Everything you Never Wanted to Know About me, and Were too Disinterested to Ask
I'm Kristin - it's nice to meet you...
It occurred to me that I might seem a bit of a “black box” here on HubPages. As much of myself as I try to put into most of my writing (except for the keyword optimised SEO stuff that makes me want to bathe after writing it) and forum contributions, it seems unbalanced not to provide the context in which the thoughts that form the basis for my opinions occurs.
Writing about yourself to others is an interesting proposition. You deliberately present certain parts of yourself, while hiding others. It is the ultimate marketing exercise – you craft an identity for the world to see – and in that process you learn a great deal about what you value and wish to become, and what you fear and dislike of yourself. In the medium of the internet, this is even more pronounced. In that sense then, this is as much an exercise in self-reflection as it is a “nice to meet you!”
Right now, there’s three “lessons in life” that spring to mind, which are most relevant to me at this point in my existence. I’d like to share them with you – maybe they’re wrong – let me know.
Love compounds in value. Most things in life derive their value from their scarcity.Love is the exception to that rule – increasing in value the more abundant it becomes. The older I become, the less convinced I am that love – true love – is rare, unique, or in any way uncommon. Rather, it is one of the few “substances” we can create at will – whatever our circumstances. For that reason, I indulge love at every possible turn. Go: fall in love with a stranger. Make a burnt offering of your fears and inhibitions to Eros, and delight in the divine oblivion of love – realised or unrequited. Like the bumper sticker says: “be the change you want to see in the world.” If you want love then go love till it hurts. Then love some more.
More than almost anything else, stories matter. But the ones that matter the most are the ones we tell ourselves. We tell ourselves stories of gods and molecules. Of divine gardens and nurseries of stardust. We tell them to ourselves enough that we imagine them to be separate from us – forgetting their origin in the crucible of conscious experience. We name them facts and beliefs. We forget they are stories at all. But stories they remain. The stories we tell ourselves are the way we make sense of our experience of life. They form the boundaries of what we “know”, value and hold ourselves capable of achieving. With them we build palaces of thought, empires of conscience and prisons of fear.
Understanding the power that stories hold, and our ability to tell new ones, we grasp the power to choose our own adventure, and dictate our destiny by telling our own story. Mine is a lesson in crafting my own story – the challenge of remembering and knowing who writes it, what the stakes are, and what the end should be. In the words of Muriel Rukeyser “The world is made of stories, not of atoms.”
You build the world you dream of one story at a time. If you don’t like the “reality” you’re living, then change it by telling a new story.
Make it rich enough, and others will tell it too.
The older I get, the less I know. I wouldn’t go as far to call myself wise – but I do note that the years make you humble – if you let them. Life pressurises people. For some, that pressure turns into bitterness. For others, humility. Passionate as I am about learning, the more I learn about the time we share here, the more I realise and learn to accept the difference between information, knowledge and wisdom. Facts are built on the precarious edifice of perception, and make poor moral guides.
Truth is more than just what can be seen and tested – it’s what’s felt too.
There are of course other lessons to learn – and I remain open to them.
Mine is a life of passions spent, bridges burnt and castles razed. To meet me, you would find a friendly, bright, approachable and attentive conversationalist. I love people, and am the ultimate humanist: I believe fundamentally in the goodness and capability of others, and it comes through when I interact with them.
Though secretly, I fear I am dangerous to be around. I am single-minded in my obsession with my destiny, and baulk naught at sacrificing my own comfort, health or relationships in finding, refining and living it. To some degree, I think others sense this. Some are attracted by this obsession – plugging me into their own lives as a source of energy for their own walk. For others, the pleasure they derive from living tragically is the attraction – the sense of impermanence and insignificance is a strange attractor. Either way, I tend to attract unusual people to myself, but often the best.
For that reason, if I were to choose a mythical being which I most closely relate to, it would be the Hindu god Shiva. Although Shiva is traditionally regarded as the goddess of destruction, it is the twin process of re-birth and transformation he embodies which accompanies the destructive process which I relate to most closely. Living on the bleeding edge of your own cause gives you an appreciation for the tremendous energy that destruction and rebirth command.
To that end, I provide that context – my story - a list of things in no particular order which are unique to me, and provide a fair degree of illumination on the kind of man I was, am and would like to be.
Everything you never wanted to know about me – and were too disinterested to ask, if you will.
33 Things About Me
1. I am not an Australian. Born and raised in the coastal regions of south eastern Queensland, I spent my formative years in a typical Australian upbringing. Coming from a good home, and a kind, loving family, I left because I hated the direction I see Australia going
I’ve always had a strong connection with the land, and miss it terribly. The people? Much less so.
