It is strange all of the criticism I have received when really I am doing what I had been trained to do. I have been trained to believe that if we bare our souls, unravel, become brutally honest, we will get some sort of reward of salvation. Implicitly, I was also taught that I would be paying off some sort of debt if I revealed the right horrors to the right people.
I used to hold back only to protect people, and unravel only for their approval. I have stopped doing that. I clearly still need to learn how to hold back to protect myself, and unravel for my own sake. Perhaps I have done the latter.
But this notion of authenticity still bugs me. This superior notion of playing the master game, of being more aware than the rest of the stupid world. I don’t actually believe much in awareness or the true self–certainly not in how it is presented at Haven. It is a warped version of existentialism. I don’t think many actual existentialists would agree with Ben and Jock. For too many reasons to get into, and I am sure I have already lost most people. That is okay. The point is, I found myself.
There is no salvation to be found by revealing all, or trying to strip yourself of everything you once held onto, or putting yourself on a dissection table. The search for a true self seems a bit narcissistic to me. It reminds me of when writers say that they are searching for their voice, as if it may be hidden under a couch and belongs to them and no one else.
A good writer knows that voice comes through imitation and for letting the self get just a little less credit, little less air time, little less so-called awareness.
I am still glad that I have been honest. I am certainly glad that I broke free from a previous life that kept me so small.
What seems most obvious to me (but no one else from Haven?) is that there is no such thing as authenticity when everybody speaks the same. There are schools in the UK who try to put in rules on the accents of their teachers (to be upper-class, of course.) I don’t see this as any different. It is the same game. Only they know how people should speak–
I have been somewhat torturing myself by watching YouTube Haven videos. Somewhat torture, somewhat interesting… They are certainly no longer the same people I saw when I was a kid. For years inbetween I was too scared to see anything outside of what I could cough up, write out, deliver, that would lead them to give me the salvation they promised.
For years I was told that they had some sort of virtue by being the only people honest enough to tell me all of my flaws (which seem so numerous that I’m surprised I maintained the ability to do anything at all.)
Why doesn’t it work in reverse?
For the record, insults don’t bother me. Insults presented as virtue bother me. I hope, if nothing else, I have been unvirtuous in my honesty but something like human.
And the invitation is still open for you to join me Haven.