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Me and my Self - Part 2 of 2
☀️ I hope this email finds you in a light and playful mood, but if it doesn’t, then I am also here to remind you that you are not alone. I feel you.
Last week I shared an excerpt from the novel where Maskat tragically got defeated by the voice in his head.
👨💻 This week, I share another bit with you that is also based on a real journal entry I did two years later. It was right after a particularly painful job rejection that I got.
⚒️ I had more tools at my disposal this time, and so does Maskat in this second excerpt. Enjoy the win and remember that you have everything you need within your mind to conquer the scary parts. More about these tools next week.
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Me and my Self - Part 2
From Maskat’s Mémoires - Undated
I lay on the mat facing the single small window on the wall. A narrow stream of light provided a rectangle of warmth to sit silently in. My back and toes still felt the shivering cold and darkness that filled the rest of the room. I tried to get as much of my body in that small, rectangular blessing from the sun.
I got into a comfortable position and closed my eyes, but I could still see the space around me. I took a few deep breaths and tried to focus on the parts of my body that were enjoying the warm rays of sunshine. My soul rested for a few moments before I heard a large tumbling sound.
First there was a Thump, and I was certain that something or someone had just sprinted across the room. It was followed by a da-dump da-dump da-da-da-dump ! I told myself that it was own brain playing its oldest trick on me, but I could not shake the thought that there were other beings in the room with me. I kept my eyes closed. Mind over matter. Mind over matter. The thoughts ravaged my head though.
Thump da-dump bump bump bump! A whole herd of gremlins, trolls, monkeys and tiny fuzzy purple monsters filled the room of my mind’s eye. They stepped on my toes and bumped into my back as I sat and continued to try to meditate. I took a few more deep breaths, anxiously trying to remain calm. The thoughts kept coming faster.
With my eyes shut, I glanced towards the dark corner of the room and two large, circular and blood-red eyes stared back to me. Two gigantic bat ears hung on either side of those red eyes. Something lurked in the shadow, and suddenly a cheshire cat-like smile shone in the dark.
Things escalated quickly from there. The creature took a few steps into the light, and then leapt forward. For a moment, I could see its reptilian and chiseled body extend in the air as it hurled itself towards me. The gremlin landed on my back and sunk its short crocodile-like teeth straight into my neck and shoulders.
I opened my eyes and gasped for breath, realizing that I was lying on the floor with my hands around my throat and neck. It took me a few seconds to realize that I was screaming. I looked around the studio that I had carved for myself to meditate and exercise. I see that there is no one other than me and the cold December air.
Am I losing my mind? Have I finally pushed myself so far down the path of insanity? What was the point of meditating everyday if these gremlins popped up and bit my neck so frequently? My body was in pain but I was relieved to be back in the room. I felt grateful for everything I had in that moment.
I am safe, I remembered. Above the clouds, the sky remains blue and vast. I am in good health. I had a roof over my head and food on the table. I was grateful for the floor for holding me up, for the walls for keeping me sheltered, and for the tiny sliver of sunshine that battled alongside me. The gremlins still come, but I am older and I have more tools at my disposal.
I then started the diaphragmatic breathing that Hunter taught me. I filled my belly up and saw it rise as I breathed in. I counted to six, held for a few seconds, and then let go, as my diaphragm took its time to slowly exhale and let go of the breath. Hunter’s voice came into my head: “Exhale must be longer than the inhale.”
Exhale must be longer than the inhale. I reminded myself.
I started to feel in control again. My heart stopped trying to beat Usain Bolt’s records and my extremities felt warmer. The room smelled airy and the stagnant stuffy clouds filled with fuzzy animals was cleared.
I felt an excitement to journal. The words carried the darkness and flowed out of my system, through my hands and onto the small red journal. I marveled at the contrast between what I felt when the thoughts were light, versus when they were dark.
I reveled in the excitement of regulating my emotions for a few moments, before I heard the door knob open behind me with a long squeak.
I knew it was him, he loved these fucking theatrics. He took a few steps into the room and stopped walking. I kept my back facing him, but I could already see his clean polished black professional shoes, his ironed suit and that big confident smile on his face.
“Well we really screwed up there, didn’t we?”
“ I did my best, and it wasn’t meant to be.”
“ You could’ve made it happen. You’ve failed, again. ”
“ No, I am going to learn something from this.”
“ What is wrong with you? Why don’t you ever fucking learn? Why do you always get in your own way?”
“ This opportunity was never going to come for me.”
“ Well, it came and you ruined it, you idiot! This was the chance of a lifetime, you blew it! Own up and say it out loud.”
I took another breath. I realized that this voice in in my head. If I fought with him then I would hurt myself. I must try to connect with him despite the verbal abuse and the occasional physical one.
It occurred to me if that voice is inside of me, then I can surely locate him in my body. “Where does he lie in your body?” Hunter’s voice came back to my consciousness. A sharp stabbing pain in my shoulders became obvious to me.
I tried to see what else I noticed about him and the pain. I saw this man in the black suit for what he was: A soul that seeks control and is so uncomfortable in this world of chaos.
“What do you need me to know about you?” I asked, looking him straight in the eyes. I noticed the bloodshot eyeballs in his skull.
“Honestly, I am tired of telling you what to do. I have been around with you trying to protect you from all the hurt and pain out there, but you keep hitting yourself in the foot. I just want us to be safe and secure. Why do you have to make it so hard for me?” He sat back in the chair, lit up a cigarette, and took off his top hat. I had never seen him relax this way before. He suddenly seemed uninterested in intimidating me.
“I understand that and I see why you have been working so hard now. ” I said. “Thanks for all the work you have done over the years to protect us from all the motherfuckers out there.”
He made eye contact with me for the first time in almost a decade. “You are a good kid, you have a good head on your shoulders, you just need to focus and stop getting swept over your feet that way. I just want you to have a balanced life.” he said.
“I hear you, and I want that for us too.” I replied. “What is it that you are most afraid would happen if you stopped working so hard?”
“The world is a vicious place. I am afraid that people will abuse you. I feel like if I stop coming over and beating some sense into you, you will give in to the pressures. You would lose your path.” He stopped and thought for a while as he blew the last puff of smoke out of his lungs. “I am afraid, that if I stop feeling anxious for you, you will give in to feeling worthless and lonely. I am afraid that the old suicidal part of you will come back to haunt you.”
“Thanks for your honesty” I said as a wave of relief and sadness washed over me. I did not think I can have these feelings towards him after all the pain he had caused me.
I turned on the light. There was no one in the room anymore. I looked up at the light shining from the window, and the rays seemed to radiate slightly more warmth and light.
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Thanks for reading In Search of Gumption! This newsletter will arm you with information, stories and research on how to turn your pain into beauty and compassion.
The types of posts you can expect every Sunday:
📖 Excerpts from the novel in progress and updates on how it is shaping (I will declare a publishing date in the next few months.)
🔍 Commentaries, essays and resources from the creators on our own healing journeys and what we have tried. (see themes above)
🧵 Threads for discussion after every post.
✍️ Short Stories of gumption that inspire you for your busy week.
🦸♂️ New authors and commentators on the topics we discuss.
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