Psychotic Break Or Spiritual Awakening?

This man is my hero

This post has been in the works for a couple days and is organized as such.

Day 1:

Firstly, I love and value all the values Borges mentions as being integral to tribal culture: Survival from ingenuity and community, an intimate knowledge of and kinship with nature, the communal raising of children, family, and a relationship to spirit. “They put spirits in everything.”

Let me tell you about my experiences with what they call psychosis…well, there’s some background information needed there I think. Telling each story out of context of the larger story makes no sense. Kind of like when people hate on some celebrity or politician when they see something quoted out of context. Or this quote:

“Blood is thicker than water.” People say that all the time to describe the bonds of family as important. The actual quote is:

“The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb,” which means that the bonds we have with the people we choose to spend time with are much more influential and powerful because we chose them. The lesson is about the power of choice to overcome the influence of our DNA or our family environment. The quote actually means the opposite of what many people use it for.

We become who we hang out with they say.

It is language like this, quotes that change to accommodate the ways of today, that make me distrust total abandonment of faith to any one doctrine or religion. Curiosity maintains innocence, a close-to-objective view, and allows room for the unknown. Certainty is a life vest for those too afraid or too tired to swim through the dark waters of the unconscious. I think of Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa who realizes he has wound up just like his father and says, “You could say I’m no different, and I’d say you were right, but at this point it’s too late to start over. It’s funny how things work out. It’s fucking hilarious.”

If you’ve never seen Bad Santa I’d say you’re missing out on some kind of experience. What kind I couldn’t say, but some kind. What strikes me about his character though is his total surrender to his subconscious instincts.

His life raft of certainty was tied to the framework of his childhood. The way the world works, for him, was shaped by those experiences in his mind and instead of facing the emotional damage of the past and letting it inform a more mature emotional outlook in the present, he drinks and smokes to numb the pain, so the pain remains and the bars of the prison hold.

I have a history with drinking and smoking to numb out an I know better than anyone that numbing out only slows down what is an inevitable encounter with what we fear, prolonging the meeting of self with self. I’ve seen people numb themselves to the grave. I’ve numbed myself into poverty. A life without emotional intelligence, that is, a life in which one does not know how to let emotion positively inform action (whether the emotion is positive or negative) is like living in a black hole. Fear, anger, joy, jealousy, bliss, contentment, harmony, wrath, excitement fly at me out of the darkness of this black hole sometimes and slap me in the face. They come out of nowhere.

In trying to understand what this looks like from outside of my personal framework, outside of my personal narrative about shamanism or energy healing or spiritual awakening or whatever, I ask DJ what he’s noticed about how I’ve changed. Picture Bad Santa turning to his girlfriend and saying, “What do you notice as symptoms of my mental illness?” Only Bad Santa doesn’t have a girlfriend because he’s never asked these kinds of questions of anyone and prefers to live his life in his box with his booze and his nicotine. I can’t blame him. It would be totally out of character for this guy to heal from himself. Better we vilify him for sticking by the old American pastimes of shutting out emotional scarring and bottling it up to the grave. I’ve been there. I used to have a hard time appreciating Billy Bob Thornton’s kind of humor because it makes me sad. Alcoholism has been a cruel thief in my life, taking away joy and loved ones and pieces of myself. Watching this sad man as a humorous spectacle used to be difficult. Sometimes it still kind of is. But humor is such a powerful medicine, best to laugh when one can if it isn’t hurting anyone else.

DJ is uncomfortable with answering the question at first, probably because I’m asking him to tell me why I look crazy shortly after the metoo craze and what it looks like from someone else’s perspective sometimes hurts. But I’m not asking for validation. I’m asking because it is important to understand the impact I’m having on other people more objectively. It is a necessary perspective in informing how I choose to heal from this. How do the people I love see this?

Take it in, and don’t make excuses or try to explain why you’re like that. Just let it settle in you. This is their perspective.

He says the moods are all over the place. One minute I’m super happy and the next I’m pissed. There’s no in between. No middle ground. And I can go from one to the other in a matter of seconds for absolutely no reason. Half the time, he says, it takes him by surprise.

