When I was in my twenties, my life felt like a desperate search for myself. I did not have a good sense of who I was as a person. I had bouts of depression, a baseline of fear, and deep anger that I wanted to understand. I had difficulty with many of my relationships. During one of my intense periods of questioning and seeking I began writing what I planned to be an illustrated novel about three young women, all very different from one another, who came to live and grow together. I called the novel “Schizoids in Exile”, a title I came up with during my years living in Berlin, Germany, and wrote it at my desk while working as a receptionist at a non-profit organization.
Over 50 pages of text for this novel were written, and I even traveled to the east coast to research the home life of one of my characters. I took myself pretty seriously, and it was because there was something about this project–these three young women–that felt like set of internal puzzle pieces coming together. Two years into it I let go of the project when I felt like the mystery I was investigating became clearer. I recognized that all three women were important pieces of myself I had to reclaim. What I did not know at that time is that in my frantic search for myself I was accessing Spirit, or an intuitive and guided knowing, through this creative endeavor.
One of my characters, Tamika, came to my mind a few days ago as I was thinking about the concept of the Mask as conceptualized in Core Energetics. The Mask is the face we show to the world, what we want people to see. It is a distortion of who we really are, and hides important truths about what we need and long for. Tamika was a young woman of unknown racial and ethnic origin who was found abandoned by a Caucasian family when she was a baby. She was a beautiful alien to me, so alive and connected to the natural world but so terribly misunderstood by people, even by her own adoptive family. Tamika was important to me because she was incapable of masking her real self; in her social strangeness she simply did not have the understanding that wearing a mask was what was expected of her. She did not filter what came out of her mouth but was also not unkind. She simply stated what needed to be said and not more, surrendering to non-conformity. She gained few friends in being herself but also was at peace with that. She had no interest in playing social games.
In my eyes, Tamika represented freedom. However, she also held a mirror to the fear I held about being rejected for speaking my truth. She was the fantasy that I could withdraw from relationships, essentially walking away from rejection without feeling the pain of it.
What I know to be true today is that I can bear the pain of rejection and still love myself. I also know that when we show up in our bare, human truth, that is, our fear, our vulnerability, our defense, and our profound capacity for love, we risk losing people who are not ready to face this in themselves. And divinely, we also run the risk of attracting others that will take our hand and walk with us on this journey.