When the obedient decided to chase after freedom

I think there is an important life lesson I really really need to log down. I have always been the obedient child. But I can see that it is toxic now. I would like to change that.

The obedient do not know how to fight against the odds. The obedient care too much about what others think of them. We are too good at hiding ourselves instead of showing the world who we are. The obedient are passively aggressive because we do not like you but we pretend we do. Something shows, right?

Growing up my mom cares a lot about what I do and think. She believes everything has to be according to the social standards. That makes me sick. I am screaming ‘I am not normal’ but no one hears that. Most of the friends were too busy trying to please their parents and act ‘normal’. But I refused to accept normalcy is something humans chase after. I can see so many flaws that society will not accept in me. It is so loud in my quiet mind that I know it is impossible for me to be normal. Luckily, I was smart enough to know probably this is the state for other people in the world as well.  They just refused to accept it. I don’t know why they can’t see it, but they are good people. The end result is, back and forth I doubt myself. They say I don’t belong. They say I am marching to a lonesome defeat. But I refused to believe in the society. I refused to give up. I have given in for a long time. This tug of war is between my identity and the world in front of me. How to strike a balance and call it a win-win?

I chose myself. I became an artist. I grasped any opportunities to express myself as a person. I studied psychology and philosophy. I studied the things that constitutes normalcy from a scientific angle. I studied the so-called disabled people and read their autobiographies. I stumbled upon Carl Jung’s quotes and I think that changes everything. At the age of 14, I read about Carl Jung and for the years to come, his words painted the wall of my room and the back of my mind. In a large scale, everything I do is to preserve the selves that society wants to repress, to entertain the selves that I am scared to lose. The emotions that are running in the background, the quiet screams only those who are sensitive would notice.

However, no matter how good I am being an artist, I did not learn to use words to express my own selves in front of others. Writing is good but it is still not a direct mean to express emotions. I still shy away from expressing my own emotions to others. The idea that others will actually accept I dislike something others like is hard to take.  Adults do not like truths, they just want to conserve the superficial harmony. This is something I hate about being an adult. This is something I hate about my parents.

This was true until one day I told my colleague I got nothing to work on, and he told me that is because I have complied orders and followed instructions all my life and do not know how to find my own work.  ”Our company gives us lots of freedom, you just have to ask for permission.” He is the colleague that many others do not like because he started many things but did not manage to finish them properly. A trouble-maker. But in that moment he said those words, I was not offended. Not at all.  I think he is wise. What he said is true. I do not know how to express myself even when people allow it. People would like to see what I can offer and bring up.

It is the moment that I think the world is not working against me but with me. The feeling of ‘the world is against me’ is really hard to shake off but in that moment I turned the concept around, I can sense freedom and acknowledgment are possible in this world.

The more I work with other humans, I realised they are not really rejecting me but curious about me. They want to know I will say, they want to know what kind of surprise I will bring them. This is something never existed in my world. People in my world used to reject me because I was not following instructions. People used to show hatred and take freedom from me when I refused to obey. I lived in an authoritarian world! In the sacrifice of personal freedom, I lost interest in living but drifting into a world that no human exists. I love to draw fluffy animals and I would be the only human being in my imagination.I drifted into the world of books in search of meaning in life. I go dark. I disappeared from the reality in favor of my own reality.

Humans are extremely hard to satisfy. We all have our own ideas but only a few can articulate their ideas fully to feel understood.

Paulo Coelho said madness is the inability to communicate your ideas. It’s as if you were in a foreign country, able to see and understand everything that’s going on around you, but incapable of explaining what you need to know or of being helped, because you don’t understand the language they speak there. We’ve all felt that. And all of us, one way or another, are mad.

Maybe that’s the reason: the obedient have a hard time to get out of their own madness. They lack the skills to tell others what they need to know.

To escape that, you either allow yourself to be mad in front of others or you learn to communicate in various ways. I do both, I suppose.

Yesterday, I had a dream of being naked but I do not feel ashamed. I remember Milton Erikson once told his patient that God gives us the body and we should not be ashamed of showing her breasts in public while feeding her son; or giving out gasses. They are the miracles of human bodies. Being mad is also what humans do, there is nothing to feel ashamed of. I think ‘madman’ do it differently because they cannot choose when to do the mad things, but most of us have this choice. I started to scream when I am at home, especially when I feel life is unfair. I started to shout and growl like a dog at home or in the forest whenever I feel like it. It feels good, it helps with the release of anger I have, for myself and for this world. I am also working at a school setting and learning to communicate with students who test my boundaries and get rewards for free. It tested my ability to communicate and value their ideas and at the same time stay true to myself.

