Monday, December 23, 2013

leaving 2013, part two (2 of 3)

i have written a lot this year about the idea of control (here).  to summarize, it seems to me that the thing we have the MOST control over is our response to things--outside incidents, our own thoughts, feelings, etc.  buddhists subscribe to the idea that an awakened person is one who has this feat down, but i think that even the buddhists would back away from saying that one can ever have complete control over anything, even our responses, nor that this is even the goal.

2013 has been about control for me, lessening it, specifically, from a thematic standpoint. for ten years i have lived a rather controlled life as a way to move toward a goal--becoming licensed as a psychotherapist in california.  well, i am probably about 6 months away from reaching this goal, and so this year i have had the chance to loosen some of the control around my life in preparation for the final steps.  that meant leaving my day job of eleven years, leaving the counseling center i interned at for five years, and opening a private practice.  my decision in late 2012 to stay in los angeles and not move to the bay area was a way to exert more control over my situation, but this decision enabled me to do the aforementioned actions.  give a little, get a little.

on a personal note, this year i seriously let go of trying to control my sexuality and an "appropriate" expression of the same.  this has resulted in the return of a very healthy sex drive as well as more meaning in my life, more enthusiasm, and more energy. although i would not want to go through the struggle again, i highly value the experience of finding out how powerfully i can "shut myself down", convincing myself that the result is due to biological or environmental causes.  do not underestimate your own brain, friends! to my credit, i was able to locate the source of the shift within, rather than without, which means that i suffered less once the outside stimulus was removed. mind you, the shift was triggered by the outside stimulus, but it was not reliant on this catalyst to happen.  fuck, how can i explain this in an easier know how a car relies on gasoline in order to operate?  well, that is a metaphor for the inaccurate perception i have carried for many years--that as soon as someone or something comes along, a change will occur.  what happened this year is that i found out that i am actually a hybrid vehicle instead of a gas powered one.
the gasoline (outside force) got me started, but then my internal battery kicked in and ran to home base! once i got started, i did not need the gasoline anymore--for a while.  (forgive me if i have just completely bastardized the way that automobiles work, but i hope you get the picture!)  if you want more of the details of the process i am referring to, you can go here.

don't get me wrong, i totally get why the idea of control is so appealing.  we live in a scary as fuck world in which we could cease to exist at any second, and since so many of us find ourselves wandering through it by ourselves more than we would like to, it makes sense that we would find comfort in thinking that we have power over what happens to us.  i totally get it! but here is the "easter egg", if you will, that i have uncovered in my recent exercise of loosening control.  the chaos is SO much more fun and satisfying!  however, i was not able to reach this conclusion until i became more intimate with the fact that there is never complete safety, there are no guarantees outside of physical laws, and sometimes i am going to hurt. and that is okay, because i have finally moved past the idea that any level of hurt equals annihilation. this is also sometimes known as "gay shame", or "cultural trauma". this does not mean that from time to time it is not a tug-of-war between control and chaos.

it feels really good to be moving past this.  really, really good.

so at this time of the year, as we approach a culturally constructed ending and new beginning, it seems fitting that i am able to review my process this year and make the following declaration:  "i am happy".

to be continued...


  1. WOW! what a makeover on your life! keep moving on up, tony! and happy holidays to you! :)

    1. Happy Holidays, Anne Marie! Yes it continues to be a welcome makeover, long in the planning! Of course, I am leaving a bit of room for improvisation along the way...

  2. I've been away for a year.
    I love your writings; you say the most marvelous things. I like to come back and reread them to get all the good bits.

    1. Thank you, Michael. Please stop in more often.