Writing

<em>What Frankenstein Teaches Us About Life</em>

What Frankenstein Teaches Us About Life

I discovered a few years ago that I really enjoy older books.

It started when I picked up a copy of Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities—published in 1859. Later, I snagged a copy of  Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace—published in 1867.

Not long ago, I came across an old hardcover at a garage sale. Never heard of the author or the work before. It’s called Danger; or Wounded in the House of a Friend—copyright page has 1875—by T.S. Arthur. It’s a fictional take on a big issue at the time dealing with the excesses of alcohol and who takes responsibility for when someone gets drunk at your party and winds up getting killed in a tragic accident in the same night.

What I found interesting with Arthur’s book is that it mirrored much of what I had to deal with in my last career as a law enforcement officer.

The heart doesn’t change much, and though we are ever evolving, much remains the same on the inside.

Like someone once told me…

“The only difference between people today and 5,000 years ago, is that they used to ride camels then; today, we smoke ‘em.”

Hm. He had a point.

This past week, I started reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. Published in 1818. Mary Shelly began writing Frankenstein when she was 18. Finished working on it when she was 20 years old. She’s also regarded as the Mother of the Sci-fi genre.

I’m halfway through it, and it’s a page turner for me.

Not that it’s on the edge of your seat type of story, but there’s much to appreciate with Shelly’s writing.

Word usage. Verbs. Adjectives. Structure of her story and the mechanics of her piece.

Outside of the inner workings of her writing and technique, there’s a human element that is constant in our lives; whether it’s fiction or reality.

And…I find that fiction seems to have more life lessons than some of the non-fiction I read.

Victor Frankenstein, our scientist in Shelly’s book, is overwhelmed when a couple of deaths happen, and he automatically attributes the deaths to the creature/monster he created.

Victor, in reflection of his life and the unfortunate circumstances he finds himself in, loathes the way his life has turned out. It’s not the life he envisioned when he set out from home.

Victor states in chapter 9…

“I had begun life with benevolent intentions and thirsted for the moment when I should put them in practice and make myself useful to my fellow beings. Now all was blasted; instead of that serenity of conscience which allowed me to look back upon the past with self-satisfaction, and from thence to gather promise of new hopes, I was seized by remorse and the sense of guilt, which hurried me away to a hell of intense tortures such as no language can describe.

This state of mind preyed upon my health…”

Victor’s mental state mirrors many I’ve spoken with over the years…myself included.

We graduate high school and head off into adulthood with grand dreams, desires, and notions that we will do things better.

Then, life occurs.

And after time, we find that what should’ve been, turns into a monster we’ve created, and there’s no turning back.

Like Victor, we’re seized by guilt and remorse which begins to take a toll on us physically.

We’ve made a lot of monsters in life; bad decisions that just compounded upon the next.

The biggest mistake I see that Victor makes immediately after creating his monster is that he runs from it, and then pretends it doesn’t exist. It’s not until a whole year that lapses before he realizes that his creation is still alive.

The book is much different than the Boris Karloff movie I watched growing up.

The point is, Victor didn’t take responsibility for his actions.

We all have doubt, regrets, remorse, and guilt over the monsters we’ve created. For some, they still linger in a closest. That’s draining. It’s soul-sucking. The energy pours out quicker than anything when it is allowed to linger that way.

I have found is that shedding light into my inner world has taken care of the monsters.

Journalling, prayer, meditation, practicing gratefulness, being physically active, and surrounding myself with people that are not into gossip and drama have flung the doors wide open on otherwise dark and gloomy areas.

But then there’s the guilt and remorse. The side effects of a life lived.

This is where learning to love yourself comes into play and also being able to forgive yourself.

At some point, you have to decide what you’re willing to give your thoughts to.

It does no good, for you, or anyone around you, to keep conjuring up the past and dwelling therein.

Incorporating a grateful practice into daily life helped me to shift my focus onto things that are full of hope and life.

Journalling helped flesh out those things under the surface that pricked at me like needles that I didn’t have a clue what they were; no less could put a name on.

