I often wonder if my approach to life is authentic or diseased.

I often wonder if my approach to life is authentic or diseased. I know it is not common; I know it is not standard—a fact that is not off-putting to me. But is it wholesomely authentically me? Or is it, in part, the result of some developmental deficiencies that I might desire to cure?

Thus I often inspect my doings: my methods of being; my social interactions; my internal interactions—between my emotions and my behaviors; my desire for both long term ambitions and short term escape; the tight tug-of-war between my reckless instinct for honesty and a cerebral acknowledgment of the value of tact; that ongoing conference between what I believe I am, and what I believe I am subconsciously—all in an attempt for some awareness, some insight, some comprehension…:

Is this part wholesomely authentically me; is that part? Or is that, in part, merely the consequence of some personal deficiencies that I would prefer to overcome—which parts?

* * *

The task is long, and the end is not in sight. But I find the endeavor, itself, fulfilling, much the way I find most learning, fulfilling.

 

langkawi sunset
stunning sunset captivates me, and I stand entranced for hours until the last of the pink and orange hues disperse into the evening ink in Langkawi, Malaysia

Photo by: Maimana Elhassn
Instagram: http://instagram.com/maimana_photography
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaimanaPhotography/

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An attempt to back walkover

Everyday I find myself wresting and writhing in effort, bent over backwards in a bridge position on a prickly grass lawn, willing myself to focus my scrunching eyes upon the upside-down horizon, WILLING myself to consent to the crush in my lower back, the furnace in my forearms, the violence being done to my wrists. I am trying to do a back walkover. A back walkover is a rather basic move in gymnastics—but for me, it is nearly Mission Impossible. In order to succeed, I must move from this agonizing back bent bridge position… into an upright, standing position by kicking my legs up and over my head, holding myself up only by my two ruefully under-equipped arms…

…all whilst not falling onto my head….

Backbend
“…wresting and writhing in effort, bent over backwards in a bridge position on a prickly grass lawn, willing myself to focus my scrunching eyes upon the upside-down horizon…”

—I breathe out; I breathe in—then in an eruption I EXHALE!—Grunting like a karate master roars before slamming a fist of fury down upon a tower of bricks, I KICK OFF! I kick my right leg up, and with my left, I plow, as hard as I can, I plow down into the earth for lift off! I believe I can. I KNOW I CAN!

“YAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!” My legs are suspended as if by magic straight up, just floating above me! I strain my neck back, further back, trying to tilt the weight enough to push my legs to continue their arc over my head, back down to the ground… the little muscles all down the front of my torso, yanking, pulling, heaving ho! ALMOSSSSST….! I’m so very close!

“BAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!” All strength flees my arms; with this third and final scream, they slump! Head-first I ram into the dirt! “OW!” My legs come plunging after my crumpled body, back down, back to where they’d started. I am sprawled, limbs everywhere, and bent, in slight shock—but I laugh.

I am so, so close to making it!

My young friend Sean kneels down, shrieking in delight. He proclaims that I should succeed in no time!—but he takes a moment to examine my head.

It’s fine. Do it AGAIN! He cheers!

Uh, yes…. Yes…! I shall try again!

 

 

05 July 2017 / Dauin, Negros Island, Philippines

manufacturing hope in status updates

a hopeful visualization of the future as a facebook profile

Three years ago, in my darkest months of 2013, in order to manufacture for myself some small light of hope, some small relief from the reality of my depression and the depression of my reality, I set up a Facebook account and profile for my imagined future self, living and posting in circa 2016.

 

I added to this page my dreams and my wishes in bits and bytes, in the form of photo posts and status updates, a visualization of the future I dared to want, built with Facebook and Google images, designed with ambition and hope.

 

And here we are now.

 

Now as I write this, falling into the latter half of this final day of 2016, I am lying on cotton cushions shaded from the high Sri Lankan sun, pondering adjectives and memories; I am trying at every sunrise to learn my turns on the glassy blue-green waves of the Indian Ocean. I have one dozen sentences in Sinhala to speak with locals as I swat at the flies competing for my food; I have a book in Russian on my bed to attempt and often fail to read at night. I sleep next to a red suitcase of scented mosquito repellent, sunscreen and hair oils, two bikinis and two rashguards, some books in languages I can not yet read, a set of tightly rolled black hand wraps for muay thai, a pair of decrepit, mismatched dancing shoes, their battered heels still with some glitter, along with the roll of duck tape I use to fasten them onto my feet, and, of course, some various means of recording my intentions, my reflections: two withering spiral notebooks, a leather journal, one MacBook Air.

I have a one-way ticket to fly, at last, to Kuala Lumpur.

And I am, after all, writing a blog.

do not be afraid

 

It’s going to be okay… in the end.

No matter what happens, we can find a way to light
No matter how dark it gets, we can find a way
to learn from the past, to make it count.

In the end, it will have been an agent for progress…
because we first need the shit from the vast, middle abyss
to crawl out into plain view—festered, inflamed, Repugnant,
in order to diagnose, treat, and eradicate…

If we succeed, we might look back upon this time,
and see it as the turning point whence real change began, 
whence began reassessing, fixing, healing.

But if instead we burn in flames of red…
well… … todo tiene su final . . .    .

 

 

09 noviembre 2016, martes

Kali Combative Sparring

We put on the sparring gear—all of it: brightly colored bulky coats covered up and down in little spongy blocks, black utility fasteners in the back, the clunky helmet contraptions, and slippery, smelly arm guards strapped to our forearms.

We look like Lego samurai, we look like pixelated, primary-color, video game characters from the 90s, we look like thug crayons that escaped from the crayon box and got jacked up on crayon steroids.

