PINK SLIP THE POSER
Intense and raw language ahead.
Nice guys, delicate sensibilities, and the easily offended might want to sit this one out.
One of the benefits of having kept personal journals over the past 42 years is that I can easily go back in time to track where my head, heart, and soul have been camped out on previous battles and adventures. Here's a glimpse into my head in October of one recent year:
"Ah, the folly of a fool. Yes, I hate myself at some cellular level to have remained in Kentucky and put myself through this fucking nightmare. LOOK AT MY LIFE & THIS PATHETIC SMALL STORY I LIVE IN!! If I stand a chance, it feels as if I am faced with a life-changing decision. Who said a man can't grow up at 54 years of age?"
Something is certainly up under the hood, don't you agree? And it's one of the most precious gifts - to be able to track what is going on in my head. Try it - pay attention for even just one day (...OK, maybe start for one hour...) to the flotsam and jetsam of thoughts that go through your head, to the "voices" that are speaking to you. Tune that dial in. Oh, by the way: do you really think all those thoughts belong to you...just you?
"What the fuck happened to the dreamer in me, the romantic, the creative force of nature? As much as I love the false self and its comforts sometimes, I cannot believe how much of my life I've simply given away to fear or anger or shame."
In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge was the first man in my spiritual and masculine journey to teach me about how as a man, I take a wound (usually early in life and most always coming from the father), and with that wound comes a message in the form of a lie about me, about the world, and certainly about God. This wound and deception then leads to a vow, a determined resolution to never set foot upon the territory of whatever brought the wound to me in the first place. And, from that vow, I carefully construct the false self or the Poser. So, for example, the wound could be that my father left or abandoned me - the lie then might sound like "You are on your own." The vow then is "I will never trust anyone again." So, the wound and the lie and the vow combine forces to self-create the false self or the Poser who becomes a very independent, driven man.
As I've learned over decades of time and experience, men's work is quite messy, dangerous, and fraught with great battles for the heart and its true story. Another look back at last year's look under the hood:
"I am a real mess and part of me is amazed - and angry. I've stopped trusting my gut. The world is NOT my friend...and, for the most part, I can't fucking stand most anyone I've ever met or have had to deal with. I've been invisible , lost in the fog, checked out, afraid of what's going to happen to me if I ________________ (FILL IN THE BLANK WITH DREAMS, WORDS, ACTIONS. I've created this shit hole of an existence - there is no one else to blame. It's not fucking rocket science or some big mystery to figure out." [From JOURNAL FORTY-FIVE "The Heart of the Story (One Again), p.22]
Even from a distance, it's easy to see the false self, the Poser, or as some in men's work might call it, The Rep (or the Representative I send into life instead of showing up as a true and authentic man). Doing battle against the Poser is certainly a full-time job with plenty of worthwhile benefits. But, truth being told, the Poser needs to be pink slipped with no mercy or compassion. Each and every day - or at least when I become painfully aware that he's become the Chairman of the Board with exclusive voting rights as to how I show up in my own life!!
I can report that the unemployment rate for my Poser gets higher the more time I spend walking with God, continuing my training in the dojo of fighting spiritual warfare, and the help of others in my journey who can have the courage and the balls to step on my toes or bring the hard truths to me no matter how strong they make the coffee.
If I really try hard to find my Poser today, I would imagine he's sitting somewhere in a coffee shop with shitty Wi-Fi, the battery on his laptop running dangerously low, and groaning that he doesn't qualify for unemployment benefits - basically up shit's creek without the proverbial paddle. Too fucking bad for him...and much better for me.
And I have warehouses of God's pink slips for my Poser at the ready.
John Fontaine, Writer @ Large