Look at me. I’m all holy and shit. Instead of masturbating at night, I rub my Buddhist prayer beads and silently chant “Omituofo” in my head. As if that’s somehow going to rub me more pure. This religion stuff is seriously making me feel a bit crazy. And not even in a bad way. Or a good way. It’s just… way. Like, totally tubular! No way! Way! Crazy. I don’t know.
I was a bad Catholic. I mean, I’m not particularly Catholic and lets face it. I never was… When mom forced me to go to church as a kid, I would sing the hymns loudly. Only instead of singing the words in the book, if I was feeling particularly ornery, I would sing the words on the plaques against the wall instead.
In dedication to… blahblahblah. In memory of…!
When she asked me to pray the rosary (or whatever you call the ritual) with her, I begrudgingly obliged. The rosary is friggen LONG. Each bead represents one Hail Mary or Our Father or I don’t even know. I would rush through my prayers and talk like one of those speedy infomercial guys that would read through all the disclaimers.
I don’t know about you, but that’s way more effort than saying “Omituofo!” for every bead I rub.
I like the word rub. But every time I type it it’s making me feel a little bit hornier. Rub. Rub. Rub-a-dub-dub. I’m a genie in a bottle, baby. Gotta rub me the right way, honey. Actually, rub-a-dub-dub makes me think of Bert and Ernie. Way to go word association and wandering minds mixed with stream of consciousness writing! But I bet Bert and Ernie were gay, weren’t they? That’s some nice rub-a-dub-dub action. Showers are immaculate. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Wink, wink.
I used to live with a gay couple. I’d hear them having sex sometimes and then I’d smile like Amelie and think about how many other people were getting it on and having orgasms at this exact moment. I like it when I hear other people having sex. Like in hotel rooms on the other side of a very thin wall. It makes me smile and laugh and maybe even rub myself. Ha. This entry is pretty much filth and I love it. I could use a little more filth in my life. All this purity shit is making feel unbalanced. Instability in too much stability. Something like that.
Before I came here, I vowed I’d be completely celibate. As in, no masturbation. You know how celibate (as in, no dick in vagina) I’ve been? Long enough for me to go crazy. But not as long as one of my exes (five years!!), who is waiting for that special someone and super picky and trying to woo a super Christian Nepali girl who doesn’t want to have sex until she gets married. I only mention she’s Nepali because I don’t think many Nepalese are Christian. Way to go, proselytizing Christians! That’s +1 for the Christ team!
Anyway, good luck with that, buddy. We still talk online, sometimes, and it’s this weird relationship of whose “breasts looked so hot I wanna suck them” and “you don’t even have a chance with him/her!” and fuck no I’m not giving you a second chance, don’t even think about it. We talk about stupid shit a lot.
I guess I’m super picky too, but I don’t want to wait. As in, I don’t want to wait for Romeo or Knight in Shining Armour dude or whatever ridiculous fairy tale I’m supposed to buy into. I ain’t no damsel here! I’m living my own life. I don’t want to wait to have sex, either. I’m trying to transcend. Except, I’m not even sure of what. Dicks in vaginas? Masturbation? Romance? Relationships? Love? Sex? Desire?
They feed me desire. Desire is the cause of all suffering. Second Noble Truth. I guess that’s true. Sure. But why can’t I have desire? What’s so wrong about suffering? Sometimes I enjoy it. Men are worth a little suffering. I want to shake the boat a little. The waters are too calm. I need some drama in my life. That’s what I think. But there’s a part of me that also thinks I want to transcend all this drama. That I don’t need any one and that relationships are futile and full of suffering and why even bother?
How do I merge my two extremes? Converge them into something healthy. How can I be so sexual and yet so born-again virgin? I don’t even get myself sometimes.
Why am I single? Well, there’s the fact that I live in a monastery which is kind of inappropriate for macking (not that I know how to appropriately “mack”). And there’s also the fact that I left a five year long relationship that defined my early 20s and I’m maybe too tired, afraid, or unable to see how going through all that bullshit is worth it again. It’s been almost two years since I broke up with my last boyfriend. He had just flown back to the US after a work trip to Romania and had been awake for 36 hours straight. Imagine the exhaustion and finally coming home to your girlfriend who gives you the cold shoulder when talking about his experiences to his immediate family gathered in the kitchen table; girlfriend silently walking out of the room. Imagine finally getting time alone together when girlfriend suddenly yells “I can’t take this anymore! I want out! I want to BREAK UP!!!” and starts crying in an uncontrollable mess. How would you handle that?
