Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Silence, Exile, Cunning

"...I will try to express myself in some mode of art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use—silence, exile, and cunning."

You just do a fastass Google and you find so many blog headlines that look just like that one! Dag. We all just so well read. There’s this one that busts on Dave Eggers alla time, just to give you one example. You, me, and what army.

Well, here's my eight bucks: It’s my struggle with silence, the exile of Pluto, and then let’s put an Olde English 800 spin on that last term and say it refers to my modus operandi nowadays. Yep, the c-word has certainly been shoved firmly into my arsenal and I can only suppose that eventually I’ll be all the better off for it, though right now I just feel like I’m going around being a c-word and will pay, pay, pay.

But as everyone who knows me knows, silence is the surest way to turn me into a quivering mass. You don’t even have to throw a bucket of water on this witch. Just go incommunicado. Or tell me to shut up. It's like death.

It all started with my quest to claim the shadow. [Iris out. The whole screen turns into a shadow.]

Here’s the theory: We take parts of ourselves we don’t wish to “own” and we turn them into “shadows” and often project them on other people. Some of us take our clockwatcher part, for instance, and pin it on the boss or the bitch, and then we can call them nitpicky, nagging, anal, no fun.

Take back your shadows, and you allegedly get back all kinds of energy, creativity, superpowers.

I recently took back my Bad Girl from a friend who’d looked after her and taken her on many adventures for years. She’s hard to handle, poor rejected thing, but she’s mine now, and we're having some good times. And I think it’s a relief to my friend to have her off her hands, so she can be as good or bad as she pleases, all on her own. So that worked.

But sometimes people don’t want you to take these parts back. They want to hang on to them. Or they want to hang on to you not having those parts, so they can keep busting on you for not having them. Or because you’re easier to handle without them.

So in the appropriate season, I made it my business to roam around in the underworld, looking for scraps of shadow to sew back onto my heels. I stumbled over several--the fuckup, the one that says and does the wrong thing, the outcast, and the one that speaks her mind and says right out what she wants, all living with another friend. That friend has paid a heavy, heavy price for speaking out and speaking freely and not calculating and manipulating and veiling, like I do. Scary. I don’t want to pay that price, have random folks hating on me! I guess that’s why I’d kicked that shadow to the curb to begin with.

Bottom, so to speak, line: Can you say what you want, flat out, without becoming a c-word or a d-word? Discuss.

I’m trying this technique: Say it, then shut up and wait. See what happens.

That’s the scary, bad, hard part about taking them back. The good part is that the people you’ve sent your shadows away to now get to be themselves again. Just fully themselves. And you get to know them, for real. Maybe for the first time.

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