It is extremely difficult and definitely not supported by my culture to openly discuss and dredge up those deep seated emotional conflicts that persist below the level of our conscious that created violent twists to our behavior and altered our lives for the worse.
As an example, I will just say that being asked when I was 8 and was crying about MLK being shot, “when are you going to grow up?” by my Dad created such a conflict in me and has tremendous power over me today when am not conscious. So, right then, consciously and as well more strongly, unconsciously, I decided that I could not act out my emotions. I had to act grown up to be considered normal and be loved by my father.*
Now being grown up at 8 is a wonderful concept, but virtually impossible emotionally as far as I am concerned. But damn if I was not going to get my father’s approval. So I started acting as if. When Bobby Kennedy was shot a few months later, I was devastated. I mean crushed.* But I knew that I could not show it when my Dad came home…and I didn’t. Isolated and without any context and any lack of depth of character and I would argue soul, the event of that day, when MLK was shot, effected my life from then on a very significant way.
“… but making out with the anima is the masterpiece which not many can bring off.” Because when MLK was shot, I was told that my acting in sadness, empathy and a sense of woundedness of that part of me that really was expressive and open with my emotions was wrong. Men did not show emotions like that because it made us look weak. As I sit and write this a tremendous sense of deep sadness and pain washed over me. Me having to become this stoic rational self led me into law, which I call the “church of reason,” because emotions and empathy have no place in the law.
No wonder I almost died by being an attorney. I was trying like hell to honor my father’s haunting emotional deprivation and live like him. I write all of this to say that I feel more today than I ever. Please dont think that I am talking about being happier, which I have to say I am finding more and more joy in my life.. I am talking about feeling my pain, sadness, joy, empathy and more acceptance of life being a challenging journey through the effects of the PTSD I have had to harbor in my body for my whole life.
It also mean that I get to experience many of those emotional conflicts at a “different,” and “deeper,” level. But by doing so, I am able to live life and yes, it is amazing that the next few words are going to come out of my mouth, and love those who are in my life with a level of caring that I did not believe I had in me any longer.
Coming full circle to that eight year old boy who was crushed when MLK was shot is a gift I have always held onto as a part of me that was beautiful is a wonder full thing. In the moment it does not feel very “good,” but I would not trade a moment for this experience, even as tears roll down my cheeks.
*That is me in the picture to the right I am in the front left of the photograph. I could not have been more than 9 in the picture as that is my little sister who is eight years younger than me. I would be smoking pot on a regular basis within 1 to 2 years!!!!!
** Now it is not hard to see why it crushed me so. Some man, an adult figure in my life, albeit only through the medium of television, was talking about loving and being kind and was more than anything exhibiting it. As an 8 year old boy, I saw a man who was trying to help the world be a better place, and this was the antithesis of what I was living under as far as what a male role model should be.
Quote from Carl Jung– Letters Vol. II, Page 481