Thoughts | Work In Process

Where I Am

December 18, 2012

I am one of the least compassionate people I know.  At least in light of how compassion has come to be defined.   Compassion:// sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others…


That’s not to say that I don’t feel something when others suffer or experience misfortune.  I can, often, experience a twinge,  a pricking of the heart, even get a little misty around the edges.   The difference is that the feeling is seldom the impetus to prompt me beyond my current state of being and into the fray where the magic happens.

I am a solver of problems.  In my world, hugs and hand-wringing, non-stop talking about issues, and rehashing of pain don’t solve any problems.  At least they don’t make sense to me.

Until I find myself in a problem of my own which cannot be solved.  An issue of my own and no time to ruminate. Define.  Quantify.

And then I am like an AI on a degrading software loop.  Until all that is left is a void. And silence.

The kind of silence that is usually found in the depths of a sleepless night or the isolation of a lonely table at a coffee shop.

Which is usually where I find God waiting for me to finally shut up and listen.

So, where am I today?

I’m tired.   I have struggled with darkness for most of my life.   Whether through crippling, debilitating self-hatred or the insidious poison of bitterness or a dozen or more other less palatable soul toxins I have found myself here more times than I can tell you.  Certainly more than my vanity will allow me to share.

Oh, I have so many blessings… I have it so good…  I don’t need to hear the reasons why I should be filled with delight every moment of every day.

The response of a child was to cut away at the thing I hated most, myself.  I cut for years.  Hidden places that no one saw.  It wasn’t a cry for help.  It hurt less to bleed than to feel.  And I systematically marked my body as my soul shriveled.

But God…  And He has done such good things.

How can I still be here?  After all this time and all these good things?

I don’t physically harm myself anymore.  Now the temptation is in believing the lies I tell myself about my worth. My purpose.  My own value. The lie in the whisper of “No one really would care if you disappeared.” and “Everyone else matters, but, you are disposable.”

My personal nemesis is the ever-present, “No one really likes or wants you, they only like what you produce, how you make them look good.  Quit producing and they’ll disappear.”

And, yet, no one wants to see that side of me.

I’m not an easy target for compassion.  I am smart, confident, sharp, charming, easily deflecting any deep attention away from me.  I live in a world of 90 degree angles and black/white comparisons.

A world where my level of self-imposed perfectionism is an all encompassing barometer of my own failures.

Recently, one of my closest friends defined me as “competitive”.  An assertion that brought instant laughter from my oldest son and my husband.  “Competitive?  Not even a little!”, was their response.

I don’t even think about other people in the race.  I don’t care if I come in last or first.  I set my own standard.   To be frank,  an unattainable standard most of the time.  And when I invariably fail, according to my own check list, one more slice to my critical nature.

Why all this tonight?

Maybe this will enable me to examine a bit more objectively?  Maybe a little light into darkness will show what is truth and what is only damaged goods.

  • Jo

    Thanks for your honesty. This is an area I struggle with as well (telling me lies about myself). (Even cut myself for a while years ago in my early 20’s). You always seem to have it so together, so it is nice (? not nice, but a bit comforting perhaps?) to know that even well functioning people who seem so put together have their struggles.

  • I’m only well-functioning to those who don’t live with me… 🙂 The husband and kids get to see me fall to pieces. We all struggle in some way. In fact, I believe, wholeheartedly, that only those who have felt deep darkness can feel the yin/yang of deep joy. Somehow, the deeper the “hole”, the more room God has to fill. If/when we let Him.