I have learnt to embrace the absurdity of human life and embrace the unconscious mechanisms that most people may not understand.The acknowledgment of personal freedom feels good, even though it may not be what you think it is. It could mean doing harmless silly things in front of others. It could mean being proactive and stand for yourself and the values you held close to your heart.

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You are born whole

I thought about how some people got multi-personality and split their own self into different layers. I looked at people who teach others to love themselves. I proposed our psychological self is actually making up of different layers. When we say you have to respect yourself this is a strange statement, because you need someone else to respect. How can you give something to someone if there is only one person? But respecting yourself is possible, loving yourself is possible. So psychologically, everyone has different layers of self. Freudians use the idea self, ego and id to explain this. The ideal self is the realistic side of you who want to be successful, admired, loved by others. You follow the norms, do what the society considers as good. But this might not be what you want. What you want to do or your own inner child, is the id. We will go back to the idea of the inner child later, but right now I want to stress my definition of self is slightly different, we have an indefinite number of layers within us, it’s not countable. Also, it is not as clear cut as id, super-ego and ego. There are always grey areas in between, and probably some layers in between.

 

Furthermore, self-love is the glue to hold these layers together, the stronger your self-love, the more you can accept your different layers,the more you can hold yourself together, and the closer you are to unity of self. And by that, some people will say ‘they feel they are whole’, it is that feeling. Unity of self, I mean different layers of self merged together and one no longer feel there are distance among layers of self, he or she can accept the dark sides and the bright sides of himself or herself unconditionally. But this feeling is actually independent of others, in daily lives many people attribute this feelings to their lovers. But love will always stands outside if you cannot love yourself. Love from someone just triggers self-love from yourself, everything is about you, and you alone.

 

We just talked about how self-love can make us feel whole and it is independent to others. So, what is the typical state for most people? There is a huge gap between their ideal self and their inner child. Adults, implements lots of socially acceptable values and beliefs and traditions and customs to themselves, and have the ideal that they have to fulfill those things in order to be successful and happy. Because of that, they are no longer able to see their own inner child screaming to them about what they actually need or desire. They are far away from their inner child. They are usually will not say they are unhappy, but they are not happy neither, because they are not even sure what they want. They thought growing up is about leaving their playful side of themselves behind, and starting to care more about others than themselves. They thought leaving their own desires and needs and satisfying other’s needs and desires means growing up, implies maturity. But as one steps away from their own need and desires, one is also stepping away from their id, the core layer of self. As a consequence, many people step away from their own self and no longer able to love themselves, hoping others can do that for them.

 

Sadly, this is a very common story.

 

To explain this, Freudians will probably say the superego is dominating the psyche and repressing the needs of id. To solve this, the person has to look carefully what the id need and rationally satisfy the desires of id. While in the approach of Carl Jung, this will probably be explained by socialization and the initial wholeness of self disappeared because the internalization of cultural and sociatal values to ‘you who are’ as a person. You learned to look outward and thought that is exactly who you are. Until one day you realised the image of you no longer applies and you freaked out, has an identity crisis and cling to the old self image you have. You cannot see through, the answer is always within, deep within. The only way to find out who you are and feel whole again, is achieved by looking inwards. Getting away layers and layers of what you thought as a good person, examined the criteria that the society considered as good and bad. You will start to see, there are no one judgement that is universial in this world. Everyone holds a different ruler. When you thought you are beautiful the other person can see you as ugly. You are considered ugly in this culture but beauty in another. There are no rules. 

 

Look within, and you will see many things you assumed as right are just culturally accustomed as right. Who you are? The society says we should avoid the pain we have gone through and only focus on being positive. But avoiding the pain also means you are avoiding yourself. Ironic, isn’t it?

 

Once again, please look within. Acknowledge the emotions repressed by your family and friends, acknowledge the things that are stored inside you for the sake looking good. Self-love means looking deep inside, accept the sides of you the society does not give permission to, acknowledge the pain you are in.