I listen. I picture him being all over the place. What would I do if he were happy one minute and pissed the next all the time and I couldn’t tell if it was something I’d done, something someone else had done, or if it is just some invisible neurochemicals shifting in ratios to equal bipolar beezee over here. It’s exhausting for us both. I’m lucky he happens to be a pretty easygoing guy.

I have a strong personality. When I set my mind on something, I do that thing, but sometimes I’ll set my mind on something like knitting or crocheting a hat and sometimes I’ll set my mind on a total career change. And if I do not have two or three jobs at once I have no jobs. This isn’t him telling me. I’m just understanding it as something I do.

It is things like this though, that make me tempted to take the lexaproveyournormal pill, and regulate my moods the regular modern way. Still, I don’t have access to mood stabilizers at the moment and the therapist lady I’m seeing is out of her office for two weeks. And part of my reason for doing this publicly is to show this part of the process of getting help. Are there other options other than the meds with the side effects and the guessing games and the grey landscapes of the internal world? That’s what meds are like. Gray. I remember the obedience and grayness of my mind on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds and picture this must be the perspective of a dog, only even dogs have curiosity and feel love and loyalty. This is the time to take stock of my resources and start to exercise them. Is there another way?

Day 2:

Every morning for three days I pause before getting out of bed and breathe with my eyes closed, letting the wherewithal of consciousness settle in. I love this state of mind in the morning. One can choose to go back to sleep or get out of bed and jump into the day. It’s the space between two worlds.

There was a time I meditated every day, did yoga and exercised and read books and watched movies and lived a rich and colorful, albeit broke, life. A life with family and food and music and health. It was during this time I learned to fish my dreams out of the subconscious using a simple visualization. I sit in the conscious mind and cast a line into the dream world and the line snags the pictures of the dream. I can pull them up and recall them. Pieces of my dreams caught like Polaroids on a fishing line come up out of the deep dark blue and allow me to remember. If I do not practice it, the ability goes away, but it takes only three days of intending to dream, asking for a dream, for me to start remembering them.

They flit in the first night and powder my head with moth dust, the only clue left in their wake in the morning, a sense of the fluttering of wings in the night. The second night, they are more tangible, like vines, perhaps the firing of new neurons in new pathways because I asked them to go there. Dream. The third night I am an ancient Greek woman with tattoos of warriors in the same style as the black ink depictions on ancient Greek pottery.

Sometimes I look at these cycles as journeys into learning about the unconscious, spirit, and as spiritual awakenings. This perspective can get dangerously out there and it has taken me some time to understand where to set the boundary of “out there.” I sometimes still cross it.

Two hours after I awake on the third day, mom calls. We talk. I do not tell her about the dream, but we have been talking about some of the “out there” stuff, which I say is out there but is really just conversations about different religions, spiritualities, and healing modalities, including psychoanalysis sometimes. This time, however, she tells me about some Greek priestesses of the word called Logosmoi. I thought that was it but the closes thing I find online today is logismoi, which are essentially evil thoughts. No priestesses about it. Here’s a link to a religious website just in case you’re interested. I do not ascribe to this religion. I just like to learn about other people’s beliefs. The funny thing about the website is the methods described for clearing the mind are very similar to the buddhist method of meditation. Tame the monkey mind. The difference is that one claims theirs is the only way to reach enlightenment, but enlightened people walk around every day enjoying their lives not worrying about whether or not they’re enlightened. It doesn’t necessarily require intellect. Emotional intelligence, yes, or at least the ability to feel. My own background with the Christian faith makes something inside me roar against this doctrine as propaganda. But there is a thread of truth in all forms of humanity. Anyone who tells you theirs is the only way is selling something. Nothing stands between you and joy and heaven on earth (metaphorical or real believe what you want) except you. Ugh, platitudes.

Anyways I look up ladies with tattoos and the Ancient Greek practices of tattooing were actually to mark criminals and the markings were to display, generally, what the criminal had done. My tattoos in the dream moved like snakes, telling stories like the pictures painted on the ancient pottery tell stories.

Maybe first, let me tell you about my experiences with the supernatural…

But then I could write a book about that too. There’s too many experiences to talk about here all at once.

Okay. Let’s just start here.

