This week has been a tough one for me. And I feel like Peter Pan constantly grappling with his shadow. The obsessiveness has come back. The passion. The extreme emotions and feelings. The endless deluge of sad, broken, hopeless, despair. The old fears of abandonment and unlovability. All fixated and filtered through my attachment to someone whom I’ve loved deeper than anyone else in my life–which is saying something because I always love deeply. It’s my blessing and my curse. I love to my own detriment. To the point of my own destruction. I love until I’ve wrung my relationships into dry, crusted rags. I love until I fear. Until she’s gone. And then I obsess. It’s all I think about. I wake up, there she is. I go to sleep, there she is. A haunting specter of my own failures. My own worthlessness. If I was worthy of love, wouldn’t she be here now? If I wasn’t so obsessed, wouldn’t she be here now? What’s wrong with me that she won’t come back? That she wants absolutely nothing to do with me?
I am insatiable. No amount of another’s love can satisfy me. No amount of sex, or admiration, or facebook likes, or nice comments. No amount of praise, nor affection. It’s all shite. Absolute shite.
And I’m just stuck in it like a hamster unable to get off the wheel, unable to stop running in place, unable stop from tiring herself out.
THIS IS SAMSARA, the sign on the door reads in Ye Olde English font, then in smaller lettering: YOU CAN’T LEAVE HERE, NOT WITHOUT DYING FIRST.
But I’m not ready to die. I’m not ready to let go for some reason. I keep holding on even though it brings only pain, only suffering. If I could only have a bit of breathing room, a bit of perspective, maybe an out-of-body experience to jar me from my small sense of self, something to show me the true divinity of my nature, the true eternity of Me.
For now, all I’ve got is my writing. I spent ten hours writing today. Seven on thanksgiving. Once I get going, I’m just in it. Almost completely absorbed. And I don’t have to deal with other problems, other concerns. I don’t have to pay attention to my obsessions, or my attachments, or the things that make me sad, lest I want to turn them into something beautiful, something artistic, something meaningful. Which is good. It’s a good place to be. It’s a good way to transmute my passions. At the end of the day, I know I’ve always got my writing to come back to–I’ve always got my writing to rely on. And it need not be published. It need not spark a literary or cultural revolution. Or win the Pulitzer. No. Those are lovely things to aspire to. But I’m beginning to think the purpose of my writing has almost nothing to do with where I’m going, and everything to do with where I already am. Get it? I don’t need to write a New York Times Bestseller. I don’t need to be selected to Oprah’s Bookclub. I need only make myself giggle, or cause me to marvel at my own ability. Cause ultimately it’s all so fleeting and all I’ve got is the present so I might as well do what I love the most. I might as well bring my dreams to life in the here and now, in practical ways, mindful ways, little ways. And then, tomorrow, I can wake up and do it all over again.
Cause if I don’t, the darkness comes back over me like a guillotine or a steel hood. And I can’t escape it. I can only sink into it. Give in to my own self-destruction, to drinking, to smoking weed and cigarettes, to way too much masturbating–yes, masturbating. Sometimes it’s the little things, the little deaths, le petite morte, that gives me a break from the anguish. Other times, it’s just sleeping for ten hours, eleven if I can hack it without feeling shitty for wasting my day.
I wish I could just reach into my own unconscious and wrench everything out of it. Like existential surgery or something. Do they have surgeons for that? Paging Doctor Wishbone, you’re due for triple bypass heart chakra surgery in ten minutes. Please report to the OR immediately. Paging Doctor Wishbone.
I’d also just as easily saw my shadow from my feet and sell it to some bug-eyed bazaar pirate. Get your shadows here! Get your shadows. Dark, compulsive, and murderous habits of all kinds. Perverse attractions. Addictions to power and control! Get your shadows here!
“Excuse me. Do you happen to have that in a size eight?”
But that’s wishful thinking. Living in my fantasies thinking. Deluded thinking. There’s no unclipping my unconscious. It drags behind me like a bridal train covered in hundred pound weights. Like an RV filled with rotting skeletons. Excuse me, do you know why I pulled you over? Is it because I’m towing an RV filled with rotting skeletons, officer? Yes. Yes, it is.
It’s like the Devil’s suitcase. Or one of those rollie bags you see a lot at the airport, except this one has a Narnia-style portal inside of it that leads you straight to the coldest corners of Hell, where one-legged prostitutes cram rusted cheese graters up your rectum for all eternity. After a while you’d think your butt couldn’t fit any more cheese graters, but whaddaya know, this is Hell? There’s always more room in your butt.
