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How I Became Myself — My Nineteenth Story

I want to share my thoughts after my last — the eighteenth — story in these four months with you. This is the story of my twenty three years of life.

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The main challenge, that I faced during the four months of silence, is incredible loneliness. During that time, I went so deeply into myself, that my perception has transformed in relation to a lot of aspects of life. I have never experienced loneliness so much — and, because of my life circumstances, it may not have an end, if I allow this to happen. After I shared my «story of eighteen stories» with you, I could no longer and did not want to restrain myself — the desire to tell about my life story until today has become vital. This is what I wanted to do first of all for myself before I have to leave this world. I love life and want to live for a long time — but when everything is over, this love and desire will come to a natural end. This story is the result of several weeks of daily work, doubts about the publication of each sentence, and honesty in front of myself in the end. Ironically, but right before the publication, my hard disk crashed with all the files, that I had since the fifth of July, 2018 — the beginning of my new life. I lost everything: notes, drawings, photographs, audios, videos. Everything, except the four key photos, which I shared with you in my nineteen life stories. Having gone through the period of the last four months, I know what to do next: I have chosen a creative path, complementing any — even the most difficult — state with my art. — The whole twenty three years long story — here: https://en.vavndorokhin.com/blog/2020/03/09/how_i_became_myself_-_my_nineteenth_story/

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After I shared my first eighteen stories from the beginning of my new life with you, it became easier for me: I felt, that this stage was over and I shared everything, that I wanted to share. When I published the first note on November 14, 2018, I had no idea, how much experience I could get, what situations I would have to face, what conclusions I would be able to form from these situations — and how far my «expectations» will be from my «reality» according to what I wanted to achieve during this time.

It was a unique experience for me: by transforming destructive emotions from psychological pain into fuel for constructive actions, I could sleep on the floor three to four hours a day, eat macaronis once a day, but still visit five places on the same day in different parts of the city and become one step closer to the realization of my goals, working not on someone but on myself. From the very beginning, there was no desire to temporarily visit the United States of America — I just found out about the opportunity on time, accumulated enough funds, and jumped in at the last moment.

I understood it then, and now, I understand it even better — sleeping for three — four hours and eating whatever I had at a moment was wrong. But at that time, I had to choose between one of two things every day — whether I am bending from the pain, that is tearing me inside, or I am working like never before. I made my choice back in August 2018 — and I did not have any regrets from the hard work: after all, I had a huge number of fuel cans; if I would not burn it this way, it would explode inside.

I remember, that four months ago, I was working for a long time on the formulation and writing of the «story of eighteen stories»: for me, it was something like a culmination work of that period of a year in length.
I was sitting and working on it all night, living in the Germantown area in Philadelphia back then — one of the most special areas in the whole city: every day, the sounds of police sirens were mixed with jazz through a saxophone from a neighbor’s house, and if you leave the house, you start to see a combination of the American ghetto — half-broken houses, faded signboards of stalls, broken asphalt, many insane or drug-addicted African-Americans, and bewitching stone churches with their stained glass windows and old cemeteries attached to these churches.
I had four days to live there: my rent was ending, and I had to fly back to Russia the next day after that.

