This is an old bit of cultural critique writing I did years ago for an online project called Naturally Subversive.
It’s not uncommon in today’s modern culture to be exposed, though the truth of this indoctrination is not often what it’s thought to be. It’s not the popular punk or rock culture or even the dark underworlds of suppressed culture that are doing the direst of damage to tender young psyches. Rather, children are thrust into various societal ‘forming’ situations (institutionalized), each adjoined with numerous expectations and alien (outside) perspectives. Being told what to look like, what to sound like, what to act like, what to be like – ultimately coached into effectively believing only one thing: they, in and of only themselves, are not ‘enough’ (valuable) or worse, they are ‘the problem.’ Confidence and resilience of human spirit are being stripped from them more and more with each stern correction, each advertisement promoting their fabricated ‘lack,’ and each time they’re coached into making a decision out of fear rather than discovery.
Where and why and how this all came about might be interesting. The ‘who’ that started this type of judgmental trend may have a few words in which we could discover some answers. The past, however, is not the point. There is nothing to be done about what’s already happened; we must take action and make changes. The future is equally futile, especially at a time when we’ve injected so much physical uncertainty within its unending spiritual promise. It is for these reasons that we will focus on the here and now, the only actionable place in the whole of our existence.
Still, we must continue beyond our first inclination. It is not so much about a physical here (America -> Colorado -> Fort Collins) or now (2015 -> April -> 2nd) as it is the present (your presence). Places and dates mean nothing because they themselves are merely tools created to assist our fractional understanding, or as Einstein said: “time only exists so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” In these moments that pass as you’re reading this, come back into the present, return to your self and the source of your reality – find your part of the all-sustaining energy, that place in you where everything really does happen all at once. This may be very uncomfortable, especially if you haven’t done it before. You may feel a strong urgency to distract yourself with some menial task or dismiss this as ‘mumbo jumbo’ and yet, you know what it is I’m asking of you, even if you have never thought of it before.
Truth remains. In fact, truth is the only constant; by very definition, is has to be is what is. Thus, despite having ‘lost it’ you know what your center is. You may have a vague sense of place (‘home’) or a distinct feeling (‘peace’) that marks it for you, and though it’s not something in and of itself to fear, your semi-conscious awareness of this within yourself is frightening. Let’s examine that: where did this feeling of unease within your being come from? Who told you that remaining within yourself was dangerous? Did someone punish you for your playful careless daydreaming as a child (or adult)? What response to this peaceful meditation are you fearful of?
Personally, there are many things revealed when I start probing my pain or discomfort, and this is great because it allows me to confront anything that isn’t true. For example: when I return to my presence, I often get distracted with thought of tasks that I need ‘to do.’ These thoughts are usually also accompanied by thoughts of how/why I should do these things, which in turn are also accompanied by other thoughts that get more vicious and demeaning the longer I choose to ignore them, saying things like: ‘I’m just lazy, that’s why I’m not doing what I’ve decided is important,’ or ‘This is crazy, I’m crazy – how could this ‘presence’ stuff really matter when I haven’t done x, y, and z yet!’ Hurtful? Potentially, but why? Why am I so desperate to bully myself into ‘doing?’ The discomfort I feel about not accomplishing tasks is a means of self-manipulation. Initially, this belief was engrained in me as a child because my father was very task oriented and I quickly learned to associate the discomfort of his disapproval with not completing tasks. Unfortunately, like many lessons learned young, this experience morphed into a template within which I organized my life: menial tasks became important to me because I was afraid of my dad and the punishment I would receive if I didn’t have a list of accomplishments crossed off each day, but they remained important to me because I never challenged that fear.
As an adult I don’t have to worry about disappointing my dad, yet for years I’ve allowed myself to be a victim of my anxious nerves, fearful of never having done ‘enough’ to justify my being alive that day. It’s only been through a lifetime of self-query that I even began to notice what was going on. At nights I’ll still sometimes find myself scrambling to clean up so that my house meets extinct standards, yet, this phenomenon is no longer threatening to me because I’ve been actively reframing the way I see discomfort. I know now that the remnants of our past are not there to haunt us (unless we so chose) but rather as beacons of hope for what could be different. Now, when I find myself worked up into frenzy over some trivial task I just stop and ask myself “what’s more important, this task or my presence?” As you can imagine, there’s only one way it’s ever answered.
