Bubbling Up To Freedom
by Jake Block
“Goodbye to all my friends at home,
Goodbye to people I’ve trusted.
I’ve got to go out and make my way
I might get rich, you know, I might get busted,
But my heart keeps calling me backwards
As I get on the 707.
Riding high, I got tears in my eyes;
You know you got to go through hell before you get to heaven.”
— Jet Airliner (The Steve Miller Band)
I know a woman, as we all probably do, who is making her mark and kicking ass in the world. She has a good job and a comfortable home, pets that love her and a community that knows her worth. She’s intelligent, attractive, a wonderful artist, sexy as hell, and coincidentally, or perhaps not, a traveler on the Left Hand Path. You probably would never know it to look at her, although you might get an indication in the steely eyed stare and dogged determination that drives her on. And it might surprise you to know that in her past, she had been called to the dark, terrible edges of the abyss and clawed her way back into the light.
I won’t go into her history, because it’s nobody’s business but her own, but I will say that for those out there who are into the old “my pain is worse than your pain” game, I can tell you, no one would have blamed her, had she just said, “Fuck it, I’m done,” and given up the ghost. Tragedies come in a sliding scale and there is a point at which every one could say that the life they see ahead of them just isn’t worth the pain they would have to endure to get to where the sun shines again. But her battles of self delivery were terrible and she prevailed. End of story… no. You see, she didn’t just walk into the sunshine of a brand new day like in some Lifetime Network tear-jerker TV movie. She carefully plotted the road to personal redemption and rebuilt her world from the ashes around her.
Again… easy in the eyes of those who have never been there, but in order to make such a triumphant rise from the ashes of one’s defeat, there has to be a sacrifice and its one most are loathe to make. You must give up your precious “PMS.” That’s right. You have to realize that PMS will not only keep you stuck in the mire, but prevent you from any movement out of it. No, not pre-menstrual syndrome… we’re talking here of our very own, personal hell, our “Poor Me Syndrome.”
You can be as valiant in your own mind as you care to be, and slay the dragons of your imagined perils, but unless you learn that you aren’t the victim of the story, but its author and its protagonist and its antihero all rolled into one, and all subject to feeling sorry for oneself, it’s just another tale of woe, going nowhere. The world is full of valiant knights and damsels in distress, living lives of quiet desperation, secretly hoping for someone to save them from themselves and their inertia. That wasted effort, that hoping to be rescued by someone, is the primary cause and sustaining energy of the “Poor Me Syndrome.”
Now, our heroine wasn’t born adept in handling her inner demons and those foisted upon her by those who used and abused her in every sense of the word. The reality is, no one can anticipate the chaos life or what the selfish needs of other people can do to bring one’s life to a point where its very existence forces one’s hand to action. She reached a point where survival, Necessity Supreme, brought her clarity of vision and the realization that if she was going to wait for someone to save her from her dilemma, she was lost. Salvation was going to have to come from within, taking that first painful step, then the next and the next, until she not only could walk, but RUN.
American outdoorsman Aron Lee Ralston is famous for having cut off his own arm with a dull pocketknife, after he had become trapped for five days in Utah’s Bluejohn Canyon while rock climbing. When interviewed by a reporter who asked how he could have made all of the cuts necessary to carve the flesh through his arm, he smiled wanly and said, “The first cut was the toughest.” The road to freedom from emotional enslavement involves a thousand cuts. The cuts might not be as bloody, but they can be just as painful and traumatic.
You can’t affect change in your life on a meaningful level without some degree of painful personal effort. Unless there is a price to be paid for your freedom, it lacks value and you can justify backsliding and recidivism that will stall or negate any progress you have made. Going back must be more painful than going forward, and the bridges you burn to keep yourself from retreating will will eventually be revealed to be gateways to happiness. Whatever the means, however, if you want freedom from your oppressor, be it an individual or simply your past, you must act, and not rely on others to free you.
There is a phenomenon called the “Deep Blue” effect, in which those who are deep diving in the sea reach a point where darkness overtakes their environment, and it becomes confusing and difficult to tell up from down in the dark depths of the sea. This can be deadly as, in his panic, a diver can make a wrong choice and swim deeper, rather than rising toward the surface. This can cause fatigue and waste precious oxygen in tanks that are already close to depletion. Time too is precious, and many a diver has been lost due to inexperience and confusion.
An experienced diver watches the bubbles from the oxygen tank and soon knows that he will be safe. Bubbles rise to the surface, as should he. Once you know which direction leads to freedom, you can plan and work toward the goal. Let each of those bubbles guide you and give you faith, not in some mythological being, but in yourself, that you will not fail in surviving this ordeal at the abyss. Let each bubble bring you closer to your freedom from those who would oppress you and keep you from reaching the freedom you desire and deserve!
“Thus shall you make yourself respected in all the walks of life, and your spirit — your immortal spirit — shall live, not in an intangible paradise, but in the brains and sinews of those whose respect you have gained.”
— The Book of Satan III-9 (The Satanic Bible)