Starting from the age of sixteen, my system of thinking and values ​​became uncommon for people of my age: I began to engage in self-education in a wide variety of disciplines absolutely every day — instead of staying on social networks, I was reading, listening, watching, and analyzing fundamental works on social, religious, and political topics; instead of the want to please and impress, I was studying and practicing the art of communication and debate; instead of searching for ideas like how to «quickly become a rich businessman», I tested a dozen fundamental creative ideas — there were websites, a podcast, and attempts to integrate social ideas into catchy songs. An important — but not the main — impetus to all this was given by the first negative experience with a psychologically unstable girl, the termination of friendship with one person important to me at that time by the one-sided desire because of the false accusation from this girl, — the friendship could not be restored, our paths diverged, although I am glad to learn from time to time, how he is doing — and the multiple increase in attempts to break me psychologically at school: vile bullying, provocations for initiating fights, and several people throwing erasers at me at the same time. Everything — and in one moment. ¡How many external and internal changes were happening to me at that moment — I even can not describe everything! It was very hard.
Some people laughed at me from the first grade in an evil way, even managed to spread a vile rumor about me back then — I do not know, why I did not stop it and did not say, that it was a lie, right away, I really do not know; maybe, because of the fact, that I did not go to a kindergarten, as I was ill incredibly often — and all the conflicts and problems, that occurred at school, were new to me. I simply did not know, what to do in this or that situation — I have not grown up as a conflict person and was raised surrounded by family love and care.
But I remember the turning point in relation to the classmates provoking me — it was the ninth grade, and the teacher once again went somewhere and left us «to ourselves». Within five minutes, the majority of the people divided into two camps — those, who were receiving perverted pleasure due to bullying, and those, who were watching what was happening with interest due to the «let it be anyone, just not me» principle and similar perverse pleasure. I remember at who they were throwing erasers with all their strength once again — at the «black sheep», the «outcast» for such provocateurs. He was bullied with such regularity that I could not stand it — and I was the only one, who unexpectedly stood up for him. I never knew what to expect from provocateurs — and, to be honest, I tried to not to enter into a fight with them: now, within reasonable limits, this is not scary to me — but then, I did not know at all what other meanness they could throw out even in fights. Not only I knew about the latter, but they knew too — and in a minute, all the erases flew at me. I did not throw back the erasers, did not react emotionally — I just stood up at the same moment, packed my things, left the classroom, and went downstairs to the hall to do my things. I did not care either about my classmates or the «school rules». Ten minutes later, another one came — after fifteen minutes, the third and fourth came. The story of bullying me with erases did not end on this — but that moment was a turning one. I realize this even after seven years.
But now, when I see these same classmates, they either bashfully «do not notice me» or want to shake the hands first, already knowing, what is happening in my life: time has put everything in its place, but I do not have any anger or desire to take revenge for those years — I just have a lack of interest in their lives while having interest in my own. I was stronger, than all of them, even then — if not physically, then psychologically.
I studied at the regular Russian general education school № 77 in the city of Samara — two minutes from the flat, where I spent my childhood.