Prayer. Yes, I prayed for forgiveness, then I needed to forgive…those who I felt wronged me, violated me and left me for dead.

Then? Forgive myself.

Quieting my life to meditate or just spend time alone with my thoughts and feelings has done wonders in figuring out who I am these days and the direction I’m headed.

There are many routes to take, remember, it’s never just one thing; it’s a combination of things that help.

In the end, it’s a short journey, but it takes a life time to do, and honestly, I don’t want to be Victor.


<Photo Source-Pixabay>

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Change, Life Hack, Living Better, Reinvention, Self, Self-Improvement, Writing, 0 comments
Why Writing is Self-Serving; This is for Everyone

Why Writing is Self-Serving; This is for Everyone

The word Catharsis means The process of releasing, and providing release from, strong or repressed emotions.

This is why I advocate journalling.

Especially if you’ve lived through a life or death situation, or worked in a public safety or emergency services occupation. Of course, not to leave anyone out of this list; anyone who’s been traumatized in life.

Then there are those life situations where we find ourselves corralled in a job that we hate, working for a boss we don’t like (maybe even hate), being someone we’re not for 8 to 10 hrs a day.

Oh, don’t forget about the battle zone on the home front that the moment you walk in through the door after said job, the tension can be cut with a dull knife and the whole rest of your evening is spent either defending yourself, your actions, your words; or avoiding certain others by walking on eggshells in hopes of not igniting another blowout.

If there’s no pressure release for all or either of those cases mentioned, it can lead to some pretty rough waters whereby we do our best to suppress those ugly things that rise from within that steal our energy and strength.

And it’s at that point where we turn certain emotions off to get through the day or night or both.

It’s called Apathy—a short-term coping mechanism to help us stay upright to accomplish our tasks at hand.

But, as things get buried, things get hidden, and things get shoved deeper into the darkness, things begin to mold, mildew, and…well…stink.

***

Recently, and not for the first time, someone sent me an email to tell me that what I write is self-serving.

For the whole of the email, which contained mostly complaints and criticisms, splashed with smiley faces and LOLs—Hm—that self-serving allegation stuck on me like one of those styrofoam packing peanuts.

And, after giving it some thought…it is very much so…I don’t deny it one bit.

Writing, for me, is self-serving.

***

In 2012, I started to consistently journal.

It saved me. That sounds a bit grandiose, I know, but it did.

I dealt with all of those things above, all at the same time, which once I hit the apathy switch, I felt like a machine…24/7.

Journalling allowed me to vent in a place in my life I no longer trusted human nature and viewed close relationships negatively.

When I wrote then, it brought to light attitudes and emotions that I didn’t believe I had buried. It helped shed light on my situation and eventually led me to get help.

I write today because, well, not only is it cathartic for me today as it was then, it’s now become something that if I don’t do, I feel like I’ve missed something in my day; like a piece of my life is misplaced until I open the lid on my laptop and start typing away.

***

Articles and blog posts and books written by others have been transformative over the years for me. Ones that resonate with me that is. They have challenged me to become a better person in many different areas.

I appreciate those who had the backbone to write self-serving articles, pouring their guts out on the page, bleeding in a blog post, and flinging their thoughts into cyberspace.

Those writers have given me hope in some dark times knowing that if they made it through crazy situations and mind-boggling issues, then maybe I can too.

***

Writing, whether you publish an article a day, or write in a journal in which no one will ever read, is a catharsis and it is self-serving.

And why not?

You give of yourself all the time to others around you.

You put yourself as a doormat to others every day.

You bury things deep down just to make it through the day and to keep serving others.

You tell yourself, “I don’t have time for myself because I have to be here, there, and everywhere, for so&so.”

It’s time to start taking care of yourself. Time to start loving yourself. Time to take time to heal yourself.

Journal. Write. Be creative…for you!

And! Make no apologies for doing so.


Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Change, Living Better, Reinvention, Self-Improvement, Writing, 0 comments