561. From Provocation to Self-Challenge

Or how to stop putting up a fight against the world and instead challenge oneself to grow in living terms

Something I tend to do quite often is watch interviews with people mostly in the field of music and arts in general, and yesterday while I was watching one about a movement in music that I had tried to ‘understand’ many times in the past in terms of placing into context its expression, without having done proper research on its background and ‘reason to be.’ And this is something I bring up again – because I am sure I have written about it before – in relation to what was coined as ‘black metal’ and in particular two individuals that were pillars to that ‘scene’ which might be too radical in many terms and I frankly don’t particularly like the music nor agree with everything they say, but I do appreciate in a way how at the time such movement and expression was a way to provoke, to ‘make noise’ literally, shouting and screaming in an attempt to wake people up or attempt to say ‘there is something really wrong going on in our lives’ and turning that into a particular sound, lyrics, and music that became a formula to replicate by many, and it was also a ‘movement’ that wasn’t paid by the same ‘system’ to create rascals or ‘punks’ – misfits and outsiders of the system’. Instead it was born in one of the countries with the ‘highest standards of living’ which is actually also socialist in nature – having several ‘holes’ when it comes to restricting people’s choices and decisions, leading to this ‘perfected’ living experience where in a way, self-responsibility is also left at the hands of ‘the system’ which these artists were intending to explain was something to very much question about such ‘controlled prosperity’ – which is a whole topic in itself that I won’t go to here today.

But, that’s the context of why this ‘outrageous expression’ came up in a form of musical tantrum so to speak lol and how I have been ‘drawn’ to controversial and ‘eccentric’ people because of having the guts to stand in temporary positions to question, challenge, dramatize or expose the reality that may become very ‘normal’ in our eyes and in that, yes arts and other expressions become a way to reflect back to ourselves what are we in fact taking for granted or no longer questioning or realizing about ourselves.

What I noticed is that I have tended to gravitate towards such personalities that seem to be rather provocative in nature and yesterday as I was reviewing one of those interviews again after a couple of years, I saw how the word ‘provocation’ came up and I could relate it to myself, which is an aspect that I’ve had within me my entire life and I mean, this has been there since I was a little child which started as a form of attention seeking through doing some ‘out of the norm’ things and later on it became a way to ‘stand out from the crowds’ and consider myself as ‘special’ while being a teenager; and later on standing as a point of provocation in a more intellectual manner in my early adulthood and throughout starting this process with Desteni as well, where I started ‘speaking up to’ whatever I could find I had a thing or two to criticize about, to spew some ‘facts’ about while at the same time attempting to direct it towards a solution, which might or might not have been the best way to approach it but, as everyone else, this was part of my ‘awakening’ process so to speak and early on reactions to what I was realizing about myself and the world we live have co-created.

Now my usual current reaction to that aspect of myself was of embarrassment because of having judged myself for how antagonistic, critical and sometimes plane arrogant I was when addressing a particular subject and without intending to necessarily ‘blame’ others, the attitude and approach was still coming through within starting point of judgment, of denial of ‘that’ which I was speaking of as a part of myself as well. In essence humbleness was lacking and my role at the time became that of ‘pushing buttons’ to see who I could provoke and get to ‘think and question more,’ which I now understand is simply a part or phase of my life/process wherein I used this ‘tool’ of provocation to stir reactions and within that, attempt to direct towards solutions, but definitely focused so much more in explaining the problem that little was left to actually share how to get to the solution, at an individual level.

That’s how upon hearing again about this initial attempt of people currently labeled as ‘black metal’ that intrigued me for quite some years, I realized that it was also their attempt as teenagers to say something, to ‘wake people up’ with certain lyrics and sounds, but there was no actual discourse being given in a clear manner where people could in fact ‘get’ what it was all about. And it is only through the words of the people involved in that movement now that they’ve grown older that one can understand better what the whole drama was about back in the early nineties.

I could see myself reflected in these individuals’ points of view and ways of ‘speaking their mind’ because I was also very keen on doing that and perceiving that I wasn’t affecting anyone by doing it, until I got to understand a ‘little’ key aspect related to our oneness and equality, who we are as being in fact life and ‘made of the same’ which renders every form of judgment in an attempt to ‘separate’ oneself from that which we judge utterly futile, considering that we can only really ever speak about ourselves no matter how much there is an attempt to ‘expose’ or ‘blame’ or ‘criticize’ others, it’s always us doing it to ourselves anyways.  