When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher offered me to participate in the «Access Microscholarship Program» — free English classes and studies of English-language culture for children from economically disadvantaged families.
It was winter — and I, a long-haired seventh grader still trying to find myself, made my way through the snowdrifts to find this very school № 133 in Samara, where the «English courses» will be taken.
At first, I did not want to go there at all — well, why should I have another «boring» thing besides the school, when there are computer games in my life? — but my mother correctly convinced me, and this conviction turned out to be fateful for me: I do not know, how my life would have happened, if I had not gone to that school in a snowstorm back then. My mother was doing great in this respect — and not only in this for sure: she was doing my lessons with me till late nights in the first grade, helping me with English at first, and helping me to overcome my teenage laziness with the correct — non-violent ones — methods.
When I passed the test and was enrolled in the program, it became clear for me from the first lesson, that this would be something radically different. ¡Before the first lesson, several girls came up to me and introduced themselves — while I was generally saying nothing to the girls at my district and school except «hi» and «bye»: I was a pretty shy guy back them, but this was not even the main thing — we were from completely different planets with them! After the first lesson, I and these several girls went to the nearest park and were talking there for several hours — after that day, our communication not only with them, but also with a couple of dozens of fantastically awesome boys and girls lasted for several years. It was as if I jumped in another world — a world, that I so lacked in the fifteenth micro-district of my city. The classes themselves did not look like the school ones at all as well — in the most positive meaning of it: the atmosphere was friendly, we practiced English in the most efficient way, and we were studying something new about American and British cultures on every lesson through art — articles, photos, songs, films — and preparation our projects about it.
No wonder, that after a couple of months, I did not care about the asphyxiating environment at school and a group of some classmates looking like a group of jackals — here, I especially want to call things and people by their proper names. Of all the classmates, I continued to fully communicate only with my friend at that time — now, our paths also diverged for objective reasons, but I am still interested in learning about his life, and my desire to see him in Samara did not disappear.
For me, the real school was not the building of «educational institution № 77», but the all-Russian «Access» project and all the people in it — not only from Samara, but also from Kazan and other parts of Russia.
It is funny, but I managed to finish this project «twice». The first time, I have done it in two years — with my group. Teachers did not like my attitude to the classes, and I can understand them: of course, the lessons were also cool, but I had prioritized people back then — I was not spending my time during classes in so funny way anywhere else, like I was doing it with them, and I was waiting for just a few things as much, as I was waiting for our next meetings; in school, except for one friend, I felt, that no one finds me interesting, that no one needs me. It was possible to stop at the «first» finish of the project, — as I have already received a certificate — but then, I realized, that if I stop at this, I will miss something important: my priorities have shifted — now, I had a need for self-development, in realizing myself. And I began to visit the classes again — and began to help teachers in preparing activities and in other moments. I just sincerely wanted to help them — and I thought, that I could learn a lot from them. So, it turned out like this — at first, I was helping in some little things; then, I visited several summer linguistic camps as a trainee; then, I worked in several of them as a counselor — for the last time, this was in the summer of 2019 by a lucky chance. All these situations, despite of seeming non-serious at first glance, prepared me very well for my future life — if I would not have them, it would have been much more difficult to endure some difficulties.
As a result, the simple participation in «some kind of project» for two years turned into a long-term friendship — and into something, what I will definitely remember for the rest of my life. ¡An additional article is needed to tell about everything, that happened to me during this entire period! There were deep conversations, several trips to the Black Sea for participating in projects, numerous events, dialogs with interesting people, — writers, researchers, even a NASA representative — misunderstandings, conflicts, mistakes on my part because of the inexperience, and in the end — the true realization, that it is time to move on.
Now, this program in Russia is closed: the two-faced political games from both sides of the barricades took the opportunity to look at another world from children — a world, that is different from the «home-school-home» lifestyle at the typical «fifteenth microdistrict of the city of Samara». The best thing, that can be done in our steadily troubled time, — not to give up and keep in touch with important people. And I am incredibly happy, that I have regained contact and now maintain communication with Yuliya Aleksandrovna Markushina — the person, who organized the «Access» project in Samara. When I just started going to classes, Yuliya Aleksandrovna seemed as a person from a completely different universe to me — without any negative connotation: the differences in age, lifestyle, areas of ​​interest, and views on the world played the role. But I really wanted to know her better, because the influence and life experience of this person were undeniable for me even then — and, most importantly, Yuliya Aleksandrovna has never ignored my questions, but only helped me in self-realization on every occasion. When I was under the rubble of an incredible amount of stress, problems, and disappointments in the summer of 2019, I decided that I needed to share all of this and get valuable advice from her. After that, our communication became regular — and I really look forward to the moment, when again, as before, I will be able to speak with Yuliya Aleksandrovna in person over a cup of coffee or tea. Like before.
It is interesting, what exactly you start to appreciate in a special way over time.

By the way, the teacher who invited me to participate in the «Access» program was Lidiya Vasilyevna Kozyatinskaya — the only person, whom I can consider as my teacher during school, and not just «an employee of an educational institution». I started to study English a little bit lately, — from the second grade — since in the first grade, these classes were the paid ones. I was very lucky with Lidiya Vasilyevna: she tried to find an approach to each of us from the first lesson and conducted classes not for the sake of reporting on a piece of paper, but to ignite a spark of knowledge in us — and this spark has definitely ignited in me. A month after the start of learning English, I have already completed the middle of the textbook: I was running ahead and studiying the topics myself, and at the classroom, I became the «assistant» of the teacher and was helping my classmates, who began to study English from first grade, with tasks. Very often, Lidiya Vasilyevna gave me small books with color illustrations and postcards from different eras — straight from Cambridge in Great Britain. An ordinary school in an ordinary residential area of ​​an ordinary city — but I was not able to meet the second such teacher either at my school or at the Samara University, or at a university in the city of Saint Petersburg: in high school, they have changed «an employee of an educational institution» for us — but it was not the same, absolutely not the same. I will not even write about English classes at the universities: such «studies» were so disgusting, that I have no wonder, why they kill all the desire to learn language and culture in a student — fortunately, I was lucky and I have discovered all the beauty before these «teachers» had the opportunity to stifle my interest for English in the bud.
Lidiya Vasilyevna has passed in the summer of 2019. I really wanted to visit her from the ninth grade — and then, although the desire have not dissapeared, the contacts were lost after I entered the university — and the realization, that people are not eternal creatures, has dulled since then.
Lidiya Vasilyevna, I am very grateful to you for everything, that you have done for me — you were my only teacher at school. I remember you — and will continue to remember for sure.

