Who am I… she asked
“I was drawn to all the wrong things: I liked to drink, I was lazy, I didn’t have a god, politics, ideas, ideals. I was settled into nothingness; a kind of non-being, and I accepted it. I didn’t make for an interesting person. I didn’t want to be interesting, it was too hard. What I really wanted was only a soft, hazy space to live in, and to be left alone.”
― Charles Bukowski
Do you ever catch glimpses of yourself… of you before you think about yourself, before you assess what you are seeing, and start feeling those old familiar sensations which go with your usual thoughts about who you are, who you have been, who you have become, who you may be becoming, who you wish you could be?
A moment of just seeing without anything else attached…
Before you do what you always do when you get those old familiar sensations which cause the actions and reactions that create consequences… as you try to flee or fight… reject, refuse… pass the buck… the burden… the wound on…
They’re hard to come by in a world that is so busy… labeling us. We’re a part of that world, we label ourselves, and others too…
Leader, follower, abuser, victim, hero, villain, friend, foe, lover, hater, beautiful, ugly, famous, infamous, right, wrong, my side, other side, and so on… I wish we’d all hold ourselves accountable for what we’re doing… to others, and to ourselves through others, through ourselves, the labels we stick on them, on ourselves, and… but… then I’d have to do that too.
“Of all the things a man may do, sleep probably contributes most to keeping him sane. It puts brackets about each day. If you do something foolish or painful today, you get irritated if somebody mentions it, today. If it happened yesterday, though, you can nod or chuckle, as the case may be. You’ve crossed through nothingness or dream to another island in Time.”
― Roger Zelazny
Do you ever catch a glimpse of someone else… of them before you think about them, before you assess what you are seeing of them, and start feeling those sensations which go with your thoughts about them, who they are to you, who you need them to be, who you wish they were not, and who they could be if they would just allow you to control them as you would never allow them to control you?
Do you wish you were them… and perhaps wish that they were you? Because if you were them, you’d be them better than they are themselves… and if they were you, they’d be you better than you are yourself? Or because then they’d know what you were going through, what you have been through, why you are the way that you are… but are you willing to know what they are going through, what they have been through, why they are the way that they are?
“He was free, free in every way, free to behave like a fool or a machine, free to accept, free to refuse, free to equivocate; to marry, to give up the game, to drag this death weight about with him for years to come. He could do what he liked, no one had the right to advise him, there would be for him no Good or Evil unless he thought them into being.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre
Lately I’ve been visited by flashbacks in visual form of myself as a child, as though my mind is flipping through an old photo album.
I don’t actually have an old photo album, no pictures of myself before… perhaps it is better this way, that’s sort of what I thought when I got rid of such things years ago. I did not want photographs of myself haunting me, who I was there and then stopping me from being in the here and now.
That was the dubiously noble reason for ridding myself of that kind of stuff, the less noble reason was… I was always being compared to her – the one I had been, who was never who I actually had been, she was just easier to control because she wasn’t real, she was a figment of whoever’s imagination, but she could be used to control the one who was real.
She was prettier, smarter, nicer, better… if only I could be her – that was the gist of why I was being compared to her, or at least that was the message I received from the comparisons.
But… she wasn’t any of those things. I knew that. I had been her. She was, in reality, someone who spent a lot of her time staring out of windows, thinking, puzzling, dreaming, fantasising… about being someone else, anyone but who she was. Mostly because who she was always seemed to be wrong to those… who would later use her to tell her older versions how wrong they were too.
The mirror was the only window through which that one so long ago did not use to escape where she was, who she was… it was the window into just being. The reflection was a friend, with eyes which looked and saw her as she was, along the path of finding…
“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.”
― Hermann Hesse
These flashbacks are due to poking an old wound. This wound needs poking, otherwise I would leave it be… otherwise it would leave me be and stop poking me. At least that’s what I tell myself.
I’m struggling again, like I used to, as I always do. Some habits only die when you do, I suppose (I haven’t tried that theory out yet). I did stop struggling for a while, it was a rather nice reprieve. A bit barren. But new territory to explore. Except it didn’t have monsters and demons to fight, and became rather boring. But I kind of liked that sort of boredom. At least I thought I did…
Putting my weapons down, removing my armor… what blissful vulnerability, and utterly confusing. A different kind of confusion, and vulnerability from those which made me take up sword and shield in the first place.
I keep seeing the echoes of the monsters and demons which I used to fight in the eyes of others…
We all do that to a degree. Most of our fights with others, are really just fights with ourselves… it’s easier to fight ourselves when we’re possessing someone else through a projection, a transference.
However to befriend those monsters and demons, turn them into allies rather than foes… you have to own them. Wrestle with yourself, and end such a tussle with a kiss… the kind of kiss which awakens.
But who wants to kiss such ugly things.
“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.”
― Carlos Castaneda
Everything is both a blessing and a curse, and that includes being a warrior – who is an ordinary hu-man. The greatest challenge for those who see themselves as warriors is to find the ordinary man within, underneath all the gear, and the bluff and bluster of the fight – the ordinary man is ugliest being that needs a kiss.
Perhaps that explains the challenge of the narcissist in all of our lives. Whether we are the narcissist or the one who is in a relationship with a narcissist, past or present, or even future.
The narcissist’s blessing offers the gift of specialness. Of being no ordinary hu-man. But with this blessing comes a curse – to forever flee or fight the ordinary.
While you live in the land of the narcissist, you must be a warrior, fighting, always fighting. Be it as the narcissist, by the side of the narcissist, or even against the narcissist. Just because you’re no longer on the side of the narcissist doesn’t mean you’re not still stuck in their fabled land.
Those who fight narcissists… need the narcissists and their land, perhaps more so than they needed them when they were on the same side. Without our monsters and demons, who are we… yet with them, we are warriors, fighting the good fight, knights in shining armor, off on our quest to fight dragons.
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Sometimes we become what we have fought so hard… not to become… because we identify with it and it becomes our identity, an intrinsic part of who we are, of who we think and feel that we are. Maybe that’s the only way to own it, to understand it, to develop the empathy needed to stop fighting and start being.
The way out is… to accept the unacceptable.
You kissed the frog and found a prince, now kiss the prince and find the frog. Follow your quest full circle… until frog and prince are the same, and more than that, they are you, not someone else, although they are sometimes someone else too, and so are you.
Perhaps that’s who we are.