And that’s a life-changing realization that led me to currently understand how this provocation that I was attempting to do was a phase, a part of my life – very much like these teenagers that put on make up on their faces and dressed in black clothes in an attempt to disturb and provoke or stand out from the crowds, while forgetting to send a clear message as to ‘what’ they were really wanting o create a statement about – which tends to happen in our lives where I’ve seen in my case how many times I was ‘angry’ at the world and I didn’t even know or investigate within me what ‘exactly’ about it was bothering me. I was apparently just ‘fed up’ about everything, not ever realizing I was fed up and angry at myself because of knowing that there was something to change within me, something to ‘break free from’ and realign to a better version of myself, but I had no way to do it, didn’t even know where to start either, so that’s how many can end up stuck in emotional tantrums ‘against the world’.

That’s how upon getting to Desteni I was able to finally come to understand more about this ‘constant experience’ that I had projected onto the world out there, which was in fact knowing that there could be so much more to life, to my life, to myself than being this angry and despondent individual that would end up bitterly wallowing into depression – yep that was one of the possible outcomes if I had not made the decision to walk this self-awareness and self-change process.

I have to even say that I wasn’t even aware that I was ‘angry’ at all, because it had become me and the very way I look at reality itself, we don’t even realize how anger is also about ourselves knowing that we can in fact do better, become a better individual yet we keep doing the exact same opposite of changing for the better day by day. Instead the seemingly ‘easy’ way out is to do the opposite to that, and it only backfires for the most part, layering up all of the emotional experiences and irresponsibility every moment we don’t stand up from it. So I’ve been walking this process to see what was I in fact uncomfortable and angry about in relation to me, my life, what I was initially not readily willing to admit I had done onto myself and onto life as this world – not only individually but collectively as humanity.

If I had only stayed in that stage or phase of becoming ‘too aware’ of how things work, getting to understand the intricacies of this massive ‘system’ and remained within the idea that ‘I am not part of it, it’s a bunch of other people that created it,’ I would have ended up being mostly a bitter person that would be constantly angry about anything going wrong in this world and possibly would have escalated into a chronic depression and meaningless life… sad but true if I had not been able to become aware of who I really am as this whole creation, where there’s really no separation between ‘you’ and ‘me,’ and that’s the most humbling realization and process of assimilation that led me to ‘take off my shield’ and start peeling off the hard veneer I had grown as forms of intellect, arrogance, righteousness and yes ultimately provocation ‘against others,’ towards developing a much more understanding and eventually humble and gentle approach to who I am as an individual – and so towards others, which yes I’m still very much practicing – that are an equal and one (part) of this whole self that is ourselves.

I remember while going through art school seeing many works and expressions that were intended to do just that, ‘provoke’ yet my constant conclusion on all of it was that I would appreciate a more direct meaning and explanation to what they were in fact trying to do, but most of the times the reality is that we –  because I’ve been there myself – were no different to the black metal people that were trying to cause a stir and disturb in one way or another to potentially ignite a ‘wakeup call’ about what we see is something that is utterly ‘out of place’ or ‘plain wrong’ about our reality, but little do we also investigate within ourselves to see who we are as part of that which we are becoming aware of is not supportive, plain ‘backwards’ or simply outrageous to see it as part of our reality – meaning taking the time to investigate its creation and existence within ourselves first, understanding it and not ‘reacting’ to it but rather coming up with a solution one can live to ‘fix’ that part of self instead..

And that’s what I am grateful I have been able to do and continue doing for myself, to ‘decode’ many times what I wanted to express in a more ‘silent’ manner through certain attitudes ‘against the world’ that I believed could lead me to someone at any point asking me ‘what is it that I was seeing as ‘utterly wrong’ in my reality?’ which never happened by the way, no matter how much pain, sorrow, depression, anger or frustration one can experience about ‘our world, our creation’ it usually leads nowhere but only into a form of personal decay if we don’t stand up from it and instead learn to Act about it.

