Neurotic behavior gets a bad reputation in some stories. The papers and picture boxes often display neurosis as violent, neuroticism as something that should promote fear. The truth of the matter is that each of us carries neurosis. It's in our human composition to be capable of all things. And sometimes, yes, neurosis is necessary and desired. There is evil in the world, and any of us can wield it at any time. Like neurosis, evil is a part of all brains and all entities. It's a conundrum that this evil is a required part of existence. All particles need an opposite. The only way we can have the in-between is to have the extremes. Life appears to me to be a moment-to-moment process of balance between extremes.
While life in my 30s is a combination of decisions between whether to discuss racist remarks or stand at work for only four hours instead of eight, part of my earlier life displayed extremes with sex and drugs. I pushed limits by being sexually forward and trying various types of man-made and natural materials. I didn't want the idea of my number of sexual partners to define me, and yet, early on I kept a list of the people with whom I slept. I was 17 when I slept with the first one, just a couple of months shy of 18. He was a vacuous mind with an attractive body, and I selected him in part because he was purty. He was a trainer at my gym, the one I visited with my mom. (Yeesh. Just thinking now about how she knew this guy made a feeling happen at the back of my neck, like: eew.) So anyway, this guy's personality was really mean. After he put his penis inside of me and I asked, "Was that sex?" we sat across from each other. My legs were open, and he gently pulled my pubic hair and then [for real!] commented that it was too long. Gawd, what a jerk personality. I had no idea that his behavior was inappropriate or vicious, though. I didn't comprehend that his words were unnecessarily restrictive or mean. I also didn't understand that after sex, emotions can feel different. I went back to his place once more, my insides a-frenzy because sex excited my emotions! He answered the door, then headed to his room to wrap himself in a blanket as he delivered, "I'm in love with someone else. I was with her and she doesn't want me back. I won't have sex with you again." (Yick. Eew. A creepy feeling is in my chest as I remember that last part.) I saw this guy again a few years later. He tried to chat me up, and I stared at him, expressionless. He backed away, slowly, and the receptionist behind me was all, "Yeah, that guy is so gross." I didn't see any of that before my first sexual experience with him. I just wanted my virginity to be gone because everyone made such a big deal about it, it seemed. I didn't want it to define me. I didn't want my sexual experiences to be a reason someone liked or didn't like me.
The drugs, well -- they were different. I reached a certain point, and I wanted to explore the world of mind alteration. In time, the drugs materialized: mushrooms, LSD, ecstasy, peyote, cocaine. Not all at once. Some not even twice (LSD, I'm lookin' at you). At certain points, I discussed drugs with my older sisters. They were at a time in their lives when they were trying out things, too. I think all of us accepted that certain drugs were ok and others were off-limits. Not to say that all of us agreed which drugs were which! Personally, I eventually realized I wasn't ok with the man-made variety. They were somewhat... weirder, like -- a bad weird. My wider community of friends, they were trying certain drugs, too. One of them had access to an opiate, which I tried... hm, I want to say in my late teens. Bad idea! My body wasn't up for the challenge. It lied itself down in a parking lot. (!) My friend was like, "Meiling! Meiling, you can't sleep here." Then I put myself in someone's bed because I wanted to encourage him to have sex with me. Yeah, at one time in my life I tried to indirectly communicate when I wanted to have sex with someone. Later, my friend was like, "Meiling, gawd," in a, What the hell is wrong with you, kind of way. It was her older brother's friend's bed, you see. And the person who gave us the opiate, that was her older brother. Looking at it now, I see that my perception was very skewed by the drugs in my system. She wasn't ok with what I did, and really -- all of us were out of our leagues in that situation. The one person who needed the medicine should have been the one person to take it. We were much more loose with boundaries then.
That same friend, the one whose older brother shared his drugs, she's in another state now. I emailed her and she initially responded to that email with her phone number. Then, after I texted, she didn't respond. I don't know what to make of that one. So, while in the past I might have felt extremely offended with this situation, I tapped on it and decided to love her regardless of her choices. Even if she doesn't want to know me, I can love this person and accept our reality.
The wider world may not respond in the ways we seek. People may feel shame and express it as blame and be unaware of their own shortcomings. Sometimes people don't understand the wider scenario until years later. This holiday season, if you remember parts of your life and feel knots in your stomach like I do, blessings to your knots. Grace and movement to your pain. Merry Christmas to your aches and sorrows as well as your joys.
Well hello there.