I’ve been given a tough task this week by my friend Rob Brezsny:
Do you ever fantasize about a more perfect version of yourself? Is there, in your imagination, an idealized image of who you might become in the future? That can be a good thing if it motivates you to improve and grow. But it might also lead you to devalue the flawed but beautiful creation you are right now. It may harm your capacity for self-acceptance. Your assignment in the coming week is to temporarily forget about whom you might evolve into at some later date, and instead just love your crazy, mysterious life exactly as it is.
For the most part this seems impossible. I have my moments where for a few blissful instances I forget, but then I remember the pain I’ve caused and all I can see myself as is flawed, not a beautiful creation. I look at myself every day, reflecting on my past and current thoughts and actions, who I am and who I want to become. Change comes so slowly and with great difficulty, no matter how hard I push.
It is easy to fall into the trap of self-loathing. Is it any different than self-pity? Some days I feel that I deserve to feel like crap. Too tired? I deserve it. Want the last cookie? I don’t deserve to eat that. Stall the car in the middle of the intersection? It’s okay, I deserve to look and feel like an idiot. Part of me knows this isn’t okay, that no matter what I am a human being who deserves love and happiness. But when I see my husband in pain, or think of the pain I’ve caused him and our relationship, I know I deserve to feel the pain that I do.
This week, though, I will try to make the effort to think of the good things about myself. What positivity do I add to my own life? my husband’s life? my marriage? my friends? my community?
I know inside that I am not all rotten.
My legs feel heavy today, like they are trying to compete with my heart from the title of who can best weigh me down. I don’t know what the answer there is either: more exercise? less? Am I burning myself out, or creating more energy and power, moving through blockages? I feel tired, almost constantly. Tired is insufficient, an infant of a word compare to how I feel. Exhausted, drained, burned out, sucked dry. I hate how I’ve done all this to myself. Why why why? What momentary pleasures could possibly be worth such pain? I feel the biggest fool that ever lived.
Dyscardia. Broken heart, non-functioning, defective manufacturing but hopefully not irreparable. Please let it be repairable. Just when it seems empty tears pour out from some hidden spring. How many of these reserves do I have?
The hardest thing to let go of is silence. Ego is easier; I know it is something that doesn’t serve me in a positive way. Dismantling my ego and selfishness can only improve my life and the lives of those around me. Silence, though, is safe. Silence is golden. Silence is the easy answer when so many words are clawing at your throat and you don’t know which ones to let out. Silence is the easy answer when your emotions have swirled your words into something unrecognizable, and you’re too scared to go searching for the right ones.
Why do I wrap my silence around me like a blanket, when I know that it only makes me appear to be hiding something? Habit, I suppose. Some people struggle to stop biting their fingernails, I struggle to reveal even the most mundane details of myself or my day. Fear also plays a role. I have never allowed myself to be completely open with any one person, a habit that I let lead me astray and which I know I must now abandon. It is unmeasurably difficult to leave behind something that has kept you safe your entire life, but perhaps now is not the time to be thinking of safety.
There is a certain lightness of being in living without secrets. My dirty laundry has been aired, I don’t have to maintain a wall around the demons inside of me. It hurts to watch them rampage, to watch them try over and over to break the one I love. I know, though, that this is the only way to fight them. To let them out in the light of day, to name them, to look at them from the outside. To dismantle the ego attached to them, to no longer pretend that I can battle them on my own, is the path to finally defeating them.
Why does this feel easier than letting go of day to day small silences? Perhaps because even though my demons are doing their best to destroy my love’s spirit, he is still here with me. I fear that completely opening up would reveal me to not be worthy of him, that I would not be good enough to fight pain and demons for, and that I would be left behind. I know that not letting go of these small silences will lead me down that path, but it is hard to fight a lifetime of habit.