While that probably wasn’t the most compassionate way to break-up, that’s what I did. Whoops. Better luck next time. I tried to take it back. I tried to explain I was only crying wolf, that I just wanted to fix our relationship and make it better. But how do you fix something after an emotional trauma like that? I should have known better than to interrogate his deprived senses and yell at him like I did. Looking back, I see how completely immature and selfish I was.
I didn’t like my life and I knew it had to change. I didn’t like myself. I wasn’t strong. I was self-depreciating. Self-destructive. And ultimately self-centered. I was in a rut; spiritually, emotionally and mentally and knew that there has to be something more than this. I was operating out of the basis of fear and I knew that I wanted to operate on the basis of love. So, I changed.
We both wanted change, but I was convinced that change had to happen on our own separate paths. It’s too hard balancing a relationship, participating, when your goals transcend the relationship. Nearly two years later, I am still trying to transcend. It’s been a spiritual journey from the moment I “cried wolf”. It’s lead me half-way across the world, from North America, to Asia (when I asked myself “What the hell should I do next!?” in a crying stupor, intuition told me to move to the Philippines, where I was born). And through an unplanned form of events, its lead me to a four-month long Zen monastery retreat.
One of my friends at the retreat has a shirt with nuns standing side by side and “All the Single Ladies” captioned underneath. It’s funny. And it’s maybe not entirely untrue with my life at the moment. When I say “transcend” I mean transcending the life of impermanence and illusion that we are all living. Suddenly, relationships aren’t even on my plane of existence and I could seemingly care less, except that I do. I still do. Something in me still wants to believe in that healthy communion between man and woman, or woman and woman, or even man to man. Something in me still wants to believe that life, suffering and men are worth it. I don’t want to become a nun, I’m ready for another round. I want to face my fears and be vulnerable again. I want to bring my walls down, my fucking fortresses. But see. I don’t exactly need sex or love to break them down, I just need to interact more with people. Learn how to love fully and break out of my shell.
I’m telling myself I’m having an Eat, Pray, Love adventure, but I’m still at “pray”. I’m a monogamous girl. I’m either in a relationship, or I’m not. There’s no stage of in between with me because I hate dating, and flings, ultimately aren’t fulfilling. Emotionally, I know I’m ready for another relationship but I may not be in the right location for one. A life of impermanence, made obvious by a travel lifestyle, isn’t exactly the best way to start relationships, but ex-pats, and fellow travelers seem tempting… At this point, I’m still commitmentphobic, but I think I can revise my idea of “friends with benefits” as OK and even healthy. How’s that for transcendence?
[ enjoy this aural backdrop for your reading pleasure. or not. ]
Seriously. What the hell do you DO with a philosophy degree!? I love philosophy. And some days I dream about going back to school and majoring in some random subject that has absolutely no pertinence to my “field” (as if my funemployed ass has a field… but if it did it would be arts/design) like Anthropology! Or Philosophy! Or maybe even Psychology! Something holds me back, though. For one thing, student loans are a big pain in my ass and I don’t want to go through that again. Something’s gotta be REALLY good to sacrifice my time and money (debt) on and there’s this thing in the West called Being Practical that rears its ugly head on my (highly Western) rational mind.
Common Western thought thinks for anything regarding learning to have any value at all, it has to be applicable to your career. Career building! What can you get out of the course, the workshop, the conference? How can this help you as a professional? This is how we get ahead in life, in society, in our social ladder. This is how we build Egos and a sense of self. The whole thing kind of makes me sick because I hate the so-called “rat race” yet here I am, still bound by conventional thinking when I think in “practical” terms and hesitate taking college classes for the sheer notion of being genuinely interested in it, regardless of the fact that it has nothing to do with my “career”.
