked up the flag of radical identity politics like a good liberal and ran with it. I spent thousands of hours writing outrageous polemic after polemic that snarled at the white, male oppressor because I was, unsurprisingly, very damaged by said oppressor. I grew up being bullied by 99% male peers starting before I really had any idea what gay, queer, trans, or any of those concepts meant. I just knew I was the target. This instilled a deep resentment in me that I’m still to this day (I’m 37) trying to dig out from under and probably will be until I pass.

However, resentment is not all roses and candyland. As Mark Twain once quipped “anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” I became a festering pit of toxic resentment, which was really just a hyper-defensive state of extreme paranoia. I became increasingly suicidal until after years of living on the edge of death, I finally woke up and realized that this line of thinking was doing far more damage to me than to the “enemy.”

It’s not as simple and binary as saying that “now I’m better because I realize that identity politics is terrible!” Our system pits us against each other like terrified Pit Bulls in a dog-fighting pit with screaming Plutocrats on the sidelines urging us to bloody our fellow citizens. By the time you wake up to the fact that the other dog across from you is not the real enemy, you have become hyper sensitized to react to those dogs because they do pose an existential threat. In my estimation, this is how we are controlled from the aristocracy, and it doesn’t have to be a conscious top down phenomenon. The rich know that when people are too busy fighting with people who should be their allies, they are too distracted and damaged to band together to effect real, substantive change.

Honestly, I believe that one of the core reasons for this nascent tribalism is that our intellectuals eschewed grand unifying theories a century or two ago and devolved into Balkanized camps where each group’s minutia was equally important to the others. We lack an intellectual cohesion and vision, or this kind of vision is kept from becoming ascendant. I’m not really sure what the cause is, but yeah, I don’t know a lot of things. I’ve found more grand unifying theories in esoteric writers like Aleister Crowley and Robert Anton Wilson among others than from the official ivory towers wherein I started my search. I studied Economics and Philosophy in university, and then I realized that there was little novel creative thinking going on in those institutions. But I suppose I’m a bit of an esotericist by nature, so I needed something more avant-garde anyway.

I have seen the best queer minds of my generation destroyed by the pursuit of that elusive victim status that is going to take all of their problems away. But life is rough. Everybody has pain, even your so-called enemies of privilege. Even though I have been decimated by injustice, I now know that trying to victimize myself is a trap that I don’t want to go back into. But it’s a balance. It’s not as reductive as we’d like. Middle path, middle pillar, golden mean…

Be well fellow pitbulls.

I learned to check my assumptions, and it saved my life

The Internet is “the Prover” from “the Thinker and the Prover” on overdrive. If you think that you are totally helpless, oppressed, and persecuted, your internal prover is going to link up with the technological prover called the Internet and deliver a world that perfectly matches your thinker’s paradigm. As a transgender woman, I’ve had to work hard to get out from under the torrent of “proof” that my life is going to be miserable and fraught with disaster because I’m a persecuted minority. Of course I am a persecuted minority, but that in no way means that I will suffer because of it. Often now I can’t even talk to people in my community because their prover has so convinced them that their life will be one long sad march of woe. There appears to be a tendency to malign the optimists within minority groups in my culture (the US).

However, real systemic injustices do exist, and we need to see them remediated, but as individual actors, I believe that in order to have a sound psychological mechanism within our consciousness, we need to be aware of how insidious the Prover can be and constantly check our assumptions in order to see if they are appropriate. Often just by challenging the narrative that says I am an ant under a boulder of persecution by privileged tyrants, I am called some sort of reactionary right-winger. I just want to live a middle pillar life where I balance my persecution against the real agency I do have in my day to day life. 

