Friday, June 14, 2013

Why Roadblocks Exist

I was sitting in a book study group recently while two other members were discussing something slightly off-topic.  While waiting for them to get back to the book, I skimmed over one of the pages, and a phrase caught my eye, completely out of context and on its own:  "why roadblocks exist".  And, true to form, my mind started wandering off onto this new path...

Why DO roadblocks exist?  In the literal sense, they are put up to prevent people from falling into whatever hole or other danger is on the other side, forcing them to detour around and get to their destinations via another route.  If we insist on going through them, we usually get into trouble that we would have otherwise avoided if we'd been wise enough to recognize the warning, or humble enough to realize that we don't always know everything and others sometimes DO know things that we don't! 

This is also often true in the non-literal sense.  We may find ourselves blocked from reaching a goal and have to take a detour around it by doing things differently -- or doing different things -- than we had planned; sometimes the detour results in a completely different journey and/or destination from the one we originally had in mind.  Sometimes we put up our own roadblocks to prevent ourselves from doing something that we either think we shouldn't do, don't want to do, or are afraid to do.  We stand in front of them, either whining and complaining or with a sad look on our faces, and say we "just can't do it".  These self-perpetuated roadblocks are the hardest to get around, because if we admit that they are self-perpetuated then we have no more excuses to avoid whatever is behind them.

It seems to me that the goth subculture came into being because of roadblocks.  When people don't fit in perfectly with the dominant culture/society, they are often either ridiculed and pushed away or simply ignored; in some cases, the non-conforming person turns their back on said culture/society and walks away.  These are obviously roadblocks to being accepted by and becoming part of the culture/society in question.  People often get around them by finding or forming a new group where others like them are more likely to be accepted.  If enough people find this new group and join it, whether or not they are able to fit into the dominant culture/society, a subculture is created.  (Yes, I probably do sound like an anthropology professor analyzing subcultures here.  Well, I am an anthropologist, and right now this is the only place I ever get to sound like one.)

Anyway, my point in all this is that I'm grateful for whatever particular roadblock it was that pointed me toward the goth subculture, and I'm glad that I chose to take the detour.  Otherwise, I'd probably still be struggling to be just another plain old sheep in the flock, instead of glorying in being a shiny black one, and there are a lot of awesome people out there (like you) that I would never have gotten to know.  

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. - See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15717#sthash.UBP2ll6E.dpuf
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. - See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15717#sthash.UBP2ll6E.dpuf
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. - See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15717#sthash.UBP2ll6E.dpuf
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. - See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15717#sthash.UBP2ll6E.dpuf
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. - See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15717#sthash.UBP2ll6E.dpuf
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. - See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15717#sthash.UBP2ll6E.dpuf

4 comments:

  1. Great article. It addresses issues we all go through.

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    1. Thanks! And welcome to my blog. :-)

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  2. I like your idea about literal and figurative roadblocks keeping us from getting into trouble. Sometimes it is better to just alter our goals or start on a new journey altogether.

    I'm not sure that I agree that the Goth subculture exists because of roadblocks though. Perhaps in some individual cases it does but various other subcultures have existed for quite awhile and have served as havens for those who view and live life differently. What makes us different is that we celebrate the darker aspects of existence and it only stands to reason that there would now be a subculture reflecting those aspects.

    I appreciate your thoughtful post.

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    1. Very good point. I was thinking mainly of those specific people I referred to, and, I think, rather assuming that they were the ones who started it. But you're absolutely right, it might have been coming into being by another route at the same time or earlier, one without roadblocks. Thanks for making that point.

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