Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tell me how--after the winds/severed a wing--I flew on

I wish Amazon would stop sending me emails telling me I should read (er, buy) Gender Trouble. Like I don't know that I should, jesus.

My friend Louise suggested writing a "Top Ten Moments of 2008" post, but she only did five so I'm going to follow suit. I wonder if I'll be able to remember anything from the first half of the year? There was such a big change midway through 2008 that I'm having a hard time thinking of the two halves as a whole. Here they are, in a mostly chronological order.

1) alaska! What can I say? I had just moved into my studio and I got to get away from all the stress and pain that came before by running away to visit my best friend in an absolutely amazing and isolated place. I also met Cassalyn for real, and ate some good food (even if, to get the food, I had to spend some helltime at Fred Meyers). The hiking cleared out my brain, the talk unburdened my heart, and I felt my soul lift for the first time in what felt like years.

2) equinox dinner! My first real cooking/dinner party involving more that one other person and teamwork since I left Tucson. I saw old friends, introduced a bunch of people, and got to meet Rose-Anne in a much more decided way. It was the start of many beautiful friendships and new interconnections, plus a hell of a lot of good food. It's also where the candida dinner concept was born.

3) my birthday! Practically everybody I knew showed up and got along with each other. Amazing. I felt so loved and happy. And full of sushi :)

4) amanda palmer! Such a freaking amazing concert. It made me want to have anywhere near that sort of energy and creativity in my everyday life.

5) the decision to live for myself. This is much more personal. In September when I was in Colorado for a very stressful audition, I had a major epiphany in a hotel room after the audition was over. I realized that if I never started actually caring about myself, living in a way where I was important in my own life, I would be miserable. I would never be happy. I had to admit that being myself was more important than just being nice or doing things or acting in ways that would make others feel better. It sounds so simple, but the recognition that I had been acting for everybody else for so long was shattering. I feel like that was the moment when my life truly turned around. That was when I became myself again.

That's all. Thank you, 2008.


Madeleine said...

"I had to admit that being myself was more important than just being nice or doing things or acting in ways that would make others feel better."

Yes, so much harder than it sounds... Glad you're making progress with it. Somehow I feel that this tends to be more a problem for women than for men? But maybe I'm just being sexist, all my gender theory is suspect and outdated. :-P

Also, you must have been in for the Civic sectional on Mahler 9 today. I was even downstairs then and was tempted to stop in and say hello but I didn't want to disturb. I also considered texting you to see if you wanted to get coffee afterwards but I was having a miserable grouchy feeling pointless day and thought I might be a downer. Sorry for not being in touch, though! Another time, certainly. I can even look up all your Civic rehearsals and sectionals in the Symphony Center schedule thing.

Oh, and I realize I just posted an anonymous comment on your new year's post. Whoops, that one was me. Catching up here, as you see.

ammie said...

It is hard! But not as hard as I thought it would be, honestly. And so rewarding that it is infinitely worth it :)

ammie said...

And also, I'm gratified to find that I'm not "less nice" because of this decision, but I feel more genuinely happy to act well towards people. It's a much more fulfilling way to live my life.

Rosiecat said...

Ammie, I find your experiment in "living deliberately" (to quote Thoreau) fascinating. I strive to do the same thing in my life, and it can be hard! It's worth remembering, though, that living deliberately is a dynamic process, a delicate balance between giving to yourself and giving of yourself. If you care about other people (and I do!), then living deliberately means looking out for their happiness as well. But honestly, you seem so happy these days that I don't think you're in any danger of losing friends with your newfound selfhood.

Right now I'm reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin, and it's about living deliberately--different time, different era, but same struggle. Interesting, no?

ammie said...

It's just stunning to me how much more wholehearted my "giving of myself" feels lately. I feel like I've been just going through the motions for years and I just finally figured out what the point was. So good! Thank you, everybody :)