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  • Writer's pictureAlice

What's Really Scary Is To Lose Oneself

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

Being yourself is the best thing that can happen to you in times of maximum connectivity.

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Image created by the author with CANVA

Today I have been wondering how many times a day a person can feel scared,

so I have turned, without much success, to Google God. However, I have come to some conclusions.


Fear, despite being a common feeling to all human beings, unless you are "Juan sin miedo" (fearless John), doesn't show up the same way, or with the same frequency to all living beings.


Fear turns humans into storytellers and makes us look for alternatives to avoid the consequences of what we are scared of. It even makes us undertake techniques to deal with this feeling that, when it becomes too intense, it can even paralyse us.


Fear meant for the Irish Goddess Tailtiu, in her role as "Good Mother", death by exhaustion "after clearing the plains of Ireland", to benefit agriculture. This event coincided with “Lammas” celebrations on the 1st of August in Ireland, on the 15th in Scotland and parts of northern England. These celebrations are also known as "Mary Mas" or "Lughnasadh", a word that comes from the warrior god Lugh, raised by the Goddess Tailtiu and which means "assembly of the warrior sun god".


In honour of Tailtiu, "Lugh established a harvest festival and funeral games" called "Áenach Tailteann", which continued to be celebrated until the 18th century.


The first celebrations of these first harvests continue to be closely connected with the natural elements of fire, water and nature in general, which, to this day, we continue to admire and perpetuate.


I talk more about this in issue 15 of this month's online magazine, You Are Gothic But You Don't Know It.


For a deeper analysis of this topic and to learn more about Gothic Literature and its connection to Jungian Psychology, don't miss this month's issue of You Are Gothic But You Don't Know It



Fear makes us look outside of ourselves for something that must first be found within. For this reason, when we consider past stories that give rise to our celebrations, and which have formed the folklore of our countries, as false because they promote superstition and fantasy, we stop being in contact with them. As a consequence, we lose part of our identity.


Still, we continue looking for answers and methods that help us overcome our fears in other cultures that seem better than our own.


It is not surprising how rituals like "Mindfulness", a type of meditation with its origins in Buddhism, are beginning to become so fashionable in Western countries.


I am of the opinion that we must investigate, discover and learn to understand other cultures and beliefs in order to later put into practice the rituals that best suit us. However, this should not be done to the detriment of our cultural and historical heritage, simply because it is fashionable. This approach can, once again, throw us off balance.


If we look at the history of Lugh, Buda, Jesus and many other figures that lead our beliefs and on which our rituals and celebrations are based, we will see that all of them, in their hero's journey, seek to reach a state of inner peace that elevates them to another level: not only do they overcome their fears, but their trajectories are admired and followed by others.


Surprisingly, our current fears do not differ that much from the fears of our ancestors. Although based on excessive digital connectivity with the world and external stimuli, we continue to fear what is threatening, despite its familiarity. This is the uncanny aspect that Sigmund Freud talked about.


What makes this a typically gothic situation, that brings uncertainty, is the fact that fear no longer lies in the actions of supernatural beings that control our crops, i.e something external to us, but rather in the actions of other human beings. And this intimate closeness and blending of the threat with us is deeply scary.


The hungry capitalism that drives us, materialism and the lust for power make us so internally disconnected that even science has to come to our rescue to remind us that the only thing that can save us is "thinking, analysing, feeling, dreaming, following our intuition and listening to our bodily signs."


However, despite our efforts, the search for new models that can help us fight our worries to eradicate our neuroses end up becoming another symptom of our abysmal dissatisfaction.


We cannot fill the void produced by our deepest fears with something new unless we are capable of looking at the source of our fears in the face.


Thus, we continue to perpetuate actions that are to our detriment and that only keep us on the surface, decorating our old masks with new shades of colours.


In the end, that which only a few had access to and only they understood, ends up atrophied due to the misuse of others. This is largely due to what in English is known as "FOMO", (Fear of missing out), a term widely used by many experts, including the Spanish psychiatrist Marian Rojas Estapé.


That is why I believe that the best thing that can happen to us these days is to start a journey within ourselves, just like Buddha did, or any other figure that inspires you, not because it is fashionable but because it really resonates with you. In the end, what we should look forward to is not becoming somebody else's monster.


Although being yourself, in your most authentic form, can make you feel a bit like a black sheep. In the long run, this authenticity will bring you a lot of peace and balance.


To find this balance it is very important to:


- Get to know yourself better for the right reasons and not because it's trendy.

- Face, at your own pace, what scares you so as not to fall into a bottomless pit.


Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the one most lost out of the two of us?


