I did say I had one more article I wanted to do before the end of 2022. While there were some amazing suggestions from readers that I have indeed put into my running notes for future articles, there was a parting thought that I had been wanting to write about for some time now, but maybe I have had some trouble articulating the point I wanted to get across. With a year closing and another beginning, I thought it was the perfect time to take the leap and attempt to maybe motivate or even inspire. So here goes.....
Who are you? I mean you know your name and what you do for a living and all the aspects of your personal life, but really .... who are you? It is easier to ask a question than to answer it. Especially when it comes to someone who either has an interest or full-blown obsession with the paranormal.
An interviewer asked me months ago about my very own personal experiences and if I had any that I doubted were paranormal. My answer of course would be of no surprise to most of you, and it was that I doubt them all. While there is a handful I cannot logically explain, I personally won't label it as paranormal because I guess there is something within me that won't allow me to do that because there still is an answer out there. I just don't know what it is. So with that, there is doubt. Of course, I also won't label anything as definitely not paranormal either as the true answer is that I don't know. If I didn't believe there was something out there, I wouldn't have been here all these years writing about and exploring the paranormal. I do believe there is something happening, I just don't know what it is and I will probably never know. So while there is doubt, there is also hope. I then began to think about my time in the paranormal field and how much my belief structure has changed. There was a time when I wasn't filled with so much doubt. In fact, my belief systems were quite different and I wondered, what changed? In some ways, it was put into perspective unintentionally by my husband. He is an avid listener of the YouTube channel Paranormal Rising. People often submit their own stories to the channel which are read out online. Some of them seem very far-fetched while others fit some of the more typical stories you hear. What is great about this channel is that people can be heard without ridicule and share their stories, something which we perhaps take for granted. What is even more intriguing is that the people submitting their stories are not people from the paranormal field as such. They are not people out every weekend looking for something paranormal. They are everyday people who have had something strange happen to them that they couldn't explain. In fact, this kind of thing is the very catalyst that thrusts most of us forward into a path of paranormal research. We are forever looking for some kind of confirmation or explanation of that first experience. He listens to it when we are in the car and often at night when we are laying in bed. I can't help but to listen and become enthralled with some of the tales myself. One of the stories stuck with me and for not the reason you may think. Someone submitted a story based on an experience they had way back in the 70s, however they never told anyone due to fear of ridicule. It made me wonder if part of my current stance and the doubt I always cast is a result of being gaslighted over many years of being told my experiences were not paranormal.
As a newcomer in the paranormal field over 10 years ago now, I looked to the people around me to absorb as much knowledge and information as I could. In a lot of ways, it almost taught me what not to do, and while there were a lot of difficult periods and challenges to get through, it ultimately helped to shape me into the person and the researcher that I am today. Now I was always that person who asked a lot of questions and often pushed back against things I was being told or didn't make sense to me. It made me friends and also made me unliked by many which was fine, however being new, I also wanted to be accepted. When I did feel that I had certain experiences, I would look to my peers. The very same peers who even though sometimes their experiences seemed to be over the top or unbelievable at times, I still believed and listened to them. These same peers however didn't believe in or support me when it came to my own experiences. I was always told no your experiences are not paranormal .... but mine are. Didn't matter what it was, I was in a lot of ways gaslighted. I then began trying to please people and 'fit in'. Everything had to be done a certain way as decided by another person. It got to the point where I wasn't allowed to ask questions anymore because it upset people. I wasn't being myself anymore.
When I started out I too was trying to almost emulate some of the other people I had seen investigating. I also probably copied things I saw on TV as well. In some ways, I was trying to fit this mould of what I thought a paranormal investigator had to be. Except it wasn't me at all. I think a lot of people saw through that too and it is why it took me a little while to find my feet. It was probably in 2017 that I took my power and decided to be authentically me. I wrote about what I wanted to write about in the way I wanted to write about it. I investigated in the way I thought it should be done. I asked the questions I thought should be asked. Inevitably, I lost people around me who wanted me to be someone else. I just couldn't be that anymore. Not for them and not for anyone. I had to be me. Once I took this stance, my whole life changed and I went from being a disgruntled depressed person to a confident happy person. I had started to dread going to investigations worried I was going to do or say the wrong thing. I was scared to write about the things I wanted to write about that would upset other people. Once I took my independence back, I did everything for myself and me only. I then really started enjoying things, not dreading them.
So this is where the point of this article comes in. There are going to be a bunch of people telling you what you should be doing and how you should be doing it. Usually, it follows a model of how they work based on what they think and what they believe. They basically want you to do things their way. Often when I ask for recommendations of things I should write about, people want them written almost from their perspective or views on things. While there are always great suggestions, I can't approach a topic from only one side because it is not fair. The thing is that there is not just one side of things when it comes to the paranormal. It isn't a square or a triangle with a certain number of sides. I feel it is like an infinite circle constantly looping and maybe it is a metaphor for our progress in the paranormal field itself. We are just going around in circles. What is important while doing all this circling is that you are doing so in a way that is true to yourself.
There is no time better than the beginning of a new year to make changes. If there are people you feel are not aligning with your values, maybe it is time to consider going in your own direction. If there is a project you have always wanted to do, now is a great time to start it. Write that blog, record that podcast. More importantly than anything else, don't 'copy' what other people are doing. You don't need to pretend to be Zak Bagans on an investigation. You don't have to follow what one person thinks should be done during an investigation. There will be people that don't believe you. There will be people that don't like you. There will be people that will tell you to your face that you are wrong. In a lot of ways, you need to have a thick skin and be sure of yourself. While we worry about the judgement and ridicule of the outside world when it comes to our involvement with the paranormal, I can tell you that the judgement and ridicule you receive from within the paranormal field can often be a lot worse. Don't let anyone bully you out of your beliefs and don't let anyone bully you from doing what you think is right. Don't let anyone force you to not be yourself. On the flip side of things, make sure you are allowing your peers to also be themselves. You don't own another person and just because their views or perspective are different to yours, it doesn't mean they don't have something to offer. In fact, opposing and differing views can work well together because you have more pieces of the puzzle that you can fit together. If we are going to get any closer to answers, we have to be unique. We have to be individuals. If we follow the same path, the same formula and do things the same way, we are never going to evolve. Be authentically you.
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