Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chchchchchanges

Okay, friends. Time for a new chapter online. I'm switching over to a Weebly site so that anything I have to pass along is smartphone-screen friendly. I'm not sure how much I'll be posting; I'm in another cocoon season of healing (though it might be good to post about that)... At any rate, go to bethanypatchin.weebly.com for new goods. Im also on Instagram at @jumpingmermaid if you want a peek into happy family times after journeying with me through so much shittypoop.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

well hello again

This is the longest I've gone without blogging in a long time, maybe ever. Oh well.

I'm up late. I'm feeling burnt out on The Way The World Is. Yes - there are moments of great beauty and connection. Yes, there are victorious breakthroughs for humanity. Yes, love keeps it all together, keeps it going somehow.

But I also get frustrated with how much everyone I know has to struggle. Even my friends with great financial support. Even my friends in healthy, loving relationships. This is what Buddhism means by "life is suffering." The fucking, never-ending grappling with tensions, resistance, entropy. Because of a few choices I made when I was little more than a teenager, I have a bigger dose of it than most of my Nashville peers, now largely due to financial constraints that exist because of time and energy constraints. This makes me feel weird much of the time, still. My whole fucking life I have never fit in, and I never will, and for an ENFP and just a human being in general, that is hard. Maybe there is some gift that comes from the pain of it; maybe it gives me a deeper experience of compassion for everyone's suffering, like all the saint literature talks about, but honestly, right now I just want to say, I don't fucking care.

I get tired of being loving (HORRIBLE THING TO ADMIT). I get tired of monitoring my thoughts and actions like all the sages I look up to talk about having to do until we die. It takes a lot of vigilance, figuring out how to let go, knowing how to ignore certain things, trying to stay alert to the ways your natural self-orientation blocks love for others.

I'm tired of people being shitty to other people when they could choose otherwise. I'm tired of living in a world where my daughters will grow up struggling to feel pretty like my friends and I struggle despite our good men who love us as we are. I'm tired of bosses being dicks to my loved ones. Honestly, I really look forward to whatever comes after this life. I don't mean that in a suicidal way, I'm just admitting that there is a lot of purgatory to this world, and it wears on you.

In some ways, I'm not as burnt out as I used to be (despite this venting). Things are better than a year ago. I'm on schedule to graduate next August. Yet even that feels largely useless, because nothing in my life will change, and my personality type literally is summed up in one book by the phrase, "What am I going to be when I grow up?" This is a great personality to have if you are good at computers and like starting businesses; in me, it manifests as trickles of income via things like a very small Etsy store and the impulse to write a fringe book about essential oils, trickles which allow me to splurge on things like shittily-made dresses at Ross Dress for Less that I make a big deal to myself about getting a bargain on in order to ignore the fact that they both look like, and make me feel like my body is worth, $10.

I know "God" is supposed to be the answer to struggle, is supposed to be where you find your worth, and your acceptance, and your purpose. But I don't know what the hell that means, or looks like, other than more mind tricks.  I have been asking for God's help most days lately because (unlike what I see in a lot of Christian groups) I see actual transformation in AA members, and I can pray to a God "of my own understanding," because that God isn't a masochistic jerk like most of the Christian versions I've been shown.

The thing is, love feels to me like a beautiful well-made dress, or getting to be around my kids all the time instead of every other week, or having never had to get divorced in the first place. Why we are supposed to attribute good things to a loving creator/universe but not the bad is just nonsensical, unless that creator is limited to functioning primarily within ourselves and others. Which is a hell of a lot of responsibility for us all.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

desperate times

Nate got me a book for Christmas that I really wanted. It's a college textbook about managing stress. Ha! I'm excited because it's talking about chakras (and how they coincide with Maslow's hierarchy of needs!! fascinating!!) and spirituality as if they are givens for human beings - the book even says "15 years ago, you wouldn't have found this stuff being discussed in a college textbook, but it's all changing."

It's also stressful to read the first few chapters, because they discuss how so much of our stress comes from technological and physical isolation. The mystic in me is in mourning for the first world. Mother Theresa said Americans are the loneliest people, and I can attest to that. Nate and I watched a documentary called Happy on Netflix, and the people you feel most jealous of aren't the rich people - it's the super-connected families and the divorced woman in Denmark living in a communal home.

My parents moved to an "intentional community" when I was in fourth grade. They built a house in the country next to other families with kids. "A little suburb on purpose," you could call it. They learned a lot about human nature, and themselves; one of the families moved because they needed to, another went through a painful divorce, another wreaked havoc on the group thanks to what I'm pretty sure was an untreated personality disorder in the father. I was mostly off having fun with all the kids during this period, but as I got older I watched and thought "I'm going to be smarter about trusting the right people." Then I proceeded to fail at that, many times over.

This week marks six years that I've been living in a city. I'm the same age my parents were when they chose to prioritize very close community, and my kids are the ages I was. And I get why they did it, even with all the shit they had to go through. I know so many great people, but we're all lucky to see each other a few times a month. Everyone has different work schedules, and the culture of connection revolves around restaurants and alcohol that I can't afford, despite busting my ass to try. I lost my friends who are moms when I got divorced, and even with Nate very present for me, I feel isolated much of the time. Kids make it much harder for me to be able to do group things. My theology has shifted and I don't fit at the church that was meeting my baseline communal needs when I first came to Nashville. I've tasted city life, and it was a necessary stage in my growth - you've got to spread your wings to figure out who you are and to experientially determine if the shiny things make you happier.

Endless new coffee shops to sit in with my new bangs isn't doing it for me anymore. Love and connection are the treasure in the field that I would sell everything to have more of. Maybe we'll up and move next to one of my brothers and sisters one of these years.