Society & Culture

Life Story: The Tao of Submissive Rebellion


I was born in the 20th century and I came of age during a time when it was fashionable to proclaim my freedom from categorical boxes. I surfed waves of rage and frustration on a fiery board of indignation at the slightest hint that I was comparable to Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

I classified the majority of humanity as stupid, small minded and inferior for creating the boxes I felt trapped in and for making me feel alien to this planet, space and time. I felt that I had been born in the wrong century and definitely in the wrong place and I wept before ancient artifacts at the MET wondering why I had been cursed with the burdens of contemporary life and ethics that I felt were perverse and foreign.

I simply wanted to go home but I never knew where that was so I romanticized dead souls, dust and ruins. I cultivated friendships with other miserable necrophiliacs too, all of us bound by the notion that feeling wrong together would somehow make us feel right. This technique worked quite well until I was asked a simple question by a friend about the significance of the ancient Egyptian Goddess Ma’at, the goddess of truth, balance, justice and righteousness.

As I rattled on and on about ancient Egyptian symbolism and cosmology, it dawned on me that I was way off balance and my perspective on life was untrue, unjust and distorted in many ways. I came face to face with the contract of suffering I had unwittingly signed in my own blood and I was shocked, delighted and horrified all at once. I was shocked because the answer was always there, I was delighted that I finally felt peace and I was horrified because it meant I had to void damn near every belief I had constructed and/or co-signed to.

I had to face the fact that the majority of my life was spent looking back or ahead, neither of which are absolute facts to anyone at anytime as new discoveries and information always shift our image of the past and expand our vision of the future. I realized I was imprisoned by my own vain imaginings upon my agreement that I had been imprisoned.

So, I embarked on the dark task of completely destroying my life. I left my home, my fiancé, the necrophiliacs, tossed out my ENTIRE wardrobe and began the painstaking task of sifting through all of my beliefs that implied I was a victim or disempowered in any, way, shape or form. I began taking responsibility for all of my choices (“good” and “bad”) and forgiving all the perceived transgressions of others by identifying how my actions or lack thereof led to inauspicious outcomes. I began to see the world and its multitude of boxes without fear or intimidation but as a grand checklist of possibilities.

I also stopped faulting others for making associations. I mean, I didn’t know cucumbers, eggplants, peppers or olives were fruits for most of my life because of the association game. Was I so wrong for making the assumption that they are vegetables? Sure, I could have researched the subject but I didn’t think about it. I just consumed them without questioning their essential nature. The analogy is clear.

I am not excusing ignorance, I think people should absolutely get to know each other better before they pass judgement but for whatever reason they often don’t. It is often much easier to make immediate connections based on superficial data. The Tao of submissive rebellion is simply to accept that and move on.

I no longer fight with others about what box they decide to check next to my picture because there is most likely some aspect of my personality that would make their judgement correct. If they are mistaken than I ask myself if their error is important in the grander scheme of my life. Since living the Tao of submissive rebellion, I have never affirmed that it is and it has been many drama-free years now. Nor do I feel if someone doesn’t want to be cool with me based on their assumptions that “It’s their loss because I’m awesome.”

I know I’m awesome but I don’t believe they lost anything. They are simply not meant to be in my life and they are not meant to be in mine. Period. The faster one knows who is operating on a compatible frequency and who is not, the better. From that honest assessment than we can go on or move on and either way its all good!

It’s gorgeous that a simple question led me here and I am filled with gratitude. It’s ironic that it is my place in this space and time that gives me the privilege to consider any of this. The same place, space and time I used to bitch about incessantly. It’s good to finally find home not inside or outside any boxes but simply on the square.


Tayannah McQuillar is a writer and the founder of Demimonde Public Relations. @DemimondePR


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