I don’t know what percentage of people self-loathe some aspect of themselves, some part that they can’t seem to change, and can’t accept either. But that part used to include about 95% of me. Ironically, it the best, the most empathetic, the most sensitive, the most dependable people who get stuck in a box constructed of themselves. My GP of old told me if I could learn to accept and instead of trying to change who I was to be what others wanted, to change how I saw myself, so I could start looking up, and not always down, or in the twisted mirror I seemed to carry around with me.
So I did. I went to therapy for abuse, and I took medications, and I found an equilibrium which didn’t require that I be busy ALL the time. I was busy so I didn’t have to think and so I could stack up accomplishments which were never, ever going to be good enough for the voice inside my head.
Because the voice was me.
I have been working all day, morn, night and morn again and the day before to write a blog about discrimination within communities. Because there is nothing better and nothing worse than finding some group where you belong. It is great because during the honeymoon period you are connecting to so many people and you have so much in common. And then, over time, you see the cracks, how this person doesn’t talk to that person and how this group thinks they are ‘more’ of whatever than you are, and thus better. It was like with a lesbian group we joined. To be able to dance, or to go to dances in a group and defend each other from attacks, physical attacks was great. But then it turned out there were ‘real’ lesbians, which were the ones who knew they were lesbian from age 4 or 5 or as one declared, from age 2. And then the little comments from the butches about femmes, or lipstick lesbians. And those who had invisible disabilities were excluded and those who had mental illnesses were avoided in case people thought we were like ‘them’.
And so, the more we needed to be together the more things would split apart and then people would put on ‘the face’ and pretend they weren’t hurt or angry or excluded. And this is what I came out for? To lie? And I ended up feeling more isolated than before.
I go on, but not just pretending not to see. So not lying often means that writing what I see, or even when I talk about myself, that seems enough of a mirror for people to get bothered. And people say, “That isn’t me.” Really? Because it has always been me: the person deliberately not looking at myself as I work to make sure I was in the ‘right’ group, the subgroup which wasn’t thrown out, or excluded. And it made me insane. So I stopped. But the truth is that I am probably a bigot in some way, and so are you.
I find that some people, when they look into a mirror, and don’t like what they see, they avoid that place. I know all about that, as I didn’t have any mirrors in my apartment for over 15 years - that's not a metaphor (You see, I was fat, fat, fat, disgustingly fat!). Then there are those who smash the mirror and the person holding it. That is easy, because often it is easier to make people run away than to change. Because that is the third option – to change what you and I see. And what is the point of driving people away? To prove to yourself that you are unloveable? I know that feeling too. ‘No one can love me, and so I will show this people the REAL me, and they will leave.’
Well, except that I have always seen the real you. Did you think those distractions worked? No. And I’m still here.
And I’m still going to hold up mirrors. And I still get emails that emotionally hurt me every day. EVERY DAY. Because people don't like change. I don't like change. And yet I must change.
Change is terrible, change is wonderful, change is unavoidable.
My father told me a story: how at a party people kept saying to the piano player, “Oh, I’d give anything to be able to play like you.”
And the piano player said, “You can. You just practice eight hours a day.”
My father wanted me to understand that I needed to dedicate myself to perfection, to being ‘godly’, to being a perfect human being. Of course, the more I looked, the more I found I was not a perfect human being at all but full of flaws in action and emotion.
So I amended the story and I tell people the secret to playing like that: it is to get a piano lesson. If you want to play the piano, if you want to change, if you want to accept yourself, if you want to learn a language, if you want to do anything, the thing that stops it is….you. Tomorrow start with day one of playing the piano. And in a year, you will have played the piano for a year. And in five years, you will have played the piano for five years. All it takes is a day where you start.
So tomorrow I will have my post done. Because I work on it day by day. And because it is the things which are NOT said which are the very things that need to BE said. Like how there are no ‘muggles’ in the world of Harry Potter, and there are no ‘Neurotypicals’ in this world. Because if relationships have taught us anything it is that we all think differently and there is no way to know what another person feels or thinks without them letting us know. Six billion brains and no ‘typical’ among them. And that is tomorrow.
Oh, the self loathing, there is no one else with the potential you have, the contributions you have to share. If we could only put as much energy and focus into that as we do building our cages of the mind, we might feel that all so elusive and unique emotions: contentment, happiness.
5 hours ago