Advice I would give my former self
A lot of people like to write reflection pieces on things they would have told their younger self. As I reflect on the year that has passed, I think that this would most definitely be the year I could say that I really grew and came into my own. It is quite true in a literal sense as I decide to leave my paranormal group and do my research alone. While I work closely with others still, I am very much now in control of my own research. Of course there were a lot of lessons that I learnt along the way that the me a few years ago starting this journey would have liked to have heard. Would I have listened to my own advice? Probably not. I think it is important for us as people to live and learn from these experiences, as we of course wouldn’t be who we are without learning from our mistakes. Even knowing what I know now, would I have done things differently? I probably wouldn’t, because it was my journey and even with mistakes, it is how I have arrived at this point. So what advice would I give myself, the girl who was initially scared to go to her first investigation because she was afraid of the dark. The girl who was trying to find herself again after having kids and recovering from major surgery. The girl who never really fit in in search of something even though she didn't know what was missing. The girl who ended up falling in love with a field and started a journey that would shape her future and who she would become. The girl who started living life in full spectrum.
While people talk the talk, the don’t necessarily walk the walk
I was in awe when I first joined the field. People spoke about the paranormal with such certainty and confidence. They led the charge and investigated with ease. They knew what to say and when to say it. They had all the fancy gadgets and they used big words to describe what they doing. They could walk through the dark without a flashlight. They weren’t scared. I thought these people were just the coolest. I thought people in groups were almost like celebrities, I mean they had to be pretty special to be a part of the group. They had matching jumpers, I thought it was just so cool! I wanted to be a part of the pack. The more I got involved in the field, the more ‘experts’ I met. I took in everything that I was told. I mean I didn’t know anything and a lot of these people had said they had been into the paranormal since they were a child so of course they would have known what they were talking about wouldn't they? I wanted to be one of these people. I wanted to be a person leading a group at an investigation. I wanted to be the person that people went to and ask questions. I even wanted to be the person standing in front of a packed room talking about a paranormal topic. I thought if I was going to be able to do that, I would have to start cramming. I would have to start studying and researching things they just seemed to know. It was in this pursuit of study that I soon learnt that not everything was as I saw it. A lot of these people actually didn’t know what they were talking about. They could talk about it, but there was nothing behind it. Some hid behind the flashy lights of equipment. Some were just really good at talking and making someone believe they were a super important paranormal person. What I learnt was that they were teaching their perspective. It wasn’t backed up by any sort of information other than that is what they thought. Some of the information was things they had heard through the paranormal grapevine. Particularly when it came to paranormal theories. I have spoken about it before where for example people talking about the Singapore Theory without really know anything about it. They talk about it because they have heard other investigators talk about it. They don’t do any research of their own, they just take what they hear. Sometimes they put their twist on it and present it all as a fact that you should just know, but very quickly you are taught a lot of things that are wrong. It took me a while to figure out but what I would tell myself back then was to take everything I hear with a grain of salt. Do my own research and not take everything they say as gospel. Every perspective is bias based on their own experiences and beliefs. While I thought at the time there was, there aren’t any experts in this field. Some people had a lot of experience and you can learn from them, but it is their experience. You have to make your own experiences and decide what you want to believe. It also doesn't hurt to fact check.
Equipment isn’t the be all and end all ... even if it has flashy lights
One of the biggest drawcards of investigating at the time when I started was these amazing gadgets that lit up and some even talked. It seemed like I could easily have a conversation with a spirit. I bought into the hype and my favourite gadget was an ovilus. How great was it? I could hold it in my hand and ask a question and it would speak a word and show it on screen. This was proof I was talking to spirits right? It was so easy! Until I started to realise it wasn’t all it was made out to be. I used to attend the same paranormal tour every single week. Sometimes twice in the same night. The tour was the same very single time because that is how the deliver it. The ovilus was always used in the same room at the same point of the investigation tour. I started to notice how random the words were and how people seemed to connect them to themselves. It would say course and someone would say ‘omg yes I’m studying a course, it must have a connection to me’. When you become a regular on a tour, you tend to kind of sit back and more observe so that the people who are there for the first time for example can experience what you experience each week. It is this observation that not only taught me more about human behaviour, but it also taught me that a lot of investigators don’t know how equipment works or more importantly what natural factors can contribute to a reading. It had me learn and again that word "research" how these pieces of equipment really worked and what natural causes could set them off. I learnt about experiments. I learnt about ways to investigate without all the equipment. I learnt what worked for me and what didn't. I learnt how to observe, watch and listen. I learnt that I didn’t need lights to flash or a speaker to say my name. Knowing this, I would have saved quite a lot of $$ on buying equipment that I didn’t need.
