(Written the good old fashion way, in a spiral notebook late a night, and then edited as it was typed up for this post.)
My mind has a room full of mason jars. Each jar contains an aspect of fear, self doubt, self blame or pain. Some are liquid in form, and others are powder, each jar varying in size and weight. I capture these upsetting feelings in jars to keep them from me, as though each liquid or powder has the ability to morph into a vindictive firebug and torment me if I let it escape. I seal these jars tight and hope they won’t become unscrewed. This hoarding is akin to collecting various types of garbage, being too embarrassed to let the neighbours see that I have it, and stashing it away rather than finding a covert way to discreetly dispose of the shameful evidence.
Sometimes, when I am adding a jar to my collection, or when I have simply stopped by to feel the weight of a particular jar, I carelessly bump into a shelf or knock the jars under foot, causing them to tumble, crack and break.
Breaking the jar doesn’t get rid of the contents, but helps them to spread. I had thought I was finished dealing with each particular strand of upset when I successfully sealed them in their respective jars, but when the jars break, the upset resurfaces and I scramble to fit each pain back in a new jar, pushing potential judgements from those who might have heard the shattering out of ny forethought, and put the jarred pains in a more secure place. Knocking over more than one jar at once is particularly disastrous, as it can result in pains mixing and becoming more potent. I cannot separate them once they have bonded.
Being vulnerable feels like any jar could become unsealed, and when I sense this happening, I rush to re-conceal it before the stench sneaks to other rooms in my mind. I don’t want the contents of the mason jars in this room to mix, mingle and poison the whole house. I try to be careful to not track any out on the bottom of my shoes or as splashes that are sometimes cast onto my clothing during the spill. I clean carefully to make myself presentable outside this storage room.
It is difficult to place when each jar was sealed (the labels fade, or were neglected in the first place) and how many times each individual jar has been broken (or how many times the contents have been transferred) and resealed. It is always a hope that each time I seal a jar, it will stay sealed permanently . Everything in this room is cluttered, and hard to sort because it is incredibly overwhelming. I know I want to rid myself of this collection, but I haven’t figured out how.
I would certainly not like to let other people know the secret of this room unless they know a way to help clean it. Of course, since I am dedicating myself to the thought of sharing my writing online before I change my mind, here it is, on the internet, for everyone to see.
(Author’s Note: I am currently taking a Non-Violent Communication workshop and am interested in using those principles to do some mental house cleaning. The issue with distinguishing areas for growth and health [read: finding the jars that need to be removed] is that supressing “faults” creates resistance to bringing up what might be “wrong with me” because I don’t enjoy feeling wrong/with fault/judged/embarrassed/uncertain/dejected/as though I might be the cause of disappointing myself and others. There is a paradox consisting of “I sometimes think I suck, but I don’t want to feel that I suck”. Feeling bad about myself by re-opening jars doesn’t seem like it will help me feel better about myself.)