I was talking yesterday about being able to fit in (which I can to certain degree). And just about societal norms in general and how being the weirdo means that I’m expecing things to be suited to me. The upside to that is that I’m rarely taken by surprise when something terrible happens. I know that always being prepared for the worst-case scenario is probably not the most healthy thing in the world, but it does stop me from being as shattered as other people by things like the pandemic.
Here’s a little secret–the pandemic wasn’t terrible for me. It wasn’t great, mind, but it wasn’t terrible. I’m mostly a solitary person, anyway. The biggeset adjustment was attending Taiji classes online rather than in person. Oh, and since my medical crisis, I only attend one a week rather than three. I do want to start adding them back, but I haven’t been up for it yet.
I will say that I have been expanding my home practice quite a bit. Back when I first started taking classes, I had one a week. I could not make myself practice at home, not for love or money. That’s why I added a second class, to be honest. If I wasn’t going to practice at home, then I could at least make myself go to another class.
I can’t remember if I added the third class first or started practicing at home. I do remember that when I did start a home practice, it was only five minutes of stretches. It was sa weird that while I loved Taiji, I just could not force myself to practice at home.
It’s funny because I really had to make myself do anything related to Taiji in the beginning. It’s partly beacuse I had a horrific first experience with a teacher who was a sexual predator, a creep, and a fraud. That’s a long story that I no longer care to discuss, but it made me wary about my second go at it.
I was a brat, I’ll admit. In the beginning, I mean. I questioned everything my teacher told me, and I wasn’t always polite about it. I was raw and ready for a fight–and she was really patient with me. See, one of the issues I had with my first teacher was that he was full of shit. He had all these really lofty sentiments, but he did not live up to them. Also, he was creep. I can’t overstate this point. He creeped on his students and he was very inappropriate. He gave this big speech about how intuitive he was and how he would not touch people who did not want to be touched. Yeah, right. He touched me without permission, which as a Taiji teacher, I might have tolerated except he had JUST made a big deal about not doing that.
When someone does something that goes against what they explicitly said they were about, that’s a huge red flag. I stayed with him only because I had a good friend at the time who was so into the classes. I should have walked, but I felt protective of this friend. We had bonded over trauma, and I could not in good conscious leave him to the teacher I so clearly saw as a predator.
Until the day that the teacher as we were talking, reached over and flicked my hair behind my shoulder. My whole body recoiled in revulsion, though I kept my face perfectly still. I’m really good at that. Not reacting externally, I mean. The reason I reacted so violently (internally) is because it was so needless. At least with the other times, it was barely excusable because it was with the intent of adjusting my posture during a movement/position. In this case, it was purely something you did to flirt with someone, and it felt so invas-ive.
I walked out of that class and never went back. I found out later that he was not paying taxes on the house he owned because he was claiming it was a church while he rented out rooms to his students. My friend was doing his accounting, and the others were doing various jobs for him.
In addition, he was dating a student. He was in his mid-to-late forties, and she was 27. Not that the ages mattered, but it was really gross. He was just a gross guy in general, and I remember that when he went bonkers for the movie The Matrix. He gushed on and on about how it embodied the soul of Taiji and how it’s important to step out of ‘the matrix’.
I was rolling my eyes as he was talking. Even though I had not seen the movie, I knew the basics of it–and it was hard to believe it was that deep. Also, it was easy for him to say that it was important to be outside society (above it, I think he said) and not get involved with politics and such.
I wanted to punch him in the face. “Politics” is often a code word for social issues that don’t affect me when people like him say it. He was acting like he was above it all, which, again, easy for him as a white straight man.
I found out later that he started dating someone from a Caribbean island and started smuggling drugs into the States fraom said island. It did not surprise me in the least. Also, that ex-friend started teaching his own classes and dating a student in his class. That wasn’t why we stopped being friends, but it certainly did not help. He was following in the footsteps of his mentor/teacher, and I was not here for it.
In addtion, he wasn’t even a good teacher. The mentor, I mean. I was in a basic class, and in the year I studied with him, he did not teach us more than half the Solo Form. He claimed it was because there were new people always starting, but that didn’t make sense. I mean, yes, there were new people starting, but those of us who weren’t new were students, too.
By the way, I finally saw The Matrix many years later. It was a decent action film with hotties, Keanu, Carrie-Anne, and Laurence. At least the eye candy was filling, even if the content was very light. But then at the end of the movie, Keanu dies and Carrie-Anne kisses him to bring him back to life. I stood up in the theater I was in and loudly announced that was bullshit. My then-boyfriend pulled me back down in my seat and murmured at me to hush. Fortunately, there were only like four people in the theater, but I was so indignant.
The whole movie is about being outside the matrix and living an authentic life. It’s about resisting society and breaking all the rules. So what do they do to resolve a plot point? Dredge up the hoariest chestnut of all time and have a kiss be the answer to all the problems.
I was done with that movie, and it just underlined how much of a crock my first Taiji teacher was. No idea how I got here, but I’m done for now.