Before the age of five, my best friends were imaginary. One was an eight foot tall Mickey Mouse, only it wasn’t Mickey Mouse and I kind of knew that. I didn’t know why it had appeared to me as Mickey Mouse because I’d never shown the mouse any more admiration than one of the Disney princesses or Barbie or G.I. Joe. Perhaps, and five-year-old me wondered this without this language, it appeared to me as a mouse because it wasn’t human. I have a clear memory of holding Mickey Mouse’s hand at the top of the stairs and the hand was the Mouse’s glove only it felt rather smaller and more human, softer though and intangible almost as though made of light. I said, “Come with me,” and pulled on his or her or its hand to come down the stairs. The afternoon sun coming in through the window broke into prismatic rainbows that shown around the being’s head like a halo.

I’ll come back later.

“You promise?”

My mom called up the stairs. “Who are you talking to?”

I promise.

“My friend!” I told my mom and wondered why my friend only spoke in my head instead of out loud so mom could meet my friend too. I had a feeling it could only appear to those who wished to see it. My mom said something about an imaginary friend. Later I would chalk up this experience to a healthy imagination, so when I met the being again in my 20’s, it was both a shock and no surprise at all.

Here’s how it appeared to me next:

At a Yoga retreat with my mother, at Stomp Dance in Oklahoma with my mother, in my living room after a Yoga session that induced a Kundalini awakening.

I will write these experiences down in detail elsewhere, but writing and collecting them will take time. For now I’m just summarizing some experiences with otherworldly things. This being is from the Pleiades.

Sometimes I believe this and sometimes I think it’s insane.

Wikipedia has a page called Pleiades in folklore and literature if you are interested in exploring.

I’m from Cherokee and Pawnee blood on one side but the Native practices I’ve been exposed to are a modern eclectic mix of traditions that are a clumsy but honest attempt to rekindle our place within nature’s governing cycles. I’m not savvy on Native politics, but I know that a dash of blood from two tribes on one side of the family doesn’t equal being Native through and through. At the same time, the traditions I have been exposed to have significantly helped to inform my otherworldly experiences as positive and as signals of significant growth in a mythological, if not an outright spiritual context.

I chose to be curious about my mind and how it worked when it began to betray me, only to look back and see that each betrayal brought a gift. The mind is a powerful source of connection with the world and language is how we access that.

About blood: I don’t actually know what blood runs through me if we’re talking about ethnicity but here is what my family has claimed: Northern Italian, French, English, German, Scottish, Cherokee, Pawnee. I think it’s weird to talk about blood in this way.

My Grandpa Moon was someone I didn’t know at all. I believe he was my Great Grandmother’s relation in some way. My Great Grandmother was born in 1911. I knew her when I was young. She was grumpy. She talked to aliens and taught art and meditation. I’ve written about her before in other blog posts. She also said that we are descended from some English earl and his French Gypsy lover who eloped together. He forswore his family and took a purse of money with him and they as readily disowned him for running off with the likes of a french gypsy witch. I have no idea about the origins of this story but its fun to tell and has always helped me feel as though psychism runs in my blood.

Grandpa Moon is responsible for the Pawnee blood in us. I did mushrooms once in a meadow with my sister and started doing this sort of ritualistic dance, flattening the grass in half moons arcs of the legs. Two weeks later, at Powow, my sister says, “Isn’t that the dance you were doing in the meadow?” And, sure enough, the men in colorful regalia are doing the same dance. I’ve never seen this dance in my life. Never been to Powow. Mom or mom’s friend says, “That’s the Pawnee grass dance. It is a warrior’s dance.” I always chalk these things up to coincidence at first. That day I was gifted a beautiful necklace, a warrior’s gift, which I later gave away in yet another attempt to stave off the call to adventure. The coincidences are more convincing to me than the trappings of my culture. I’m not a prisoner or victim here. I’m on an adventure. I’m an adventurer and my landscape is what Dada called “the final frontier”–consciousness.

I hated religion, the spiritual, the supernatural, and anything to do with otherworldliness if it was outside the realm of story or pure imagination when I was a kid.

That is, when the unreal bled into the real, when I saw ghosts or auras or faeries, and when I heard my mother and sister talking about them, I stubbornly shut out the possibility that these things were real and always, as best I could, shut them out as imaginary and kept them in that box. Five year old me didn’t know the difference. Ten year old me knew that there was this world and there was that world and I wanted nothing to do with that world because I liked this one well enough. I was kind of like Aunt Petunia, especially because I secretly wished to be shown something that would convince me of the trueness of the imaginary.

