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Brave Enough to Burn

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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.

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This is a good question I think. We have other members much more experienced with shadow work than me, but when I read this I got the impression that the answer would be found in reconciling the two possibilities, that it's somehow both. Like I said it's just an impression, take it for what it's worth!

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I think it is both as well. Everything we go through shapes us, so there is no "real me", its all the real you. Shadow work, in my experience, isn't a one shot deal either. You don't sit down and say "well now shadow, now that I have figured you out, what next?" It will take a lifetime of constantly evaluating your fears, your prejudices, your worries, and your past trauma. By doing this you balance yourself out and become a healthier person because you are constantly reconciling the negatives of the human experience. It's like taking the trash out on a regualr basis instead of letting it pile up, stink, and grow flies. In this way we shape ourselves and we become stronger for the next round of shit. All shadow work is, is looking at and thinking about the things that our society likes to "push under the rug" because it is unpleasant. Don't feel bad because the other kids didn't want to play with you. You are probably more mentally stable, more healthy, and more spiritually happy than those other kids because they are living in the illusion that our society has created. That is what it means to be popular, giving off the impression of the perfect life. Deep down these people are just as, if not more so, unsure of everything as you and I are. That is part of seeing beyond the veil....you see through the illusion of "the perfect life" and realise there is no perfect life. We only have the one right now (depending on your belief) and the goal is to make the most of it for our own souls happiness and not constantly wallow in the mind garbage created by this life.


I find I am an introvert as well and I don't like to really socialize with other regular people. But being labled and "introvert" is a misnomer too because when I am around people of my own ilk, I become a extrovert and you can't shut me up. I think some of our kind have become "introverted" as a way of self presevation against the illusion that most other people peddle on a daily basis.

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It's funny - some days I can say "fuck 'em" about everyone's expectations and go on, and some days I drop back into the self-analysis-and-pity-puddle. I can see how this process could drive a person to drinking (or depression, or both...). Not only because you start to question everything about yourself, but because you start to question everything else, as well.


Or you can say "Yeah, that was a lie, too" and feel somehow vindicated.

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