I lived for decades with the notion that my life was meaningless and riddled with terror, and unsurprisingly it ended with me repeatedly trying to kill myself. Then I reached the realization that I had personal, spiritual power that could be grown through intentional, sometimes described as magickal, action. When I woke up from that I realized that I had merely been carrying water for people who wished to see me weak and dispirited. This water goes back to the medieval church and even further of course. I realized in a near death experience that I was being played, and I don’t really know all of the mechanics of what went on, but I believe I became spiritually integrated with my higher self who had no time for self-loathing. 

I’m not trying to prescribe a specific path other than to say that one should question her principles and thoughts. See where they come from. They might not be your own, and they might be poisoning you. And with the advent of the Internet, they can poison you very quickly.

A Few Words

God gave you a left hand and a right hand. On one side there are things that happen to you and you’re the victim or receptive or yin. On the other side, you are the actor, the thinker, the yang. You can’t reduce it to one. It’s both, well at least both. I’m not that smart enough to know how many hands reality has. But you can’t say that you’re a total victim, and you can’t say that you’re a total egotistical controller. We’re all both in varying degrees. So can we please meet in the center? Can we have a mosh pit of love and understanding. I know that some people are “unrelatable” but people change. I used to be a frothing right winger. I grew up. Let’s all stop being total know-it-alls that are completely convinced that the other side is wrong. Certainty is poison. There is no certainty in a complicated system of oppositional actors. Humility, Please?!
By the way, WTF is wrong with you Donald Trump. I’m talking to you as one of those horrible trannies that you want to cleanse out of the military. (BTW, only we can say tranny. Don’t fucking say it if you’re not a tranny.) Grow the fuck up motherfucker! Simmer down my brother. You’re not fucking Christ. Lord. The amount of intellectual certainty in this budding Aquarian Age is just too much. Yeah, we kind of know things because of science, but science is wrong every day.
OK I feel better. It’s such a fucking disaster. Center. Breath. Ground. Know that you’re a dumb ass ape. Life is work.
I’m drunk, but hey, I can write a few words.

How changes in communications technology are leading to social upheaval in the modern world

I have a theory that there is a basic demographic upheaval going on inside the dominant narrative in Western culture. For centuries, the power structures like the church leaders and politicians have successfully been able to exclude certain members of the populace because they were easy to control. These members include the disabled, LGBT, POC, “mentally ill,” and other easily controlled minority groups. They were controllable because of their difficult circumstances in life and because of aggressive ideological hegemony.

And yet, the communications and technology revolution that started in the 1960’s conjunct the invention of the electronic transistor led to a proliferation of communication amplification devices. These devices like telephones, radios, cell phones, and computers enabled the average person to have a greater amplitude to their voice, ie. they were louder.

What this did was dissolve the borders of communication that existed prior to the advent of this revolution. Within a single generation, the demographic makeup changed in a statistically significant and demonstrable way leading to social upheaval. In reality, those who had been pushed to the edge of the social communications spectrum gained the unique ability to voice their opinions on the level of the traditional majority groups.

This did lead to large-scale democratization of culture at large, but disturbances like this have had radical consequences for the median state of the social entity. Without those voices of dissent, the majority group that was homogeneously white, straight, and Christian (on average) has not had to field questions that might challenge the dominant narrative. They probably have become weak and poorly skilled at defending their position, as it was not really a needed skill for so long.

However, we exist at a great axis point in civilization, as our standards of living have vaulted quickly into uncharted realms of comfort and convenience. There have been sages who have predicted that this as some great “Aquarian Age,” but you needn’t be a believer in a metaphysical shift to understand that our lives are radically different than our forebears.

Because, as the previously disenfranchised gain prominence and power because of the electrification and amplification of their collective signals, you will probably see increased tension and friction within society. There will be waves, back and forth, within the social system as the collective equilibrates to a new stasis.

I think that at this point, all the average person can do is continue on forward with his or her positions. These forces of radical change are far greater than most if not all of the small pieces within the large, institutional changes. We are forging a new post-structural path. We are loosing ourselves from the once steel bonds to basic needs like food and water. Now freer and not determined by the lower-level desires of security, we must create a new Earth of will-power and play. But this will be treacherous.