Here are some of the things I imagined:

We moved into a house that was haunted. We moved into many houses that were haunted, but this one was different. A lady walked every night from my mom’s bedroom, down the hall to my room, into my sister’s room and back. She wore white and was not the first lady in white I had seen, but she was the first I had the courage to watch with curiosity. The fear had become too much to bear and the only way out was curiosity. I was 14 at this time and still stubbornly refused that this was real, but it was happening in some form so I understood it as perhaps a waking dream, a nightmare, an apparition from my consciousness. This is the same house in which I learned to french braid my own hair through what I understand can either be explained as dissociation or astral projection depending on the context. This is the house where I lived three blocks from DJ and never met him. We played soccer against the boys team on a scrimmage and played soccer against one another then too, but I wouldn’t meet DJ until I was 28 at a restaurant in town some years later after college and moving and moving back and teaching and deciding it was time to cook because of a prayer.

If you drift away from your body in order to avoid dealing with a situation, it is dissociation.

If you do it in order to learn how to french braid your hair, it’s astral projection, which I also denied as being real.

I am told the people who lived there in the house before died in a car crash. They had two young children. To be honest, I do not know if this detail is one I have inserted myself over the years or if it is real kind of like the priestesses of the word who I found no evidence of. It doesn’t matter much to me as it is a small example of a tale that gets much weirder and much more vivid than one ghostly lady and some misinterpreted signs. The signs are almost always either misinterpreted or point to a much bigger picture we only see one little slice of until later.

But they show up only if you ask for them, and only if you trust in them because we are powerful and can convince ourselves just as easily that something is real as not. Here’s an interesting article on why religion isn’t delusion. The article’s primary source is A Cognitive Model of Persecutory Delusions which says about persecutory delusions (i.e. delusions that blame others or external circumstances for one’s victimhood) that they are based in “threat beliefs,” and that:

“In essence, these researchers suggest that persecutory delusions reflect an attributional defence against low self-esteem thoughts reaching consciousness. By blaming others for negative events, rather than the self or the situation, it is argued that negative thoughts about the self are prevented from reaching awareness.”

In previous posts I have raved about my culture needing to change. I have blamed external circumstances for my own unhappiness and this blame probably is just “an attributional defence against low self-esteem thoughts reaching consciousness.”

The first article I referenced, “Why Religious Belief Isn’t a Delusion,” explains that there is a social construct around the delusion that serves to influence the population positively.

“That’s why delusions are only diagnosed if they’re not consistent with the person’s existing belief system and views,” says the author. “A devout creationist talks to God while in church, that’s fine. An avowedly atheist lawyer starts doing it in the middle of a meeting, they’re probably delusional. If both of them suddenly started saying the world is going to end in 30 minutes because of angry frogs living in the sun, they’d both be considered delusional.”

What if the whole conference room started saying the world is going to end in 30 minutes because of angry frogs living in the sun? The whole company? The whole nation? Would their language change to accommodate the concept of thirty minutes as being metaphorical? Would their culture change to worship frogs to keep the sun frogs peaceful? Would their people kill other people and convince them that worshiping frogs was the only way because the existence of other ways of thought would negate the delusional reality that thirty minutes passed a long time ago? Would they go on crusades to change the nature of thought itself to adhere to the reality of their delusion in a widespread, even global fashion? Is this cultural context not a cultural delusion rooted in the threat thoughts of the ancient past? If you know how to think in metaphor, Christianity is most famous for it’s angry frog god path. One in five of you, statistics say, do not know how to think in metaphor. Prove those statistics wrong.

I was raised in a Christian culture as one who practices paganism. Of course my understanding of reality does not have a cultural context. I had to cultivate my own context as best I could until more people who are doing the same thing started to emerge around me. Again, note the new age rise of modern witches.

All that being said, believing in some weird things does not mean I should not believe in the reality of my culture. Quite the opposite. I figured that if there were things in my life my culture didn’t explain, then there were things about my culture I didn’t know. So I let the experiences be what they were, didn’t seek to explain them or blame them on anything. I just experienced them and let them pass. The delusions come from trying to blame, explain away, or convince others. These things become delusional when one does not know the difference between reality and the delusion.