 

Life can be twisted and fucked up, but you are whole, every creature on this Earth is whole.

Love yourself, regardless

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I am not saying education is all wrong, it does have its values. But the post is true, many people get into the habit to believe in authority, whatever the book says must be true; get into the habit to conform even when the situation looks so wrong; get to believe they are stupid, they are losers and think they don’t deserve anything good just because their grades/work go wrong. We build systems in order to organise people and work, but systems can also blind people from the truth—that they are just systems, systems are not saying what is right or wrong, not saying who you are, not saying what you deserve. You are who you are.

I know this is hard to change even when you see through it, but for most of you,you have the choice to leave when you notice the system does not fit you. In a society work with systems without empathy, love yourself, regardless.

 

Expose yourself to your deepest fear.

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Your deepest fear is not facing crock coaches or taking a roller-coaster ride.

Those deepest fears are things we seldom think about but we know they exist, close to every beings on this earth.

They are loneliness, death, meaningless of life and the lack of freedom.

Expose yourself to your deepest fears.

You do not need to go to a dangerous place to feel the death.

When you are doing intensive exercise and catching your breath; when you are having a cold and lying in bed; when you are alone in a foreign country. As long as you feel your body or your soul is at some kind of extreme, look inside.

Look carefully, you will find the dark side of yourself, the weak side of yourself.

The ugly side you always want to hide away from, that’s it. Look carefully, you will discover your are not perfect, and the ugly side is the part of you desperately need your acceptance, hiding and waiting, hovering to have a face to face conversation with your soul.

I do not guarantee you will be free, but there will be a relief.Your ugly side no longer scares you, because you remember its existence.
Maybe your weak side no longer looks ugly, because its just as beautiful as the bright side of yourself.
You start to smile at your own mistakes, because you know where they are from.

You know you can have better control of it next time.
You are getting stronger.

After all, nothing can be as scary as not knowing yourself.

A little Thought on Annihilation of our Identity, our Self

ラピュタcastle  photo credit to http://xn--o9j0bk8t7cqhlg3744bdoc.jp/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/%E3%83%A9%E3%83%94%E3%83%A5%E3%82%BF.jpg

My mum asks me all kinds of strange questions, most of them do not make sense at all, like how a smelly sock land on your head affects your brain functioning? well, obviously the answer is nothing will happen. Some of them are heart-wrenching ones like why people commit suicide? That’s my mum’s question after she saw students killing themselves on the news. Why are children nowadays so fragile? Are they spoiled? Can you explain it using psychology? Do they know that no problems can be solved? My mum’s questions are like bullets, and there are so much more coming to me. The news report did not give any details on why it happened. Maybe they are under pressure, maybe they have a problem with their friends or/and family, maybe….I DON’T KNOW

But I am certain, only when you are desperate and you have no other way out you would try to kill yourself.

Lately, I watched ‘Castle in the Sky’(天空の城ラピュタ) and have a little thought on ‘killing oneself’.

The movie is talking about a secret castle called Laputa up in the sky with higher technology than we do. There is an army chasing a girl with a magic stone, and a boy wants to be a pilot.

Long story short, many people joined the party searching for the castle and they found it. At the end, someone greedy tried to take over the world with the power of the castle and the princess of Laputa decided to destroy the castle for its own good.  Here is my point, when someone is trying to destroy the thing that you hold tightly, you may well destroy the whole thing, which is yourself when the last straw comes, in an attempt to protect it ultimately from hurt, also to get back the sense of control.  What will you do to your identities or your own self when they are being attacked continually?

Same as the castle, some people will choose to destroy themselves in order to protect them, even when it means you would lose everything.

Somehow I asked the wrong question, the right question should be how can we protect ourselves from attacks?

‘The most terrible fear we can experience is the fear that our identity, our self, is going to be
annihilated.’ (Rowe;382, 2007)

Here, please let me make an assumption that committing suicide is the ultimate act to relieve oneself from annihilation. According to Dorothy Rowe, in order to let annihilation of our identity happens, we have to let others have the ability to attack us, let others have the power to create or destroy our own identity as they please.The right question should be how can we protect ourselves from attacks? When we can not be independent and are entirely depending on our parents, for example, we are open to attacks without protection. More, when we BELIEVE we have to live up to someone’s expectations, like being a good student is having good grades and well behaved; when you have to pass some sort of examinations in order to get the job title you think you deserved,etc., are the traps to make us believe we have to live us to our society’s standards, which are made of cruel expectations and rules. If we believe that those rules and expectations are how we earn love, we are meant to be annihilated when someone tells you you’re not worth loving because you haven’t met the requirements.