We are taking flight. We are moving skyward and jumping to new orbits of possibility. But our tail is snapping back into us. We must consider the whole of humanity outside of our present definition. The past is rapidly snapping into the present to fire us into the future. Can we hold our wits together so that we might sail into the sky as a people?

We shall see.

The Technology Revolution is Changing the Cultural World. Can We Adapt and Meet the Challenge?

I have a theory that there is a basic demographic upheaval going on inside the dominant narrative in Western culture. For centuries, the power structures like the church leaders and politicians have successfully been able to exclude certain members of the populace because they were easy to control. These members include the disabled, LGBT, POC, “mentally ill,” and other easily controlled minority groups. They were controllable because of their difficult circumstances in life and because of aggressive ideological hegemony.

And yet, the communications and technology revolution that started in the 1960’s conjunct the invention of the electronic transistor led to a proliferation of communication amplification devices. These devices like telephones, radios, cell phones, and computers enabled the average person to have a greater amplitude to their voice, ie. they were louder.

What this did was dissolve the borders of communication that existed prior to the advent of this revolution. Within a single generation, the demographic makeup changed in a statistically significant and demonstrable way leading to social upheaval. In reality, those who had been pushed to the edge of the social communications spectrum gained the unique ability to voice their opinions on the level of the traditional majority groups.

This did lead to large-scale democratization of culture at large, but disturbances like this have had radical consequences for the median state of the social entity. Without those voices of dissent, the majority group that was homogeneously white, straight, and Christian (on average) has not had to field questions that might challenge the dominant narrative. They probably have become weak and poorly skilled at defending their position, as it was not really a needed skill for so long.

However, we exist at a great axis point in civilization, as our standards of living have vaulted quickly into uncharted realms of comfort and convenience. There have been sages who have predicted that this as some great “Aquarian Age,” but you needn’t be a believer in a metaphysical shift to understand that our lives are radically different than our forebears.

Because, as the previously disenfranchised gain prominence and power because of the electrification and amplification of their collective signals, you will probably see increased tension and friction within society. There will be waves, back and forth, within the social system as the collective equilibrates to a new stasis.

I think that at this point, all the average person can do is continue on forward with his or her positions. These forces of radical change are far greater than most if not all of the small pieces within the large, institutional changes. We are forging a new post-structural path. We are loosing ourselves from the once steel bonds to basic needs like food and water. Now freer and not determined by the lower-level desires of security, we must create a new Earth of will-power and play. But this will be treacherous.

We are taking flight. We are moving skyward and jumping to new orbits of possibility. But our tail is snapping back into us. We must consider the whole of humanity outside of our present definition. The past is rapidly snapping into the present to fire us into the future. Can we hold our wits together so that we might sail into the sky as a people?

We shall see.

North Korea and the power of Pluto

I had this vision of deep darkness last night right before I learned that North Korea tested a bomb. There’s a reason that Plutonium is named after the ancient God of the dead. Plutonic energy is important because it tears down old and dying structures so that something new can be built in their place, but this energy can also be woefully destructive if not used properly. We all need to bring our feminine and masculine energy into alignment. This might sound like a non-sequitur, but the destructive power of an atom bomb lies in each and every one of us. We must tame it in our hearts to find global peace. Like attracts like, and our wanton pursuits of short-sighted gain at the expense of a more balanced viewpoint will lead to our suicide as a people. Life will go on, but our story will be lost. All humanity’s dreams over the epochs will be lost. When we destroy the present, we destroy the past along with it.

