Monsters Inc.

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We stopped looking for monsters under the bed when we realized they were inside of us.” – Jordyn Berner

Freud was a big believer in making the unconscious, conscious. His younger colleague, Carl Jung, further developed the concept and has since become one of the prominent figures in “shadow” work.

The idea of a ‘dark side’ or a ‘darker side’ is not necessarily unfamiliar territory for many us. Consider anger, anger is often attributed as being a dark or negative feeling.

But is it?

When we strip the emotions of the cultural and societal stigmas and judgement; i.e, learned responses, what defines what is a good feeling and what is bad feeling?

Anger can be productive. It can be even be enlightening. When channeled towards a good purpose, anger could easily be mistaken for passion, determination and/or ambition And surely, those emotions are not negative. It is good to be passionate; recommended, even. But even passion could be ‘bad’ — what if you are passionate for the wrong thing. Or the wrong person.

The question then becomes what is good and what is bad? How do we define each? Are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mere opinions? Judgements based on our preconceived notions of right and wrongdoing?

In the legal context, right and wrong are established by laws, but even laws change. Killing is wrong, but if in self-defense, is it right? We punish those who act outside of what society, religious leaders and politicians have decided as right; but who informed their judgement? We continue to judge those who behave outside what we have learned to accept as normal, but who are we to judge? Could it not be that our own judgements are ill-informed and wrong?

I have obsessed over the idea of a dark side and light side for years, there are qualities, characteristics and feelings which I have attributed to my dark side; I call him Mr. Hyde, but even in that recognition, it is clear I have categorized qualities resembling those embodied by the character in the novel as ‘Mr. Hyde’-like. What is this need to categorize?

What, or who, have we missed out on because our preconceived notions of good and bad suggested that they were bad people? Because their philosophy didn’t coincide with ours? Their life path differed from ours?  Their upbringing reflected values different than ours?

“She reacted differently (to me)” Bad.

“I wouldn’t have reacted like that.” Dismissive.

Granted these are grand conclusions from particular examples, but it almost begs the question whether ‘different’ (to me/what I know) is what we have come to define as bad?

Something to think about: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.” ― Rumi.

Triangle

“I swear, it’s as if you go out searching for ways to complicate your life.”

I heard the judgement and disappointment in his voice.

“I don’t know what to tell you, it.. just.. kinda.. happened. I don’t know.”

“I don’t understand how these things just happen to you. I mean, first Richard, now this… Honestly mate, what goes through your head?”

I stood there in silence, unable to meet his gaze. Richard had forever been my moral compass; my anchor. I knew I should have told him earlier, but I couldn’t. That should’ve been the first red herring.

What was I thinking?

I knew there would be no happy ending. Someone, at some point was bound to get hurt and I could deny it all I wanted, but I knew that that someone would inevitably be me. Maybe that’s why I didn’t tell anyone. Who would support such masochism?

I stood before my best friend, as I had many times before, broken pieces of my hear in hand, waiting for him to help me put them together once again.

 

 

Change of Heart

She looked into his eyes desperately searching for herself.

Nothing.

She didn’t understand. She didn’t understand how just a few months ago, this man who claimed to adore her, crave her, wanted nothing but her, now sat across from her with stoic indifference. She looked down at her hands, tightly clasping the mug of coffee she had no interest to drink, she didn’t want him to see the tears welling in her eyes. She finally spoke,

“…I don’t understand.”

She looked up at him again, hoping her confusion and remorse would evoke some emotion. 

Again, nothing. 

She reached to touch his arm and he recoiled in response. She slowly retreated. The rejection left her feeling frustrated, she reacted in kind; 

“So, when you told me you loved me. That was a lie? What was all of this? Some sort of game for you?” 

He was all too familiar with the events that were about to unfold. He had watched herself spiral in the same hurt-to-hateful cycle too many times before.

I can’t go through this with you again.”

“I knew it. I told you this would happen. I told you when we met, I told you when you said you loved me. I told you this wouldn’t work.”

“Yeah,  you did. And you do you know why? Because you never let it.” His indifference was replaced with irritation. 

“I fought for you, daily. But the harder I tried the more you pushed back. You didn’t want me. You didn’t want us. You don’t want anyone. You just want to be alone  so you can justify being miserable… No one is ever good enough for you.” 

