Trauma & Its Discontents

“If you bring forth that which is within you,

Then that which is within you

Will be your salvation.

If you do not bring forth that which is within you,

Then that which is within you

Will destroy you.”

– from the Gnostic Gospels

A friend and I were speaking recently. She accused me of “wallowing” in my pain, foraging in my past like a bum at the dump. Wasting my time so it seemed to her.

Perhaps she’s right. On the other hand, I have met more people than I care to remember, who pave over their past/pain, blacktop the ill-legitimate suffering that they experienced at the hands of their parents, friends or society.  Their expert cosmetology teaches them, like their parents before them. to put on a happy face. Or they ladle themselves in a cheese cake crust, of hardness, callousness, insensitivity, cruelty – and call it “moving on” and “growing up.”

They call their methodology “meeting life on life’s terms.” And look at all of the material successes that they’ve had – they crow – in life, work, with all their many hobbies and all their many friends.To all appearances, these are the winners

In “On the Waterfront”, Eve Marie Saint’s character asks Marlon Brando, “are you SURE they are your FRIENDS” following his shunning for being a “rat”, a truth teller; friends who lionized him because he was a good fighter with good connections and no morals, friends who paid him to throw fights, friends who killed his mobbed up brother, friends who now ignore, threaten and ridicule him.

Are you sure that THEY are your friends, these subtle and not so subtle techniques of evasion that you’ve adopted? Are you sure that you even know how to be a friend to yourself, as you venerate soulful constipation and emotional stagnation dressed up as all the “things,” the places, the people that you do??

When will you ever do YOU?!

“The unexamined life is not worth living” so some Egyptian wisehead said, before his words were put into the mouth of Socrates. Most choose the life unexamined, the life programmed, the road most traveled by the cowardly and cowed. The overwhelming majority of people that I have seen or observed, choose to “escape from freedom” rather than run towards it.

Freedom=Blindness in this equation.

The path is within; the engine of that path is one’s story, one’s family history, is one’s willingness to root around in their gonads and gizzards and dredge it all up and see it for what IT is. If you don’t know or want to know your own story and truly understand it, if you shrink from re-experiencing what happened to you and why – you’ve already begun the taxidermist’s work. So many of us are expert at stuffing ourselves full of superflous bullshit that we don’t even realize we are drowning in it.

Most of us have been traumatized. And most have been trained to deny it, or, to traumatize others and laugh about it, to wear brutality as a badge of honor. I’d rather know my story, not casually, not poo-pooing or minimizing it every step of the way, but really seeing it. I want to get over the hump, not swallow it. It can’t be any other way for me; avoidance has only and always led to self-immolation, so I have to deal with my shit or burn in my own hell fires.

2 Responses to “Trauma & Its Discontents”

  1. yes- but it’s so much easier in the short term to let things lie 🙂 life and truth are not always easy and sometimes you have to climb the path of most resistance instead of the least. i am pretty sure that that is a foreign concept to most of us in america… i had a professor tell my class that we would never be effective in the field of psychology- until we had turned it on ourselves… he was so right…

    • Isn’t that what psychology students are supposed to do? Turn it on themselves?! I have a friend who’s a therapist and she indicated that its a requirement for her to take therapy. Makes sense to me. Agree that it is easier to the take the least resistant path. No pain no gain, or maybe not!

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