By the time I entered the Samara State University, I had already become a personality — and many began to reach for me. Initially, I wanted to move to Saint Petersburg, but the requirements that year for taking free technical-oriented classes were very high — and I stayed in Samara. Two years later, I moved to Saint Petersburg and studied there for a year nevertheless — but then, I moved back, and I have no regrets about everything, that happened: by visiting more than sixty major museums in the city, by learning the basics of professional sound recording and fixing them in practice in the studio, by facing other value systems and the difficulties of changing the place of residence, I received everything I wanted from the city.
I was not afraid to go on the path chosen by me, although I had not yet formed it on my own — my strongest desire to become the opposite of those I had to deal with before taking university classes and help those, who are now experiencing what I once experienced, determined my behavior pattern in university time. At sixteen, I watched all the available video lectures by Jacque Fresco, the founder of «The Venus Project». ¿Back then, I was so impressed by his system of values, perception of the world, attitude, and interaction with people, that I was eager to use the knowledge from these lectures to help others: if I managed to change dramatically, — at my will, on my own — others will be able to see the world around them at a different angle too, right? ¿After all, if I help someone, then this person, with a new system of values, will be able to help the third one — and it will be better either for them and for me at the end, right?
Unfortunately, this does not work with the majority of people: in my case, among all fellow students from the two cities during the five total years of education time, I can name only five people, whose attitude to life with development and cognition I can call conscious. The rest, for me, turned out to be extremely ordinary personalities, there are millions of them: they «see nothing», «hear nothing», «say nothing» — and they always go with the flow. ¿However, I am writing about this now — back then, these difficulties were a challenge for me: will I be able to influence even such people? I have made it, — more in one moments and less in others — but at the cost of tremendous effort: I tried dozens of diverse approaches to a wide variety of types of people, was spending a lot of time explaining and promoting objectively relevant information, was explaining and campaigning for the importance of participation in public significant initiatives, was participating in debates and face-to-face conversations with teachers on public topics. During my second grade in university, I overdubbed the second half of the film «The Choise is Ours» from «The Venus Project» with the friend, making a take after take on a microphone for a hundred rubles, when he and I were living in a student dormitory — and all this have been done only to introduce fellow students with the information, that is extremely important for both the individual and for all of humanity, before the official version of the film was published.

There was a period, when living conditions in the city of Samara — and in Russia as a whole — became so unacceptable, that it prompted me to seriously think about the priority of supporting the direction of «The Venus Project» in comparison to the fight for political changes — and I dived into the political life of Russia from the middle of 2017 to middle of the next year. This period occurred at the time of the next re-election of the president Vladimir Putin — after months of critical analysis, I consciously decided to support the all-Russian network of headquarters under the leadership of Aleksey Navalniy. During that year, I gained an enormous experience: I became one of the most active volunteers of the Samara headquarters; distributed over ten thousand leaflets and other materials; was assisting headquarters with the creation and processing of media materials and local investigations whenever I was able to; organized a series of hours-long single protests near the main building of the Samara State University and in other places of Samara; took part in every rally organized by the Samara headquarters during that year; made a public speech at one of these rallies — regarding the boycott of the imitation of the presidential «elections» of 2018 — and was subsequently detained by police; talked with Navalniy himself during one of the other rallies; asked a series of direct relevant questions to one of the most popular Russian politicians of the present time — Vladimir Zhirinovskiy — at his election campaign meeting at the Samara State University and saw both his aggressively-ingratiating political «shoes changing on the go» and the passive obedience of most of those present at this meeting — including the passive obedience of the administration of the university itself; faced warnings and pressure from the same administration with the search for opportunities for my exclusion due to the questions for Zhirinovskiy; for a couple of months, I was preparing for the legal aspects of being an independent observer during the elections and became one on the day of the re-election of the president, visiting the village of Komsomolskiy in the Samara Oblast and working there for more than a day without sleep; opposed the case fabricated against me for participating in the Samara rally against the pension reform in Russia in 2018 with a letter from the court and the coverage of the process on the local television channel — in the end, the «judge», despite the defense of a competent lawyer from the headquarters and the absence of any evidences from the side of the police, still awarded me an «administrative offense» with a fine.
Soon after the trial, — but not because of it at all — I decided, that this politically saturated period was over for me: that year allowed me to correct my attitude to social changes and my participation in them by fully realizing, that if you fix your view only into the future, this future will not come — because there will be no one to stand up for us in the present. I wrote more about this in my post called «Paints With Dirt» inspired by the story in the village of Tomsino in the Pskov Oblast.
Now, I am interested in both long-term international changes and participation in local urgent public initiatives. Political systems, unlike the direction of «The Venus Project», are trying to deal with the consequences of problems, and not with their causes — and, by choosing a particular party or politician over and over again, by fighting for the next political direction, we only repeat the same problems, that both «ignorant people» and «traitors» did before us. My experience of studying the history of the United States of America and my stay in this country allowed me only to confirm this thesis — and extend it to the situation on a global scale.

