After careful consideration, and after having read reports that all new Twitter sign-ups require registration of a phone number, decided to bite the bullet and hand over my Google Voice phone number to Twitter for the sole purpose of using that social network to promote this blog. There’s nothing social about it, I assure you. But because I have so few followers on Twitter these days, I don’t think it will make a difference one way or the other.
As for the other big American social networking behemoth, I’m referring of course to Facebook, not LinkedIn, I’m currently weighing the pros and cons of cross-posting links to my WordPress posts there. However, to my mind, the negatives of linking this very personal blog with my real name and very impersonal Facebook “friends” far outweigh the positives and probably isn’t the best idea for someone who prefers to remain a ghost, unknown, so nobody can touch me now. I prefer to remain a ghost or a shadow on Facebook at least. I don’t want random former school chums or co-workers creeping into the comments or worse yet, secretly stalking me in the attempt to discover how I take my coffee (cream and 2 sugars) or where I shop (Uniqlo). So, a ghost I remain.
I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a couple of weeks now, but I’ve been unable to find the right words to accurately express my thoughts and feelings. Why is that? I’m sure that my new role as a literature teacher, has a great deal of influence on me. I spend a good deal of time explaining to my students that they must consider several things when writing, including their audience, the organization, and structure of their writing. When I take my own medicine, I find I hold back, censoring myself here instead of just letting the words fly.
My students know that each of their writings should have a thesis supported by paragraphs with their own main ideas and supporting information. I find when I blog, that I don’t like to follow this rule myself. I’d rather ramble on and on, following my stream of conscious awareness of my mind’s contents at that moment without forcing myself to hover over the keys while I consider the proper organization of the paragraphs. And I’ve certainly never been known to structure the information contained in my blog posts in any order of importance; no upside down pyramids here.
Which brings us to the main idea of this blog post. At the risk of oversimplification, I’d just like to point out that my life is really good. Actually, my life is great! I’ve landed on my feet with a new job in a great new city. With a lot of help, I’ve finally recovered emotionally from the train-wreck that was my marriage. I’ve been shown just how happy I can be if I let myself choose it and stop clinging to the anger and destructive regrets that had been dragging me down. Life is good because I’m ready to move on, advance, embrace happiness.
I know I’m burying the lead, but that’s just the way I roll. Life is good because I’m ready to move forward with a new mindset, a new outlook, and a very different perspective than I had before. There’s a whole world out there to explore and experience, and although I was prepared to fly solo, I now realize I don’t have to.
Mankind’s Search for Meaning
As someone who often contemplates the purposes and reasons behind everything from culture to fingernails, it’s not uncommon for me to wrestle with the meaning my own life might have, not just to me, but to the world as a whole. (I don’t shive a git about the multiverse because they don’t shive a git about me.) My conclusions range from the very selfish–ownership and enjoyment of things, to the interpersonal–making and maintaining connections with people I care about. Unfortunately, both types of meaning were first eroded and then systematically eliminated by someone who claimed to care about me back in China. So, now it’s time to slow down my mind, take a breath, and re-evaluate my life’s meaning and determine the best way forward with an emphasis on that meaning.
As recently as April 28th, I was kind of a big deal; a big fish in a small pond. I was the only remaining foreign teacher at a high school whose main objective is preparing Chinese kids to study in western universities overseas. Every single student at that school knew my name, and about 90% of them would say “Hi!” as they passed me in the hallway. No matter how rubbish my day was, their greetings would always make me feel good. That’s long gone.
Now that I’m in exile, I’m no one, working nowhere, and I feel I’ve become practically invisible. Invisible is growing on me. I think I could get used to this. When I go back, I’ll be the littlest fish in the biggest of ponds, and I think that’s exactly what I need.
At some point, I’m going to start looking forward; not yet but soon. To help me with this task, I’ve started watching Louie, the dark-ish comedy series by Louie C.K. that sarcastically deals with life after his divorce. I’m finding it very
voyeuristic therapeutic watching someone go through some things I’ll soon be dealing with.
When you zoom in too far on any digital image, you invariably encounter the jaggies, those ugly little squared-off corners and edges that no longer appear clear when viewed up close. The same phenomenon happens when you look closely at a person’s life.
I like to open the messier parts of my life in Photoshop and begin lopping off all the ugly corners I see until I begin to feel like Voldemort must have felt as he carved off chunk after chunk of his miserable soul to make his horcruxes. That’s what I’m doing too. I’m sweeping together and collecting all the dusty excised shards of my life that caused me pain, all the barbed memories of people, razor-wire moments, and experiences that hurt me, compacting and compartmentalizing, rounding off the biting sharpness, the poky, angular, jabby bits which would otherwise open old wounds. And I’m stashing my little horcruxes away where no one will ever find them.
Some day, for all of my polishing and re-shaping, I might find happiness again.
Have you ever been stalked? Have you ever had your privacy and freedom so violated you’ve had to leave the city you lived and worked in to get away from the perpetrator? Have you ever felt like your life was stolen from you, all of your online accounts invaded and ripped from your hands (along with your phone) by someone you used to love, used to trust? Have you ever had your apartment burglarized, every stitch of clothing, every personal possession taken, by an insane spouse with the delusional belief you’ll have no choice but to return to her when you have absolutely nothing left? I have, and that’s why I’m now just a ghost.