2009-2011 had a lot of difficulties in them, but as you can see from a prior post, it also came loaded with significant accomplishment.
This was originally going to be my 2012 keyword post. It’s still coming, but I feel like this observation from my experience with extremes last year is highly relevant before I explore the topic.
Note: I am expressing. I am not complaining. These are my observations on success being paired with crazy-bombs, because other people experience this, too.
I noticed that every moment of victory, whether it was getting a book contract or simply showing up to teach, was also met with some kind of “crazy bomb” lying in wait. It may not have been conscious, but it was deliberate. Thankfully, my work on the Artist’s Way actually somewhat explained this phenomenon to me. It also reassured me that my experience is NOT unique. Crazy makers tend to pull their crazy when they see you moving forward with your creative life, and see you actually making changes. 2011 was not just a year of making changes – it was a year of getting somewhere – thus my post last year on culmination.
The most irrational, nasty, impossible to deal with stuff happened last year, all of it beyond my control. Friends stopped speaking to me, and came forth with appalling accusations – and they timed their response for while I was teaching at the first Paganicon. Conscious? Hard to say. Probably not. Deliberate? Yes.
Within a week of getting my book contract, I got a harassing phone call from a woman I’ve never had any interest in, accusing me of trying to friend her on Facebook. I’m still not really sure what happened there but I suspect her technical illiteracy and her fixation on me combined in a really bad way. Since I had not approached her or those closest to her in over six months, nor had I any intention of doing so, I can only assume that this clearly pre-meditated attack had been cooking for awhile, and perhaps she was disappointed that I ignored her. I mostly feel pity that her life is so stagnant that she and those around her are still fixating on me, and I did ultimately block the guy on Facebook that gave her my phone number. Apparently he decided, without checking facts or asking me, that I deserved to be harassed. This isn’t the kind of thing you get forgiveness for, so here’s hoping he rethinks the “easier to gain forgiveness than permission.” That’s really not true, especially not in this day and age. The woman has continued to behave like an ass when I’ve encountered her in public space, so I can only assume the fixation continues. I can tell her inner script is claiming her actions are about loyalty, but I also can tell from what’s being projected onto me that it’s really about the ugliness of control, and controlling the actions of others – something I consider outright criminal.
The incidents of the past year make me think of my first round of the artist’s way, where a person I kind of wanted to drop me as a friend did, after posting a screed about how she was sick of people doing things in the name of “self-esteem.” I knew it was about me, and I wasn’t about to take the bait, because it was literally a textbook description of what crazy makers do. I was changing, and she didn’t like it. That she didn’t like my work on getting healthy and creatively unblocked confirmed many things I had long suspected about the relationship, especially since it had become very clear to me that she was a user. I consider it a personal triumph that I managed to break with a well-known drama queen with next to zero drama.
I have no desire to have any of these people back in my life. The crap that was projected onto me and the tiresome drama was taking up much of my energy for unequal payback. Even simple things like going for a walk became dramas; the one thing connected to me that should have involved high drama was muted by comparison. Because the city I live in is big, but my community is small-ish, there are contingent relationships that I have to acknowledge. I’m very good at compartmentalizing. Everyone has their racists grannies or homophobic grandpas to deal with, and some of them are siblings, childhood friends, or neighbors. [Racist/Homophobic is a metaphor for just about ANY kind of crazy in this context.]
I’ve also realized that, if you see the world of light and shadow in terms of physics, these proportionate crazy bombs have their place in nature. The universe abhors a vacuum, and when I make changes of situations that have stood for a very long time – when anyone make changes – there’s almost always an immediate attempt to pull the situation and person back to his or her original condition. It’s why addicts have such a hard time; those first steps towards recovery are done in the face of a massive pullback. For creative people, the pull back usually comes in the form of some of the people around us, who encourage us to keep thinking the same thoughts and keep doing the same things, even if they say they want different for us and for ourselves. The person that berates you for watching TV when you get home from work instead of writing some pages secretly wants you to keep watching TV; a supportive person would take a positive tack, not encourage a self-punishing one. Besides, I’ve rarely known people in any condition to write immediately after work – most people need reset time, and while TV isn’t optimal, modern working conditions make its use as an opiate cheap and effective.
I’m thinking of this in greater detail now because of a conversation I had with a fellow writer, whom I meet with every so often just to check-in on projects and see how life is. I hadn’t had a chance to see her in over a year, and so we filled each other in and shared our observations with each other. For context, my friend is Christian, and when I told her about the strange balance of extreme shadow and light last year, she felt that the crazy/crappy behavior probably is directly related to my considerable accomplishments. I don’t have a direct quote for her, alas, but the gist was this: in her worldview, the older she gets, the more she believes in Satan. As people accomplish good and creative things, the forces for negativity and darkness try to bring them down, to dampen that light, and to negate accomplishments that can make great changes for the good. As a Wiccan, I believe all evil lies within and is rooted in self-deception, and is not usually from an outer entity. I may not agree with her about the specifics, but I do agree about the mechanics: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This does not mean I have to just stand there and let a pendulum hit me in the face.
New habits can be developed gently, but the old habits and old relationships will be hard on us for bringing them in. There will always be something that happens, or some inner voice, that tries to convince us it would be easier to lie down and let things be the same, that change will “happen if it’s meant to happen,” and not to rattle the status quo since the status quo will not treat us kindly for the shakeup.
Of course, once you overcome that voice – by taking tiny, tiny, steps – you end up looking back on that time wondering how you ever bought into that crap.
The affirmation I created to deal with this phenomenon is this: These crazy-making things are just the dust that flies out whenever you make a change.