If you believe in ghosts and see a ghost is it a delusion? Not according to the above articles, unless that delusion is one that starts to influence your actions in a negative way, is based in threat based thought, or is so severe you cannot tell the difference between the real world and the delusion. If you see ghosts, is it more likely you’re going to be able to function better in your culture if that culture supports the possibility of ghosts? Yes. The more people who adhere to the same principles that structure the framework of one’s identity, the more one can relate to their identity in an internally and externally positive way.

I wanted magic in my life but vehemently denied the reality of anything too out there when it appeared to me. I deemed it childish, imaginary, and wanted desperately to grow up so I could be the master of my own life. Then one day, like magic, the weird things just stopped showing up. It was a marked shift in consciousness, something I felt almost physically like that switch in my brain which now, I understand, marks mood swings sometimes.

I identify this phase in my life as the refusal to answer the call, which I will put here in a link to the seventeen stages of the Hero’s Journey on Wikipedia. (Wikipedia may not be accurate all the time, but I see no reason why we can’t start there and delve deeper into the tertiary, secondary, and primary sources later).

The primary source for this quote from the above linked page is The Hero With a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell, a book I will probably mention a hundred thousand times more so there it is. Fair warning.

Campbell says about the Refusal of the Call: “Refusal of the summons converts the adventure into its negative. Walled in boredom, hard work, or ‘culture,’ the subject loses the power of significant affirmative action and becomes a victim to be saved. His flowering world becomes a wasteland of dry stones and his life feels meaningless—even though, like King Minos, he may through titanic effort succeed in building an empire or renown. Whatever house he builds, it will be a house of death: a labyrinth of cyclopean walls to hide from him his minotaur. All he can do is create new problems for himself and await the gradual approach of his disintegration.”

Day 3:

Almost immediately after the day I lost the sight, for that is all I can name it, I started to feel like there was something wrong with me. I stopped drawing, writing, loving, caring about almost anything and lost all of my energy. Whereas before I would spend numerous hours alone playing music and reading and drawing and creating stories, I started to fear being alone. I stopped playing sports, having lost interest in the petty squabbles of my teammates. Being the captain usually meant being the peacekeeper and I stopped caring about keeping the peace after someone did cocaine and got fucked up the night before a tournament game. I stopped playing music. I stopped doing much of anything and encountered my first depression. That summer marked the end of my innocence in that I looked at reality for what it was and what other people saw it as for perhaps the first time, outside of the lens of the fantastic. The next fifteen years would be a journey to find that place again in order to understand it and give it context. It seems to me the same kind as those journeys people relay when they are searching for the miraculous and find it only to find that words fall short of ascribing it truth, as the minds of humans fall short of understanding the workings of the universe, let alone ourselves within it.

I faced my minotaur eventually, but I didn’t want to. Nuh uh. That is also not a story for this place. It needs more context.

For now, suffice it to say that in shutting off my acceptance of these otherside experiences as things that simply happened, things that just existed alongside us in tandem, sometimes seen by people and sometimes not, I lost my “power of significant affirmative action,” walled myself in “boredom,” “hard work,” and “culture,” and became a victim.

It is also this time in my life that delineates the otherside experiences as negative. Informed by a more grounded, rational, and cultural context that dismissed the imagination and the validity of the subconscious in informing my identity, the subconscious identity became something terrifying and what were once understood to me as things that just happened started to become things that happened to me within my narrative framework.

Threat mentality creates persecutory delusions.

I started to associate the ghost in the attic with fear until the ghost in the attic was just a metaphor for the fear until the ghost in the attic no longer existed. Just fear. The imagination was the place where I could suspend beliefs, let them be changed if necessary, let the story remain open for interpretation as adaptation demanded. Turning off my imagination turned my emotions into cages trapped by the letters: FEAR, JOY, SADNESS, HAPPINESS, ANGER, CALM.

They became words that meant nothing, and the feelings that should have been associated with those words became things I did not understand because their context within my personal narrative framework had been suppressed by none other than my own desire to grow up. Without story or imagination to aid in the formulation of my identity in a culturally relevant framework, I felt irrelevant to my culture. Without stories to contextualize the actions that represent fear and the social consequences of that fear, I did not understand fear by the simple utterance of the word. I started to be able to lie. I started doing things I didn’t want to do just because I’d never do them. I wanted to see how other people live and started to drink and party and experiment with drugs only to find that this is not other people doing life, this is me doing life. This is not me following the choices of others, it is me choosing to become this person.

I was like King Minos, my “flowering world become a wasteland of dry stones,” and no matter what empires I built, life felt meaningless because I did not live to inform my own identity in a constant, ever changing narrative of my evolving psyche over time, but rather lived to inform my actions with labels like student, writer, waitress, cook, teacher, crazy, woman. I started seeing these things like pictures, stereotypes, still life images, snapshots of emotion from memes, pop culture references, and social media/media hype, sort of like polaroids tied to a fishing line like those I drag out of my subconscious to recall dreams. As I interacted more with my culture, I got these images of what it meant to be a writer in depictions of revered writers in pop culture and academia; writers like: Ernest Hemmingway, Virginia Woolf, Hunter S. Thompson, Emily Dickenson, Charles Dickens, Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and everyone in between. It seemed to me that most writers encountered their own journey of the hero, and some rose to meet their call to adventure and succeeded while others failed. Some, like Thompson perhaps, saw it for what it was–a game of cat and mouse with the self that becomes either a distraction that prevents one from taking action and plays out in a sort of loop, a why do I always wind up here? kind of loop, or it becomes the labyrinth that contains the Minotaur waiting to be faced.

I’ve been in the loop or the maze for a long time and every time I jump back into my journey of the Hero it tells me one thing: Write.

Harry potter faces Voldemort in physical form at the end of a maze and facing him at the end of the maze brings him into public awareness which the public vehemently denies until the wizard Dumbledore, validates him by bringing wisdom to the public through action, that is by actively fighting alongside the hero.

In tarot, the Magician card is equated with wizards like Merlin, in the Arthurian tradition, Gandolf, in the Tolkein tradition, and Dumbledore in pop-culture tradition.

Cauldron Announcer writes in their article, The Symbolism and Meanings of the Magician Tarot that:

“The Wand of the Magician is a symbol of the Magician’s connection to Divine Spirit. In one hand he points his wand to the heavens and in the other hand he points to the four elements resting on the table before him. Symbolically, this represents the Magicians ability to use divine energy to manifest in the physical world. In a tarot card reading, the Magician represents manifestation on the earthly plane. However, there is always an exchange of energy. This is symbolically represented by the infinity sign. This exchange of energy occurs between the realm of spirit and the physical world. The Magician has the ability to move between these two worlds. This unique skill enables the Magician to remain adaptable and flexible through any situation that he is confronted with.

In a tarot card reading, The Magician represents the utilization of one’s skills. He is a reminder of the power that is within you. He often signifies the need for a self-confidence and adaptability.”

In order to get out of the loop, the victimhood, the boredom, the trappings of culture and the endless grey world of empires built without love, one must answer the call, confront the Minotaur, and must do so from a position of self-confidence and adaptability. One must be reminded of the power within the self. One must be reminded that “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to one’s circumstances,” as Stephen Hawking famously said, or wrote, to be honest I couldn’t find the quote in its original context. He also said, “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.”

When I step on the path to follow the journey of the hero, to do well in spirit what I can also do well in reality, it always leads me to the same place.

Write.

I have heard many writers say that they write because they can’t not write. I have written two novels that are waiting to be edited. I have written thousands more journal entries that mark the way through a much more realistic and bizarre story. Both unedited novels feature a woman with no past, no family, no identity other than the present circumstance and a few spotty memories. Both involve moving through two worlds and trying to make sense of them only to find that the two collide in chaos.

I’ve attempted this story before and failed to write it and my confidence was lost. That self-confidence and adaptability were gone.

The novels are my subconscious attempts at seeking reconciliation between an inner narrative and an external reality’s experience of that narrative through different lenses. This is a story I’ve been trying to tell for a long time. I just didn’t have all the pieces. I needed to study story and language and structure and then plummet into the worldscape of after graduation only to find that my transition into this world would require me to face myself and there were a lot of things I had run away from. I had too many unsquashed beefs (hello Always Sunny).