The arm guards are just two chunky slabs of stinky sweaty padding, Velcro-ed to each arm, covering and confining them from above the elbow down to my fingers, padding the vulnerable back of my hand, but leaving the sides lamentably exposed, and rendering my fist dull and slow to move. And the Darth Vader headgear…. Oi… that thing is a menace. None of us like to spar with that thing pressing down on the tops of our skulls and down on either shoulder, all but refusing to move with the head, obscuring not only our peripheral vision, but basically all our vision, its thick metal bars running across our eyes. And for me, the helmet is also just too big. It is so ill-fitting, I have to choose between putting my chin on the chin-rest, but pressing and folding my ears into spaces where ears were not designed to go; or putting my ears rightfully into the ear protectors earholes, but have the chin-rest… rest on my throat. In the end, I compromise—somehow—with my chin on the rest—good—, one ear tightly managed up against the ear pad, not in the earhole—not bad—, and finally, with my right ear folded forward onto itself—not good. I get two out of three into place, but the helmet keeps turning sideways to look to the left.

Still, I have to look ahead, and I have to look sharp. My opponent is surprisingly fast and extremely strong. Twice my size, and with many years of training over me, he is, at first, unwilling to hit such an easy target… but the guro is threatening him, inciting him, yelling at him, NOT to go easy on the girl. “You’re being a jerk! You go easy on her—how will she ever prepare to fight?!”

I have no room nor time to be timid. I have to swing first.

And I have to swing hard.

* * *

At the end of two long bouts of beating, of panting, of thrashing… he starts to grab at my sparring stick. The first time he snatches it, I’m so oblivious, I barely even register why my arm has stuck fast mid-swing. I flounder and flail about frantically, cluelessly, up against him, a pitiful fish flopping and flapping feverishly, uselessly, up against a wall of glass. He has my weapon pinned so perfectly down with his elbow so that I cannot move my arm nor get out of his range. He starts hacking away at my bare hands. I guess I shouldn’t have shucked off the sweaty, cumbersome arm guards after all….

The guro separates us, and starts us up yet again. “Handa… LABAN!

I still have no clue what to do. I just smash away, a blind hurricane motivated by fear and motivated by courage, until—again!—my weapon arm freezes suddenly in place! I cannot budge. Stuck. He whacks away again, beating at on my open flank again, striking at my bare knuckles… OWWW!! I ignore the sharp pain. I ignore the stick, its unrelenting assault. I focus on wrenching my arm out, trying to pull free from his iron grip…  almost..!! ..harder… 

…PULLLLL…!!!!!!

But then, as I finally pry myself away, he grabs my Lego armor and yanks it hard. I roll to the floor.

AH HAH! NOW I KNOW WHAT TO DO—NOW I HAVE IT! I must tackle and attack! My brain shows me what I must do! I must run into that punishing stick, I must dive upon my attacker, and not away! I must forget about the point system, I must grab his armor, I must kick, I must scramble! I will claw, I will wrestle, I will berserk! I must seize back my weapon and continue the fight, no matter how!! No matter the technique, I must attack! I know what to do! I am SO READY!!!!!

 

I sink back into my fight stance, cranking my fist tight around my weapon, fear and courage both gone. This time I am only eager, I am only IMPATIENT!

 

But… Guro does not start the match. It is game over.

“NO!!!!!!!!!! NO! I am SO NOT DONE!!!!”

Guro laughs. “You’re done!”

“NOOOOO!”

“Yes! You fell! It’s Game over.”

 

DAMMIT!

.

.

.

.

.

…………………………………next time . . .

 

injured hands after kali sparring
the aftermath
injured hand kali injury
doctor demands rest…

* * *

Tagalog glossary:

  • guro : teacher
  • handa : ready
  • laban : fight

le dimanche 31 juillet 2016 Gongju, South Korea

a PERFECT FIRST POST

My will is great.
But I am stuck.

I grapple every sentence. I trip every third word.

Every sentence fights for glory—to glow, to shine, resplendent—
Demanding my attention and devotion,
Demanding structure, thoughtful and balanced,
Demanding originality of content, and wit of expression.
Every sentence, demanding to be memorable, bold, and brave
—becoming in its brevity…
…yet captivating in its complexity of thought!

But after every round I tire more, and
…I am stuck…

with nothing to show for all the strife,
all these ass-cramping hours,
slogging by on latte after latte,
willing my hands to craft a… something…
a something!!

Stop the fumbling, deleting, retyping,
—the stalling, the stalling, the STALLING!!!—

and. build. a. something—!

Months, I have endeavored with the single, simple goal:
to write a blog.
Just a single, simple blog— But months pass and I have still

—no blog.

Something inside me is reluctant.
How it drags behind every word, every thought!
Its rigid claws rake deep trenches trailing behind me—with wretched persistence—
Evidence of a desperate cowardice!
Maddeningly unwilling to venture forth!!

I am stuck!

I’ve had it with this silliness. This Wretchedness.

My first post to this blog will be:

a Declaration to embrace
Imperfection, the
Incomplete, the
Not-Masterly, even the
Banal, Cliché, Incompetent, even the
Embarrassingly Redundant and Irrelevant! but…

at least things will be written—Built!—

and not stymied, stuck in perpetual rumination, which, however earnest,
renders sentences useless, and ambition is left
to rot in its own staunch stench of delusion—

delusions of conceit and self-importance
DELUSIONS of perfection!!

And FEAR— fear of mediocrity.

So here you go:

This is my first post.
This is my Declaration of Imperfection.

And it is Imperfect.

It is ABUNDANTLY,
Delightfully, Rebelliously, Characteristically,
Run-on-sentences-fully, & OverRUN-by-Adverbs-&-Adjectives-ly,

and COURAGEOUSLY

Imperfect.

. . . . . . . . . . . . perfect!