When I’m all worked up, my presence itself becomes tumultuous: not only can I feel the physical discomforts of anxiety, it’s always coupled with mental confusion and emotional turmoil as well. When I allow it, my presence can be disgustingly fractured into shards of bitterness, anger, confusion, distrust, loneliness, despair, selfishness, panic, etc… Without even realizing, I have the ability to morph into an entity that gives off ‘negative vibes’ and consequently negatively affect everything in my path. Of course, it’s only in taking back control of my presence that I can affectively change the impact of my reality. By changing the meaning of my discomfort from an indication of fault on my part to an indication of a fault on the part of imposed perceptions, I am able to take back the control they otherwise run away with.
It’s important to remember that this ‘take back,’ however forceful it may sound, isn’t an aggravated act. It isn’t an act of anger or frustration because those discomforts would be other indications of some underlying misunderstanding. Instead, this ‘take back’ is a gracious act of acceptance and understanding. The problem was never that we didn’t have power, but that we didn’t know we had power and were to afraid to investigate. Rather than indicators of necessary avoidance, pains are an indicator of needed attention. If I broke my ankle and refused to even look at it for fear of the pain I would in essence be dooming myself to living with it (and its inevitable complications) for the rest of my life, dragging myself about in terrible ignorance for fear of what has already come to be: the pain itself (because we were told, and ended up believing, that pain = bad). No, if I am to heal and recover, I must acknowledge the break and furthermore, I must let it be examined fully. I must be attentive to the pain and notice the wheres, hows, and intensities of it if I ever hope to recover from the break. Pain within our presence is no different: it’s merely an invitation to heal.
I would like to offer you encouragement and support, with hope that you might turn back to your pain and extend both acceptance and love. Weep if you must, I know I did upon realizing how horrifically I’d been treating myself. I couldn’t help but dislodge all of my suppressed emotions all at once, and that wasn’t just okay, it was powerful and transformative. YOU ARE NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. No task, no title, and no other ‘measure’ used to differentiate and define you have any real power unless you have given it that power. Go ahead, get curious about your pains and discover for yourself what damage you’ve been unknowingly inflicting on yourself, and then begin your true important work: the process of healing. Tell yourself you are sorry, tell yourself you forgive you, let the waves of peace, comfort, love, and connection you’ve been fighting back against pull you in and wrap you up. Allow yourself to fall into the simplicity of your breath, take comfort that this responsibility and even that of your heart beat have been taken from you that you might LIVE! Allow yourself to dissolve back into the center, float past the ‘shoulds,’ ‘woulds,’ and ‘musts’ until you find the truth again. Push back against the lies until you can declare: I am enough!
Another throwback poem transporting me back in time again – not too far and yet, this still feels like it’s from an entirely different life…
Saw your face unexpectedly What a wicked Web to show me
You look older Too old
I suprised myself with a physical reaction Even more with my lack of mental connection
I’m getting there Slowly
Strange that you still make me sick like this Until I think about the way you’d kiss
Body tense Closing
I can’t say that I miss always feeling distance Still, I can’t help but notice your absence
Anxieties lifted Weightless
I’m not that much younger, but I look it You don’t seem so cold, but I lived it
Wearing our pain Recompense
You’ve chosen to live a shallow life, your bitterness gleaming at the edge of your eyes and wrinkles carving your anxieties into the surface of your skin My pain has been digested, sucked deep down within the darkest and dampest parts of my soul – I may seem niave and ignorant, but I’m no longer trying to prove what I’ve had to know
You’ve already forgotten me The real me
Sometimes I think I have as well Until I remember what you did to me
Some people are only weak until they have a reason to become stronger You underestimated me I believed too much in you
Seeing all the age you’ve taken on in the short time we’ve been apart Makes me think something deep within your heart’s still screaming for me to help you
It would seem that by hurting me, you’ve only succeeded in killing parts of yourself
Originally written in December of 2016 for an online project I called Naturally Subversive.