That’s what one of the guys from this movement has been able to do in his own particular way and set of principles, which is cool that people can give a generally ‘constructive outcome’ to what initially emerged as rage, anger, frustration and plain intellectual antagonism against a society or ‘world system’ or ‘life’ in general. It’s always cool to see artists that can give steps further even beyond only the music, beyond the ‘creations’ that we get to know of them and instead also use their art and creations as bridges to get to know about the person, their lives, principles, what they stand for – which I’ve found becomes a richer process which leads to a more clear, direct and less speculative message when getting to hear the words and see the lives of these people – or at least how they show it.

And this is also another point I wanted to remind myself about which I had also found frustrating when trying to communicate only through an image, where I had not linked it to words, and sometimes where I had not even actually gotten to understand myself and what I really wanted to say and express in relation to a point of creation. Whereas now, I am definitely interested in being able to express the process behind any point of expression and how it relates to a personal reflection, because this is precisely how art becomes meaningful if and when we decide to make of our lives something meaningful as well, and this is then not only limited to creating a piece of art in itself, it extends to any point or aspect of self-creation ultimately as the creators that we all are, and that’s how ‘speculation’ can be somewhat prevented when we are direct and upfront on what we stand for, what we express, the principles behind it, the part of ourselves that is invested on creating anything in our lives and with that, being able to stand in the world as a self-created piece of art really, not one that is only following the pre-established lines of our particular contexts and coincidences that led us to ‘be here,’ but where we truly take the wheel of our lives into the direction that we decide to give to ourselves.

Now that’s the kind of people that I also get inspired by, even if I don’t fully ‘agree’ with them and their views, ways of living or thinking – but the sheer act of having that independence, that drive, self-respect and commitment to stay ‘true to themselves’ is something cool about us as human beings, even more so if it is geared to living in a common sensical, supportive, self-responsible and self-aware manner, which is what I want to continue being able to express and share in whichever means and ways I can in and as my life.

So! Where do I stand in relation to provocation today? It is a word that I can redefine, removing the extra energy-buzz that I’d get from ‘provoking’ others through words or looks or actions in an attempt to ‘wake others up’ – which is then mostly using a ‘shock’ factor to attempt to make others ‘do something’ about it without even explaining ‘what’ exactly. Instead I take the word provocation entirely back to myself, where there is no longer that need or attempt to ‘make others react’ or ‘make others think,’ but simply express myself, my life, my creations as a statement in itself, a ‘this is who I am and how I live’ without having ‘others’ in my mind as the starting point to my self-challenge, lol because it is about myself anyways.

This is how I walk through the provocation intended to stimulate others in a reactive manner and instead simply continue provoking myself, which in its root meaning implies ‘challenging’ myself within the context of stepping out of my self-defined limits, out of the ‘religion of self’ and into an expansion, a growth which I’ll also be now doing in terms of letting my hair grow back after 7 years of what I can consider a very relevant phase of deconstruction, understanding, ‘death of self’ and rebirth that I’ve been going through as of late, which is a phase I also want to link this phase of having shaved my head as a statement that I now see of course remains within me beyond looks, where it is now me transitioning into a new phase where I want to deliberately mark the self-creation and self-expansion phase.

Sure enough, being bald was another way of provoking myself, challenging myself for quite a prolonged time I’d say and it worked well considering how many ‘issues’ about self-image would come up every time that anyone would kind of cringe about it, which I’ve also then realized is seldom something that leads to an actual in depth point of understanding as to ‘why’ I did it, which also proves back to myself that yes, I did it for myself and the test is sufficiently done. Now it’s going in the reverse way, challenging myself to grow it back which I had frankly now resisted to do, partly because I’ll lose some benefits like getting better seats in airplanes or free ice lollies… I am sorry about that confusion; it was always just me shaving my hair daily.

 I realized I have to reinvent myself, which is no different to re-create or create myself in a different way and continue stepping out of comfort zones, because that’s what leads to expansion, embracing, getting to connect more with others, getting out of ‘fixed ways’ which to me is definitely something I want to continue challenging in various ways.

Ok! Who knew that one single word could open up so many things to me? Yep! Taken back to self, keeping challenging myself instead of ‘putting up a fight’ against the world lol.

Thanks for reading.

 

Balancing act

 

Join us in our process of Self-Expression as LIFE

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About Marlen

I'm a human being that has decided to live by the principle of Life in Equality and place myself as a point of support for everyone that's willing to birth themselves as Life in this world. View all posts by Marlen

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