During my university years, I also had two relationships — the two, that I took very seriously for myself — with two completely psychologically opposite girls and with two different breakups, although common in their nature: both of them cheated on me by still «being in a relationship» with me and then jumped from one relationships to another. Talking about similarities, these girls had the following — they both studied in the same place, that happened accidentally, and they were products of the destructive consumer egocentric environment. The latter contradicts the possibility of building healthy long-term relationships — oddly enough, despite the obviousness of this for me now, I spent just an indescribable amount of strength and energy on these relationships back then. It was not worth it, — because the attitudes of these girls to me were not worth my attitude to them — but it was the exact thing, that gave me the greatest and best understanding of the fact, that it was time to move on to where I should have been start from the beginning — to acceptance and love to myself before anyone else.
But I have not understood this immediately. When I broke up with the first of these two girls in the summer of 2018, I could neither sleep nor eat normally — nor even breathe. Seriously: a couple of months I was breathing in a way, so that a little bit more — and would die. In the beginning, this girl appeared in my dreams every day — and when the objective facts in my head started to come together and I realized, that she had not just left me, but mentally and physically cheated on me behind my back during the «relationships», my semi-alive mind began to create hundred times more painful dreams for me. For the whole year, absolutely every day, — absolutely every! — I was reading, listening, and watching the stories of other people’s relationships for several hours straight. I did not want self-pity — I wanted to understand the causes and consequences of what happened «from» and «to», so that I would never experience this again. I discovered both stories of ordinary breakups and terrible stories: the first one moved from her husband to the boss at work after moving to a large city, the second one took her husband’s property and threw him out on the streets, the third one moved to her lover despite of a long marriage with her husband and despite of her children… After each similar story, my previous views on modern relationships were destroyed, and new ones corresponding to realities were erected in their place.
Throughout the year, I deliberately did not want to make relationships — even though there were opportunities.
I met the second girl, as well as the first one, on the threshold of changes in my life: I met the first girl at the moment of my trip to the city of Saint Petersburg, the second girl — at the moment of my trip to the United States. Of course, I am initially attracted to external beauty — but it will never grow into something more on my part, if the girl has nothing other, than her appearance. The second girl had something, that caught my attention — the experience of a very painful breakup. I wanted to hope, that I was «just unlucky» with the first girl, but now, «everything will be fine»: I can love and appreciate what I have — especially after what I experienced. The second girl really wanted to get into my soul — and I, after a year of silence and long resistance, let her go there. I fell in love with her just as much as with the previous girl — but she gutted my soul with special cynicism again: she used my relationship with me as a «temporary camp» to forget about the previous one. This time, I was sleeping, eating, and I was breathing a little better, despite of an enormous pain and long dreams — but the wave of rage covered me so much, that I began to work in a pizzeria on the coast for eighty hours a week, promising myself, that I would do everything possible to connect «A» to «B». I began to study the subject of relationships again — and dived much deeper, than during the first time. Hundreds of hours of videos, dozens of books — I spent all my free time on the coast doing this, analyzing and adjusting my model of behavior in relationships and the model of resolving conflict situations with the manipulations prevention. I re-analyzed some information several times. All this brought the result: now, I am analyzing more highly specialized sources, each time I discover something new, and I am not going to stop studying; I have already managed to analyze my patterns of behavior in the finished relationships «from» and «to», compose psychological portraits of these two girls, close incomplete gestalts, and consolidate some knowledge in practice with others — from conflict situations to a balance of significance. My understanding of relationships and the model of behavior in them reached a qualitatively new level: by leaving all the best from past beliefs, by preserving my moral system of values, I demolished and rebuilt everything else.
The period of these two relationships reflects the «story of my first eighteen stories» — after the publication, I received enough messages. Someone was grateful to me, someone was just interested – but it seemed to one girl I know, that I shared my story because of resentment. ¿But wouldn’t I declassify the names of these two girls and their boyfriends, wouldn’t I have disclosed everything in detail? ¿Wouldn’t I tell, how the first girl was «doing homework» at the «brother’s» dorm room, while I was bouncing off the walls in Samara? ¿Wouldn’t I share, how the second girl was secretly communicating with the ex-boyfriend and spending time with another «friend» at the Volga river coast, while I was climbing on the walls because of the stress in the USA? I could tell and share it, but it is not the resentment, that drives me — otherwise, all the common acquaintances would have found out, how the first scavenger stupidly discovered my address and came to «talk» with me with the hands shaking because of fear, and how the second one had two-faced behavior with me and secretly wanted to be with his «object of adoration» instead of me. «Do not tell a lie about me, and I will not tell the truth about you.» It is ironic: I know all these people personally — I knew the first one during my first year at the university and I was a «foreign counselor» in a linguistic camp for a second one.
I am moved and driven by no resentment — these «prodigal» girls are indifferent to me, I have never intended to «return» them: I already know, what objectively waiting for the girls themselves and their «new» boyfriends with such a selfish-consumer perception further in life. I am driven by self-reflection and creation: now, I have a clear understanding of which girl with which set of characteristics, beliefs, and behavior model I want to see next to me — and which girl I will have nothing to do with; what to value in the relationships — and what is unforgivable for me; what art on such topics I want to create myself — and what is misleading and no longer causes interest.