Or maybe the portal leads straight to the frigid rocks of Pluto, where everything is cast in ghostly pale bluish light, and your exes are dragging different versions of you around in ball gag and dog collar, while you wait for another spanking. Or maybe you’re the one doing the dragging, and behind you, in a row of chains, is every lover you’ve ever had. They wither and die on those chains, wilting monuments to everyone who’s ever loved you deeply. And there’s no where for them to go, no way to escape. They can’t abandon you. After all you’re on Pluto for God’s sake and the nearest Space Station is at least three billion miles away.
Yes, yes. This is the shadow. This is the stuff I don’t want to look at. This is the stuff I don’t want you to see. My darkness. The things that make me rage. The invisible forces lurking in my depths. The things that seem to make me unlovable, psychotic, compulsively sexual, an obsessed, desperate freak, longing for love, and squelching it as soon as it comes my way.
Oh… there, there, Zoey. It’s not so bad. You’re not a bad person. You’ve got a heart as big as the moon. And so much passion you don’t know what to do with it all. Someone’s going to come along and love you for exactly who you–
DON’T SAY IT. DON’T FUCKING SAY IT. THIS ISN’T OVER. IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL I SAY IT IS. WHO THE FUCK DOES SHE THINK SHE IS? WALKING AWAY FROM US? FROM ME? I’m going to get her for this. I’ll never forgive. I’ll never let go. I’m going to drown us both if I get the chance.
Jesus Christ, calm down.
NO! I WON’T CALM DOWN! DON’T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN! I’VE BEEN CALM MY WHOLE FUCKING LIFE. I’VE BEEN QUIET MY WHOLE FUCKING LIFE WHILE EVERYONE TREATS ME LIKE SHIT, WHILE EVERYONE TREATS ME AS EXPENDABLE, DISPOSABLE, GARBAGE!
People don’t treat you that way, Zoey. People love you. Don’t you see that? Don’t you see that you’re lovable?
Then why is she gone? Why won’t she talk to me?
You’ve got to let her go, Zoey. You’ve got to let her go. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. Okay? Maybe it has nothing to do with you? Maybe she’s afraid of how much she’s capable of loving? Maybe she’s just as afraid of herself, and she sees it all reflected in you? Maybe her leaving isn’t about you at all? Maybe she just needs to go and live her life. You know, become a whole person? Individuate. Differentiate. Maybe she needs to do that and maybe she needs to do it without you.
Without me what? Weighing her down? Holding her back?
No, no… well, maybe. Isn’t that what relationships do when you’re trying to strike out on your own? Don’t they just become a hindrance?
I guess so…
Didn’t you miss out on so much at Naropa because of how obsessed you were with her? Because of how unwilling you were to go out on your own?
And haven’t you done a little bit of that on this trip, too? Haven’t you?
Yeah, I have…
So is that how you’re going to finish out this incredible trip? By sulking? By obsessing? That’s how you want to remember the time you went by yourself to Tuscany to write a fucking novel? As the time you couldn’t stop thinking and obsessing over your ex-girlfriend, the one who’s supposed to be your Twin Flame? Do you really want to hang so much weight on her? Give her all this power she doesn’t need, all this power she isn’t even asking for?
No… it’s just… it’s just that it’s a lot to deal with. It’s a lot to process.
Well of course it is. Jesus. Look at you. You’re up for the third or fourth night in a row at 2am, writing like your life depends on it. Like maybe if you just keep writing and writing, all your problems will be solved? Doesn’t that seem like something someone who’s going through a lot would do? At least you’re not swimming in a bottle of whiskey, or cutting yourself in the bushes, Zoey.
I would never do that…
No but you’d let yourself suffer for no fucking reason. You’d give up your consciousness, your powers of awareness, your mindfulness, to sulk and bathe in your own sorrow.
So how is that any different than cutting yourself? It’s just psychic versus physical pain, and if you ask me–in the long run–it’s the psychic pain that’ll kill you. The cuts will heal; they’ll scar over. It’s the wounds you can’t see that really hurt you.
Yes I know that. Why do you think I’m always trying so hard to see them?
Oh hush. You’re not always trying so hard? You meditate like maybe once a day, if that, twice if you’re feeling super spiritual. Let’s be honest here, Zoey. You’ve actively chosen to spend your time in unproductive ways. You’ve actively allowed harsh, critical voices to run the show in your head? Even I sound like a bit of a judgmental asshole, and I’m nothing more than a projection–a creation of YOUR imagination. I could disappear at any moment and you’d be all alone with yourself again. Is that something you can handle? Being alone with yourself?
