Monday, January 30, 2012

The Desire to Overcome

“That is why you fail.” The words of Yoda are running through my head.

In my pursuit to deal with past hurts: anger, guilt, shame, abuse (to me and by me) I struggled to overcome; beating these things, a finality of dealing with myself and mastering them (they are not me, they’re my past). In doing so I ignore who I’ve been and who I am.

My scars, pains and hurts change me. They make me who I am today, color my reactions, change the way I think. My behaviors, conscience and subconscious have new channels set into my being, my self-definition; it makes me a different person. I attempt to eradicate them by a mental surgery of the self: covering up or eliminating my scars instead of dealing with them as part of my self identity. A recognition needs to take place. I need to acknowledge I am changed, finding a way to live with my new self identity and accepting my scars as who I’ve become. Failure and hurt will continue until I can see them as part of me.

There is a history of abuse, guilt and shame within me – I have been abused. There is a coinciding history of abusing, guilting and shaming from me – reciprocated like the tides of the ocean outside. In trying to purge and overcome, they escape in ugly ways. They need to be made a part of myself not hidden away, but as my identity. I can then start to understand them and who I am as a result.

This isn’t the same thing as overcoming it or mastering it. It’s acknowledging it and accepting it. It’s seeing myself not as someone unblemished, but someone with scars. Scars that define me. In this I can finally confront my history, understanding it instead of ignoring it.

I have a history of hiding it within myself.

Why is it so hard to face my abuse? Why must I hide from the pain? In cloistering it, I amplify it. I give it a power that I cease to observe, but it is there hiding in the shadows. It rules me.

I cannot master these things, I need to stop trying. I feel that in trying to overcome, I erase the history of myself. I need to see my emotional scars for what they are: a history that makes me who I am, if I am ever able to fully see myself for who I really am. Otherwise, I will continue to wear the mask that I show myself, one of perfection, calm false beauty.

Inside me there is pain I’m avoiding. In me it festers, spreads and grows. Without looking at it, it spreads underneath my conscious self. It finds ways to come through the cracks in anger, fear and continues to rule me through my own insecurities. “Will I be hurt? Are they trying to take advantage me? Are they manipulating me?” These are the ways my insecurities get the best of me.

Back in the daily grind, I find ways to avoid opportunities to take a good look at myself; see myself for who I am. I avoid the difficult work of trying to see these faults, fractures and fissures as a thing of beauty. We have the ability to synthesize a perfect gem, but the flawed gemstones we dig up are the ones we value as beautiful. Why must we try to show ourselves as flawless, since it is much less beautiful than the truth?

Soon I will return to the day to day of living with its demands; ample opportunities to run and hide with a million well-practiced ways to avoid dealing with and seeing myself. Can I keep an eye on who I am? Can I learn to live with seeing my pains, guilts, fears and shames as something of who I am, instead of trying to pretend they don’t exist, or hide from them saying, “I’m ok”, or “everything’s great”? Will I learn to see suffering, a part of life according to the Buddha, as something not to be endured, but embraced defining who I am and where I’ve been?

The future remains to be seen, the present hard to focus on at times. For right here, right now, I see my abuse as a part of myself and try to understand the effect it has on me – and become one with it. Maybe if I can make it a part of who I am, instead of burying it within myself, it will change it’s shape and ways. Or maybe I’ll just understand who I am a little bit better.

Everyone has this in some kind of measure. Have any thought on the subject? I’d love to hear some feedback on this one. Feel free to anonymously post, or stick a name to it.

1 comment:

  1. Urban, I am really moved by the beauty and depth of your posts here. I agree 100% with your position on healthcare. I loved hearing about your adventures in India. This piece really spoke to me and I felt I had to respond to it. It is very brave of you to share this piece with the world, and I see you are on a path to healing. Becoming aware of your emotions and shame, not shying away from them, but embracing them with mindful awareness, and sharing your story with others. I am moved and inspired by both your vulnerability and your courage.

    I thought I'd share these two poems I wrote on vulnerability and on desire because they relate to the themes you shared:

    On Vulnerability
    This poem was inspired by the Indian proverb:
    "The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears."

    We share the fragments of our souls
    hoping to be met
    with kind eyes and an open heart
    with deft hands and a gentle touch
    By exposing these shards
    to the light of another’s gaze
    we find the rainbows
    hidden in the glimmering surfaces
    The warmth and tenderness
    born of these encounters
    fuse the pieces whole once more

    On Desire
    We are blessed with desire
    the compulsion to unite
    with that which is beautiful
    which gives us joy
    which fuels love
    it drives us to improve ourselves
    and the world around us
    to seek peace
    like any tool
    desire can be used positively
    or negatively
    desire can be a self-flagellation
    a protracted torture
    when what we desire
    is not good for us
    or impossible
    by learning to accept and
    befriend the desire
    console it
    condole it
    give compassion to it
    breathe with it
    we learn to love ourselves