Find your voice
This is something that took a really long time. A lot of people in the field can be intimidating and overwhelming. They take control of a room. Sometimes they were the self proclaimed experts where if you didn’t follow their line of thinking, they thought you were an idiot and made you feel like you couldn’t express any sort of opinion that they didn’t agree with. If I wanted to try something or have questions, instead of being shy and standing in the corner of the room thinking I wasn’t experienced enough to have an opinion, I would have voiced it. Most importantly, I would have asked more questions. There is nothing wrong with asking questions. You can never have too many questions, especially in the paranormal field. I would have told myself to have more confidence. I would have told myself not to listen to the people who didn’t want to hear what I had to say or that felt their voice was more important. I would have told myself to say something if I saw something that I didn’t agree with. I would have told myself not to just agree or nod my head to avoid confrontation or because I wanted to be liked. I would have told myself to speak up when people didn’t believe what I was saying or what I felt because I mattered as much as every other person in the room. They were not better than me. We were all on a level playing field. Most importantly, I would have told myself to make sure people know who I was and what I stood for. It is kind of one of the reasons I started the blog. To express myself and share my thoughts with the world. It didn't matter if 1 person or 100 people read it. I felt that it was important and I was using my voice. It took time though and I should have believed in myself a lot sooner.
You will get hurt
I have met a lot of people in the field. When I joined, I was looking for something and I felt a bit lonely as a stay at home mum which I was at the time. The field and the people within that seemed to fill that void. When I was with people investigating, I felt like I was a part of something. I felt like I belonged. Somewhere along the way I have been hurt. Not just once. Not just by one person. It is a field of ego and politics. I was not immune and have had ego at times and had to bring myself down. When you are surrounded at times by ego, you can't help it. I learnt quickly that there is a difference between patting yourself on the back for a great job and thinking you are top shit. No one is top shit. You can rise to the top fast and fall just as quickly. You need to stay humble, no matter how many great opportunities or things you accomplish. I would tell myself that sometimes people get jealous. Sometimes people do things because they feel it will benefit them and it is at your expense. Sometimes, friendships just end and you won’t know why. It’s a process. There is drama all over the place. It is inevitable that at some point, you will be exposed to some sort of drama and your feelings will be hurt. I would have told myself that you are better than that. I would tell myself not to buy into the drama. I would tell myself that if someone wanted to hurt me or betray me in some way, then that it is someone I don’t want in my life. I would tell myself that the block button on social media can be a godsend. I would tell myself not to sweat the small stuff. I would tell myself to focus on the postive and to avoid the negative. Most of all, I would tell myself that shit happens and to move on because I believe I can do great things and if they couldn't see that then it was their loss.
Not everyone is the enemy
I guess following on from the above point, I would also tell myself that not everyone is the enemy. Someone who is in a different group or different state is not my enemy. Another blogger is not competition. Another voice in the paranormal field is not competition. Not everyone is out to get me, in fact most people in the paranormal field don’t know who I am and they don't care who I am. They are focused on what they are doing and aren’t worried about what I am doing. I would tell myself that I can trust and work well with others, but to tread carefully. I would tell myself to trust my gut because it has always been right about people. I would tell myself that some people are more arrogant in expressing their opinion – especially online and not to take it as a personal attack. I would tell myself to learn to accept criticism. It is not necessarily done with malice, it is just how they express themselves. I would tell myself that I can work with people and we can do some great things together.
Be true to yourself
Finally, I would tell myself to be true to well …. Myself. Be true to your beliefs. Just because someone you investigate with believes in certain things doesn’t mean you have to as well. I would tell myself not to let someone else control where I wanted to go along the way. I am in control of my journey and no one else. I am allowed to think differently. I am allowed to feel differently. I am allowed to change my mind. I am allowed to grow. I am allowed to succeed. I don't have to do things their way, especially if I don't agree with it. I need to find that voice even if it means it will be uncomfortable. I need to do what I believe is right. I need to be around people that allow me to grow and express myself. I need to be around people that support me and build me up. I need to be around people that while we may not share the same opinion, we have a mutual respect for each other. I need to be around people, that allow me to be true to myself.
I could write a novel on all of the things I have learnt. Maybe one day I will, but I believe these are the most important points. All of this advice is only knowledge that you gain from experience. Even if I could have told myself these things, it wouldn’t have changed anything. I had to go through it to become the person that I am today. If you look at my blog over the last few years, you will see the progression of growth. The way I write is different, the content is different and you can see how I have grown and changed in my beliefs, as an investigator and as a person. This has all been apart of my journey as I live my life in full spectrum and I am honoured to be able to share my journey with you!
So I want to know! What advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your paranormal journey? Would you do anything differently?
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Living Life In Full Spectrum - Paranormal Blog