I’m trying. I really am.
Okay, great. Now just stop trying. It’s not something you need to try to do. Whether you like it or not, you’re alone with yourself until the day you die. And maybe even then you might still be, if your beliefs about the immortality of the soul prove to be true. Then again, Zoey, this is all just a matter of realizing you are that soul, you are a thread of the divine. Everything else. All these wounds. All this baggage. All this suffering. It’s just congestion. It’s just dirt and smudges on the lens. None of it’s true. NONE OF IT. And you don’t have to buy into it. Not even the illusion of separation, cause that’s false too.
Okay, okay. Right, time and space are illusions. Physical matter is really just compositions of energy in a larger void of energy. It’s all lovely new age pith, but when you get down to it, it doesn’t really get you anywhere. It doesn’t get me anywhere to talk about enlightenment. You know what gets me places? Admitting things. Coming to terms with my darkness. With the things that scare me–the places within that frighten me–the aspects of myself I want desperately to hide from people. I don’t want them to know about my insecurities… I don’t want them to see how fragile I can be, how obsessed I am. These parts of me… I think they are unlovable. I think they’re too much. I think they’re off putting. And I don’t blame her for leaving. I don’t blame her for giving me the silent treatment, for blocking me. It makes sense.
Well you know, if you’re just going to believe it all then yes it does make sense. But there’s more to it than that. Yes they’re shadows. But you’re responsible for shining light on them. And you know what that looks like? It looks a hell of a lot like this. It looks a hell of a lot like splaying them all out for the world to see, knowing deep down that you’re good, that you’re worthy of love. And the more you accept who you are, the more you accept how deep your feelings go, the more you’ll be able to express them in positive ways–LIKE YOUR WRITING. Do you honestly think it’s a coincidence that you’ve got so much unconscious material to work with and you also happen to be a damned good writer? No. It’s for a reason. You have a gift, Zoey.
Yeah… that’s what everyone else says.
I’m fucking serious! You’ve got a gift Zoey. And I’m not talking about your writing. I’m talking about your shadow. I’m talking about your insecurities. Your obsessiveness. Your compulsiveness. Your self-absorption, your ignorance, your poor boundaries. I’m talking about your possessiveness. Your desperation. Your greed. Your anger. I’m talking about all the things you try to stuff deep down. THAT’S THE REAL MATERIAL YOU SHOULD BE WORKING WITH. THAT’S WHERE THE GOLD IS. And you’ve got a real chance to mine every last bit of it, even if it takes you a lifetime. Don’t you see that? Don’t you see how much of a gift you’ve been given in this life?
Oh it’s such a gift. I’m trans. I don’t look at all like how I hoped I would when I started transitioning. I’ve got psoriatic arthritis and I depend on a medication that severely limits my ability to travel. My nose is too big. My feet. My hands. I get called sir and man more often than some actual boys do. What is there to actually like about how I look? What is there to actually like about my body?
Is that what this is about? Your body? You think you got robbed or something? Betrayed by the Gods? You think you were supposed to have a slim waist, olive skin, small-lipped porn star quality pussy, a chin like Mona Lisa, breasts like Venus? Hips and ass like Kim Kardashian? You think a surgeon might be able to make it all better? Make you… desirable? You think that will heal your wounds?
Give me a break, Zoey. The point is to love what you’ve been given–all of it, shadow and all. The point is to accept with open, even gleeful arms who you are, what you are, and what you’re made of. Otherwise, how is anyone else ever going to love you the way you long to be loved?
I guess that’s true.
Of course it is. Now can we please watch Rick and Morty and get some sleep? I’m tired. I need to rest. I need to stop thinking about all this like life depends on it, because at least for tonight, it doesn’t. And then tomorrow, we can wake up, have some coffee, and do it all over again, and again, and again until maybe we will have let go enough to actually breathe and enjoy the moment.
Okay… yeah I’m pretty tired myself. Besides, I wrote so much today. I should be proud of that. I should be proud for what I’ve done, what I’m trying to do.
Yes, yes. And you should be proud of WHO YOU ARE, too, regardless of the things you accomplish.
So can we be done with this now, Peter Pan? Is this enough shadow work for the day?
*Sigh* Yeah, we can be done. Besides… I really need to pee.