Jay Schryer Rotating Header Image

The Dark Knight Rises

Photo by King Haan

And what can I say? Cause I can’t be…the one you wanted me to be.” ~Sarah McLachlan

I try to be good. I really do. Every single day I work hard to make myself a more loving, kind, and compassionate person. I work on being an active listener when people need one. I strive to provide support and encouragement to everyone I encounter. I do my best to share smiles with strangers and perform random acts of kindness as much as possible. I strive to be patient and understanding, withholding prejudice and judgment.

I am not always successful.

Just like everyone else in this world, I have my wounded places, and my shadow. And when those wounds get probed, my shadow comes out. It’s not pretty when that happens. I become sarcastic and condescending, and I can toss out verbal barbs with the best of them. I can be petty and jealous and insecure. My faults, it seems, are legion.

I’ve been on a roll lately.

The other day, a group of PETA protesters put a bad taste in my mouth (ha!) for vegetarians. A bad taste that I promptly washed out with a dinner of hot wings, steak, and bbq ribs. Now, I don’t give a shit what people eat (or don’t eat). If you’re happy being a vegetarian, then more power to you. If the demand for meat falls far enough, then prices will too, and that means that I can eat more. Everybody wins, right? But for the love of god, don’t think for one second that being a vegetarian makes you any better, or any more spiritual, or any more enlightened than I am. The spirituality of omnivorism is a blog post for another day, but for now, just accept that your dietary habits have nothing to do with salvation. Or enlightenment. Or anything else. Know who else ate meat? The Buddha. And Jesus Christ. And Mohammed. And Mother Teresa. And the Dalai Lama (Briefly. He once got sick trying to follow a vegetarian diet and had to eat meat for a while. He has since returned to a vegetarian diet). And every person who ever lived in a primitive or stone-age society, including Native Americans, who are some of the most spiritual people you’ll ever meet.

It pissed me off. Enter the shadow, which prompted me to post a very graphic description of just how much I love to eat meat on facebook. That’s not ok. I mean, granted, there are far worse things that could have come out of it. I could have gone back and doused the protesters with bbq sauce…just like they douse people with animal blood. That would have been funny. And landed me in jail, probably. But anyway, my post was offensive to some of my friends (and not just the vegetarians), and so I felt bad. Not really because they were offended (if I have learned anything over the past year, its that people are offended because of their own issues…I am not responsible for their feelings), but rather I was upset because I didn’t act from the same place of tolerance that I wanted. If you want to be treated with respect, respect others, n’est ce pas?

Last night, I did it again. I went to the store, and while I was there…I was approached by a church group who wanted to pray for me. Now, in case you didn’t know…there are two things I should share to put this in context. One, I am physically disabled, and use a wheelchair for mobility. Thus, I get a LOT of people who want to pray for me. Second, I abandoned Christianity over 25 years ago, and I never looked back. I have no ill will (anymore) to Christianity or to the Christian god. In fact, I think Jesus was a pretty cool dude. I don’t think he actually did half the shit people say he did, nor did he say half the shit that they say he said…and I absolutely reject the nonsense of a virgin birth or the begotten son of god…but I do think he had a good message that has since been perverted and twisted into a shadow of it’s true nature.

It doesn’t usually bother me when people want to pray for me. It doesn’t hurt me, and it makes them feel good about themselves, so I let them do it. I grin and bear it, and tell them what they want to hear when they ask me if I feel anything differently. I don’t really care what people believe, or what they don’t believe. I have a special place in my heart for atheists. You know why? Because they don’t bother people. They don’t try to convert people. God bless the atheists. But, I digress…back to the story:

Afterwards, it pissed me off, because all I could think about was how upset they would have been if I had tried to share my beliefs with them. If I had said anything about the Goddess, or Shaktism, or even just energy/magic…they would have been appalled. The praying would have REALLY begun at that point! And the more I thought about it, the more upset I got. This same thing happened with my family over the Christmas break. Always, I am expected to sit silently while people share their beliefs with me. Christians in this country have this sense of entitlement…like they can say  or do whatever the hell they want, but god forbid should you try to share your beliefs with them.

So, I did it again. I came home, and wrote a scathing post on facebook about Christians. And of course, someone took me to task for it. Then they unfriended me. It’s no loss…but still, I can;t help but think that maybe I should have kept my opinions to myself.

No, fuck that.

I have spent the first 37 years afraid of pissing people off because I did not wish to lose their friendship. I have spent the last year living for myself, quite content to be alone if that’s what it takes. What I have found is that people who really and truly love me accept me as I am, even if they don’t agree with me. Those who don’t, well, they fall away naturally and I don’t miss them for very long.