Could it be that fear is an unnecessary emotion? That pain is not to be avoided, but in fact carefully saught after as means to growth and evolution? Is it possible that all we’ve been trying to avoid in our lives is precicely what we need the most?
Growing up, I was not the girl that sought out danger. I did not like pain or discomfort and I never took a risk that could lead to either. I took these limitations to extremes. I wouldn’t play physical games with my friends or siblings for fear of getting hurt. I couldn’t enjoy the snow in the winter because the cold was so unbearable to my delicate sensitivities. That’s what my parents started to refer to it as: hyper sensitivity. I was allergic to hypoallergenic toiletries and all anyone had to do to make me cry was look at me wrong. I’d have meltdowns, publicly and privately. It got bad. The first time I tried to kill myself and had thoughts of “saving those I loved from this terrible world” I was only 10 years old. The world was a dark and horrible place and I couldn’t bear to try and live through all the pain. The depression persisted through high school and once my best friend died the month before my 16th birthday I began to experiment with self harm. Suddenly, the little girl who would panic and feel faint at the sight of someone else’s blood was a young woman putting blades to her own skin.
I had found myself somewhere I’d never been. Suddenly, pain wasn’t the scariest thing in my world, complete and paralyzing numbness was. Loosing my friend flipped a switch and then nothing mattered any more, nothing bothered me, and that terrified me more than anything. I had to feel something, anything, even if it was the physical pain I’d avoided my whole life.
Time would prove that blades aren’t the only way for a broken but beautiful girl to inflict pain on herself. I eventually stopped the self-mutilation, but only after I’d secured new torment. My ex was a charmer. Broad, strong shoulders and the strength of an ox. I’m six foot two and he could move my body in ways I’ve never experienced before or since. For a virgin with a reckless attitude for life and a desperation to find feeling again, this combination of danger and pleasure was exactly what I had been asking for.
I had only been back from Australia for three weeks at the time I’d met him. It was a dream trip, something I’d wanted to do for as long as I could remember. I had made it happen, somehow, despite all odds. I was only 20 years old. I should’ve been elated, but I wasn’t. I’d found out for myself that even paradise can’t save you from your own misery. I suppose that first orgasm was everything I had been hoping for, the bliss I had been searching far and wide for and had almost given up on. I was hooked, and soon his libido wasn’t the only thing he was using to keep me on edge.
Ecstasy, LCD, Shrooms, Cocaine; each drug mettled with alcohol and weed, I was lost in a blazing fury. The ways I was experimenting with my reality kept me up for nights on end and distorted the way I could think and feel, but I didn’t care. My ex slowly introduced me to his world of criminal activity; at first it was just drugs but before I knew what had happened my life had become a reoccurring COPS special. I only ended up in jail once, ironically for domestic violence against my hulk of an ex. Even that wasn’t enough to pry my new addictions from my hands, I held on and kept digging deeper into muck that had become my life.
The twisted romance persisted for over six years, more than four of witch we were married. During that time he would spend almost three years locked up on drug, fraud or burglary charges. Still I stayed. I had convinced myself that the orgasms and highs were love and that we were destined for forever. I believed I could save him from himself, but I wasn’t even trying to save myself. Those years contained many of the most painful and horrific experiences of my life, and for a while I thought some of the best as well.
I came out on the other end feeling as fearless as I had ever been. The initial shock of the betrayal of my own heart set me on a new course. I was forced to face myself, to look at my pain and accept it. Everything changed.
Just 20 short months ago I was freshly divorced, decided to quit my cushy job and slowly began the journey that brought me here. I began to learn that I had control and that my thoughts and choices were all directly framing my life. Of course, there was a period of trial and error and I dare say I got a bit worse before I got better. I was bitter and I allowed it to get the best of me; this time the target wasn’t me though.
