This is a very apt metaphor.
As you can perhaps tell from this blog I am OK about sharing stuff. This means that at least to some extent I have overcome my fear of exposure. Short of getting naked and posting a dick pic. there is not a vast amount more that I could expose. I am pretty used to people shoving endoscopic cameras up my arse and I could ask for some holiday snaps of my colon to post on my blog. But I won’t. This fear of exposure can be crippling especially when it comes to developing any intimacy in relationships. A façade-façade relationship has no depth and is thereby fragile. Where this dread of exposure comes from in each of us may vary, but it is possibly to do with not being good enough or fear of being found wanting. We may have been up to no good and do not want this exposed. Or we may simply love playing the secret squirrel game, perhaps because it gives us some perceived advantage.
A fair while back someone I knew used to reckon that people drooled over secrets, I thought he was overstating. I have since changed my view.
If I understand it correctly the level of data stored on us all is at an all time high. So, we are already exposed, as it were. Privacy is a thing of the past. Of course, this data does not speak directly of our innermost secrets, but our browsing history might. We may spy on our friends and acquaintances and never reveal to them that we have been doing this. Once we start, we become fearful of exposing ourselves in this act. Then things get ever more surreptitious. The subject becomes a difficult one to broach. “I was spying on you the other day and I was shocked to hear about X. Oh and by the way that was a nice dick pic.! My, haven’t you got an attractive colon.” I guess it all depends upon which circles you mix in as to what is and what isn’t acceptable.
I am digressing slightly. What we fear most is sharing our feelings. They are more intimate than our genitals and our gizzards. We leave so much unsaid and because of this our lives are not as rich as they might otherwise be.
Has my fear of exposure had a detrimental impact on my quality of life?
Is there freedom in the shadows?
There is a great deal of glamour associated with the vampire mythos. Vampirism confers special powers, power over others, sensuality, sexiness, mystique and a limited immortality. There is however, a lot at stake for vampires; they fear exposure and most of all exposure to sun light. They must ever wander hungry, lustful in the shadows. They seek eternally their next sip of blood, another being to feed off. Whilst they have some weird power, they have fears and furtiveness. They may want dominion, but they are not day-walkers. The vampire genre has recently invented this notion of day-walker.
This metaphor is generally applicable. The freedom and power offered by the shadows is of a limited kind and it comes at a price.
There is only one way to claim the power of a day-walker and that is to step out into the full light of day. If you are afraid to do this, then the only power you have is that of a shadow being.
This is the test, daylight, openness and genuine transparency. Until you try it you will not know if you will be burned to dust.
Having cued this up:
Why am I so afraid of the light?
Would it not be truly liberating to become a day-walker?
Or do I prefer my fearful prison of shadows?
The tag line of this blog is “towards freedom” and in order to be free in mind, if not entirely in body, one has to face one’s fears. I have touched upon two of these fears this morning, the fear of exposure (skeletons) and the fear of death. To be free one also has to pay off whatever karmic debt is owed.
This fear of exposure I suspect is a growing one, largely because of all the window dressing which goes on. I think it fair to say that for the majority of us the fear of exposure is disproportionate. That which we fear having exposed about ourselves is not all that heinous. It may be shabby. It may be a lack of perfection. Or it may be a fear about something slightly embarrassing. Actually, many of those things which we are embarrassed about are only embarrassing in our own minds or because of some social conditioning. This perhaps quintessentially British angst, is shared across the globe. What is embarrassing in one country is less so in others. In Japan, it is not uncommon to get your kit off and have a bath stark bollock naked with complete strangers on a business meeting, even if you are so hairy as to cause people to stare.
We have a vast minefield of unmentionables, which we need to navigate on tip toe, on a daily basis. Because of a fear of exposure, we can enact a drama of epic proportions, that drama can cause huge problems. These problems are way out of scale compared to the thing which we fear having exposed. Amongst the most terrifying of all things we do not want to expose is our feelings. This hidden nosferatu, of feelings, must be kept away from prying eyes and wagging tongues. Can you remember the teenage angst of having a crush? Should that be revealed the world would end. But our crush might like to know. So instead of skipping off happily ever after into the sunset, we fear exposure and are awkward and angst ridden around the object we might grow to love. We keep it secret and suppressed.
