Last night I had a long conversation with a friend whose life was plagued with drama. The high-school style drama of silly and pointless fights. Her ex-boyfriend, living back home is clearly too reactive and over-emotional. They fought constantly. Now she is about to go home, and worried about how to approach him.
I have learned Tai Chi from two people here in Taiwan. First, my kung fu master, who emphasizes the martial uses of Tai Chi. He uses it as a building block for more forceful forms of kung fu and marital arts. My second teacher is my friend Allison, who has taught me a far less martial form of Tai Chi.
打太極拳 means to do Tai Chi, but in Taiwan, it has the metaphorical meaning of shifting responsibilities onto someone else. To stretch the metaphor, but change the object, I am learning a Tai Chi style of shifting away drama and attacking the issues I really should care about.
I realized that Allison taught me something that is sadly very difficult for me, avoiding drama. First, this is not to say my life has been filled with drama. However, I think for someone who is as passionate about development as I am, I have wasted far too much time and effort on conversations and people that only end in miscommunication and mistreatment. Most of these conversations did not help anything more than time or avoidance would. If someone says something insulting, you are not swallowing your pride by ignoring it, you are simply not connecting your pride to your vanity.
I do see room for self-evaluation towards criticism, but most drama is from very small things. If you are maintaining an assortment of good friendships with an assortment of good people, then one person who constantly faults you is probably the problem.
My desire to be liked and respected has driven me for a long time. It arguably created my desire to be a politician, yet, in a politician, this same desire automatically makes me not want to vote for them. In retrospect, I am confident that my distaste for this behavior comes from its vanity.
I think my short(er), blond, American teacher taught me to push away the need to live in a black and white world of right or wrong in terms of pride and respect. It has allowed me to push away the elements of myself and others that create unnecessary fighting. I want to save that force for my metaphorical pen and my literal keyboard.
Last thing, I have a lot of trouble reading my past entries. I plan on starting a serious blog about China and law sometime in the next year. I constantly debate whether or not I should put it under the same profile as this blog (thus linking them together). I have always had a habit of hiding away my past in shame. Yet, I think I will keep the blogs together.
Sadly, I am going to take another lesson from Dallas Mavericks' owner Marc Cuban. I respect the man for what he has done. I like the man for his basketball team (the Mavericks should be considered one of the best packaged teams in American professional sports, and he should be considered the source of that). One thing I have noticed, his entries are painfully human. He writes things far to similar to things that I have written, looked back at, and shaken my head at. Although, he has already fought his biggest battles, and I have not even picked up a weapon, I respect that he shows his humanity and his, well, dorkiness. I hope I can carry that same confidence.