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Life, Perception, Perspectives, and Gratitude
#1
Recent conversations I've participated in here on the forums have really had me thinking lately.... and feeling a great deal of gratitude for my life.

Along with these thoughts came not just a good deal of gratitude for my life, but also an interesting... new perception. Or maybe an interesting new awareness. I've realized that my perception of my life is possibly not the same as the -reality- of my life? Or maybe that my perception of my life is far different than how -others- would perceive my life.

Let me explain what I mean.

In my life, a lot of struggle and strife has happened, yeah? The Readers Digest version would include...

  • Growing up with a father that was -very- clear on a daily basis how much of a shame I was on him and the family due to my sexuality (this started at a very young age).
  • Emancipating from my parents at 16, before graduating from high school.
  • Major Depressive Disorder including chronic bouts of Depressive Episodes throughout my life
  • Having been homeless.
  • Having traded sexual favors for money.
  • Having lived in some seriously SHIT HOLE places.
  • A car accident that resulted in a lot of ugly scars on my body, a lot of repaired/replaced joints, and a lifetime of daily physiotherapy to keep me moving.
  • Chronic pain in those joints and my back.
  • A methamphetamine amped stalker ex
  • Having been raped (and a bit of mocking by part the police force afterwards)
  • A home invasion that resulted in death and resuscitation
  • A very obvious, ugly scar on my face from that home invasion
  • Dropping out of college to deal with the PTSD that resulted from the last three listed above.
  • Testicular cancer resulting in the loss of one nut, a run of chemo, and an RPLND
  • Malignant melanoma (resulting in yet more scars)
  • A chronic bout of having my tires slashed in the past 6 months or so (about 2-3 times a month)
Add to this what some people might consider disadvantages in life such as...
  • Being an Asian man in America
  • Being bisexual
  • Being androgynous (and quite pretty)
  • Having a sister that lives with me and is probably -never- going to move out
  • Lots and lots of scars, including a large one on my face

I could've let anyone of these things influence my life negatively and turned me into a victim, or destroy my outlook on life, or my satisfaction with my life, or make me permanently unhappy. Instead, I chose to see these things as something that happened that I enjoy life -despite- of. I choose to enjoy my life. I choose to live my life as I want. I choose to not let these things hold me back from being happy.

What I've realized is that different people see my life in different ways. Some people see it as filled with chaos. Some people see it cursed with struggle and strife. Some people see it as bad luck. Some people see it as the life of a survivor.

The thing is, these could all be true. But I don't see it as any of those things.

I see my life is comfortable, happy, and even peaceful, despite the things that happened to me in my life. Because that's the life I want and that's the life I strive for. I see my life as me living life the way I want to live it.

Yes these other things happened or are a part of life in some way, but I don't want them to define my life. They're just a part of my life, not the whole.

I define my life by what I like about my life. I -like- that my sister and I are close. I -like- that I own my home and have made it -my- home... that I finished high school and put myself thru 3 years of college... that I have a couple of close, trusted friends... that I stumbled across love... that I enjoy all four of my jobs as well as running my own business. I love that I live my life -MY- way, on my terms.

I don't know who taught me to live my life that way, or if anyone taught me at all, but I'm grateful for it.

I'm not even really sure why I wrote this post other than I needed a place to express that gratitude, and possibly encourage others to stay strong and live the life they long for.

So anyway, now I'm curious...

Do you think that you see and perceive your life differently than how others would see it?

Do you -enjoy- your life? How / Why? / In what ways?
[Image: Signature500.jpg][Image: Signature502.jpg]
#2
I definitely think that how I perceive myself is different than how others who dont know me might perceive me and my life. Even by people who know me, I often feel misunderstood. Thats probably a universal thing. We are all only able to really see things from our own perspectives, no matter the amount of empathy or experience we have gained.

I've been through some hard things in my life, im not really the type to put it all out there like you did though. But everything I've struggled through, has been a learning experience. I come from a long line of hard working people who have faced struggles and managed to carve out a space for themselves, I find inspiration in that. I find inspiration in artists, writers, educators, activists and just strong willed every-day people that came before me. And my family means everything to me. And I've been incredibly lucky to have them and others act as a strong support system for me on top of that. I know thats something many people, gay or straight, don't have. And for that privilege I'm very grateful.

I love my life, I have been lucky to have the opportunity to learn so much from other people. For other people to have shared their experiences, opinions, and perspectives with me. It has informed my view of the world in such amazing and powerful ways. And I feel good about contributing to my community, about being able to study and work in the fields that I feel passionate about, and to be in a position to help empower other people as they make their own paths through life.

Then again, there are things in this life that are stronger than the positive energy that an individual may have. And it is not only our best moments, our strengths, and our positive feelings that we should embrace, focus on, or explore. There are real issues in this world that are extremely troubling, that need more than a change of perspective to overcome. And I dont think that patting ourselves on the back for having overcome our own challenges means that we should ever think that what has worked for us is a one size fits all sort of solution. That all you need to be successful or happy is this, this, or that. I believe that line of thinking is an illusion, and a possibly harmful, and definitely limiting, one at that.
#3
Eh, most people would have a very low opinion of my life. Mainly because of a lack of accomplishment and experience. My life isn't very lived. I hope to change that...but I find it difficult due to mental health issues.

I don't have a great opinion of my life, but I try to stay positive. I have bad days, but getting stuck in a depressive mire isn't really helpful.


I don't really feel like being overly specific.
Maybe another time.
Silly Sarcastic So-and-so
#4
Ok, so... I've been running around for the past few hours getting my shit done and I've had this post on my mind ALL day long.

