Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Sometimes you have to unpeel the onion.  §

I spent much of the year leading up to our catastrophic event peeling essential pieces of myself away, largely in response to external encouragement to “simplify my life” and to “take care of myself.”

In fact, what I did was commit identity suicide without intending to, leaving me without a strong sense that I was present in my own life, and helping to set me adrift on the waves that together we made and that would eventually overtake us.

I gave up everything that mattered to me outside of personal relationships, everything that made me who I am.

– Teaching
– Research
– Studying
– Academic writing
– Owning my own labor and business

Before that, in preceding years, I had already given up:

– Urban dwelling
– Photography
– Creative writing
– Blogging

The problem is that all of this was a matter of misunderstanding; giving these things up would not allow me to return to myself. Rather, giving these things up would be me giving myself up. They aren’t the things that somehow obscured me; they are me.

— § —

In short, I sacrificed on the perceived altar of my wedding vows virtually everything that actually made me, well… me. It is thus no wonder that by the end I was unable to be present in my life and to the others around me, which was my part in the catastrophe.

I wasn’t present because I had and have lost myself, at least as a series of actual physical or behavioral manifestations in my life.

— § —

So now, it is time to unpeel the onion. The goals of 2016?

– Blog again
– Find a way to return to career independence
– Find a way to teach again
– Find a way to return to academics
– Begin to study and research again
– Begin to take photos again

And so on. I need, in short, to add back everything that I first promised under duress, and then acted, to remove. Consequences be damned.

Because now it is clear that I also cannot have a relationship simply by peeling these things away, so it doesn’t matter if it seems as if I can’t have a relationship by keeping them any longer.

Better to be myself and deal with whatever results. At least then, under that circumstance, I am living with some sort of integrity, and will be able to be present for others, even if that presence is ultimately rejected.

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