I try, I really try but sometimes I just feel like I’m stretched too thin – pull me a little further and I’ll snap into two and the parts will float away, straggles of skin reaching helplessly towards one another as they vanish into the ether.But then I suspect other people feel that way too. And this isn’t a ‘me, me, me’ post – it’s not remotely asking for validation; for comfort. It’s just an observation.
And, anyhow, what does it mean, this crappiness? That we’re not perfect? Well, what human is? We’re so quick to judge, so quick to condemn, aren’t we? Some of us judge ourselves; we all judge others. And what is it we judge? Why, surely just our own shadow sides, displayed in other people? A conversation at Zumba last night showed the point. Someone I know gets a lot of grief in town – she’s the ‘bad girl’, the ‘transgressor’, the ‘scarlet woman’. Tongues wag; people turn away, they give her filthy looks. And they are so perfect, right? They are so righteous? I’m not one for biblical references but, by heck, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
I suspect she constellates their shadow – their dirty laundry, their fear. Jung said that the shadow is the part of us that contains our secrets, all the forbidden feelings and ways of behaviour that lie hidden from our consciousness. The shadow comes to us most strongly in dreams, as the frightening “other” – the harlot, the murderer, the thief, the zealot, the overbearing teacher, the pathetic wimp, the whining child, the down-and-out. The shadow carries everything we push aside in waking conscious life, all those qualities that don’t fit with our ideal image of ourselves.
You wanna find your own shadow? Think about who winds you up. Who really really annoys you? What is it about them that is so so so….fecking annoying, irritating, plain wrong? Ten to one it’s your own shadow being reflected right back at you.
We’re all a bit crappy, okay? Yeah, even the Soul Puppy. Most of the time he is soft and biscuity and winsome. But, every so often, he breaks into serial killer mode and chews the faces off soft toys. He gouges out eyes; he bites off noses; he chews on cheeks. Always faces. Honestly, I have a pile of eyes sitting on my desk. Can’t help but be reminded of my demon, Samael. He’s a face biter too. Tellingly this was an aspect of the book that editors couldn’t handle (along with the hacking off of zombie heads with spades L). The face biting had to go. But – see – he chewed off faces to reveal people; to show their true selves; to splice aside the façade and show the shadow…And, hmm, maybe people just aren’t ready to do that…
Lest We Forget: Those Who Have Fallen....
|Badger: full facial removal|
|Panter: eye, nose excision|
|Snowy: eye removed; ear lost|