Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
I do not spend much time writing about myself on this blog because I think that other topics are far more interesting. But today is going to be an exception and frankly this article is more self therapy than anything else. You see, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the idea of fame and fortune over the years and it’s been quite difficult for me to resolve it. On the one hand, I like being the center of attention; I have a sense of fulfillment when I’m giving speeches and I like being in front of the camera. I’ve enjoyed acting in the theater, writing and performing in short comedy films and giving speeches in Toastmasters. While there is inevitably some ego involved in this, I find that for the most part, it comes from a place of joy. I’ve done improvisational comedy as well, which requires setting aside the ego, paying close attention to other performers and allowing them to help create your character and actions. (If you are at all controlling, it isn’t funny at all.) I was good at it and enjoyed it immensely.
On the other hand though, I seem to have an abject fear of attention stemming from early childhood. The more attention I get, the more uncomfortable it makes me. This isn’t some deep psychological issue here, it’s pretty straightforward. I grew up in a household where praise was scarce and criticism abundant. The message that this sends to a child is that being invisible is the best method of coping. The more attention you receive, the more criticism that comes with it. This is particularly true if you’re sensitive and talented in creative ways.
I’ve discovered that having learned this lesson early, it has become an imprint. I’ve unlearned a great many destructive messages that I learned in childhood, but this one seems to be the most enduring and difficult to remove. The reflexive shrinking back from success comes from a very dark place. Along the way, I’ve felt the aches and pains of my body releasing the horribly toxic tightness that occurs when we have a memory locked up tight. And through it all, I’ve been terribly aware of a darkness in my chest, where I have not been able to feel anything. That’s not good considering I’m now over fifty and closing in on the heart attack danger zone with each passing year. Hearts have their own brain and consciousness and I have not been listening to mine. Lately though, I’ve begun to feel a bit more light come through, and with it, tremendous sadness coming to the surface.
My inner conflict has understandably played hell on our finances because I have always been in between, wholly committed to neither my job nor any creative avenues of success. As a result, money is constantly tight and our financial choices are limited. I have tried many different ways to break out of this trap, but the self esteem issues keep getting in my way. I have trouble believing in myself and my success and I know that deep inside I am terrified of the kind of attention that real success brings. Somewhere along the way, early on, I learned not to love myself and now I have to drag that unfortunate lesson into the light and heal it once and for all. With the help of my wife, I have been throwing all of my attention and energy at resolving this pain. I just don’t know when I am going to succeed. It’s frustrating.
I am fairly certain that once this inner conflict is resolved, that success will come to me in a great and overwhelming rush. There have always been signs in my life that this will happen. I’ve had several times when I’ve been a media magnet. I can see this with my blog as well, which has enjoyed growing success over the years. I had 11,600 hits in my first year, 2009, and I have that many already this year. As of this writing I have about 73,000 hits to my blog total and it’s been viewed in 69 countries and I have 99 subscribers. As far as blogs go, I have achieved some success. I am still wrapping my head around the fact that I have fans of my blog. I also have a whole list of people who have thanked me for the information that I have provided and some of them have told me that my writing has truly helped them. It’s a lot for me to take in.
This represents a “safe” type of success for me. It comes without monetary rewards and carries anonymity with it. I don’t have a famous face or name by any stretch of the imagination. It is just enough success to be somewhat satisfying, but not so much as to trigger the kind of fear that completely shuts me down. It is a kind of razor’s edge that I find myself walking.
I have had to convince myself that it is ok to have fans. It is much the same relationship as a business has with its customers. There can be mutual respect and even admiration, but ultimately neither party is beholden to the other in any way. A sense of obligation is purely voluntary on both sides. I have had people worship me and while that was very creepy, it has not happened in a very long time. I am not doing the kind of things that attract those people.
Even admitting that I have a problem with attention has been difficult for me. I like to imagine that I have things all figured out and that I’m right on the edge of being successful, but after years of this mentality, I’ve finally had to admit that I was kidding myself. My issues surrounding a lack of self worth run deeper than I had imagined. And from there I had to admit that I am quite of two different minds when it comes to being noticed.
Ultimately, this is about loving myself. Hey. It’s easy, right? Just tell yourself nice things about how great and wonderful and lovable you are. Except that this strategy doesn’t work. Somewhere, in the deep recesses of my mind, far underground in the dank, dark dungeon in my subconscious, sits a man in rags on a rickety wooden stool, unaware that the dungeon door is open and all he has to do is walk out. People are waiting for him with love and joy, but no one can come in and get him. He has to leave of his own volition, but he’s not paying attention. The things that happened decades ago in his childhood keep him trapped in a destructive emotional loop, convinced that he is unloved and unlovable. The sound of telling myself to get up and walk out just doesn’t reach this far down.
But I have a torch in hand, and I am walking through the dark labyrinth slowly making my way down toward that dungeon cell so that I can get within earshot of this unhappy man. I’ll get there eventually and he’ll get up and walk out. I just don’t know when. Until then, I’ll just be putting one foot in front of the other.