Despite my resistance to the “status-quo”, I still have constructs built by conventional society! On one hand, being practical is a valid concern when paying for courses which may not pay back, in the long run. The good thing about learning things applicable to your career is that you can consider it an investment in your work/business/etc. that will have practical benefits that should ultimately help you pay back the load. Taking a course or deciding to major in something that may not have monetary value in terms of your career is like having to pay for something recreational, with no guarantee that you’ll be able to pay it back. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to spend anything over $1,000 for recreation. Just thinking about my Macbook Pro, which technically was supposed to be this career-building Potential(!) but ultimately just an excuse to buy a really good computer, is hard enough.
The practical antidote to this problem is to simply forgo conventional (brick and mortar) education and start hitting the books yourself. Who says classroom lectures, essays and collecting fancy pieces of paper with the seal of approval that you graduated have to be the only way to learn a subject you’re passionate about? As children, we are guided through school and life by teachers, parents, pastors and other authority figures. This is needed in our mental and emotional growth in order to shape us into healthy, contributing citizens, but as adults, we can be our own authority figures. Learning a subject on your own time shows you’re a self-starter, diligent, and passionate about your topic. It’s also a lot easier on your wallet.
What good is a major in philosophy, other than the self-important prestige of knowing you’re technically more educated? College often seems like an Ego’s food for thought; stroking the intellect’s mindgasm. The proverbial pat on the back that no one really cares about except for yourself. That self-centered sense of entitlement to add on your resume. These do nothing compared to life experience.
What the hell do you do with a philosophy major, really? How does that translate into the work field? For something which has no guarantee for job relevancy, you might as well skip academia and do-it-yourself DIY style. Going against convention might mean skipping the university and opting for an alternative.
My alternative came in the form of Eros, or lover. For me, a lot of my philosophy “intro” had to do in large part by a cohabiting relationship. Existentialism was the main course. Through him, I learned all about Sarte and Camus and their friendship and fall. I learned about Sarte’s relationship with Simone de Beauvoir and her groundbreaking book for Feminism, The Second Sex. I learned about Sisyphus and his rock and that life is absurd. I learned that everything is meaningless and that existence comes before essence. Through this modern standpoint, we would offshoot into postmodernism and simulacra. He showed me such films like Waking Life, an animated dream within a dream existentialist trip, and classics that delved into Life and Death like The Seventh Seal. We laughed the loudest in the indie theater while viewing I Heart Huckabees for the first time, and made out to the aural ambiance of Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance. He encouraged me to read Camus’ The Fall, and The Stranger and Dostoevsky’s Notes From the Underground; some of which have now become my favorite books. I like Existentialism like I like Buddhism. Free-will and master of our own destinies! What a big, but empowering burden to impart. The philosophy works as an “intro”, but for me, that’s as far as it goes.
Hardcore Existentialists, like my boyfriend at the time who believed himself to be Sisyphus, are just too myopic in scale to make me a believer in Existentialism as a proper framework for living my life. For one, the philosophy is modern–a baby in the timeline of human thinking born from a culture of war–that it fails to provide a broader scope of reasoning. To put it in laymen terms, existentialists are annoying, whiny and fucking sticks in the mud! All this talk about Absurdity! Despair! Meaninglessness! Abandonment! It’s enough to make a girl feel incredibly alienated and Alone. Especially when placed with a boyfriend who focused on meaninglessness, detachment and alienation (the desert wanderer). I had had enough and while I am grateful for my philosophical education, shall we say, I’m glad I’ve graduated from that particular school of life. As my friend, and Philo major says regarding Existentialism, “It’s a fun run!”
I’m a thinker by nature, so philosophy is right up my alley. I love critical and creative thinking* and feel that these tools give you the basic life arsenal to live a meaningful life and carve out your own path. As Plato said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
*This was a course I actually did take in college, which was philosophy, particularly Kant (if you want to know Stick in the Mud then fucking go read Kant and then go fuck a cunt; you’ll feel better) and Nietzsche, in disguise. I got an A.
Detachment. Detachment. Detachment. I’m naturally detached. It’s not just because of this Zen retreat. I think part of it has to do with not feeling like I’m a part of my environment because it’s hard for me to interact sometimes. Half the time, I’m a spectator; an observer on the sidelines. That’s not to say that I don’t participate and live my life to its fullest, or is it? Maybe I don’t but, I’m trying my best. Halfway around the world is a good start, right? Even so, detachment has come easy for me. I’m a naturally quiet person. I reflect and think before I say things, often erroring on thinking too much.
