Friday, May 8, 2009

Culmination of sorts

There is a Person That I'm Not Supposed To Be.

She is selfish.
She uses convenient rationalizations to avoid responsibility.
She keeps me from taking the action I need, and therefore could kill me.
She insists on thinking thoughts that I shouldn't think.
She's fat.
She's too sensitive.
She holds grudges.
She's weak.
She cares too much what others think of her.
She can't think on her feet, and so often fails when a witty come-back is called for.
She's too serious.
She's too literal-minded and rigid.
She doesn't have any self-discipline.
She can't get started.
She's pathetic.
Her timing is off.
She's paralyzed by fear and can't function.
She's spiteful.
She's delusional.
She forgets important bits of information at important times.
She misses important signs.
She makes lame excuses.
She's lazy.
She takes advantage of other people.

And that's all just for starters.

I suppose This Person That I'm Not Supposed To Be is someone I internalized through acculturation.

I suppose this is who the Jungians call The Shadow.


My life has been lived on the run from her. I've had a belief that there is someone inside me who is craven, and given half a chance will ruin everything I want. So I must outwit her. I must do what I can to prevent her from entering my consciousness. I must drown her out with 'positive affirmations.' I must drown her out with prayer. I must try to not get "too attached" to things I want, because the second I get "too attached"--the second I'm aware I'm attached-- I can't have the thing I want. I must put up a screen of white-noise, a sort of low level agitation, to mask her. This dynamic is the origin of the Trial, in which I am continually accused (by myself) of being her. The trouble is, that any evidence I come up with in my own defense is merely proof that I am rationalizing, and therefore am who I am not supposed to be.

Of course, forbidding myself to BE her, or insisting I be her opposite has only magnetized her to me more tightly. Such is the nature of prohibition.

So many of the feelings that encountered in the act of living become fraught. They become evidence of my guilt. It's not just the emotions I feel, but what they mean about me. They become evidence in the Trial. If what I want is in conflict with what someone else wants, it must mean that I am selfish, and therefore The Person That I'm Not Supposed To Be. It is impossible to think through a construct like this, and leaves a Shadow of Doubt as a sort of taint. Maybe I am who I'm not supposed to be. That very dynamic has been what has contracted the walls of the labyrinth around me, like a Chinese finger trap.

What an interesting journey this has been, to unwind this labyrinth. I hesitate to commit myself to saying, it is unwound. Perhaps this is merely a pause before another go-round. I'd like to hope though, that I am standing on the rim of the canyon I've just wound myself up out of, blinking in the sunlight, and contemplating a life without that dynamic. From now on my experience is just my experience, not evidence for the prosecution.

4 comments:

Lori said...

Wow. This is such a breakthrough.

As I'm reading, I'm thinking, "I could have written this" -- if I were as articulate as you are.

The images of the labyrinth and Chinese finger trap are apt.

Wordgirl said...

Hey it's not fair that Lori said EXACTLY what I was going to say ;)

No, but really...I do feel so connected to this post as well.. and I loved the imagery.

I have been silent, but I"m returning, forgive me my absence - I've been thinking of you.

XO

Pam

excavator said...

Hi, Lori! Hi, Pam!

Thanks for your comments. The post came from the past few weeks of some ruminating and writing in the context of at least a year's thought after Bootcamp-with-Lori, in the context of a ...life. Your responses felt just right.

No need to apologize, Pam. I figure that reading is completely optional, and sometimes I need to stay away from the blogs in order to get any of my own writing done. I can imagine that much of your energy is turned inward. How are you feeling?

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