There are big fears and little fears. And nowadays there is this growth in “impostor syndrome”. Why? Because we are forced to make up so much shit in order to look supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. No wonder we feel an impostor. The more we fear exposure, the more closeted we become in our behaviours. We hold hands with our skeletons and whisper sweet nothings in their ear. We approach life as if we are off cottaging, on Hampstead Heath. Maybe there is a little frisson there, but there is also fear. It doesn’t make us feel clean and light, it makes us feel a little on the ashamed and tawdry side. And so, guess what? We fear exposure ever more. The more secrets we have the more we fear being exposed.
This covert secretive approach to life is draining. Perhaps one day we need to be the spy who “comes in from the cold”. To let go of “Moscow Rules” in our intrigue ridden lives.
This fear of exposure is not easy to beat. It takes time. But little by little as you face each fear, you feel lighter. There is freedom and you stop being such a tense motherfucker all the time. And when you stop being so edgy and tense, you can, perhaps for the first time in your life, relate in a meaningful way.
Having cued this up:
Do I suffer from fear of exposure?
What exactly do I fear exposed?
Is my fear of exposure disproportionate?
What is so very wrong with me as a being that I do not want others to see?
In reality am I simply human?
And what is so bad about that?
Skeletons whether real or metaphorical exert a karmic force, this is especially so if they are in the closet so to speak. There is a magnetic pull of skeletons which attracts the eye and they get fed up with having to be in the closet. They want to come out and badly so.
In our times obsessed with image, spin, PR and photoshop we inter many things we wish to remain unknown, secret, about ourselves and our actions. We lock them in the closet and wrap that closet with many layers of duct tape. We try to erase all traces of our actions. Because these may not look so good for us. As a result, we live in constant fear of exposure. We may go to inordinate lengths.
This fear of exposure is a direct effect of bullshitting, over-egging, lying, duplicity and trying to get away with it. Rather than looking at the skeleton we pretend it isn’t there. The trouble is pretend does not work so well and sooner or later there is the chance that we shall have to confront our skeletons. Skeletons of course, fester.
Because of this endless public relations spin which it seems we are required to put on our lives, the skeleton count has increased markedly over the last few decades. The news is often frequented by these skeletons doing a jaunty dance for the cameras.
There is a simple answer, don’t succumb to all that shit, that “need” to look better and shinier than you actually are. Being simple and true does not cause skeleto-genesis
The karma of skeletons is a pervading and deep-seated fear of exposure.
I’ll hazard a guess that many of us have found a certain lack of courage from time to time. Our courage has failed us. I don’t necessarily mean about big things, like going into battle, rather a lack of courage in the relatively small things. We may have known what was the “right” thing to do when faced with a moral dilemma but failed to do it so as not to stand out from the crowd or put our neck out. Risk averse we let things slip, for fear of exposure. We might have loved someone and yet never told them or shown them. There may have been something which we would like to explore or do yet bottled it. We may have been hoping for that “right time” which never materialised. And so, whatever it was slowly fades into regret-world painted with a melancholy hue. Before long regret-world has a whole wardrobe full of regrets, each on a hanger taking up space. Maybe we chose to indulge in being an asshole, when we could have been kind. Perhaps we sought vengeance for an imagined slight and ruined a relationship. There can be all kinds of regrets. But I reckon that there is a good chance that a lack of courage had a hand in many of these, not big courage, little courage relating to relatively minor things.
This leads to the unresolved, the unrequited and the undone. Garments we might find in the wardrobe of regrets, in every house across the land.
That elusive “right time”, never comes along to the bus stop of life or maybe it does, and we simply do not seize it, for lack of courage. Another one will be along soon, only it won’t.
A lack of courage can cause more trouble than the risk which was avoided. It can be generative of mess and wreckage in life. The fear unfaced most often grows and can become debilitating. We know when our spine has been weak and before long we can no longer stand straight, proud even. Each time we surrender to our fears, we stoop a little more, we bend, and we sag. Maybe we fail a friend in their hour of need, maybe we are terrified of a social faux pas. Most of all there is that fear of losing face, of loss of control. Our heart remains locked in our chest and is never out on our sleeve. And so, we fail to experience what we might have done, there is a hole, a vacuum where it may have been.
We may have been shabby and off, where we might have been brave and upstanding. There are many regrets in life, which is a shame.
Having cued this up, take a look in your wardrobe of regrets:
Have there been times when my courage has failed me?
Was it this, that gave birth to regret?
Are those fears which so inhibit me, actually real?