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16 November 2002 (Saturday)

stamps of approval

I think I offended my former boss yesterday, without meaning to. Perhaps "offended" is the wrong word. He kept looking at me as though I was about to pull a knife on him, or do unconscionable things to his firstborn child. Hell, I was just returning a DSL router and some manuals. I'd unearthed them from my closet, put them in my car, and eventually found myself in the neighborhood of ol' Job #1 Office, at which point I decided to park and see whether I could page someone to come down to get them. Maybe he was acting on behalf of the company in general, who in the job-as-relationship analogy is now my ex. Returning stuff to one's ex is never pleasant. Was that it? I don't know. He asked me for leads on recording studios where his daughter might make a demo tape, gave a brief summary of the current projects at work, and expressed about as much polite interest in my goings-on as someone might if he were pretending not to hate me. It was surreal.

In any case, it drove home the uncomfortable realization that, on some levels, I want desperately to be liked. Disapproval just kills me. Criticism strikes me at the very core. It's stupid; I shouldn't place so much weight on the judgments of others, especially when the negative ones, statistically speaking, are far outweighed by the positive ones anyway. It's sort of funny to observe how quickly I come to doubt myself when someone expresses displeasure with the way I act, even when I'm pretty sure I haven't done anything wrong. It could just as easily be his problem, not mine.

But then, he's gonna be writing my recommendation if I ever apply to grad school. Grrr.

This is, of course, a test. A thick skin is a requirement in my chosen line of work. Better I develop it now than later.

posted by enjelani @ 03:49 PM PST [ link ]

14 November 2002 (Thursday)

one world, with drama

It's interesting to be a member of such a self-conscious generation. I grew up knowing the language of psychiatry, or at least the slang it translated into. Being aware of one's emotional issues doesn't necessarily make them any easier to deal with, but I find it amusing to have a quasi-objective view of one's own psyche. Instant out-of-body experience. Laughing at yourself crying.

There's been a lot of crying around here of late, for various reasons. There's been a lot of warm happy silence too though, a lot of grinning and gratitude, so it all balances out. It's the season of extremes, I suppose.

Last week I found myself in a Buddhist temple high above the city, listening to a sage speak about love and relationships. There was much talk of completion of the individual, of absolute self-sufficiency, of romantic love as an act of mutual charity rather than a mutual need. Some parts made sense. The danger of projection, of seeing another person as an object to fit into the mold you're carrying in your head, is real enough. Certainly attractiveness and neediness are inversely related. And a relationship is bound to fare better when both people are comfortable with their own vulnerability.

But I can't say that all of Buddhist teachings resonate with me (what I understand of them, anyway). I have no interest in eliminating desire and suffering. I'm interested in experiencing them, reveling in them, learning from them, understanding them. Maybe the objective in Buddhism is to do that, and then to transcend them, leaving behind their capacity for destruction. Noble, to be sure. A world of enlightened beings would be terribly idyllic. Call it selfish if you want, but I want my world with drama.

I will now become a broken record: Soren is one of the great miracles in my brief little existence. He's been more than a little involved in the reasons-for-crying recently, but never as the source to blame, always the one lighting the path out of darkness. Thank you, S.

posted by enjelani @ 11:57 PM PST [ link ]

13 November 2002 (Wednesday)

since everyone else is masturbating

Come on, catch my attention. Snag my gaze. Come on, be a sky of stratocumulus, turning neon with the sunset. Be a man. Be a woman. Be someone who keeps us guessing. Roll over on your back and scream, because it hurts, because it always has, because it never felt so good. Come on, be my reason for escaping. For hoping. For not quite drowning.

Suuuure I'm going to write novels one day.

I am fascinated by the space between artistry and amateurism. I've occasionally been told that I write well, but that's in comparison to the general population; among novelists and professional writers I'm sure the assessment would be different. And I can feel how poor I am at writing when I attempt something grander than usual -- I'm lost when it comes to making dialogue seem alive, or creating some kind of distinctive voice, or juxtaposing words so that the result is poetic without being pretentious. I simply don't know how it's done.

In a sense, artistry is another manifestation of that ever-elusive prize: hipness. Any hint of earnestness, of trying hard, disqualifies you outright. Ditto with any annoying idiosyncrasies. You have to look like you just get it. Then you reel people in. You're not popular because you were desperate to have friends; they just magically showed up, drawn to your vibe. Because you don't need anything or anybody, you just are, you just do what you do and happen to be really good at it.

Hm. You'd think that Buddhists would be the hippest of 'em all.

I don't know where I was going with this, but I figure it's been a while since I posted something other than melodramatic whining.

posted by enjelani @ 05:08 PM PST [ link ]

11 November 2002 (Monday)

sure it does

Life sucks! Life rules!

Well, life mostly rules.

Now I feel obligated to saturate this post with more sophisticated multisyllabic vocabulary, as a form of counterbalance. It's symbolic of my equanimity, y'see.

My, this blog has been self-indulgent lately.

Chaos theory, coincidence and God (sorry, that's redundant) have conspired to place a small inquisitive pigeon on my windowsill, just inches from where I now sit. Hello, Pigeon.

Lynn, thanks for your company last night. I've missed you.

posted by enjelani @ 12:38 PM PST [ link ]