At various times I have toyed with the idea of declaring war on the Australian government, but have instead opted for the quiet rebellion of being an un-citizen. As soon as is practical, I will be renouncing my Australian citizenship.
Since leaving, i’ve realised how poorly Australia fit me. Its very possible to be born in the wrong place. I know – I was.
2. I swear like a sailor, though possess none of the nautical ability to justify it. I’m working on it.
3. I learn languages very easily, but have trouble with even the most basic mathematic problems. Though I remain intensely fascinated by pure mathematics in a philosophical sense. One day, i’ll be good at mathematics. Until then, i’ll be good at being interested in mathematics.
4. I’m almost legally blind. By conventional standards my eyes are useless. As a late-stage keratoconus sufferer, my sight can only be restored by wearing a series of contact lenses in each eye. Without them, I can only see colour and movement, but no detail. But I wouldn’t trade them for anything. People (well, women...) seem to like them, (because they are a brilliant blue colour) and although they’ve stopped me from pursuing almost every plan I wished to pursue in my future, they’ve also made me the person I am today.
You may not realise it, but there’s a slew of benefits to having poor vision. Everyone is a supermodel, for starters. When your eyes can’t see, the mind’s eye fills in the blanks. If you have a one track mind, then you can imagine what it sees. You develop other senses. Not relying on your eyes for the acquisition of spatial information or the detection of social cues forces your mind to adapt. Other parts of your body compensate to pick up the slack in the one defective system. As a result, I have a highly developed ability to visualise ideas, processes and onjects in my mind’s eye, an extremely sensitive intuition, and a highly evolved sense of humour – because it can all be just one big joke sometimes. There’s a little more magic. Being deprived of regular vision does nothing to stifle an active imagination – in fact, quite the opposite. For you, the horizon (I imagine) is filled with hills, forests and sky. For me, that same picture is filled with castles, dragons, and all manner of myth that I can conjure in my mind. They’re not real, but i’m not sure that matters any more. It’s the capacity to imagine beyond yourself and others which I value, and hope to refine. Being less obsessed with the detail of physical objects allows you to observe the relationships between them – there is a relationship between all manifestations of matter, and it cannot be seen with the eyes.
Being a degenerative condition, it’s possible at some point in my life my vision will deteriorate further into full blindness. I’ve made my peace with that, and actually welcome it for the possibilities and unforeseen (ha!) directions it will take my experience of life.
The lesson you may take from this is best summarised by a line from a song by the musical troupe, Faithless: “You don’t need eyes to see – you need vision.”
5. Once, I married someone I hardly knew. If you like an adventure, i’d recommend it.
6. I think that people matter. Much more than they realise. But much less than their egos lead them to believe.
7. I don’t believe in casual sex, but I do believe in casual love. Which may be a moot point, as casual love so often spills over into sexual expression anyway. But the distinction is important to make. Sex for its own sake feels empty to me. Too often, I think we accept sex as a substitute for love, retreating into ourselves at the fear of building love, thinking it too monumental a task for a moment’s opportunity. There is a false expectation of permanency that people build into love – this idea of forever, happily ever after. I don’t think it exists for most people, so we give up and accept less – of ourselves and of others. Do yourself a favour – leave forever up to fate: concentrate on right now. If you can love a person this minute, then do so – wholly and completely, without excuse, apology or expectation of its return. It doesn’t matter if that leads to a lifetime of moments like that, or something is as simple as a wonderful Thursday afternoon.
Having said all that, I don’t really miss sex. When I can, i’ll get as much of it as possible. But when it’s gone, its absence doesn’t bother me.
8. People trust me. Generally instantly, more than most other people, and probably more than they should.
9. Once, I was homeless. And you should be too. Independence is overrated. Vulnerability is underrated. Do not dare judge a man until you have walked in his shoes. Before you take his shoes though, buy him a nicer pair to replace them – he might appreciate the gesture.
10. I live on the periphery. A contrarian at heart, I thrive on the challenge of “otherness”. Normalcy and mediocrity do not interest me in any capacity. A perfectionist also at heart, if I can’t be the best at something, then I certainly will find the most different way to do it.
11. I live on a bicycle. And largely without money. It’s part of a larger project of finding a better way to live – for myself, and for others. While the bicycle element is new for me, the nomadic part isn’t. Presently, I am in the general vicinity of Europe – though shortly will be making my way either to Africa, or the Caucasus on my bicycle – both parts of the world holding special significance to me. How will I decide? On the shores of the Iberian peninsula, where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, I will flip a coin, and let chance decide. Or a stranger.