So what’s the point of this post? Honestly, I don’t really know. Partly, I want to apologize for my obnoxious behavior, but then again…I really don’t. I want to explain it, but I also feel like I shouldn’t have to. I’m tired of apologizing for not being perfect…for not always living in accordance with my own values. I am sorry that people get hurt, but since no one ever apologizes for hurting my feelings (I am often told that I am responsible for my own feelings, and so if I am hurt, that is my problem, not theirs), then I think I’m going to stop apologizing for stating my opinions. Sometimes, I really am an asshole though, and I don’t plan on stopping apologizing when I am genuinely wrong about something…I’m just tired of feeling responsible for how other people perceive me. I am me, both the good and the bad. I shouldn’t be afraid of expressing myself.

And maybe that’s the point of this. I want to see people as they really are…the good and the bad. I want to know my friends intimately…not just the parts they share with the world, but also the parts they keep hidden. I want to know when you are being a brat, or being selfish, or being “less than lovely”. I want to know your fears and your prejudices, your personal failings and your personal triumphs. I want to know your secret kinky fantasies and your dirty thoughts.

And I want you to know mine. My shadow is as much a part of me as my light, and I will not dim either one to make people more comfortable. Most of all, I want people in my life who understand that, and who will still love me even after I show my shadow side.

I’m not asking for anything I’m not willing to give in return. Is it too much to ask?

“Nothing you confess…could make me love you less. I’ll stand by you.” ~The Pretenders

Love Always,

Jay

 

 

 

10 Comments

  1. Megan Bord says:

    Jay, my handsome friend, after reading this I decided that I’m going to pray for you, too. I’ve already lit a candle, and draped some pieces of bacon over it. I also have a statue of the Virgin Mary that I’m going to decorate with fur, in order that your soul may be saved.
    Please excuse me while I look up the email address of Jerry Falwell, so I can write to him and have his groups pray for you, as well.
    * * *
    :)
    * * *
    Jay, you’re such an entertaining writer! Believe it or not, this confessional was enjoyable to read not only because of your way with words, but also because I could relate to it. It was raw and honest; no sugar coating things on this site!

    Like you, I have my shadow sides, too. I don’t always act them out, but when I do I frequently feel like a horse’s a**. But I’m learning that it’s OK to be a horse’s a** sometimes. If I’m doing it on purpose – to hurt someone else intentionally – then shame on me. That’s rarely the case, though. Sometimes I just have an opinion that’s not popular or won’t win me the praise of everyone around me. But – and this sounds like you, too – I’m learning that it’s just that: an opinion. Not necessarily a highly educated one, or a loving one, or one that would get me into the Opinionated People’s Hall of Fame. It’s simply what I’m thinking or feeling in the moment, and if it’s true to where I’m at, I’m learning to honor it. Why pretend to be someone I’m not? What good does THAT do in our world today? If it hurts another, I’ll sincerely apologize (b/c I don’t want to hurt anyone). But man oh man, I’ve spent so many years rejecting various parts of myself because I didn’t think they were good enough, and frankly I’m ready to love all of me: dark, light, and the filling in-between.

    Life is one big opinion (or dream, if you follow Huna at all). It’s arbitrary. No one’s right and no one’s wrong.

    The best yardstick I’ve found in recent years for how I’m doing with all of this is: how does what I’m thinking or doing in any given moment feel to me?
    If it feels bad, it’s probably not heart-centered or coming from an intention of love. Okay, I can change that! If it feels okay, though, it probably is.

    Your opinions are nothing more or less than stuff that’s managed to stick to your outer “being” and help shape how you see yourself, or how you’re seen. Like anything else, those opinions can change if needed, or be seen for what they are if not.

    You’re a good egg in my book, overall. Yeah yeah, sometimes you act like an ass. Hey, so do I. Our lesson? Try harder to come from love next time.
    This thing called life? It’s practice. So, my friend, let’s keep practicing, shall we?

    Lots of love & encouragement & calling ‘em like I see ‘em (“Hey, is that the hairy butt of an equus over there?! Nah… it’s just Jay.”).

    ~ Megan

    1. JaySchryer says:

      I love you, Megan. Not only because you are sooooo good for my ego, but also because you are one of the most loving and wise people I’ve ever met. Thank you for your insight, and for your understanding of me. In a way, you were the inspiration for this post, at least partly. When I was having issues with the vegetarians, I kept thinking: “I hate vegetarians!” But then, I remembered that you are vegetarian, and I certainly don’t hate you (nor do I hate any of the other vegetarians/vegans I know), and so it made me dig deeper. What is it really that’s upsetting me? It was the “holier than thou” assumptions that I was hearing that day. It was a reflection of my own negative self-talk (I’m not good enough) reflected to me through the words of others which caused my hurt feelings.

      I love the way you judge your own thoughts. If you feel bad about yourself, then it probably wasn’t ok, but if feels ok, then it probably is ok. I think that’s an amazing, powerful tool to use. Thank you for sharing it! And like you said, if our actions aren’t coming from a place of love or kindness, we can change them.

