I’d like to share my interpretation of what the path means. Be forewarned though, it is not my intention to paint a fantasy community of goodness, well being, and kindness towards one another. That would be a lie. My intention is to show those entering into the various communities the realities that they will face. If they have a better understanding of how things play out, they can prepare accordingly. Knowing why things seem to play out a certain way, or why people act in a particular way, and with what mannerisms, can help a newcomer, because coming into our communities can be highly confusing.
Firstly, I would like to share my ideas on the path that is different for everyone. At one time or another, the path has the tendency to seem to be mirroring others’ paths that are walking with you, around you, or at a distance from you. The path to me determines the road you are heading on or what you actually seek to obtain from others and from within yourself. Some could be on the path of self-enlightenment but see different roads and ways to reach their goal. Some come to the communities because they want to gain a name for themselves or possibly feel special or unique. Others wish to be a part of something that they view as larger than themselves. There are also those who yearn to find individuals they can consider extended family.
Along with those types of paths there are the ones considered by most to be taboo. Even communities who are considered taboo by general society standards can view certain paths as going too far and even more taboo than they are. The most popular taboo seems to be the ones whose paths consist of being sexual predators. Through the community they are looking for that fresh young individual to take advantage of, the one who just came to the realization of this magical place’s existence. Taking advantage and being taken advantage of in the communities occurs more frequently than a lot would like to admit. Let’s consider that a part of the deep, dark underbelly of the community. Among the paths that aren’t as taboo, you can find people who are looking for lovers, acquaintances, or even someone they may feel they were separated from in a long ago past life. Then there are the more annoying drama queens, which tend to make a very good attempt at stirring up random problems to satisfy their own pleasures. Of course, we can’t forget the egomaniacs and controlling individuals. However, I’m not going to pretend that I can list all of the people in the community and their paths. I have offered a sampling of the different paths and types of individuals that I have taken from my own observations.
The communities seem to consist of people from every walk of life on a path suited to them by their own personal choice or their psychological makeup. The variety is not unlike what you would find if you were to take a stroll on a crowded city street or walk around inside a nightclub. The essential key is to be aware that, just because our communities seem like a safe place, it doesn’t necessarily mean they truly are. With that knowledge in hand, you can possibly understand things a bit better and prevent yourself from falling into traps others have laid out for you for their own personal gain.
Individuals usually start on a path in hopes of understanding themselves and the things they have either recently experienced or the things they want to gain knowledge of so that they can experience it too. (Just like they’ve read about or spoken to others about.) Starting on this journey, people find that their outlook is so fresh and new, like a child looking into the sky while fireworks burst into amazing colors right before their eyes for the very first time. As that path of discovery continues and time slides by, the mysterious things and bright colorful lights in the sky we were once so enthralled with starts to lose its texture, and the wonder starts to slip from our grasp.
The new ones come to us with this wonder, with their eyes gleaming and looking into the stars for those bright, bursting lights. The wonderful colors we once considered so amazing and new to us begin to get their internal fires extinguished; and with the new ones, perhaps even quicker than ours may have gone out. The fire is sometimes extinguished prematurely, by the ones who are jaded, without burning its due course. This affects the new ones negatively because they are being deprived of the wonder and the journey in its entirety – something they need to experience to actually evolve and grow. The jaded people might not even be aware that they have had a negative impact on the new person. ‘We’ve been there; we’ve done that’ is the attitude. Our acceptance of people wishing to seek out that gut feeling that is screaming inside of them to act is dwindling.
Most of today’s seekers are so starved for information and knowledge that they take the first spoon that feeds them. The first individual who extends their hand to them and gives them that little bit of hope in themselves to actually continue seeking for what they want. Given that, of course they listen, and they learn, even if it’s from a predator with a crooked smile. This begins to create people that we sometimes really don’t wish to associate with – or introduce to anyone else. Maybe this creates amusing individuals whom we may laugh at, or maybe it creates really devastated and harmful individuals. A lot of the jaded nature comes from spending massive amounts of time within the community. This jaded, standoffish attitude can cause some awful things to happen to the newer ones in the community, given the fact that none of us were there to show them any different or tell them that not all ways are the same. None of us were there to assure them that they are an individual in their own right and that they are most certainly allowed to make decisions while coming up with their own theories, without having to join into a group, house, or worse, a cult. A lot of people who have been in the community are becoming less and less accepting of anyone, yet easily more hostile towards one another. Given this nature it may slowly fall apart and consume itself – leaving new and old in its wake. Or it may just create a hostile environment that may be interesting at first but will get old very quickly.
I do not write these comments to make the community out to be a horrible, dark, and evil place. Though there are some bad things out there, there are a lot of good, outspoken individuals willing to stop their day-to-day lives to help newcomers out. There are a lot of things to be seen and experienced within our communities that are absolutely eye opening. However, the point of this article is to address things that seem to not get as much attention within our communities compared to the good things that we accomplish. The things I am attempting to bring forth may or may not be food for thought for you.
If you are new, understand that the communities that you walk into aren’t just a fuzzy recreation of a television series. These are things that encourage the aforementioned jaded natures so prevalent in the communities. These aren’t the places for you to flock to because you just saw the latest movie and want to claim you are something. However, if you just saw the latest movie and want to learn about us, I am sure you will find people very open with thoughts and knowledge on whatever the subject matter may be. Also understand that you will take your learning bumps on the path of gaining knowledge but always keep an open mind and never try to make anything a set belief. If you do, understand that it’s only yours and people will attack it due to not sharing that same belief – this should be expected and welcomed. It can be a good thing to have your beliefs or thoughts questioned because in return you will either destroy or solidify what you’ve gained so far and what you’ve learned. This is criticism that you will hopefully learn to hold dear to your heart while on your path. When just starting out in the communities make an effort not to immediately criticize others’ beliefs or thoughts. Instead question everything they have to offer in a polite manner, being rude won’t get you anywhere. In seeking knowledge, questions should be one of your tools in the process of obtaining it.
Understand that if you come to the communities to learn about yourself or others it may not be as simplistic as you may expect it to be, depending on you as a person. Keep an open mind, an open soul, but do know others may attempt to take advantage of you. Understanding this may give you a leg up and help you along your own personal path and whatever discoveries may be in store for you.
As for the older ones within the communities, something you may have also found by the new ones coming in, is that when we actually do take the time to sit and speak with them and teach them what we’ve already known for some time now, it can really breathe new life into us. It’s like a breath of fresh air. At times, it can be very exciting to take ourselves back to the beginning because it helps us to remember where we started from and how far we have come. Not to mention it gives us a chance to see those beautiful colors in the sky that we may have forgotten about.
This is the picture what we paint and it is not painted by just one of us. So please add your brush to the colors we share and help in turning our picture of a community into a masterpiece with your own thoughts, fireworks, and trivial nature. Our communities happen to be our family, and just like a family in our daily lives, we may not all get along or like one another. Even if we may still have crazy Uncle Bob who is hanging off of the chandelier being a fruit bat – family is family and we’d like you to be a part of it.
© 2006 Gabriel of Lost Haven