Friday, May 03, 2013

Pain and Pulpwood-Cutting

The quote below speaks to me. Why? I had to decide who I was when I was eighteen, and I did. I became a pulpwood cutter. I went numb from the neck down. But it wasn't about being comfortably numb, it was painful as hell.

"As adolescence ends--if there is no effective initiation or mentorship--a sad thing happens. The fire of thinking, the flaring up of creativity, the bonfires of tenderness, all begin to go out, It's as if the Army Corps of Engineers channels wild rivers into concrete banks. This happens to many boys, perhaps most. They become consolidated. They take what is around them--the pulp-cutting job, the few local opinions, the drinking culture, the 'Vocational School'--and they consolidate. They feel they have to decide who they are right now. They have no time to feel the traumas; and now that numbing of pain takes over; that numbing often becomes the essence of male life, much more of essence than domination or power over others. They adopt their dad's way of 'holding it in.' They store anger in their bodies, but worse, as John Lee has said over and over, the men do not learn how to express the anger in healthy, eloquent, or fruitful way. They experience anger but don't know what to do with it. There is a continuum that runs from experiencing anger to expelling anger in two seconds, skipping over verbal expression completely, and the result for some men will be domestic violence, hitting wives and children."

"Most men will not be violent. They will live in this state of expressionless consolidation all their lives, without violence, but without spontaneity or creativity either. The numbing of anger and grief will be the primary task of their psyches.

"The man who remains creative will make art for the rest of his life out of the remnants of infantile and adolescent conflicts. For other men, the end of adolescence means a shutting down of expressiveness and a fading of the fires. That is the way it has been for hundreds of years."--[Robert Bly, Pg. 127, The Sibling Society]

No comments: