(a response to a photograph)
The old battle resurfaced, the familiar surge of hatred. Self-directed contempt, that burning vitriol, that tidal wade of vicious epithets. Somewhere along the line I became my own worst enemy. Made up my mind that if people were going to hate me regardless, I could hate myself more than they could. Beat them to it so their words wouldn’t hurt so much.
It still hurt.
And there, the sea of faces. Pretty young women. And the men, too, unique and talented. All of them, male or female, possessed of their own characters and personalities and gifts and purposes. All of them significant in some way.
And me, among them. Sidling up to them as though I had the right to be there. As though my presence mattered. As if I were somehow on the same level of worth.
Struck by my plainness… No, by my ugliness. How far I fell short of the people around me.
I’m told it’s the right thing to elevate others and treat them better than oneself. I never understood why I needed that pointed out to me. As if it weren’t obvious that they belonged on a pedestal I could never reach. There’s a pre-existing knowledge that others are better, more important.
Then I was told to love others as I love myself. Now that is a terrifying prospect. Would I carve their souls out and leave them hollow like I do to myself? Would I destroy them with hateful words?
Tired of the perpetual sailing around the doldrums, the endless monotony of melancholy.
Tired of the desire to run,
and keep running,
and run to the sea,
and dive in,
and swim down down down
until I’m in the deepest trenches
buried in the depths of the ocean floor
and even there,
hidden in darkness
where no creature can live
He says He’ll find me.
And there it is.
The reason I still wake up every day
crawl across the dry wilderness
pierced by thorns and carved by jagged rocks
show myself where I am sure I’m not wanted
brace myself for their hate, their judgement, their rejection…
It’s all for the tenuous hope that someOne, someday
will convince me that all along
the way I saw myself was wrong.
May / June 2011