I published “Hideous Me” on Halloween after a long night as a grisly zombie. As I drove through the forest to serve as volunteer staff at our local “Fright Night” Extravaganza, I decided to stay in character all evening. The community celebration that gave license to alter egos and flamboyant ingenuity was housed in a historic miner’s foundry with large dim rooms, ramps and hallways and included a line-up of bands and a bar.
As the creature was parking its white Rav4, two strolling women noticed it. The older one enthusiastically began praising my costume, “You look awesome, that is SO-O-O-O creepy”. The stagnant turning of my queerly cocked head and catatonic stare unnerved her. This would be fun!
I staggered like an exhumed corpse towards the venue. Passersby were frightened, disturbed and/or admiring of my repugnancy. On entering the event a middle aged furry wolf gregariously introduced herself and asked for my name. My psychotic look jostled her. A few other volunteers gingerly attempted to interact, unclear if this was intended theatre, a result of poly-pharmacy or was this mute insane? Their palpable unease excited me to leave patterns of acceptable social behavior behind.
The event director pointed me to the ID table at the room housing the bar’s entrance. She gave me brief instructions after another volunteer informed her “she ain’t talking”. A cute male volunteer approached the table to chat but quickly became concerned with my lack of engagement. “You will need to interact with people to do this job” was met with silent staring. He brought the director back immediately who actively pursued conversing with me.
Despite the theme of the night in a community riddled with artistic types, it became obvious that 911 might be called or I would be escorted out soon. I made friendly eye contact, took out my fangs and reassured her that I could be a social human despite my oozing facial wounds and yellow black-tipped talons. I did resume full zombie mode as I staggered to the bathroom, danced later in the night and as I dragged myself back to the zombie mobile well after midnight.
The shadowy streets were crowded with sexy bears, pirates, robots, clowns, barbarians, several wild creatures, a robust tall blond pussy grabber and the usual assortment of tramps. Amphitrite and her consort Poseidon had emerged from their marine environment to encourage more creative expression in the too controlled and monotone terrestrial one. A joyous exhilaration buzzed through the various groupings and the bars overflowed with smiling costumed customers. My embodiment of the human dark side or “pain body” (as Eckhart Tolle refers to it) continued to startle some and disturb others. Again behind the wheel, I decrepitly crept along staring at passersby projecting an eerie predatory energy.
As the dawn light tickled me into the reality of this world, I realized I had given life to a long ago entombed aspect or maybe I been acting out a piece from the collective unconscious? Posting the writing allowed a deeper owning of that bizarre and socially rejected energy. Anxiety intermittently arose after publishing it. It was far from my most popular writing but unexpectedly a tickled joy appeared as the days went on. This zombie was thrilled to walk again in the world after its long torturous exile.
I was born in “Pleasantville”, USA in the late 50s and I never trusted the extreme emotional suppression of that decade. At 8 years of age my mother told me her domesticated friend was found babbling incoherently in the corner of their living room by her 9-5 husband. I still have a clear image of their clear plastic covered furniture. “Why, what happened?,” I asked. Her absurd reply was “she had a nervous breakdown, it just came out of the blue”.
What are other results of suppressing our individual and ancestral baggage? We distract and numb ourselves with mall shopping and incessantly “clicking our lives away” on ever changing technological devices. We ignore the horrifying fact that we are destroying the ecology we are dependent on. Rates of strange autoimmune disorders and other chronic degenerative illnesses are increasing but they are very profitable for pharmaceutical companies and “the health care industries”. Recently, for the first time in decades, our life expectancies began to decline!
Our families and communities are disintegrating as the rates of serious addiction and mental illness are on the rise. Serious attachment disorders plagued us and interfere with healthy human bonding and the astronomical divorce rate. May the days become increasingly rare that someone who is “doing just fine” shockingly takes their own life.
I am gratified with the growing awareness of the need to own our “shadow” and be more open with each other. I am heartened with the increasing value of authenticity and learning how to communicate honestly and empathically while we get more skillful supporting others in the throes of emotional pain.
It is evolution that we can be vulnerable in a therapist’s office, our support groups and in personal growth workshops. Can we substitute the rote “How are you?”, “I am fine” banter and start answering truthfully? “Fine” in recovery programs is an acronym for “Fearful, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional”. Can we say, “I feel sad today”, or disappointed, lonely, anger or am possessed with toxic shame? Can we also be joyous without the comment “what are you so happy about?” Are you truly interested in knowing what is happening inside your friends, loved ones, co-workers and neighbors?
It is known that suppressed anger or rage is simmering deep in the depressed. In 2012 it was estimated 13% of US citizens were on antidepressants. (1) Society obviously prefers depressed people instead of angry ones. Depressed souls often need to express and move through anger/rage to become happier. Are we interested in learning how to assist people to safely and responsibly release rage before they get a weapon and go on shooting sprees?
Decades ago I awoke one Sunday morning and afraid I would wind up in a psych unit. Though I don’t remember the circumstances exactly, I remember praying for help in that motel room and the idea came to call my family doctor. Admirably he listened and then invited me to attend church with his family. Though I didn’t resonate with his spiritual path, his extending himself eased some of my suffering. I then called an experienced healer and body worker I knew and he met me at his office. I found myself dramatically releasing rage from a past life of being tortured and killed in the times when powerful women were being burned alive. I was stunned that I left his office feeling peaceful. How many people wind up in ERs or psychiatric institutions because there is no one skilled enough to help them express their pain safely? What do we do commonly? We sedate people which will never solve anything and actually may add to it.
I endeavor to create a wiser society where people have permission to responsibly express the “darker” aspects of themselves. Are you ready to join me? Only in this way can we integrate these fragments back into a more wholesome and functioning self, community and world.
- Mad in American Website. https://www.madinamerica.com/2015/11/percentage-of-americans-on-antidepressants-nearly-doubles
Edited by Roberta Willaims, Santa Rosa