Tag Archives: fear

From Baloney to Bull Oni

#1795 Namahage

As we see here, the Vince Neil oni is predictably guarding a row of bottles.(Photo credit: Nemo’s great uncle)

The concept of Japanese oni (demon), a subset of the Yōkai (ghost), are very endearing to me. They have such an identifiable image when displayed. It’s always a wacky, outlandish, grotesque figure ready to be menacing any moment. They’re traditionally evil, but I can’t help finding them simply adorable. Does that make me a strange person? Probably.

Modern representations of oni portray them more like wards against evil. It’s the same concept as gargoyles, and are displayed similarly on houses. Wild how society adapts tradition to suit its needs, isn’t it? It’s even wilder how cultures can mirror each other. Humans being human beings, or Human Beinz as the case may be.

The Japanese have a saying, “oni ni kanobo,” which translates into “oni with an iron club.” At least my primer material suggests such. I don’t specialize in much, and like a little variety. Most of the time I read introductory material and move on. So sue me; I’m not going to major in it. At any rate, this adage was meant to mean “invincible.” None of us are truly invincible, but I know a few times where I felt like I picked up the Super Mario Brothers star.  Others know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.

This post from Andra Watkins reminded me of a rumination I had back when I was trying to explore my life’s path in New York City. It was about success and progress. I was an unpaid flunky (intern) at an indie record label that operated out of a spare office in the co-owner’s family business. It was cool for a lot of things, like understanding the moving parts of the music industry and soaking in a New York way of life. It also had terribly horrifying, scruple-crushing events that may not seem much to others as it does a good kid from the rural Midwest. Some of them weren’t my fault, but some were.

Being outgoing was, and still is to some extent, a circumstance that would make the blood drain from my face. People are unpredictable. People are judgmental. People do not serve me with the level of respect they should, and this is regarding episodes like getting shouldered out of the way on the sidewalk. Basic respect, in my mind. I never asked anyone to believe in me, take my ideas seriously, or like me. I just wanted a little cooperation.

All of this fear and anxiety seems to manifest itself into a structure of defeat, a Berlin Wall of the soul. Concepts like these have an ethereal nature about them, and as such, there truly is no wall. Barriers happen to everyone and are the mind’s way of  taunting, intimidating, and scaring the person into inaction. The reasons will vary from person to person, but mine certainly were borne from a lack of self-esteem. I had been put through the wringer at school, and was left to drift about for the rest of my life. For once, I grabbed the paddle and moved somewhere.

Channeling the anger and desire from within my core produced a spirit wind. My metaphysical being would take the shape of a ram or bull and pummel the barrier with a force only revered by the intangible block. This ram batters and batters and batters the wall until it yields. Through experience, more often than not, that wall will break. It will buckle and groan, and your face will bloody and bruise, but it will give way eventually. Some mountains take longer to topple than others, but that’s where patience and persistence come in real handy.

As a caveat, I would like to acknowledge it takes brave soul to know when to try a different route. It’s decision requires discretion, though, and shouldn’t happen too often. With that in mind, be the oni ni kanobo. Be the bull, and give your barrier its reckoning!

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The Perennial “Problem” of Pornography

I’m going to make a statement that’s woefully obvious to a lot of social liberals in America: this country is still too sexually repressed for its own good. Now that I’ve had that “no shit, Sherlock” moment out of the way, I may proceed with my analysis on sex and sexuality in America. As mentioned in earlier posts, I’m from the Midwest. While the larger cities may have loosened up over the past few decades, the majority of this land is still quite scared to death about sex, sexuality, and most of all, sexual identity. Some of it is from the religion boogie man, but I have another idea on what the “darker” reason may be.

If I had a heart, it would go out to the gay people either still in the closet or living in the small hamlets of this nation. I will only use the term “great nation,” when it does something to warrant it. For example, when people come together like this:

…that means your nation did something “great.” I might have cried, provided I had tear ducts, but I use autohaemorrhaging for quick defense against terrorists and used car salesmen. I am the horned lizard of Freedom!

I was driving back from work a few days ago to hear the Hooterville (that’s my term of endearment for this “city” in which I reside) university radio station play a PSA on what I would classify as “aggressive sexual behavior.” In a 1950s sort of way, it’s the classic serpent-tongued horndog trying to get a girl to take her clothes off. One of the last lines she says is “nudity is disgusting.” I almost brought the car to a screeching stop. “No,” I thought, “nudity is not disgusting! Nudity is beautiful!” I agree forcing your will upon women is wrong. Rape is wrong. Using women is wrong. Women aren’t always the ones getting the business end of the stick, but more often than not, they are.

