Musing XIII: Grace Lee Riley, My Better Half

24 Nov 2018

Lately, I've been facing hair-pulling professional obstacles causing my schedule to be littered with all-nighters. I recently had to initiate some restructuring because my standards of excellence weren't being met, despite my company being at a crucial juncture with looming benchmark deadlines. My mentor, a Silicon Valley titan and tech anarchist who first revolutionized the p2p industry as a teenager, told me this: "You can fly Rogue One with no co-pilots." He tends to assign me too much credit, but I can't help but feel further emboldened when a badass genius is my biggest advocate and believes wholeheartedly in my potential.

 

In my initial days post grad school, I would've believed him. But back then, there was a flaw in my operating system. The problem was my own mental OS. It was running on this basic algorithm: "I can do everything. I will hack it myself. I don't want to give anyone else responsibility because he or she won't be able to do it better than me." I realized that that algorithm is inherently faulty. For my entire life, I have been overachieving, overextending, over-performing, and thinking that this would produce the excellence I was seeking. But I have learned to exhibit intellectual humility. I began to believe that the help of others can be advantageous, I started to be dependent when necessary, and ultimately learned to trust. Does this only apply to my professional life? Of course not. I scripted a code of dating supremacy, so that I could always perform at my best but also expected nothing less (equal or more) from my potential partners. If you weren't artificially deserving of my presence, I wouldn't give you a second glance. However, I've found out that that perspective is flawed as well. If there's anything I've learned in my time as "Grace Lee Riley", it's that we all have imperfections varying in poignancy and facets that may seem ugly, subpar or not-so-ideal to those around us. Does that make you any less deserving of the comforts of love and intimacy? Not at all. Perhaps we think that these flaws undermine or reduce our valuations as people. But unless you're simply an evil or malicious person, we mustn't forget that "to err is human".

 

Despite my alpha mentality, I operate naturally as a passionate nurturer. Friends that I have met as "Grace" are all incredibly lovely, kind and generous. Yet some of them (read: some, not all) came to me for reasons rooted in shortcomings -- whether those shortcomings are personality idiosyncrasies not readily accepted by the general population or people who are perfectionists to a literal fault (like myself) that always think the grass is greener on the other side. We are all headcases to some degree, not fully operating at optimal efficiency of our best selves. I've become more sensitive to those imperfections, understanding them so I can be a better listener and provide the customized therapy that you need so that your reality can become a fantasy, if even for a short while. To be human is to be capable of incredible achievement; but to be human is to also be glitchy and inconsistent. In truth, I strive to be more like "Grace". What does that entail? The real me can be hard to work with; she expects and demands perfection, has zero patience for inefficiency, and is unwilling to tolerate mistakes. However, "Grace" is accommodating, patient, shows emotional humility, and is understanding of your defective components. To incorporate more of her is to become a better version of myself and heighten my valuation as a human being. She could be perceived as my better half; she is the half that many of you have fallen in love with. I am truly honored, willing and very capable of being your saving Grace... for a price, of course, since the opportunity cost of my time is extremely high. Sometimes the best things in life are not free ;).

 

 

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