This morning as I was journaling it occurred to me how afraid I’ve become of sharing my true self with people, even though I believe fully, with all my mind, that to live behind a brick wall is to live only half a life. We live within ourselves, but then we also live with others, and if we don’t share our best selves with others, we rob them as well as ourselves. If each of us could walk this earth in our full unique expression, the earth would explode in color and shades of black and gray and warmth and coolness and every other paradox and delight imaginable. If only we weren’t afraid to trust, if only we didn’t hurt each other and have cause to be afraid. Well, it takes one step to get to the next step and so on, so here’s my first step: a section from this morning’s journal entry. I trust you.
i dreamt the other night a small vignette, where i was in a fast food restaurant or coffee shop and the friendly guy behind the counter pushed a small black scary-looking pill toward me. i was reluctant to accept it because i didn’t know what it would do to me, but i didn’t feel free to turn it down. i took it and slipped it into my pocket so he would think i was going to take it later, intending not to take it but also unsure that i wouldn’t. i was definitely ambivalent about that small black pill. maybe an interpretation of that dream will come to me, too.
i believe in dreams as windows to our unconscious. i’m fascinated and frustrated by their metaphoric qualities, since of course i don’t always understand their symbolism, but i think they’re intensely creative. we’re intensely creative in the way we process our struggles.
i am feeling back in touch with my best self, as i read this book [Dreams Consciousness Spirit by Ernest Lawrence Rossi]. maybe i am or have become a jungian by nature (or nurture), so am best comforted by his concepts. the work of dreams, the bringing out of shadow, exploration of the unconscious, all of these contain terms that i understand intrinsically and find relief in. i’m not interested in laying down my beliefs, i see, as that only brings a sense of stripped-awayness and terror. being flayed alive, having all my skin removed, all that holds me together as a person. now, i understand the idea the previous author [Steven Harrison in his book Post-Spirituality and the Creative Life] proposed about how important it is that we DO lose ourselves in order to generate greater creativity, but it’s only one other concept among many, one other way to achieve creative expression. it can also come through whichever skin we devise for ourselves, however we choose to define our lives. there are infinite ways unique to each individual and i need to find my own and not only find it, but nurture it once i do. i believe i have found it; yet i consistently forget. however, as i’ve come to understand, trying to find my way back to it is the way i learn. struggling my way out of the brown paper bag of depression and despair is how i strengthen my muscles. sometimes it’s a bag, other times it’s a cardboard box that takes a little more strength to push against before it falls apart. sometimes i think i’m going crazy as i go through these transitions, but i’m an artist and apparently, as rossi says, those whose creativity is their life’s work are closer to the struggle. that’s why it’s always been this way with me, as my artistic nature has been in place since i can remember; it was not learned or adopted. i’ve always felt on the edge of mental illness and while i am far less concerned about it than i used to be, far more sure of myself and the world i’ve created, i still go through definite times of despair at my lack of normality. it separates me, and the sensation of being separate brings a crisis of identity and worth, as I define myself by the pack’s standards, even if I hate doing it and see its standards as wrong for me.