However, nudity is NATURE! Stop trying to stigmatize it! That’s the problem here. In an effort for the masses to feel “safe,” somewhat well-meaning citizens have decided to pour bleach all over the concept of sexuality. It makes me nauseous. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to keep this tirade past the age of majority. There are plenty of people that want to muddy the waters to avoid discussing serious problems. So, please, focus on the concern.

Aside from religion, I think there’s another reason for the huge stigma still surrounding sexuality in this country: people are truly afraid of what they really are. They are afraid to be in the fringe. They are afraid of being a “freak.” They are afraid of being left alone. The guilt of being a sexual “deviant” is enough to drive a human to repress emotions to an unhealthy level. How gross! How can we love one another, when we can’t even accept the kinks that love us?

This is why I think the pornography industry thrives in this country. They are filling a need that is so embarrassingly neglected that people are willing to pay top dollar for it. I’m also of the opinion that’s why the sex trade is a “trade.” There are men out there that haven’t been trained to understand sexuality properly, and are willing to pay for a Band-Aid over a gaping mental wound.

My point is: who cares if it’s absurd or severely unorthodox? Accept your sexual identity! The bedroom is none of society’s business. As long as everything’s consensual, relax and have a good time already. Maybe the release of fear and guilt will prevent you from going off the deep end?

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The Straw and the Camel

“Dinner will be ready in thirty minutes” drifted through the dirty, cramped bungalow on Hull Street. The neighborhood had seen better days, and the house’s dilapidation spoke of apathy and depression. That was common in the area. Ever since the town’s industry moved overseas, the children of blue-collar parents hadn’t much to expect out of life. That was partly their fault, but not enough to leave anyone completely blameless.

“I’m hungry now, Ash!” gave chase to the statement with fervor.  John was drunk again. He sat on the edge of his tattered recliner, while the recycled TV played a recycled episode of Night Court. John wasn’t very particular in what he watched, as long as it helped him forget about life. Edgy programming, like the news, was completely out of the question. He had plenty of troubles; he didn’t want to borrow anyone else’s.

“Then make it yourself,” Ashley muttered as she cut the rest of the carrots. She was on her last short order for three years and counting.

“You need to learn to prepare more often!” John’s voice was the rasp in the marriage, made more abrasive by Old Grand-Dad, Early Times, or any other variety of whisky Bernie’s Cash ‘n’ Carry had on sale at the time.

“I wanted to try something different tonight. I’m making a dish I saw at Las Dulces.” Saving face with a demanding drunk was always a chore. It felt like entertaining a fussy child. She knew John was already priming for a fight. The signs we unmistakable: he was out of his chair and getting louder. The glaze over his eyes protected him from seeing anything that would bother his conscience later. He propped himself up against the kitchen doorframe for support. He needed all the energy he could to mouth off.

“Las Dulces?!” John squeezed his eyes into his sculls with the remaining muscle control he had over his face. “When were you there? That shit’s expensive!”

“Oh! It was last Thursday with Jen. She picked up the tab. I thought that was nice of her.” Quickly, she zones in on the sizzling frying pan. An odd pairing they were. John focused on the outside world to forget; Ashley focused on the outside world to “remember.”

“You said you went to Caitlyn’s on Thursday.” John’s appearance darkened. He may have been drunk, but he still had enough brain power to connect the dots. He didn’t like where this was going.

At that moment, fear and relief waged war over Ashley’s body. The secret was coming out tonight, one way or another. She supposed that all affairs surface sooner or later. It would have been nice if he was sober at the time. At least then she wouldn’t have to be concerned about a fist or a belt.

Ashley had things planned for months: slowly moving possessions out of the house, explaining how they “broke” or were no longer needed. A bottle of whisky usually solved that problem. Then there was the money. It was always a little here, a little there, but never enough to alert his covetous eyes. She could have used a few more months’ worth of scraps. Sometimes life isn’t convenient.

She took a deep breath and laid a hand on a frying pan. Here was the wind up, and the pitch. She’d go down swinging, if it came to that.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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