I started a file in my notebook called Invisible Rules.
It’s for rules I’ve picked up along the way, that snuck right into my subconscious, unexamined. They promise hell to pay if I break them.
I run into conscious rules all the time.
But I know I’ve run into an Invisible Rule when I am on the precipice of something I’d actually like to do, or create, and the center of my body freezes up, followed by a nauseous feeling. It also has the distinct flavor of clarity and vulnerability. It’s the feeling one might get right before they get on a roller coaster. But it is combined with an under current of excitement.
More than excitement.
A feeling more dangerous than that.
One that promises adventure on the other end. It’s the kind of anticipation you might have, for example, if you were going to sneak out in the middle of the night, and meet up with your boyfriend, who your parents know nothing about.
Running into an Invisible Rule is different than getting an instinctual warning against self-betrayal. A warning against self-betrayal always starts with a societal edict I am trying to fulfill. I decide I’d better fulfill it. And I then I get the feeling that something is slowing me down from the inside out. There is no excitement involved. Just every part of my body responding in revolt.
If I move forward and ignore the warning, usually to protect someone, or protect myself, I have this internal sensation of severing a part of myself, and then shoving it somewhere deep, deep down.
It is as unpleasant and intolerable, as it sounds.
On the other hand, running into an Invisible Rule is like bumping into a fence, and finding a sign that says, “If you cross this line you’re going to be in big trouble, young lady.” The sign, by the way, looks suspiciously like it was written in your parents,’ or teachers’, handwriting.
In the notebook, right next to the actual Invisible Rules, I am making notes as to what rules, or suggestions, would have been much more useful to learn and adopt in their place.
An Invisible Rule is not one that is necessarily wrong.
It is just unexamined.
And it is only the ones that do damage that come under question and review.