**Update: As of late October 2010, I made it to Spain. Unfortunately (though not surprisingly) living like this on the cusp of a European winter made me sick. Crazy sick. I am thus back in Australia now, plotting my escape from the convict isle;-)**
12. I am a lapsed Islamist. I once received a scholarship to study at the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban, in South Western Pakistan - before they were cool. I say “lapsed Islamist” because although I remain emotionally and spiritually committed to the central beliefs of Islam, I have over the years become unconvinced that the present incarnations of Islamic social and political activism will be any better than the current palava.
My journey to that point began in May of 2001, when I awoke one day with the strange compulsion to become a Muslim – later that day I took my first step into a mosque, and took the plunge. It’s been a rocky ride ever since – but worth it all the same.
13. I love motorcycles. I used to make my living on one, and once started my own Motorcycle Club: The New Spartans MC. It didn’t really work out.
14. I’m good at most sports I try. To the consternation of my sport-loving friends though, I don’t really like sport.
15. I’m absolutely manic. I hardly ever sleep, and my mind usually races at 100 mph. I start a million things, but finish few. My living patterns tend to be dictated by the frequent and varied passions that grip me. When i’m interested in something, it’s not uncommon for me to spend days awake and enthused by it, collapsing finally more from exhaustion than lack of interest, before starting the cycle all over again.
16. I have two settings: Brilliant or Incompetent. When I was a child I didn’t crawl. At all. I would lie down and wait to be moved. Then, one day I got up and walked. It’s a pattern I notice repeating itself throughout my life - punctuated with moments of incompetence and brilliance. Never anything in between.
17. I love a good suit. Really. Looking good should be an act of law. I am extremely particular about the way I dress. Not in a “metrosexual” way – I just admire consistency. So if I wear a suit, it has to be extremely good quality, and tailored. And if I decide to “dress down” then you’ll certainly know about it. There’s no in-between.
18. I would live in a costume if I could. If there was a way I could wear a different costume every day of my life, i’d do it. Most of my fondest memories have been from times when i’ve been in costume. If you’ve never had a fancy dress party, do it now. Really.
19. I love tattoos. I can’t wait until I get my next one. There’s a secret they don’t tell you about them either. The meaning of whatever you mark yourself with melts into you. You become what you mark yourself with. It’s an interesting method of self-actualisation.
20. I think facial hair is underappreciated by the rest of society. Certainly on men.
21. I love solitude, though am rarely lonely. If I had to, I could spend the rest of my life without seeing another person, and i’d be OK with it. The best relationship I have in my life is with myself. There is no substitute for being comfortable in your own skin!
22. I read more books than most people eat meals. Mostly non-fiction, but whatever is available. Any language, every genre.
23. I really don’t like crowds and loud noises. Bustle is my enemy. I find myself extremely sensitive to those around me, and the sensation of having the impression of the mood of a crowd pressing on me is completely overwhelming and exhausting. Combined with poor vision, I find crowds to be disorienting and always find myself on edge when in one. For the same reasons, I avoid nightclubs religiously. I can’t stand most cities and could probably happily spend the rest of my days never entering one. Perhaps it’s a side effect of the way I live, but the thought of even entering a city or densely populated town fills me with dread. “Know your exit” are the words I live by.
That said, it is a dream to one day live in New York, but leave before it makes me hard.
24. I have an extremely strong sense of destiny. It’s hard to enunciate exactly what my fate is, but emotionally I “know” what my future holds. On the one hand I think it’s a blessing to know what that future is. On the other, I think it’s a curse to know what it will cost.
25. The clock is ticking. For as long as I can remember, i’ve been convinced that i’d die before I was 30. 29. Not long to go now.
26. I can’t really remember the last time I was jealous. About anything. It’s earnt me the reputation of being “cold blooded” more than once – but I don’t think it’s a fair label. There’s alot to be said for just letting the events of life wash over you. Jealousy is less about the person, people or events that are the object of your jealousy, and more about the defects in your relationship with yourself.
27. I’m in love every single day. Sometimes with a person. Sometimes with a moment. Sometimes with an experience. But always in love.
28. I once co-authored a book on an obscure aspect of Islamic Law, and am thus published under my Arabic nom de guerre: ‘Isa Dawud Low.
29. I can read and write Arabic.
30. I used to have a CV. Now I just have blistered hands. Ironically, I find myself much more useful now.
31. I remain unconvinced of the futility of extremism in politics. The mainstream is only known by the extremes to which it will not deviate. To that end, extremism of every variety remains a necessary and essential part of every political process, whichever way you cut it.
32. I believe passionately in the philosophy of non-violence. There is no excuse for violence. Ever. All of the world’s problems can be traced to humankind’s single inability to simply chill the f*ck out.
33. I hate – and this is the only thing I reserve that emotion for – breaking hearts. Of all the things I dislike in the world, breaking the heart of another is what I dislike the most.