Although writing usually helps clarify my thoughts, sometimes it clouds me over with angst. I not only encounter complex issues that resist translation, I come into collision with my own perceptions. No matter how the words arrange themselves, they look back at me with trifling glances. The deeper I excavate, the less justice accorded to the lived experience. I tackle it in bits and pieces – save it to draft, then return to it another day. I find I can only devote so much time before I’m consumed with heartache and fatigue.

When we believe we are undeserving, we can involuntarily open ourselves to unsuitable company without understanding the damage it may cause. These unsuitable personalities have abilities to decode susceptibility and hoodwink others through false assurances. While being charming on the surface, they are volatile, combative, and disrespectful of boundaries. They maintain a persistent self referential attitude and suck away energy like vampires.

Abusive episodes operate within cycles and begin with measured doses of seductive sweetness, followed by days of increasing tension, then finally erupting into violent verbal and/or physical attacks. They’re called cycles because the sweetness, tension and acting out become a recurring pattern played over and over again like an endless loop cassette.

You come to a startling realization. What seems real is imaginary. You hold on tightly, only to discover it brings instability, desolation and untold stress. This kaleidoscope of emotional upheaval erodes the soul with unpredictable bouts of dissonance.

You let go. You move on. You grieve. You open up to others. You isolate yourself. You realize many are called but few confidants are chosen. In real time grief is too alien a subject. Society at large fails to acknowledge or comprehend it. There is an unspoken aversion to it. Online, writers convey their thoughts through a generic-sounding-scientific lens. Cold and sterile. Colorless depictions.

Grief is an inner work. I came to realize I needed God to give me a new viewfinder, for mine was passed broken and looking through it, I only grew more anxious and fearful, even when reading the Scriptures. It was when I was at dead end of myself with no sense of direction did Christ answer my prayer.

~ vincenzo ©

*parentheses mine

The ruling majority is rationally driven. It ignores emotions as if they didn’t exist. This makes life challenging for artistic temperaments who filter thoughts through their feelings. ~ vincenzo ©

Throughout youth, many children seek to fix or “unbe” themselves. Their social role call them to adopt a highly charged, extroverted front — to cover their highly sensible, introverted nature. Regardless of their true temperament, they matter to others only to the extent they reflect the resilience and tough-mindedness of the high school jock or spirited cheerleader. ~ vincenzo ©

I first wrote this entry for its therapeutic value. I grew up clueless and highly disconnected when it came to emotional inner reality. To make matters worse, I never paid attention to the consequences of this nameless, soul-killing condition I am about to describe.

Leo Tolstoy, an awe-inspiring writer of classic literature masterly portrayed this phenomena in his novel “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”. In the story he reveals society’s commitment to emotional dishonesty (the antonym of emotional inner awareness) where everyone is wanting the main character, Ivan to believe he would pull through his sickness when all evidence was proving contrary. In the end, death not only related to the physical realm, but an extreme emotional disconnection from others. As one literary commentator wrote,

“The artificial life is marked by shallow relationships, self-interest, and materialism. It is insular, unfulfilling, and ultimately incapable of providing answers to the important questions in life. The artificial life is a deception that hides life’s true meaning and leaves one terrified and alone at the moment of death.”

Since the beginning of my childhood, life, like the robotic walking brooms from Fantasia, kept sweeping my feelings under the carpet. When anyone attempted to draw me out (even as an adult), I froze with discomfort. I never imagined how this frozenness could melt. I never dreamed how creative expression could pave the way to new awareness. I never considered myself worthy of this elusive yet necessary realm called emotional inner reality. ~ vincenzo ©

daily human interaction resembles an onion… you remove one layer only to encounter another without ever getting to the center core of the soul
~ vincenzo
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“ In our attempt to say no to pain, we say no to love and the worse part of all, we say no to our very existence.” ~ Jorge Bucay

“Come, live in my heart and pay no rent.” ~ S. Lover

truth-as-dull

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¨Self-control does not come from controlling our feelings, but from feeling our feelings.”

Emotional trauma is a subject alien to the general public so choose your confidant/confidante carefully. ~ vincenzo ©

* When my life started falling apart I naively sought therapeutic help from anyone who would listen — only to feel more misunderstood than ever.

in an unkind world
ready to devour
i survived
by camouflage
always present
semi-invisible
at one with my environment
yet never quite at one…
with myself

~ vincenzo

“One should not think slightingly of the paradoxical; for the paradox is the source of the thinker’s passion, and the thinker without a paradox is like a lover without feeling: a paltry mediocrity. The paradox is really the pathos of intellectual life and just as only great souls are exposed to passions, it is only the great thinker who is exposed to what I call paradoxes, which are nothing else than grandiose thoughts in embryo. The supreme paradox of all thought is the attempt to discover something that thought cannot think.” ̴ Soren Kierkegaard

In reading Kierkegaard, it been refreshing to view Christian faith through the lens of vulnerability rather than the usual North American Evangelical “I’ve-got-my-life-together-why-can’t-you” outlook. Until now I was unable to articulate why I shun most Christian authors except for a few exceptions. Whenever I found myself skimming youtube for “inspirational” preachers I felt red alert buttons flashing on my dashboard.

I learned somewhere how “dissociation” often mimics spirituality. This word caught my attention. It wasn’t referring to dissociation within its usual clinical parameters — characteristic of severe mental health patients, but to a version applicable to the masses. Under this newer definition, dissociated folks construct a persona designed to guard the ego from pain and contradiction. It makes the individual look stable and intact, yet its stability is based on smugness, comfort and denial. It is a state of being out of touch with the internal self. It treats internal matters with triviality and/or suspicion. According to Kierkegaard the problem with dissociation rests in how people choose to approach truth (though Kierkegaard never refers to the term, but to the concept).

“One of Kierkegaard’s recurrent themes is the importance of subjectivity, which has to do with the way people relate themselves to truths. He argues “subjectivity is truth” and “truth is subjectivity. What he means by this is that most essentially, truth is not just a matter of discovering objective facts. While objective facts are important, there is a second and more crucial element of truth, which involves how one relates oneself to those matters of fact. Since how one acts is, from the ethical perspective, more important than any matter of fact, truth is to be found in subjectivity rather than objectivity.” ~ Wikipedia

When I began my studies to become a Baptist pastor, I was disturbed by this kind of dissociation. It contrasted completely with my candid yet bumpy upbringing. I wanted answers and all I got were band-aid responses. This left me frustrated and perplexed. Where I expected to find consolation, I found evasion.

What is the lesson?

Whenever knowledge, even Biblical knowledge substitutes for empathetic listening or connection it results in dead religion. Truth is living and breathing and without personal searching it is devoid of meaning. Those who honestly contemplate the struggles of life often seem emotionally distressed and unstable. This is unfashionable. They often find it impossible to fit into surroundings where inauthentic conditioning is the norm.

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“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~ C.S. Lewis