Sometimes, conflicts arise in our group. People stress out. People bicker. And that’s natural. Often times, the loudest people with the most to say are also the ones with the biggest egos.
If you take a step back and look outside of the situation–any situation–it starts to become funny. Life is silly and frivolous. It’s like how I sometimes laugh in sad parts of movies. It’s just a movie. I’m just an observer. I’m not in the situation and knowing that ceases to captivate me. Sometimes, the only thing I can do is laugh.
Don’t take things so seriously. Life isn’t serious. Learn to laugh a little, or a lot! This is how I stay youthful.
I’m rarely in the eye of the storm. I’m always on the edge; the outside looking in. Most of the time, I feel I’m going through life out-of-place. I don’t fit in. I never belong. It’s hard for me to engage in groups. I always feel different even when faced with a group of people who feel different. I have no anchor. I have no home.
This is how I naturally detach.
Before you pin me as some sad case who needs a shrink, I can tell you that I’ve learned to accept this frame of mind. I’m not sad by it, and I’m the happiest that I’ve ever been. I’ve learned to appreciate and be grateful for my natural detachment. This helps me live a life with less disappointments because I’m able to let things go. And before you pin me for someone cold or callous, I’m not that either. In my own dramas–usually pertaining to romantic relationships–I have been full of attachment, of the unhealthy kind. I’m still trying to figure that one out… I’m not immune to the emotional turbulence that relationships may foster, and it becomes hard to detach.
Too much detachment can be just as bad. We’re humans in a human world. It’s healthy to experience human things using our human senses. Detaching and transcending the senses by living a life of ascetics can be too extreme. In daily life, detachment can hurt when you disassociate too much from your problems or environment causing conflicts with your peers or coworkers. When I feel stressed, I can detach from the feeling of being stressed, but this often leads me to procrastination and not finishing projects. Being too detached has caused me to be fired from a job (too much internet surfing and dreaming of traveling and escaping the nine to five; one of the best things that’s happened to me), as well as risk living life too much on the sidelines and not being open to new relationships (I’m still a commitmentphobe as far as I know).
That middle path, striking the balance from attachment and detachment is always tricky, but it’s learning to live in these balances that I strive to achieve.
I like the term “vege” because it reminds me of vag, which makes me snicker like a school girl, ’cause I’m immature like that. And vaginas are a pretty great thing, I think.
So yeah. I used to date a vegan. He was tall and skinny. No, lanky. Your typical vegan build. 6’2″ to my 5’1″. He had a long neck and reminded me of a giraffe, but he was hot. Maybe not in the conventional sense, but I’ve never been one for convention. He was an emo kid and I was a little scenester. Two indie poseurs in Portland, Oregon. He was the only person I’ve dated that’s not a musician, but with his collection of vinyls and compact discs (remember those?) ranging over 10,000, it was practically the same thing, and maybe even more annoying. He gave me a Saves the Day LP once, and played Black Heart Procession and Botch on our car rides together, just to prove that he could be sweet and manly. Or something like that. I played Jessie and My Whetstone over and over again. It reminded me of our relationship.
One night, we watched “Dancer in the Dark” in his room sharing a futon. And by watch I mean made out. The whole time. Best movie ever. No, really. We both love Bjork.
We were eachothers NCMOs. That’s what the Mormons call Non-Committal Make-Outs for people who don’t want to fuck around. I’m not Mormon but I’m a little bit Puritan like that. Whatever. Whatever works. I was 19 and still a virgin and not about to give it up to just anyone.
We went to vegan cafes together, and we’d buy vegan Oreos (the generic brand) and then dip them into a glass of soy milk. He’d make me vegan smoothies and share vegan ice cream. Pint sized with one spoon. Then we’d play tennis together and he’d beat me every time but I loved the challenge. He took me to this abandoned barge in the middle of the city during nighttime. It was a little bit mysterious and a little bit creepy and maybe some parts romantic, too. Then he took me to Mt. Tabor. The kind of spot where Jimmy Bob and Sally Sue go to watch the moonlight and the stars and make-out. Every city should have a spot like that. For the romantics.
As all things of impermanence go, I cried when it ended. He was maybe the funnest “relationship” I’ve ever had. He told me the thought of making out with me when I could have meat stuck to my teeth or milk down my throat just grossed him out. I don’t even drink milk, and so that hurt. Silly and laughable now, but I vowed never to date a vegan again.