THE IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING YOURSELF BETTER FOR THE RIGHT REASONS AND NOT BECAUSE IT'S FASHIONABLE


Each month of the year is an invitation to get to know ourselves better.


Following ancestral beliefs such as that of the Celts, August is the month for collecting what we have sown during the year.


But I think August is much more than that.


For me, August is always a month for self-reflection, especially when we are approaching the last days. In my country, these are days to start saying goodbye to the summer and to start planning the return to our old routines.


Going back to school or going back to work can be exciting, since with these new beginnings a new stage in our life begins. But this also brings fear.


You will agree with me that we spend a huge part of the year working for only a few days off. Therefore, our post-holiday depression comes as no surprise when we are face to face again with nightmares that we've made a huge effort to forget, and that can go from our schedules, endless hours away from home, or putting up with colleagues and/or clients that embitter our existence.


In the times we're in, and thanks to the so-popularized "Great Resignation" produced by COVID, more and more people are doing impossible things to gradually get out of the horror film in which they find themselves.

Returning to your essence, talking to your inner child, rescueing that part of you that was not dirtied by economic problems or by what others may say, going over that time when you dreamed of doing great things that filled you with emotion while playing, are all small big steps that will help you connect with yourself and stop making you being afraid.


The channel you use to work on all these aspects can have a thousand names: "Mindfulness", "holidays in your parents' hometown" or simply "learn to stop the useless noise in your head".


What has worked best for me, this summer, has been two day trips to the beach (I hope to fit in a couple more).

It was hard for me to get away from my computer but it was very necessary


I was born near the sea and, even though I'm not a good swimmer and I respect the immensity of the blue liquid that covers most of the planet, I feel a deeply ancestral connection with it. Something very common to many other people.


It is not surprising, then, the importance that water has in horror films such as Constantine (2005), starring Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weiz and Tilda Swinton. In this film, water is a connector between our world and purgatory. Water also takes on a new role in the film The Last Voyage of the Demeter, released precisely on August 10. Here, the sea is presented as that open space from which the crew of the ship, in which Count Dracula is being transported from his native home to England, cannot escape.


HOW FACING WHAT YOU ARE AFRAID OF CAN SAVE YOU FROM FALLING INTO A BOTTOMLESS PIT


Luckily more and more professionals talk about the importance of getting to know ourselves better psychologically. But this is a very scary trip for many, and of which others boast, without having taken the relevant path.


In the song Loveletting, from his new solo album, Neon Noir, Ville Valo appears with his black sheep.


When they asked him about the sheep in one of the hundreds of interviews he has had recently, his explanation was that he had always wanted to make a video clip with an animal.


However, making a deeper analysis of this choice, and as others have already pointed out, perhaps the black sheep is Valo's vision of himself, in his past life as lead singer of the Finnish gothic rock group HIM, created in 1991.


For Ville, the best way to work on his fears, and everything that moves him, is deeply connected with music, a type of artistic expression that not only helps him connect with himself, but also with his audience.


In an interview for the YouTube channel, Belgian Jasper, he said that people are nowadays busy and disconnected beings. In his own words, he tells us that this is because:


There's this innate need for people to experience so many things that they actually don't have time for... All these senses of joyous and life-changing experiences are so very fragmented that people are not enjoying the vibes.

Ville Valo


If you want to read my entire article on Ville Valo, access February's issue, here:


Unfortunately, not all of us can dedicate our lives to music as a means of self-exploration that can also feed us economically. The same goes for writing.


The good news is that what you can start doing from today is to work on your fears through other forms of expression, such as horror productions or productions with gothic elements. You can do so asking for the recording of the webinar that took place on 24th August, and in which we counted with the wonderful collaboration of expert, professor and terror researcher, Tugce Kutlu.


In this free webinar we talk about:

  1. Everything you need to know about Horror and Gothic in Modernity.

  2. What the consumption of Horror tells us about our history.

  3. What can we learn about our shadows and fears through Horror.

  4. How Horror and Gothic looks today compared to the last 50 years.


If you are interested in receiving the recording of our webinar, completely free, just click on the following link:




LAST THOUGHTS

  • Fear is an ancient feeling that unites every living thing.

  • Fear can be a source of creativity.

  • Today's fears have a deep foundation in our individual disconnection.

  • The sea can help you connect with your essence.

  • Art in any of its forms can be used as a tool to help you connect with your deepest fears in order to overcome them.

Now you just have to use your critical thinking and your intuition to decide if you want to be another sheep in the crowd or if you really want to be yourself.

Thanks for reading!


Until next entry,


Alice


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