I had no idea my unsquashed beefs were going to be with things as intangible and as ephemeral as thought, history, philosophy, culture, language, finance, education, the mindscape, the multiverse, religion, spirituality, nutrition, the body, the subconscious, the occult, dreams, the ego, id, animus, and my own identity within myself and a rapidly changing culture. I had no idea language would lead me to encounter these things the way I did. I had no idea a culture could change before my very eyes until it did. It has already changed many times in my lifetime. It changes all the time.

The endings of the unedited novels are rushed and sort of vague. The idea is there but they lose heart. The Journey of the Hero.

A hero of what?

We are all the heroes of our lives, or at least we each have that potential within us. More platitudes, if, that is, they are not followed with action. What does it mean to follow the journey of the hero? The word HERO was like all the other words without stories for contexts in which I could understand the actions, the values, the intentions and assign these to my own actions. There was a part of my life I had not discovered an adequate social context for. There was a part of me only I could find. And I ran from her without understanding that I was running. And without even running in the right direction I came face to face with her anyways. Perhaps the journey of the hero is an unavoidable one we all take and the differences are as much tailored to the environment, the social structure, the culture, as they are the will within to face the Minotaur. How we approach the Minotaur is a testament to one’s character.

It is no surprise to me I thought that I was running towards my Minotaur only to find I was running away from it and had, in running away from it, come face to face with it. It’s kind of hilarious in an ironic way, and a little bit sad. Kind of like Bad Santa’s “fucking hilarious.” Or kind of like when Harry dreams about Sirius dying, goes to the Ministry of Magic, and finds that the fear of the illusion caused the illusion to manifest through Harry’s own attempt to predict and avoid it. Harry’s action based on a threat belief caused the delusion to become reality. Fucking hilarious. That kind of dark humor.

The Minotaur was my imagination vs. Spirituality, spirituality vs. culture, culture vs. the self, and came to manifest fully when I decided that this life is mine to live and create, that is, when I decided to do what I was good at and let the rest fall away.

I should emphasize, I have never equated myself with fictional characters. That would be delusional. There’s a big difference between referencing fictional characters, religious characters, real people’s stories and experiences to inform one’s understanding of one’s experiences in the world vs. trying to change one’s experience in the world by pretending to be something they are not.

There is a big difference between metaphorically facing one’s Minotaur and facing an actual Minotaur.

Perhaps now is the time to announce that the last two therapists I saw told me I seemed like a perfectly reasonable woman who was in an unhappy relationship, and that those stories came after the rise of the #metoo movement. I’m not bashing that movement by any means. It has freed many voices and held many guilty people accountable for horrible actions of violence against women. In some extremist cases, the public interpretation of an event led to the outcome of the cases of women against men in which public interpretation of what was once not only socially acceptable, but maybe even a badge of pride in a media dominated by male-intellect turned into a damnable act equal to rape in a media led by extremist interpretations of the feminine intellect. The outcomes of judgments led by extremist interpretations led to total defamation of judges, comedians, the pope, and sometimes people who refused to have their right to language restricted by being forced to use certain pronouns and women were like, “Fuck it. Men deserve it.” Remember that?

The backlash I encountered for being a woman after the #metoo movement was odd. I lived in a small town. Some educated people were like, “I’m all for ya ladies,” and other educated people, like these therapists, blamed the men in my life for a serious situation that has nothing to do with men. One landlord actually used the term “snowflake” when I told him I would pay the bills on my own if that’s what it took to not live with an alcoholic ex. Men were afraid to approach women. Men were champions for women’s rights. Men who weren’t were condemned. Men were taken out of their roles of power and then The role of power in the U.S. was given to a man child. And men who had felt afraid felt armed. And called people like me snowflakes. Which is just fucking hilarious. The point is, it did harm and it did good. The two worlds collided chaotically: male and female and now that the cultural entropy of identity is settling, the outcome is…