We are one life, nobody knows what’s going on, and that’s why it’s so exciting

Life is elementally exciting. It has always been. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to try and convince your neighbor that you’ve seen something before or that life has been tamed, but it always surprises. The thing that makes life interesting is that life is self-destructive. We’re eating each other and being eaten in a giant destructive orgy of immeasurable combination and emasculation. We’re in the soup. The soup is us. And it’s getting soupier. We are all one life. You were never really born. You were a sperm that got whittled off of your antecedent being that was whittled off of its antecedent being going back billions of years. No one alive has ever died. We are one giant, non-local, spongiform blob of DNA, plasma, bone, and intention that is undulating on a rock in space and getting a tan. We’re here, we’re sphere, and who the fuck knows what is going to happen next.

Oh, well, there’s some ambulatory speck of us over there that says that they have it all figured out. You should probably trust that speck.

Seek truth, embrace sacrifice, gain real power, and be able to resist with real strength.

America is vomitous. Decadence has turned our beacon on a hill into a pit of desperation and despair. But the world at large is just as loathsome, if you don’t want to be some felating Yes-man to the “acceptable” notions of the moneyed aristocracy. The state of humanity in power in 2017 is just plain wretched. Occasionally I have the urge to a throw up just thinking about the state of our media and leadership. I’ve been repeating these themes for a long time, but people silence minorities who want to speak up and say something, well until it’s too late.

Here parades a sad cavalcade of bullies who need to be laughed at vociferously, but true and meaningful laughter comes from real power, and most Americans have had their power deviously stolen from them. So where does real power come from? It comes from going on a journey of the soul and confronting your fears deep inside yourself. Often this kind of growth comes from ordeals which most people either do not want to face or are not forced to face. Plus, there is spiritual knowledge that the powers that be have scrubbed from our literature through the generations in order to keep the people weak and think that the journey is pointless.

Robert Anton Wilson is someone that I highly respect. However, he was not just some two-bit political word slinger. He looked for esoteric knowledge and pursued it to the point of being laughed at himself. He took the words of Crowley, Leary, and Korzybski et al. and put them to work within the crucible of the human heart. Unless you are willing to pursue these verboten techniques and are willing to break laws in order to achieve them, you will not get anything in life except a gaggle of fake Internet points from other members of the insubstantial class.

Social media has turned so many people into dress up queens who put on metaphorical Instagram filters and think that they’ve done something important. Real power, the power that flows within you, comes through deep sacrifice, and sacrifice is a word that has been crumpled up and thrown into the trash. Honestly, for myself, I’m not sure if I really was that brave with my sacrifice. I grew up with a “wrong” gender and a “wrong” sexuality for an ostensibly male American. I was deeply shamed for most of my youth. I was ostracized from straight and gay communities alike. For some reason, I was born different, and my road has been very difficult. Finally, because I decided to live a life that was no choice to me, custody of my two beautiful baby boys was taken from me with the assistance of a conservative judge and the State of California. This was my forced sacrifice, and I had to go deep within myself to try and find peace in a world that was unfairness exemplified.

On that journey, I found something that others said was not real. I found the power of psychedelic substances that shone a light within my consciousness and illuminated my inner psychology to such a degree that I was able to quickly grasp what was real and what was not. I found the power of meditation and inner control. I found the power of a seemingly intelligent universe that sought to guide me forward. I found the power of internal rejuvenation. I found redemption.

The path for everyone is different, so it cannot be prescribed in a blog post. But the journey is the reward. Somehow I’m OK with my trials in this lifetime. I’m a rather despised member of our society in general, but I can smile from within my heart and have peace at times. Great and fortuitous forces have come to my aid when my realities were especially bleak. I have no assurance that I will survive my existential journey with any kind of “reward,” but onward I go, foolish and more free every day.

Recovery and Rebirth in Interesting Times

America makes you crazy, so you gotta give yourself a break. I’m trying to work on getting over a lot of my instilled fear of groups and friends. I spent so long being incognito, desperately trying to be this “perfect male” so that people wouldn’t know who I really was. It takes a lot of deprogramming to undo that kind of thing, and you have to be careful about it and not just go at your history with a flamethrower. Truly remaking yourself, healing your mental health, is the subtle and daring work of a shaman or artist more than a “good patient” or whatever the authorities advocate to heal. I think that mostly I need to have an unerring devotion to the notion that I am fallible and be ready to cut those wrong assumptions about myself at the root when I find them. I rather enjoy being humble and accepting my own flaws. But it takes a lot of work, and I have to be able to accept when someone else says something true about me that I don’t want to hear. It takes practice, and each time gets easier.

