With all the great information circulating around the #HoldOntoTheLight campaign you may be wondering where to start or if you should even just pick a post and read it. Or if you should avoid the issues all together and stop staring them right in the face every time you look in the mirror. I’m going to put forth an explanation about why some folks might not go into this topic when it’s obvious that it’s a necessity. I am challenging real social constructs and ask that you do the same, keeping an open mind while reading my post.
For the very reasons that I am doing exactly what I’m suggesting you not do, if mental issues are a thing in your life, this post is being written.
It wasn’t until I’d read Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani that I started to see others agreeing with thoughts I’d had about society and belief systems. In his book, Vishen talks about two concepts that really revolutionized the way we look at society.
He talks about the Culturescape – the sets of rules on how we exist, basically. Rules that we follow which help us move as a tribe and how to love, how to marry, who to marry, for that matter. The culturescape defines the rules for self esteem and self worth. It’s deeper than that but keep this idea in mind for a moment.
Vishen also goes into details about Brules – Bullshit Rules that help guide and define us. An example of a brule is “go to college, get a job after that, get married and live happily.” In this changing world, that idea is so far fetched and outdated it’s not even funny.
You’re probably wondering why I’m bloviating about these two things when I said in my preface that I’d talk about the whole purpose of the #HoldOntoTheLight campaign.
Because I’ve seen an influx of posts on the subject matter from the 100+ authors Gail Z. Martin has pulled together to bring attention to this and I haven’t read a single fucking one.
Why? Surely there’s some great knowledge in here. There has to be some advice that’s solid and applicable to me and my life and my situation. Some piece of actionable wisdom outside of my normal systems of reality that can help me hack my own mental issues. Knowing Gail as long as I have, if she brings the authors, she brings the hype because she only knows quality. So, why would I continue to rip myself off?
See, this is where we come back to the concepts of culturescape and brules. The culturescape eschews even talking about this issue and for a very good (bullshit) reason. When the mind does what’s familiar, it stays safe. It keeps the body safe, even if the habits are destructive.
IE – when I left my long term relationship, I realized my life was changing and I was very afraid of what the future held. I was very afraid of sleeping alone, of going out and being on my own and coming back to an empty space. Sure, I had sock monkey, but the few relationships I wanted so desperately to maintain had to disappear for a time. I was afraid of not being able to get to the point I’m at now, because I didn’t know how I’d do it. I just knew I’d do it at any cost. That meant if my erratic schedule involved going to the cigar club, getting tight, sleeping until 4 PM the next day, or through most of Thanksgiving and all of Christmas because I’d overindulged, only to take up the next day and handle what work I do have, then so be it.
I had a lot of those nights.
Already, I’ve mentioned that I hit the bottle. For me, that takes some effort. I’ve already talked about the range of days and nights I spent in a virtual drunken stupor because I bought the wrong story. I didn’t define who I was, I let society do it. Even my demons were upset (probably the reason I had them) I didn’t want to hear other points of view that may have forced me to quit acting in a manner that hurt myself and those around me because I’m not supposed to deal with those issues in public.
Because of a brule – men don’t talk. Which means, to me, since we don’t talk, we don’t face our demons head on. Refusing to read the posts other than the one I’m writing for this doesn’t hurt the authors, and it won’t hurt me in the way we were taught to think about pain. But facing a fear and having to admit that “hey, I might have a problem and it’s not what you think” is a scary proposition simply because of the existing culturescape.
We deal with depression in this country with medication. We deal with trauma by lying about it and covering it up with polite terms. Does anyone remember when PTSD was called “Shell shocked?”
So you think I want to admit the possibility that I might have a screw loose? I’m a man, I’m not supposed to even worry about nonsense like this. But, let’s go deeper and start with the reasons.
Oh wait. another brule comes to mind when talking about my pain vs. someone else’s. As in, I had a friend years ago, good writer. Former soldier. Beautiful redhead. Served in Iran and Iraq and has her own issues. Far as my mind says, being shot at by the enemy because she has red hair and is a woman far outweighs my personal BS. (She and I talked, when talking about pain, realize it’s not a dick swinging contest. That’s what I took away from her.)
So, why am I still running? Because I’ve been paying attention to the wrong things. I won’t bother telling you, dear reader, that it’s better to go seek qualified help, talk to someone, etc. First, it sounds patronizing and second, my main point in this post was more or less to point out the concepts of brules and culturescapes so that you can really examine your own issues and make the best decisions while being aware that what you may do to help you may seem odd to others. It may go against what we were taught about our very existence and our roles as defined by the culturescape. But in bucking the common trends, we may find our own happiness and comfort.