Looking into areas that I had previously left on the "perhaps later" list. Either because I was afraid or I wasn't ready for it. Likely both. But instead of quickly dismissing some topics or possibilities, I'd might as well face my fear, right?
This was originally going to be a post in the thread "The Shadow and the LHP," but it felt too *something* to post as a part of the conversation, so I dragged it over here.
The question for me about the Shadow is, which parts of me are "me" and which are the culturally trained aspects?
Not to get "victim-y" but I can remember the exact moment when I realized that my personality wasn't "socially acceptable." I grew up in the country with no real neighbors, and I guess I was a little wild. Chatty, imaginative. And loud. (practice for my "teacher" voice). And one day I saw some schoolmates somewhere where hanging out with adults was intolerable, and I went to play with them. I asked if I could join them and they refused me, turned their backs and ignored me. I was utterly devastated, started asking why they wouldn't want me around. I started to second-guess everything I did - modifying my behavior to suit those around me as much as I knew how. Only that didn't work well, and I became a consummate loner.
Only now, I wonder if this "other" facade that I've developed over time hasn't become the "real" me (shy, inhibited). I've been encouraged to become more outgoing, to be less "antisocial" as my dad would say. And I try, but the same issues I had as a grade-school kid are still around. I'm still socially awkward, shy. And if I try to be more outgoing, I end up acting like herky-jerky Frankenstein monster.
I've accepted that I'm just an introvert. Or worse, just plain shy. Social-phobic. I've heard some silly adage "inside every shy violet there's a snapdragon waiting to burst out." Is the shadow the violet, or the snapdragon? Or both? Complex as this whole process is.
This is surface, and I realize this. And it might not matter in the long run, as both are "me" to some extent, and the final objective isn't to beat one unto submission and let the other wander freely.
I wonder if the part that rubs salt in the wounds isn't the Shadow as well. The part that plays back scenes from my interactions (with pithy commentary and analysis like a post-game show) for days afterward. Of the part that says "Fuck em all, I'm tired of bowing and scraping." Or are they all just layers, and I'll find that when I get through them all there's nothing at the center but a me-shaped mold of petrified soul.
Because I often find that what I do is mimicry of someone else - someone whose behaviors succeed in garnering acceptance. And if I was to strip all these layers of mimicry away, would there be anything of me left? Or did I die that day when some classmates turned me away?
Even now, I'm wondering if I shouldn't just delete this whole thing, because I don't want people to think I'm whining. Because the "me" that you see is carefully crafted (no pun intended). Which leads to the observation "Damn, this woman has a control problem." It the Control Freak "me," or is it the Shadow, or both?
Round and round.... developing some severe spiritual vertigo.