* * *
Flash forward 7 years. Four months strong and I’m still a vegetarian. The food is perfect, and I’m realizing, I could do this. Really do this. I’ve always been a bit curious of the vegetarian lifestyle. I dated a vegan, after all. When things ended, it didn’t stop my curiosity to read vegan propaganda like John Robbin’s Diet for a New America and other literature about the foods we eat and the choices we make. I read Fast Food Nation and watched Supersize Me. I’ve been interested in the topic of food production for awhile. I even read through Skinny Bitch at Powell’s book store once and felt the oppression of two skinny bitches telling me I needed to shove carrots down my throat (wink) to lose weight.
Heart shaped dumpling! <3
Being vegetarian doesn’t make me skinny, but it doesn’t make me fat either. I’ve experimented with vegetarianism before, but never consistently, and often, with fish so that pretty much cancels out the vegetarian part. When my friends back in the states had a “bring your own meat” barbecue, I brought a boca (soy) burger instead, because that seemed more yummy. Maybe I’m naturally inclined towards vegetarianism. Who knows.
The Philippines is a meat-heavy culture. I’m sugar coated at the temple where they feed delicious (to me) vegetarian meals three times a day. Who knew that I would start my vegetarianism in the Philippines of all places? If I can do it here (the real test will be outside, after the temple stay), I can do it anywhere.
It goes without saying that I’m against the meat industry. It’s a pretty disgusting thing to think about once you read about it. The hormones and chemicals and commodifying living things like they were mere objects. But it’s also a pretty easy thing to ignore when you see packaged meat at your local grocery store, or bight into a big, juicy hamburger. There’s a disconnect there that people don’t think about and I’m just as guilty as anyone else. I still miss that burger, sometimes.
Buddhism taught me how not to ignore. We’ve learned the illusory nature of the table. The table as a sum of all its parts. The wood. The tree to make the wood. The people to cut it down. The machinery. The roots. The ground. The Earth. We learned about “causes and conditions”. To take into consideration all of the elements to make the desk a desk, or the food on your plate available. The people it took to cut the vegetables and cook the meal. The transportation it took to get to the market. The garden it took to yield crop. And the farmers it took to grow them. We learned to be mindful.
Suddenly, that perfectly packaged meat isn’t so perfect anymore. When you look with new eyes–with eyes of awareness and mindfulness–you can’t ignore the process.
Sure, I believe animals are a natural part of the food cycle like the best of us. Animals eat animals. They’ve had to suffer in the wild where its survival of the fittest. What makes the killing for food from a human’s hands any different? This is the thought that propelled me to continue eating meat after all the books I read.
But then, there’s mass production. The mechanization. Human’s being wasteful. The energy it takes for consumption. The amount of grain needed to feed the cows to feed the people when the grain could be used to make bread or to feed the poor. The excess. Always so much excess.
There’s all kinds of things I no longer want to be a part of. And when I see meat in the market or on the plate, it’s not just meat anymore. It’s all these things. When you take into account the process the “natural” food cycle or food chain just isn’t natural anymore. Humans have warped the process and take more than they give. Consumption drives production and while one more vegetarian may not be much, it’s something. That’s a something I want to be a part of.
“Be the change.” – Gandhi
What Gandhi said is so simple, but it’s one of the things I try to keep mindful of everyday when trying to make conscious decisions. What kind of world do I want to live in? What kind of person do I have to be to make that world possible? Being vegetarian is a choice of compassion. My conscious decision to go vege (snicker) is a direct result of the compassion that I have begun to cultivate, not just during this monastery retreat, but before that too. It’s the baby steps, the causes and conditions that have lead me here. The conscious decision to stop living my life on automaton and really start living my life. It’s the little things–the day-to-day things–that help change the world. It really is that simple.
Sample of our vegetarian meals
I hate PETA and the shock value advertising tactics they use to get people interested in their cause. You’ll never see me picketing for animal rights or berating you for your food choices. I’m not against meat-eaters, but I’m against the ways we make our food and the systems that we’ve created and grown to become so dependent upon. It’s bigger than just meat and animals rights. It’s human rights too. It’s environmental rights. It’s oil. It’s our economy. It’s the homogenization of food crop and the genetically modified plants like Monsanto. It’s globalization. It’s everything. Taking the steps towards vegetarianism might not be much, and it won’t tackle this everything but it’s something. It’s a passive activism that I can get behind. And it’s learning how to live more consciously. Growing your own food. Buying local. Participating in a community garden share. Those are all something.
