Tuesday, June 24, 2014
the battle to own your mind
I am on a mission of self possession.
we begin our lives at the mercy of whomever made us or whoever raised us. we learn about the world we live in through their vision, their experience and belief of it. we may be tempted to accept that this is true for our world as well. looking beyond those formative ‘truths’ requires effort and energy; and curiosity, a key ingredient so feared we say it killed the cat, & they have nine lives, you know.
i come from a place shaped by unshakeable ‘truths’. these truths are magical; if you believe them, they will save your soul. you will be chosen, secure. there is a lot of comfort to be had in that space. of course, there is also the expectation that you become a doer of good, be an upholder of righteousness. doing these things separates you, raises you up. sometimes it separates you completely from those who do not believe the same truths. sometimes it separates you from your own spirit of belief-you willingly abdicate it in favor of salvation. ‘free will’ becomes ‘you know this is right.’ small worlds have small gods.
i had an on the road sales job for while. i saw a lot of this beautiful country and several of its major and minor cities frequently. driving through the rural southeast is always an adventure. billboards are ever present & with about the same frequency as the ones that are selling something for money, you’ll see the ones that are selling your salvation and feeding your fear for your soul, if you believe in that sort of thing. mixed liberally among these most serious of admonishments are giant signs that tell you where to find the booby bungalow & the porno shop. driving can be a spiritual experience. sometimes it feels like time has become a tunnel that you are surfing through on wheels. your mind is using muscle memory to control your body while it wanders and free associates, always with an alertness at the ready for the road. on one of many of these drives, & in that meditative state, it occurred to me that i really didn’t have much of an original idea about what i thought was sexy. i saw signs that were telling me what sexy is. maybe. i had experiences that i thought were sexy; but i had to admit that much of those experiences were shaped on ideas that i had absorbed growing up in a world that had a lot to say about how i should be sexy. i began to wonder if it was possible to OWN my sex, after having been possessed by somebody else’s idea of it for so long. it’s a bad feeling, realizing that you do not possess an essential element of yourself.
so what happens if you quit believing all the things you used to believe? you get busy building a new world based on what you do believe. and that feeling, the one where the earth in front of you opens up into a gaping maw of fire? you just have to march right through it.
the only war left that’s worth fighting is the one to own your mind.