      Indeed, we shall keep practicing. I’m so glad that I have you to help show me the way!

      And what’s with the grief about being a horse’s ass? Horses are beautiful, magnificent, powerful creatures…much like yourself. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? ;)

      Love,
      Jay

      PS -The thought of you having bacon and fur on your altar made me laugh out loud…quite literally. Thank you! :)

  2. Trish Scott says:

    I saw both updates and chose to ignore them because I have seen you go through this sort of thing before and be back to your usual bright self again soon.

    “I’m not asking for anything I’m not willing to give in return. Is it too much to ask?”

    I don’t think it is too much to ask just maybe a little silly. There is no need to ask for anyone to feel any way at all about you. You are the judge and the judged. You are the creator and the creation. People think what they think and that’s what they think. Period. It has nothing to do with you. Don’t worry, be happy.

    1. JaySchryer says:

      Hey Trish,

      Yes, ignoring me is usually the best way to go. As you said, I usually go back to being my normal self soon enough. And yes, you’re right: It is a bit silly. I know that, intellectually, but it will still be a while before I integrate it into my heart-centered “knowing”.

  3. Nikki Faith says:

    I always enjoy honest posts! :) In the words of Holden Caulfield, I can’t stand “phonies.” ;)

    1. JaySchryer says:

      Thank you, Nikki! It’s not easy to open up like this. It pushes me outside of my comfort zone, so it’s really nice to know that it is appreciated. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  4. Jeanie Witcraft says:

    :) “Don’t worry, be happy now.” You’re fine, Jay. People are shitheads, people are nice. Often, they’re the same person, it just depends how we rub on each other’s sore spots.

    You know there are studies being done about the “Facebook effect” yeah? Where we look at others’ curated and beautiful lives, and we look down on ourselves because we’re not “as ____” as they are? Quit it. Their insides look like our insides too, no matter how carefully curated their outsides may be.

    I think the true definition of a saint is to be able to extract the kernel of truth from the husk of hot air and call them gently on the hot air part, thereby improving their future interactions with others.

    *brow furrows as I reread this…* Y’know what? Hell with it if it doesn’t make sense, right? :)

    1. JaySchryer says:

      “Often its the same person, it just depends how we rub each other’s sore spots”

      That’s incredibly wise, Jeanie. That’s why it’s possible for two people to be great with everyone else in their lives, but toxic with each other. Truly, you have a gift for insight and wisdom. Thank you for sharing it! I also like what you say about how everyone’s insides look the same. It reminds me of a great quote from Matchbox 20: “Yeah, but looking inside, we’re the same, we’re the same.” It was wise when they said it, and it’s wise coming from you. Don;t worry about furrowing that brow…it makes perfect sense.

  5. I’m glad I finally got here and read the background on the FB posts. Personally I appreciated them, and your honesty, but of course I actually happen to agree with the opinions you expressed, so that makes me less likely to be offended. Your request to hear about our shadows got me thinking about this. I am fairly guarded online, and actually I can be pretty guarded in person too, so I’m not someone that can share my darker moments or emotions easily. I freely admit to having them though, just not going to share them here in a public blog comment:-)

    I admire you for speaking your mind, for just saying exactly what you felt in the moment, because I value authenticity. I am always trying to figure out how to be authentic online, and yet still effectively guard my privacy. For me, being protective is very much an energy thing. As a natural intuitive when I was young I got really taken out by others energies. It can still happen really easily, so getting people angry is literally painful, even through the internet, although I actually value how triggering people can often get to the root of an issue. But because of the energy issues, I am reluctant to do that, and also reluctant to share too much of myself that could give strangers an ‘in’ if that makes sense. It’s a dilemma. I know a lot of intuitives that just don’t go online at all. And yet this is where all the interesting stuff is going on!

    So that’s a little bit different perspective on what you are talking about – more about privacy and being protective than shadows I guess, but that’s what it got me thinking about…I can also count on your to get me thinking, and to do it in an entertaining way…

    1. JaySchryer says:

      I think that’s a fine line that everyone online has to walk: How can I be authentic, without giving too much of myself away? We want to share ourselves, we want to be open and honest, but at the same time, we have to be aware of our personal boundaries. We also have to be aware that many strangers come to our blogs, and they might not always have our best interests in mind. For us sensitive types, we have to protect not only our physical selves, but our energetic selves as well. Like you said, we don’t want to give someone an “in” that might be used against us.

      In part, that’s why I had to delete Porsidan, and why I have been so slow to really open up here. I shared too much of myself, and when it was flooded by a sudden rush of insincere and inauthentic comments, the energy was too much for me to handle, and I needed to withdraw completely to get to a place where I could heal myself. I don’t ever want to go through that again, so I fully appreciate the wisdom you have shared here!