I have a lot of anxiety. It comes and goes, but it has been my most loyal companion of my 37 trips around the sun. The anxiety is rooted in fear, a fear of rejection and loss of security. I’ve had people I thought cared about me suddenly turn and shun me so many times in my life that I’ve developed a serious inferiority and instability complex. Having my kids taken away was the nuclear bomb that severed me from my history. I was so broken that I was forced to start over and try anything to not want to kill myself on the daily. But I haven’t been like that for almost 2 years now because I learned to laugh at the total insanity of my situation and my behaviors. A good laugh can cure just about anything. I have my secret and unorthodox means for arriving at these salvations, and I wish I could be more open, but we live in paranoid times, so the prudential people must follow the ancient Chinese proverb in “hiding their light and biding their time.”

Life is still just as much of a challenge as when I was at my lowest. It might be even harder because I was ignoring so many things back then that I have to address now, but I just have a different perspective. I think something Buddhist or Christian or whatever stuck down in my heart, and I internalized the truth that pain is a constant in life, and yet in spite of pain, we can still have joy. It’s easy to pigeon-hole folks like myself as overly emotional social justice warrior millennial whiners, but I just have to say that some of us have a lot of shit to dig out of. Growing up trans or queer or radically in the minority is heavy, heavy stuff. There are some people who are just addicted to the victim attention for sure, but most of us misfits are just trying to get better, do better, be better, etc.

I do have great news to share though! My cat of 12 years, Snow, is recovering incredibly well from Hepatic Lipidosis which is a fairly common liver disease for house cats. I’ve had to feed her through a tube twice a day for over two weeks now, and it’s been a challenge, but my little Snowbie is doing great and returning to her cranky and loving self. Our vet is also using traditional Chinese herbal medicine to assist in her recovery, and she looks better than she’s been in a long time. My heart is so joyful over it. I am so completely blessed that my partner was able to pay for the expensive surgery too.

It’s such a strange time for America and for transgender people and everybody. There is a funny Chinese aphorism that one tells to someone they don’t particularly like: “may you be born in interesting times.” Well these sure are some interesting times. My life has been nothing if not interesting. I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to figure out with this Sisyphean exercise, but I’m gonna figure out whatever I can. I’m gonna play this video game until I see the final credits! 

Loving my number one enemy: myself

I think what I most try to do to be sane is to be kind to myself. I used to be so angry and judgmental. I was a terror. Now, I’ve really given up on that. Jesus famously instructed his followers to love your enemies, well often our number one enemy is ourselves. I always thought that whatever this “me” thing was, it was definitely out to totally screw up my life. Now, I just go with life. We’re going this way this week? We’re gaining a few pounds this week? OK, let’s see what happens! Cool! 🙂

And the ways we construct our definitions of why something is terrible are usually quite arbitrary anyways. We think “if I gain weight, I will be unhappy!” We never know how this movie called life is going to turn out. Life is so much more complicated than that. If you really open your eyes to how often your nice little fairy tale narrative doesn’t actually work, you will be blown away by the wonder at how the hell this thing works anyway!

I also really like the quote by Jesus that said “judge not, lest you be judged.” I think most people misinterpret this passage. I understand it to be that if we go around judging everyone else up and down, we will judge ourselves the harshest, and it will be entirely uncomfortable being in our own consciousness.

So I’m working on being nice and respectful to myself. I definitely was raised to be very harsh on myself, and I just about died from it. Now, my perfectly imperfect self is my friend, not my enemy. What fun!