Within You Without You

Joseph Campbell explains the hero’s journey as a circular cycle of polarities common to all human beings. The call to adventure spurs one to leave their home and travel into the wild. The hero encounters many obstacles on the journey to their destiny.

Traversing through the dark roads filled with various real and imagined terrors & foes one begins to doubt their calling. Some even abandon their quest altogether and question the gods and themselves for a way out. Clarity comes during a period of introspection and acceptance of mistakes and losses which have occurred.

Eventually help is given in the form of “supernatural” or subtle aid enabling the hero to return to their goal much wiser and reinvigorated than before. Each one of us is the hero in our personal narratives. There are many years have some have lived the song of the downtrodden. Some never get a second chance or become to afraid to venture out again. Some succeed and arrive at their destination immediately (i.e. Billie Eilish & all overnight sensations.)

For most of us mortals it takes a longer more arduous route to get there. We are being forged while in the inky darkness.

Chipping away chunks of marble eventually reveal the intended sculpture.

But we are not marble. We are beings of light in corporeal forms. The chisel strips away excess on an internal level.

The work happens in our hearts our minds; in quiet corners where we cannot objectively peer deeply nor can others wholly understand. We are even mysteries to ourselves.

This start over in Washington state feels surreal and is very welcomed. It takes a while for the new normal to set in. I find myself wanting to go back to a sense of normalcy, but there is only going forward- at least in the traditional Newtonian sense. It’s been hard to reconcile certain events that occurred during my recent travels but I have come to accept everything as it is without too much romanticizing or self-critique.

I let the world in on my life and in some ways feel the distance this openness has allowed. Private battles and past challenges have been disclosed in hopes of helping others own their journeys. The one-sided judgments on the other side of the tablet and cell phones are not known yet I have felt the sting of silence too. Vulnerabilities begin to harden the longer they are exposed to the elements of time and social media.

The brightness of the world has dimmed in some ways. The bushy-tailed optimism still intact but more myopic in focus. Broad reaching hope for people to live their truest selves will never diminish in my heart. Despite my own failings & disappointments I still believe that we are good and worthy to be fought for.

I didn’t try hard enough to find a literary editor to publish Break the Violent Fetters. I’m more in the business of build it and they will come than the other way around.

Yet over the past few monthsI found there exists a stigma when you release art or self-publish on your own. It’s almost as if self-publishing delegitimized the gravity of my message.

As if these words were not good enough to be traditionally published- which was not the case at all. I just didn’t want to wait upon other people to judge and evaluate my life’s content. I had already lived through the threshing ground of societal judgment. 

Or maybe people felt like I hadn’t lived a hard enough life worthy to write a book about.There are billions of people on this planet that have experienced physically, environmentally, emotionally harrowing events in their lives. I speak of an experience that is unfortunately almost stereotypical for LGBTQI+ people throughout all societies and most time periods.

Putting pen to paper about my experience is an honor because so many other people have been silenced and never given the opportunities to share or live their truth. My first book is for those who haven’t gotten to tell their story and for those still figuring out their own.

We are not fair judges to ourselves but what happens when others are also unfairly judging you? The most shocking aspects of it all were people forgot to look at my heart as I blew up in minor crises for miles across America. I don’t recognize aspects of the person I was last summer/fall while in the throes of mania. My sister told me that I won’t ever be able to separate the manic behaviors and my true self. She’s right. They are bound to one another in a chemical compound that was its own venomous form. That also means I don’t have to stay the same.

The personal toll taken in telling this story is still yet to be determined but at this point I don’t think I would do it again. At least not in the way this all unfolded. Sometimes I cringe when I think about certain personal details I’ve allowed to disseminate into the masses, my friend and peer group, people I will never meet on various ends of the world and its wide web.

The dismantling of a life in progress at the height of its young successes has been hard. I was going to buy a house. That was the original plan, but this wanderlust would not be tied down or settled. I still find the wanderlust fighting and resisting the urge to stay. But maybe my stubbornness wouldn’t have allowed it any other way.

I was not ready to settle down until the pieces all fell apart. What is it in our wanderlust hearts that keeps us wanting more? This call to adventure is not so much a running away from problems as it is a hopeful, somewhat nebulous, expansion we are running towards. The saboteur and hero are one in the same. Dualities cannot exist apart from the other. Within you Without you.

It is tempting to judge yourself and present situation while you’re in the midst of a shit show. How can you see anything else when your present existence, one you’ve worked so hard to create backfires and your left with scarce remnants of what once was. Some friendships left in fragments. Others joined in the sea of so many little regrets.

Writing about the psychological, societal, and emotional chains I had broken in turn broke me all over again. It’s a cruel irony. It has spawned a new slew of regrets. I’ve wanted to press the reset button on my life so many times this past year. There was a way out of it all that kept calling. An unholy echo bidding me to an undug grave, yet again. I hope that call has been silenced for the last time.

You can’t see the way out when you’re mired in the reality of the shitshow you’re digging out of. We will not know how our actions truly affect another person, our families, our own lives, generations of people we will never meet.

The present is a confounding experience and difficult to describe. For we are not impartial to ourselves. We each possess a degrees of unreliable self-narration because it is difficult to remove yourself from the reality of your present circumstances. An exhausting difficult period of your life feels like it slowly spreads to all aspects of your psyche. Clouding your vision and hope of ever escaping the dungeon of regret.

A lot of times the current sorrows will not matter in the long run. Epitaphs aren’t filled with credit scores, or how shiny and straight your smile was. Even still, there exists a compulsion that drives me to write and to share that is insatiable. Our lives aren’t often remembered for the mistakes we have made- unless an egregious act was committed.

How many times have you regretted an action and let it play out over and over in your mind’s eye? You remember the events that led up to certain actions and thoughts. Your body revs with anxiety as you relive the event in your mind. The human body cannot qualify whether an action occurred in the present, past or future.

Whatever you focus upon will also reflect in your body as your neck tenses, heartbeat increases, etc. In essence we are reliving that past trauma every time we talk about it AND have an involuntary reaction. It feels like a haunting at first but distance from a problem or a situation helps you to see things with a broader perspective. 

A tragedy, an ordeal by fire smolders long after the flames have been extinguished.

Sometimes there is little to retrieve back from the ashes. In that case the embers of a former period of life are the beacons. They are the guides on our way forward. You can only see what’s up ahead when you are nearing the destination.

We are our own maps. Each day a thread running through paper folds.

I had been living in patterns of devolution for months. A persona unrecognizable to others who knew me well. I hit upon a rage that had never been expressed and a volatility of shockwaves that rippled beyond the bounds or intentions of my person.

I’m almost back to my normal self and personality. Now the dust has settled. The scattered pieces have been recollected. Some pieces and people will never fit again. There many more pieces that are still here and ones yet to find.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive,”Joseph Campbell.

Life is no longer stuck in a long looped waiting room. I’m finally where I wanted to be. There’s still so much left to explore, to enjoy, to live.

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