Reflection: Muse versus Monster

 

When I re-consider the experiences that I had dealing with childhood and adolescent monsters, I have a lot of thoughts.

Firstly, that the difference between a billow and a character is only set by my own experience, which can be manipulated by some liminal or numinous quality of imagination.

Secondly, when it comes to imagination there’s a difference between the story that I live and the story that I tell. When I decided that, “I feel protected, yeah, but that’s just play-pretend and not worthy of developing because, unlike with the winged cape and hands clasp…the monsters just happen to me and I expect something exactly like that but in the opposite direction.” That was my forcing the entire psychic world to fit into my logical reasoning. (Reminder: ego is not evil.) What would have been mature and more effective, was to observe the mystery and go with what felt intuitive rather than what should have made sense. At the very least, I could have enjoyed the best results. I use logic and reasoning at least as much as imagination when creating a fiction. Truth is stranger than reality because the truth doesn’t have to make sense; it’s we who move to make sense of the truth. Imagination, especially inspired, seems to have a shade of the liminal and numinous…but, it’s not the same mindset, and I don’t have the vocabulary to describe how different the mindset is. I only have dramatized accounts of things that happened to me, contrasted with fiction that might read like something that might have actually happened to mebut they’re words, all words, merely words. Words can articulate and invent. You can’t trust them, not coming from anybody else.

Thirdly, that what I like to call “blacksmything” and what C.G. Jung refers to as “a confrontation with a shadow” requires a shift from utterly innocent victim to a participant in one’s own suffering. If no part of my psyche was “participating” then there would be nothing for me to do with myself that would alleviate the suffering—I should dedicate all my efforts to social justice instead of dabbling in personal development. That said, I had taken that sentiment completely the wrong way and sought some sense of empowerment by a spectacularly bad strategy of claiming to be at fault for things that (now that I have healthy boundaries, I can say) were not my fault. The trick was not to own my shadows, but to give them up.

One oft-repeated specious piece of advice that really annoyed me was, “If anybody insults you, then it shouldn’t hurt your feelings unless it were true, or it shouldn’t get such a strong reaction from you against it unless it were true. If you were secure, then it would just be a noise…” That puts too much trust in the face of it. I could give due consideration to anything that anybody expresses, because it’s an integral life process to respond to stimuli, and consideration of a personal attack alone would be hurtful without the sentiment being true. I could subconsciously agree with the sentiment, but that doesn’t make it true; only agreed-upon, and only subconsciously at that.

Hostility causes harm by its nature, not by its association with truth or honesty: I separate the notions. If or when the hurtful truth of the shadow is identified, besides, the notions represented by this shadow does not at all resemble the exact expression of hostility that engendered the shadow.

 

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