Dross to Gold

At a small business conference in Phoenix, Arizona I decided to indulge in the small luxury of a salon manicure. And because I had spent the morning introducing myself to other entrepreneurs and talking deep shit like What’s Your Vision and What Do You Value, I got into a deeper than usual convo with my manicurist. Also, he was baffled by the long nails on my right hand and short nails on the left. I said “I’m a musician,” (also thought “…and I’m bisexual!”); then we started talking art, music, poetry, business and my all time fave conversation with Asian manicurists: “What kind of Asian are you” (me: half Chinese, him: Vietnamese).

At one point he asked, “Has it been hard for you to find a man who really understands and values beauty and art?”

I said, “I’m blessed to know many such men and I value our friendships deeply. But actually, my partner is a woman.”

Without missing a beat he nodded and asked how long we had been together. And, over the rest of the conversation, asked thoughtful questions about our relationship.

Is the non-reaction of a Vietnamese manicurist to hearing I have a girlfriend really so remarkable?

It is when I remember that I spent years feeling so fucked up inside about my sexuality that I never gave people the chance to accept me, because I didn’t accept myself.

It’s easy to take these micro-acceptances for granted. And it’s so easy to let our daily conversations and interactions become dull, rote and routine.

But it seems to me that spiritual teachings have, at their core, the damn simple truths that we all want to belong and be accepted… and that in kindness and presence, we find the alchemy that turns the dross of our human lives to gold.