¿Were all my efforts, attempts, and interest to these people justified? I want to be honest — no, not everything for sure. On the other hand, by the age of twenty three, I had acquired a huge amount of knowledge in interacting with people in both social and romantic relationships — and yet they are fundamentally different! — by influencing people using creative methods, resolving conflicts of various degrees of seriousness — and all of this is only if we talk about people. Even if we separate this three-year time period, I have become thirty years older psychologically just by this time only — and I am writing this absolutely seriously.
I think it would be better in the school years for me to begin with acceptance with self-love and pay attention with helping others only afterwards — but this is a post-factum thoughts. From the features of my life’s journey, it turned out the way it happened — and I still had not lost and missed anything at the end. This way even allowed me to look at my life differently, at another angle.

In my attitude to all the people, that I shared with you above, there is no snobbery or hypocrisy. I am just tired of walking around the bush, so as not to «hurt» those, who do not know and do not want to know the value of their words and their lives — those, who simply exist and do not live. Tired of showing real feelings of sincere love for those, who do not know, how to love, and do not want to be able to: love and the emotional «needle» of falling in love are completely different things, and very grief life is waiting for those, who confuse one with another. Tired of considering those, who use my selfless help and contact me only for personal interests, as friends. I tried as hard as I could to find an explanation and justification for many situations during two last years — my song «Sorry, Friend» is about the personal feels and thoughts, even though I have told no one about it. The latest difficulties in my life showed especially clearly, who I could rely on: actions, and not words, showed me, who is who in my present life.

I have no reason to amuse my ego — and I am not friends with narcissism and self-aggravation as well: I know and understand very well, what I had to go through to treat myself as a Human and a personality — I proved this, first of all, to myself, and on so deep level, that I do not have any desire to prove anything to others anymore. For the twenty three years, and especially during the last three years of them, I have gone through as much, as many do not go through during the whole life — and you can relate to this phrase as you wish: this phrase or any other one from this post — I have been honest with myself and with you everywhere here.

The photograph of Vavn Dorokhin sitting near the PC.
The only photograph with me only I could find. The sixth of May, 2012 — the period of time, when I was facing with the constant psychological pressure at school and not only with it. As I have already written in the «story of my first eighteen stories», it was not the first time I shaved my head.

Whether you were expecting something else or wanted more, but this is my nineteenth story, that I shared with you — on how I became myself.