All in all, rules and expectations are made up by men, they are how the system works. Understanding rules and expectations are nothing but just for convenience and efficiency and productivity. We have to able to tell ourselves, they are not measuring our self-worth. No matter how bad is the end result, the result doesn’t define who you are. It is one big strong pin that holds us from falling down to annihilation when the low time hits us hard. Also, the understanding that we do worth unconditional love, we do not have to live up to people’s expectations, is the best shield that I have learnt from Dorothy Rowe.

Book recommendation:
‘Beyond Fear’ by Dorothy Rowe
http://browseinside.harpercollins.ca/index.aspx?isbn13=9780007246595

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One Ridiculous Suggestion~

I make myself cry. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mean that I would just sit down and hypnotise myself, ‘please cry, at this moment, I am sad, I am hopeless, I have to cry….’ What I mean is once in a while I love to read stories that made myself cry, sometimes I got a very strong feeling that I lock myself in my room, go search for some heart-wrenching videos.

You have to understand, in front of people I am a shy little girl who only loves to laugh when people talking to me or when I am alone I would rather sit somewhere than showing my true feelings. I am not someone you will imagine crying, let alone  someone who wants to cry once in a while.

I don’t know how this habit starts, this is just something you did randomly in the past and then one day you told yourself you should do more, and later on it becomes a habit, without a plan. Here I will tell you why you should do it too.

Once in a while, especially when life is so empty, without a real purpose, you feel like being pushed by others and have done many things that are not your own wish, even though you were the one who came up with the original idea, things just turn out the other way round. Deep inside there are lots of repressed emotions and it’s time. It’s time to release them. It’s time to be honest with yourself, it’s time to cry for yourself, you wish something would not happen again, you wish things are much easier.

Find a touching story, watch an episode of Melinda Gordon ( The Ghost Whisperer works very well for me, I cry every episode with no exception), they remind you of a topic that is so raw, so close to everyone- Being a human. You and me are humans, we are so little, we are just two out of thousands and thousands of living things in this Earth, there are so many thing we can’t control in our lives, the message is don’t be cruel to yourself, we are not Supermen, no matter how many expectations your boss, your friends, your family have on you, your boss think you can accomplish things that only 3 people can finish, your manager tell others how stupid you are, your family don’t understand what you are going through, your friends are jealous of you, and so much more…. Admit it, you are exhausted, you are frustrated. Cry it out, It’s okay to cry, everybody hurts some time, and we just pick ourselves up and move on. At least that’s what you can do- true to yourself.

Another thing about the fudamental fact that we are human is, on one hand it is self-love, as we can’t do much to change the world, not even yourself, so in front of self-blame and self-doubts what we can do is self-love.

On the opposite side of the same fact also suggests compassion, it’s about what we can do. We are living things on Earth, we have the ability to understand what others go through, not only humans, but dogs, cats…other animals with feelings as well, we can interact so we can connect each other, we share feelings and that’s why we can empathize. In this cruel world, people try to put in the mindset that humans are the only one with feelings, with you have seen dogs cry you know how this doesn’t make sense. That’s a shame, we isolate ourselves from other animal species so we seem superior to other animals, we should be connected and we understand that all animals are just living a life, with a impartial eye you will see all beings are the same. Be compassionate. Going back to the human world it’s not better actually, society only appreciate those with abilities, power and money, we are little but we can do something as well, don’t go blind and follow those rules set by the society and become part of the cruel world, as everyone should be respected, there are principles that we have to fight till the end of the day. To respect every being, not only as a slogan in your room, but burn that in our hearts like a scar on our skin, a scar with a bleeding story to tell and remind you something important—Respect and compassion.

People said I am weird but I am proud to be this way, to ask yourself to cry from time to time sounds a little bit ridiculous, but as a way to be true to yourself, fair enough. Just be yourself and do whatever needs to be done. It’s time to do something for yourself.

Take care,

Pooky :P