She was speechless. She had pushed him away, months of trying to convince him to leave her and she had finally succeeded, but it wasn’t because she didn’t think he was good enough– it was because she didn’t think she was.

“I have to go.” He was done. He wasn’t going to feed her feelings. 

She didn’t stop him. Or blame him, really. She watched him walk out of his life like so many others had in the past. She sat alone in the cafe, looking into the darkness of her now cold coffee. 

What have I done?  

Her thoughts were met with a familiar sneer;

What you always do. 

The internal dialogue had begun. She continued to sit in silence, while a battle brewed within. 

The return of Jackson

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She saw the notification for a new friend request pop up.

“Jackson would like to be friends.”

She felt her heart sink to her stomach.

No way. 

Of course, there he was, the kind and sweet man from the other night whom she had abandoned in the hopes of never having to see or hear from him again.

“New Message from Jackson”

Shit. 

“Small word hey runner?”

Backed into a corner, she reluctantly opened up the conversation window.

“Yeah.. about that. Sorry.”

Really? That’s what you choose to say? He is going to flip! 

“That’s alright, I got the feeling you weren’t into it, or me, you could’ve just told me, you know. I’m just glad you’re okay.”

She was stunned, she had given up on the idea that people like him still existed. But as much as she was in awe of Jackson’s kindness she was equally frustrated with herself.

Why don’t I feel anything? 

The two started chatting and they agreed to meet again; with a view to be friends this time. His unconditional kindness reminded her of the girl she used to be. She secretly hoped that spending more time with him would bring her back.

It didn’t.

Over the next few weeks she would meet Jackson for coffee or dinner and they would chat about their days, their goals, their hopes and ambitions. While the company was appreciated it was clear that Jackson still held a vigil for her and her conscience couldn’t allow their meetings to go on.

He’s holding onto hope for something that will never happen, ma. You are too. I don’t want to date, its exhausting. I don’t want to get married. I don’t want to be in a relationship. It’s not a big deal.”

She had repeated those words to herself as she lay in her bed.

Its not a big deal. 

But it was a big deal. She did want to be in a relationship. She wanted to love and be loved, but she just hadn’t felt that way about anyone in a very long time and all this time with Jackson had made her wonder whether she ever would again.

She went to bed as she had the night before and several nights before that; hopeful.

My time will come. 

The Pen Pattern.

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I recently re-started writing (again). For the record, I never intended to stop, but it happens. Cyclically, actually.

The cycle is as follows:

Usually, it starts when I’m feeling a little over and/or underwhelmed. Then, as I write and release all of those pesky feelings, I create room for better things and that’s exactly what happens: Life gets better, and I write less and experience more. I get caught up in the experiences and the writing stops. Then too much life happens and/or life spirals and I feel like I’ve lost my bearings (again), so I return to writing (again).

What, rather how, I write also follows a pattern:

  1. When I have experiences, stories and sadness that I need to share (read: catharsis), I write (usually in the third person).Some feelings, experiences and stories reflect my own; others are figments of my imagination, but they’re all pieces of vulnerability. Every (published) post is an opportunity, or platform for criticism or judgement. While the alternative could be argued; that being, that each post is also an opportunity or platform to receive praise and attention, writing has always been intrinsically motivated for me and most times, quite personal.
  2. When I have something particular I want to share and write about, I write (exclusively in the first person). These are usually reflective or rant pieces. (For example, this post).

So, what has sparked the return to writing this time? Work. (work, work, work, work, work…)

My job has been mentally and some days physically taxing. I was starting to feel like all I did was train, go to work, eat, sleep and repeat for 6 days of the week… but with little to show for it. Very robotic. Very draining and very, dare I say, borderline depressing.

I also live alone and away from my family, so coming home to an empty flat day-in and day-out can get lonely sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love living on my own and I don’t quite think I’m ready to be ‘domesticated,’ but no (wo)man is an island.. and robots need love too.. among other things.

It’s safe to say, I needed a distraction, or an outlet and let’s be honest– Tinder does not satisfaction bring. Frustration, disappointment, bewilderment, yes. Satisfaction, no. But I digress…

Ironically, it was a Tinder date that inspired the return to writing, so I guess it’s not all bad. Nonetheless, within days I was writing again (although it was only recently that I started posting) and here I am on several days later reflecting/ranting about it.

See, cycle!😉

#introspectionforthewin

 

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