Do any of us know? Are we still trying to figure it out? I know I am. So I guess this is an account of a journey to face the self, the metaphorical Minotaur, and an analysis of the beginning of my Journey of the Hero because every other journey I take is going to lead to chaos too. At least in this one, the power to heal myself lies within. This time I’m willing to approach with confidence, suspend disbelief in myself, and answer the call bravely. After all, persecutory delusions are from fear. It is no one else’s fault I am here. I am here because I will always come here until I learn the lesson here is trying to teach me. I’ve been here before and failed before because of the lack of one key ingredient: a positive view of my identity. And this, funny enough came to me as an epiphany in light of the #metoo movement. My not enoughness was a cultural construct of my femaleness. My species were weak and vulnerable and angry and whiny. I’d been raised as a woman when women were looking for men to save them from themselves. I’d been raised to view myself as irrational and wrong to begin with. Thus I looked for a man and blamed men, at one point, for not living up to my expectations for them. But I can’t even save myself from myself. How the hell is a man going to do that? When I stopped looking for the man and found the self, the man came along. When I stopped blaming them and started taking responsibility for my life to the best of my ability, it became apparent that the blame was really to cover up the fact that I do not know how to do this alone. And then I started doing it alone and found I could, much better than I expected, only that it didn’t matter because it was for no one but myself, who I still didn’t value, for reasons I still don’t understand. So I started to value the self, my health, only to find I was ill and now I am healing.

I’ve hardly accurately represented the entirety of the #metoo movement and it’s social consequences nor have I accurately represented the psychic impact of culturally toxic views of women as inferior in youth as it translates into an adulthood in which women rule a significant voice in the media that significantly impacts the way the culture views femininity to such an extent that what it means to be woman is up for debate, even beyond the bounds of the physical. What a bizarre shift in the psyche of a person let alone its people. Perhaps we are still in such a shift. Perhaps the tectonic plates are still slipping and the earth beneath our feet has turned to sand and now is the time to lay the foundations of a better future. I say we, but I must start with me.

Day 4:

I take the leap.

The meditation helps.

The writing helps.

Over the weekend, I’m offered money to write a book. It is more money than I make in three months.

Day 6: It takes two days to organize this and create the references for this post. I am writing and it’s helping.

References

Be Here Now Network. (2016). Ram Dass Here and Now – Episode 6 – The Four Noble Truths [YouTube Video]. In YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64vQVBwaxJc

Borges, P. (2014, February 23). Psychosis or Spiritual Awakening: Phil Borges at TEDxUMKC. YouTube. https://youtu.be/CFtsHf1lVI4

Burnett, D. (2017, September 21). Why religious belief isn’t a delusion – in psychological terms, at least. The Guardian; The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2017/sep/21/why-religious-belief-isnt-a-delusion-in-psychological-terms-at-least

Cauldron Announcer. (2013, June 14). The Symbolism and Meanings of the Magician Tarot Card. Ecauldron.Com. https://ecauldron.com/pagan-library/divination/the-symbolism-and-meanings-of-the-magician-tarot-card/

Freeman, D., Garety, P. A., Kuipers, E., Fowler, D., & Bebbington, P. E. (2002). A cognitive model of persecutory delusions. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 41, 331–347. http://www.antoniocasella.eu/archipsy/Freeman_2002.pdf

https://www.facebook.com/InkedLeisha. (2016, February 5). Tattoo.com. Tattoo.Com. https://www.tattoo.com/blog/tattoos-dark-days-ancient-greece-rome/

John, W. (1952). Bird lore of the Eastern Cherokee. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, 42(2), 36–38. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24531796?read-now=1&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Narmeen Shigri. (2018, March 17). “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change” — Stephen Hawking’s impact on the disabled culture…. Medium; ARISE Impact. https://medium.com/arise-impact/intelligence-is-the-ability-to-adapt-to-change-stephen-hawkings-impact-on-the-disabled-culture-6668e97caa6b

On the Priesthood and the Holy Eucharist. (2020). Google Books. https://books.google.com/books?id=7D7DhY-LijMC&pg=PA15&lpg=PA15&dq=logismoi+priesthood&source=bl&ots=tcc5C0ei82&sig=ACfU3U1P1ajvhTKpKXicmKuyJt0M64v9OA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjz_fS_5IbnAhVSvZ4KHdL3BqQQ6AEwDHoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=logismoi%20priesthood&f=false

Wikipedia Contributors. (2019, November 15). Suspension of disbelief. Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspension_of_disbelief

Wikipedia Contributors. (2020, January 13). Hero’s journey. Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hero%27s_journey#endnote_&#59

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