Mitigation

I am attention grabbing by nature.

I’m tall and ‘attractive’, to kick things off. I like to wear bright colours, and items that would generally be considered statements. I have big eyes, and I use them extensively. My walk is more of a dance to the music, and I’m often grinning for no good reason. I might be singing. I’m very expressive, and I like to exhibit myself. I am inclined to obliviously defy hierarchy. I interrupt excitedly because I already know how the sentence ends and it’s given me an idea. I gesticulate profusely. Once I start talking, most people label me intelligent. My opinions are usually outlandish, complex and challenging.

Except, most of the time, if you actually see me, I’m not sure you’d notice me doing any of this stuff. Because, whilst I read that description and like this person already, I have invested a great deal into mitigating all of it in myself. Ashamedly shirking the attention my traits would have me grab. Mitigating my nature. Not because I don’t like me, and, looking back on it, not because other people don’t like me either. Just because I never knew how to handle the attention, or the effect I had on other people.

Quite a long time ago, I stopped wearing makeup. I stopped wearing colours. I stopped talking unless someone expressly asked me to. And, to this day, I’m almost constantly monitoring my own behaviour when out in public.

I’ve been working to undo a lot of my acts of self-diminishment, but they’re fucking engrained little fuckers. I’m not sure I’ll ever be complete.

I was walking to the shop earlier. I had my music loud and no-one was around. Life was good. And then, at some point, I spotted a guy headed my way. And I toned down my swagger, lest it be too noticeable to him. Lest it cause him to make comment. Lest I leave an impression.

Later, when I was walking down the high street, there were suddenly lots of people around, so I suppressed my joyful glee at being alive and moving, lest I cause someone to question it – be that outwardly or inwardly. Lest my defiant difference make somebody uncomfortable.

When I catch myself, I try to reverse it, because it’s stupid and unhelpful. But the effort is lacking. It’s like I’m faking the thing that I stifled that was so authentically me.

We must all do this; we must. It can’t just be me. But we mustn’t do this. We mustn’t. The world needs us to be more, not less.

Samhain

Do we think The Veil is thinner today?

I enjoy the cycles and rituals of nature-based religions. There is something very soothing to the human about indulging in the undulating rhythm of the seasons. The constant ebb and flow, from full to new, to full, to new, to full, to new, to full, to new. The gradual rotation of the axes of our year, from extremity of light or dark to equality and back again. A time for everything. Everything in good time. A safe and meaningful passage through the ages.

I struggle, however, to keep up. I get distracted by the trappings of modern existence. The grocery shopping. The school run. The job interview. The laundry basket. The time spent driving from task to task. The effort spent driving myself through each task. The sense I need to be more productive. The chronic strain of having my worth as a human externally judged by my financial buoyancy. Buoyancy is just how hard you push down on what’s beneath you.

I need a thinner veil. Because I am feeling disconnected. I am a little too far removed from what is real, and a little too far enmeshed in our comfortable collective delusion. I liked the idea, for a while, of chasing money. Chasing status. I liked the idea of the relief it would bring me. The world would consider me successful, and I could stop worrying it considers me a failure. The World. The World we have constructed. The Artifice upon which we teeter.

I don’t mind The Artifice. It’s useful in a lot of ways. It’s broken, sure, but it can be fixed. I just can’t live in it completely for very long before I start to feel ungrounded, and I need to reach back through to the other side. But the longer you stay away, the harder it is to feel your way back. So I probably need a ritual, and a night when The Veil is thin.