PEOPLE LIKE YOU VI
In November 2018, I started a project, where I collect stories from emotionally intense people from around the world.
I am overwhelmed by your generosity and feel incredibly moved by your courage to be vulnerable, the poignancy in your stories, and the poetic beauty in your words. This is a continuation from page one of this project.
Life can be a precarious and lonely journey, and I am glad we can find each other in this space.
I hope you will land on some resonance and encouragement in the stories and recommendations from your fellow travellers of life.
To contribute, please click here.
(The images alongside the stories are added by me, unless stated otherwise or are a part of your offerings.)
Stephanie, 63, Virginia
You have a friend? You’re a rich person. You’re a gifted person? You get to experience the world. “Thank you for my friend! Thank you for this brain that drives me crazy and drives others crazier!”
Who am I
I’m from Virginia, just outside of DC. I just turned 63 y.o. I was born in NH, and have lived in New England and the DC area all my life. I’ve visited many states, as well as Canada and Australia. I work in air traffic control research and development. My hobby is photography, my favorite genres being fashion and street photography. I’ve been married for 36 years and we have a wonderful daughter in her early 20s.
I am biologically male, psychologically androgynous, spiritually female. I’ve spent time in the world as a female. The inspirational photo I’ve sent to be included is a Snap Chat filtered photo self-portrait, capturing what’s inside me.
What matters to me is surviving. There are things I’ll never do, things I’ll never be. Despite that, I’ve had successes in this life, so I cannot complain.
I reached a point where I discovered a meaning to life that goes beyond simple rationalization, and yet a grander meaning of life seems elusive. Why are we here? What’s our purpose? We’re moss in the forest. We’ve left the Earth, a bit. If we made it to planets around other stars, so what? Who cares? What difference would it make?
While I’m not lonely per se, I am alone. When I try to make connections with people, they are simple connections. Maybe we talk about photography and fashion, but math is out. Even connecting with people through Mensa was a waste of time.
I work with intelligent people, many with Ph.D.s. And yet with these people, rather than curiosity and creativity, I find arrogance and provincialism. In one soul crushing discussion where I was promoting a research proposal, I was asked how I could think I could solve a very specific but impossible problem when there were organizations with large numbers of people with unlimited computing resources that couldn’t solve it?
I go to bed at night praying I won’t awaken. When I do awaken, I imagine the worst deaths possible for me. Then I get up and make it through the day.
Before the riots, New York City was my inspiration. It was full of life! There was no place better. I lived for visiting New York.
Over the years I’ve read lots of books on philosophy, mostly western but some eastern.
My personal favorite inspirational book is in math, “Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension” by Rudolf v.B. Rucker. It is a small but very dense book that brought me to being able to think in fourspace, an effort that took maybe a year and a half.
Music? I love all kinds of music, but these are my inspirational works: “Capriccio Espagnol” by Rimsky-Korsakov and “Hungarian Dance Number 5” by Brahms.
People who have influenced me
Who have inspired you, or played a role in shaping the way you are? Can be any historical figures, authors, thought leaders or personal role models.
Ayn Rand. Osho. Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Some written words
“The league between virtue and nature engages all things to assume a hostile front to vice. The beautiful laws and substances of the world persecute and whip the traitor. He finds that things are arranged for truth and benefit, but there is no den in the wide world to hide a rogue. Commit a crime, and the earth is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground, such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge and fox and squirrel and mole. You cannot recall the spoken word, you cannot wipe out the foot-track, you cannot draw up the ladder, so as to leave no inlet or clew. Some damning circumstance always transpires. The laws and substances of nature — water, snow, wind, gravitation — become penalties to the thief.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Compensation”
A life advice
Over the years I’ve discovered a three-legged foundation for my life. The first is the purpose of life. The second regards free will. The third regards the meaning of life, at least as we have our individual lives.
The Purpose of Life
The purpose of life is to live; in kind, all of our actions are moral, amoral, or immoral based on their being life positive, life neutral, or life negative. Most of our actions are amoral in that there is no particular morality associated with it. Choosing to wear blue versus green has generally no moral connotations, and is by this use, amoral.
Free will is ours, and gives us the power to be God-like in our ability to change the universe. Our lives are not predetermined; we’re not puppets, we’re not following a script. Free will is so powerful I do not believe God even knows what we’ll do.
The Meaning of Life
The meaning of life is what we produce and what we create in the limited time we have. It’s our mortality that establishes the context for meaning; it’s what we do that is the actual meaning.
My Words to You
You change yourself by being grateful. You have a friend? You’re a rich person. You’re a gifted person? You get to experience the world. “Thank you for my friend! Thank you for this brain that drives me crazy and drives others crazier!”
You change the world by how you live. You may not see it, you may not ever realize it, but others see you, how you live, and what you do. They notice. A smile, a kind word, something so very simple you don’t even think about it can be so powerful to others.
You’re a part of the universe that has become aware of itself. How cool is that?
Inspirational Picture: It’s me, through the gender changer lens in Snap Chat.