I think that I owe the readers of this board an apology. I feel like I really overshared in this post, to the point of feeling a bit awkward and uncomfortable about it. I'm really sorry about that, and confess (and apologize as well) that when I logged on here this evening, I was hoping that I could delete it. Of course, that time has long passed but.... yeah.

So I'm very sorry for the over share. I don't know what got into me, and I'm sorry.

That said, I am still curious of others take on the questions at the end of my OP and I hope that my oversharing doesn't make anyone even a fraction of as uncomfortable as it does me.
[Image: Signature500.jpg][Image: Signature502.jpg]
#5
TwisttheLeaf Wrote:Ok, so... I've been running around all day getting my shit done and I've had this post on my mind ALL day long.

I think that I owe the readers of this board an apology. I feel like I really overshared in this post, to the point of feeling a bit awkward and uncomfortable about it. I'm really sorry about that, and confess (and apologize as well) that when I logged on here this evening, I was hoping that I could delete it. Of course, that time has long passed but.... yeah.

So I'm very sorry for the over share. I don't know what got into me, and I'm sorry.

That said, I am still curious of others take on the questions at the end of my OP and I hope that my oversharing doesn't make anyone even a fraction of as uncomfortable as it does me.

Babe, you don't have anything to apologize for.

Your life has been rough, and though I know the sharing makes you extremely uncomfortable...that you -can- and did share it takes alot of courage and alot of strength. It means that you've grown enough, healed enough to speak of these things, yeah?

I'm so very proud of you, babyboy, for all the obstacles you've had to overcome, for all the pain and suffering, for all that you've lived through and become stronger because of....because you're beautiful and you're mine...I'm proud of you, man.
[Image: gid02a.jpg][Image: gid02b.jpg]
#6
TwisttheLeaf Wrote:So I'm very sorry for the over share. I don't know what got into me, and I'm sorry.

That said, I am still curious of others take on the questions at the end of my OP and I hope that my oversharing doesn't make anyone even a fraction of as uncomfortable as it does me.


It's what you were feeling you needed to do at the time you were writing it. I know how helpful it can feel to verbalize things, to put it out as a way of organizing your thoughts. Or to give context, to be understood.

What I said about me not being the type wasn't meant to be any judgement on you for sharing. Maybe what you said will make a connection for someone, even if they don't reply or share it. You shouldn't feel so uncomfortable about it, especially since you don't let those things hold you back and since you've been able to take them and make yourself a stronger person for it.
#7
i'm interested -- have you thought about going back to college, [MENTION=20738]TwisttheLeaf[/MENTION]?

i dropped out of college too, although it happened gradually and was for a different reason. i do want to finish my studies, but i just don't know if i have it in me anymore. i studied architecture and i let it slip away. i've thought about going back a lot. do you ever think about going back to finish your studies?
''Do I look civilized to you?''
#8
meridannight Wrote:i'm interested -- have you thought about going back to college, [MENTION=20738]TwisttheLeaf[/MENTION]?

i dropped out of college too, although it happened gradually and was for a different reason. i do want to finish my studies, but i just don't know if i have it in me anymore. i studied architecture and i let it slip away. i've thought about going back a lot. do you ever think about going back to finish your studies?

Hey man. I was going for degrees in Botany and Horticulture. When I have been able to spare the cash and time for classes, I've continued taking classes working toward that goal, but it's slow going.

I have considered going back full time, but I don't have the time or the money to contribute to it more than on an off-and-on basis at the moment.

But yes... because it's one of my strongest passions, I'm sure I will end up earning my degrees eventually, and probably even moving further along in my education in those areas.
[Image: Signature500.jpg][Image: Signature502.jpg]
#9
Definitely.

I was raised with some hardships of my own, but to me that was just life as I didn't have a basis of comparison, and therefore shrugged over it (of course I could get upset at times or lash out, but those were just moments). And many kids shunned me (many of whom I suspect were encouraged by their parents to do so as they knew how crazy my parents were), and I found it easiest to relate to kids with a similar background. And just as those of a different background pushed me away, we tended to do the same to them because of mutual misunderstandings that could've been avoided had we not made assumptions about each other based on our point of views that had been shaped by our experiences.

I've been a homeless runaway, and that's just one of the things that will shock people if I share it. But while I was on the streets, I met those who had it much worse than me, who had endured horrendous physical and sexual abuse, and it was too easy to experience more on the streets, that while others feel shocked and horrified by my experiences, I feel lucky (for the most part). I was aware I had problems and challenges, but I saw many others had it even worse. And since I didn't get to know that many who had it better, I felt lucky in comparison.

I often don't even talk about those things anymore, which can make me quiet, and raise questions (for example, as I was a homeless runaway who came of age on the streets, I never attended school dances or the prom, and I also got a GED instead of a high school diploma) because to me it's not a big deal, but it is to others.

And my current partner visited my extended family once and is afraid of them. I'm not. Sure, they have guns everywhere (it's a rural farm, they're more for varmints and hunting), and they have tempers (and I've gotten into physical melees with a few of them, even as an adult), but I'm not scared of any of them shooting me down, not even by accident. Heck, me and my older male cousin used to get into all kinds of scraps as kids and we're close today (though we rarely interact due to distance and that he's not on the internet). But they scare others when I just shrug.

That said, there are moments I have where I get depressed, but it never lasts long. One reason for that is when I do, I make myself vividly recall being a kid on the streets and what that was like for me, and I soon feel better about everything I have now.
#10
adversity builds character and rather than dwell on how life is so unfair, become stronger. I doubt many of us had the "simple" life. we're still here and still kicking it! and not being dejected.


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