I became a bit of a man eater. I dabbled in playing Sugar Baby and eventually in Financial Domination. I really wanted to be immune to empathy for the opposite sex after the torments my ex had subjected me to. I didn’t trust or respect any of them so telling them exactly what they wanted to hear in order to maintain control and get what I wanted wasn’t an issue for me. I traveled to New Orleans, Oahu, Orlando and Vegas for “free” because I thought it would make me feel powerful and sexy, something I felt I’d lost when I lost my husband to infidelity (on both ends). It worked and it didn’t work. Did I feel sexy and powerful? Most definitely, but I also felt like I wasn’t able to be genuine. The dishonesty and manipulation was too similar to what my ex had subjected me to; I had found that I’d grown into the very type of person I was so determined to never let use me again.
Learning to Choose My Pain
Soon enough the glamor of luxury spas and restaurants in beautiful places wasn’t enough, I needed to feel real again, even if that meant breaking down my defensive armor and dealing with my raw broken heart. I was finally able to go within and examine my thoughts without judgment, and what I found would spark new interest in living authentically and pursuing my optimal nature.
I had to break it off with my suitors and even a friend who I had been entertaining the diffusional manipulations of. I began working out more, focusing on regaining my wholeness and health. Meditation, weight lifting, hiking and yoga all became more important as all the self care practices I had fruitlessly tried to implement for years suddenly became my go to for emotional processing and release. I had made decisions and finally it wasn’t just to do the fun or easy thing but rather, I had decided to pursue the pain that would help me become the woman I could most respect.
Flash forward and I’m building a bright future for myself and others online, writing the things I need to heal in hopes that my story might help others and still getting stronger every day. I am only at the very beginning stages of this new journey but already I’m reaping the benefits. I’m no longer scared. I don’t need anyone to sugar coat life for me and protect me from everything anymore. I don’t need to force pain in order to feel anymore. I don’t need to be high on drugs and sex in order to experience bliss any longer. I don’t need to influence and control men to feel powerful and sexy. In fact, I feel a very distinct lessening of need. It’s as if I have found the well of sustenance and joy that existed within me all along.
I’ve learned that pain was a part of life in many ways, and I’ve also learned that you can’t avoid it, but that you can make it purposeful. If we’re all going to face difficulties and tragedies in life, but they don’t have to be meaningless and they can be beneficial if we so choose. It’s up to each of us to make the decision to stop playing victim and start training like a champion. Don’t let life just happen to you, make your dreams come true.
I wrote this poem a couple years ago, but as I was contemplating today’s post and Neptune turning direct, Facebook memories popped it back up across my awareness and I was transfixed on how perfectly this poem fits with the energy of today.As you read below, put the poem in the voice of Neptune himself, as though he is speaking straight to your soul. Come into full awareness of your emotional body, feel the ways you have abandoned yourself and your truth. Recollect the pieces, choose what will remain yours, and go forward from today with renewed wholeness and sovereignty. Blessed be my beloveds!
You empty yourself out on the floor in front of me – you are so sure that something must be missing If only I’d assist you help you fill up this gape and yet, I do nothing –
I offer you no hand to help you tidy your mess – chaos of longing panic not affecting the pain, unchallenged by me Acknowledged instead, as necessary for strength
Call me cruel and heartless as my own heart still bleeds dripping – crimson memoirs of a life you abandoned of a child that used to be “I” – now terrifyingly a person unafraid
I will not pick up your pieces – or offer them comfort I cannot give Not for fear of falling Not for sorrow of loss Yet with love for flying – belief in rising up
Without your depths of hurt my heights of joy remain in lack of proper comparison So I know, the kindest the most blessed response is letting you try too Integrate, overcome –
Pick up those pieces, or leave them all there to rot Regardless, they’re yours I’ve chosen my burdens selected my pain carefully I will no longer sacrifice my soul for your fears
Are you worth your own care? Are you deserving of giving yourself your love? If not, how could mine ever help, or even hope to matter? You’re manifesting Your “owned” “reality”
Take your care and give your love – I need neither one I am my own “enough” Focus not on what lacks find instead what remains Your truth is something – I cannot create for you
Lessons to learn that I can’t participate in I am not your teacher I am not your guide or even your friend. As is – I am my own, as you are – only yours in the end