I think I may have again run up against the reason I’ve stopped writing “things-which-aren’t-verifiably-true.” It has come up in regard to posting on a forum I used to frequent, and it came up again in my last poetry attempt.
I have been aware of it, at least, since the time I started my Creative Process class (now completed): It is more difficult for others to read what I’m saying when I work in visual art, and I was effectively blocked as regarded Writing.
This hasn’t really been broached…largely since I graduated with my Writing degree, now over a decade ago. I stopped writing because I didn’t want to show people how messed-up I was; and at the time I was very, very ill. In specific, all the parts of my identity which I want to hide, show up in my Creative Writing.
If you want to know how deep that goes, I can say that when I was at University, I pretty much let go of hoping for acceptance because — as I put it then — “if people don’t like me for one reason, they won’t like me for another.” With strikes against me for my race, gender, sexual orientation, religion (or lack of one), spirituality, mental status, culture, politics, etc…the goal of acceptance was looking pretty hopeless.
Since that time, I have been somewhat in the adult world, where petty disputes over identity don’t occur as often as they do in high school, junior college, or University; though when they do occur, they seem to be much more damaging, especially when layered upon a prior history of trauma.
What I’m thinking is that if I’m going to write, I’m going to have to pull off these layers of gauze and actually look at myself and my identities — and stop pretending that I’m a normal person. I think the reason I stopped writing was because of anxiety over self-presentation. This, and concerns over not being able to be employed anywhere because I took the risk of expressing an unpopular (minority) opinion from an unpopular (minority) vantage point, at one time. This, or people would read what I wrote, and not understand it, but judge me for it anyway.
I’m fairly certain that these motivations are applicable to this blog. I’ve been much less prolific recently, and when I look at reasons why, it is not because I don’t have things to write about, but rather that I don’t want to deal with repercussions of existing as a multiply-impacted minority online.
The only way to avoid that, though, is to stay silent, and if I stay silent, intolerance and hate wins.
I do have a part of myself which has evolved specifically to counteract this, though switching into his mental space is a bit of a double-edged sword; particularly where it comes to gender identity and dysphoria. (He’s male; this body is not. He’s also a bit aggressive, which isn’t good when you have an aggressive mother who never backs down from a fight.)
I should note that when I speak about, “parts of myself,” the question is still up in the air as to whether these are external or internal to me, and whether the distinction is even possible, or if it matters at all.
The entire shamanic angle is another facet to this, though I don’t consider myself a shaman at this time, as I was never trained by a living person (other than my mother) in any kind of tradition. I did go through a rather prolonged “Seeker” phase in which I explored…a lot. Though what my spirituality is, now, doesn’t fit precisely into any specific religion.
I’ve read that a tendency to mental illness often rides along with psychic ability. The psychic tendencies are what have caused me to look outside of institutionalized religion for answers. Later, the politics and framework of the Western Occult Tradition caused me to look outside of the occult sphere for answers (I didn’t realize how alien it was to me, until I started looking into Demonology — and realized how heavily that was based in the doctrines and prejudices of a religious system which wasn’t mine).
The best I can do right now, is to depend on myself and try to recognize when I’m mistaken (which is not easy when you have a tendency to disconnect from physical reality, in general). I do tend to keep coming back to Buddhism, especially when I hit depressive lows, but I don’t accept what I read, uncritically.
In specific, I have an interest in Huayan Buddhism (I have at least one book on this, which I still haven’t read: I hit “sentient beings” and get triggered), and the period in time at which Daoism and Buddhism were stealing each other’s doctrines and followers in China — making them both sound similar in the present day (see: Buddhism & Taoism: Face to Face by Christine Mollier).
I think I’ve gotten really turned off of Buddhism because of some of the lay beliefs, like, “if something bad happens to you, you must deserve it (because of something you did in a past life which you can conveniently no longer remember),” and, “you only experience unpleasant things because you label them unpleasant (so if you label your toothache as ‘joyous’ you would experience ‘joy’ at your toothache),” or the belief that thinking is worthless (so don’t question the teacher), or the belief that all females are karmically inferior to all males (so we don’t have to fund that nunnery you girls want).
Beliefs like these are really irritating, but I’ve got to remember that they’re not actually anything that helps. And Buddhism is at its core about pragmatically helping, so beliefs like these should be easily tossed aside — unless, say, you’re a heterosexual monk and having a hard time keeping to your abstinence vow (which is not anything Buddha ever even set in place — his followers did), and programming yourself to hold disgust toward women has become preferable to experiencing life as a being whose constitution includes libido directed at same.
But yeah. Maybe I’ve just made it into the ranks of the non-beginner Buddhists…
I should probably sign off before I say more stupid things…