And so, I vowed never to date a vegan again but now I’m vowing never to eat meat… The changes in my lifetime are hard to believe sometimes, even to me. Especially to me. It’s a trip. Trippy. But, it’s also a journey. Maybe I’ll date a vegan again. Or at least know one person (my vegan NCMO) I can screw in New York. Maybe I’m not so puritanical, after all, but who knows. It’s been way too long to tell and that’s another story…
“You’re the cutest little Buddhist!” That’s what my friend says to me from back home. We haven’t really talked religion much. She’s one of those agnostics/atheist breeds that I once thought I was. And I was. Once. Now? I’m not so sure. It’s interesting though. The fact that I wear robes to the meditation shrine and chant every morning, bowing three times to the Buddha. The fact that I study Buddhism deeper than I have ever studied it despite my interest in highschool and college. The question naturally comes. “Are you a Buddhist?” Does bowing 3 times to the Buddha, chanting omitofou on my prayer beads, going to a Zen retreat make me a Buddhist? The short answer is no. Those things don’t make anyone a practitioner of a certain religion. Buddhism can coexist well with other religions so long as there are open-minded people. If you’re Christian, learning more about Buddhism doesn’t negate your Christian views as long as you’re comfortable in your own religion. Learning about other religions can help you learn more about yourself and secure your own views, regardless of what they may be. But, ah! I have dodged this enough. Am I a Buddhist?
Maybe, Maybe Not
This is a rip off of my favorite Zen koan, but it has nothing to do with the story itself. Perhaps I am a Buddhist. The question of labeling my beliefs always leaves me a bit dodgy, because I believe that my beliefs are outside the box of any religion. Bowing to the Buddha, using prayer beads to chant, meditation… All those things are form. This is where religion lies. Cultural; differing from region to region. Man-made. Described and influenced by language. Doctrines. Dogmas. Sets of rules and moral code. That’s form.
Beyond form is spirituality. Your beliefs; metaphysical, mystical, indescribable, intangible. Where language becomes inefficient. I like to consider myself “spiritual but not religious”. I don’t like religion and the shackles that come from it. I’m interested in seeing each others similarities, not differences. I’m interested in cultivating compassion. Not because it’s a Buddhist thing to do. I don’t like slapping a religion to a revolution, a calling, a greater cause, or simply, a journey. I don’t like “propagating Dharma” because the teachings, the “answers”, that’s just life. We arrive at them in our own time, and in our own ways.
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. – George Harrison
Maybe I’m a little bit Buddhist. My structural worldview certainly relies on Eastern thought. Buddhism and Taoism are two integrating themes that I borrow in my own philosophies. But that’s just it. Buddhism is a philosophy for me, not a religion. Take away the prayer beads, the shrines, the bowing in front of statues. Take away the religious aspects and that’s where I lie.
Form cannot make you anything your mind doesn’t believe you to be. Religious rituals become empty if your heart and mind don’t align.
The term “freelance Buddhist” was mentioned via another student at the Zen retreat. She said she would continue to practice Buddhist teachings in her own ways in her own life but not be bound to a particular church or faith. I like that. That’s me, too. Chinese Ch’an Buddhism (Zen in Japan) is very much ingrained in Chinese culture. On an anthropological level, the monastery retreat has been very interesting and immensely satisfying, but the Chinese culture is much too rigid for my tastes. As a westerner, Buddhism looks completely different. Still, I appreciate China’s contribution to Buddhism, as it spread from India. If not for China and the way they culturally shaped Buddhism, there would be no Zen. That’s something I learned here that was an eye-opening look into Chinese history and its cultural contexts.
If you say that there is no God, that is correct. If you say there is God, that is also correct. This is what I believe. The two are a duality that coexist, like the Buddhist circle, or the Taoist yin-yang. What we call “God” is beyond any human’s conceptual understanding. Between metaphysical realms where language can not explain, even God becomes inefficient.
Am I a Buddhist? Yes. And no. And not quite. It’s not that simple. And me? I’m far too complex.