I used to be an egomaniacal insecure freakazoid. That term might sound like an oxymoron but it's more true than false. The insecure are usually egomaniacs as well. Now, after years of practice, I'm just a second-rate egomaniacal insecure freakazoid, so there's been progress. I've downgraded.
The theory's not so far-fetched. The insecure mindset is always me, me, me, masked behind you, you, you. As a kid, I tried to tell people what was going on in the clusterfuck circus called my home life, but no one was listening, or simply didn't want to hear. But I did try. That was me being brave, a spunky kid who recognized wrongdoing and wanted to have it changed or punished. As an adult, I ran right back into the arms of not one, but two sicko versions of my father, the whole time telling myself I was breaking the chain of abuse while in fact I was forging a new link. The only difference was no physical violence and a college education, but the sadism and emotional viciousness was rampant. Maybe it felt familiar, like slipping on an old glove and smiling when the hidden razorblade cuts your fingers. Oh, yeah...I remember this. Then staying became all about saving face. I was too embarrassed to leave, too terrified of doing it again, too humiliated by another failure. So I decided to stick it out with the mess I knew and see if I could make something good from it, coming up with a reason why when my subconscious was screaming to get OUT. So I devised a whole list of noble brain phrases to tell myself and I stuck to them like glue. My first marriage only lasted two years, thank heaven, but my second was the one I was determined to get through. Fourteen years. I stayed with Peter because I rationalized that I was the only one who could really help him. Inside, I smugly thought that even if the world was against him (which it often should have been), I would be the lone voice in the dark, the loyal one, the kind and giving one, the one who would never ever leave him. It was people leaving him that made him the damaged goods that he was. So to protect him, the inner child Peter, I let him damage me. I let him damage my kids. See? Ego. Like the famous phrase from the movie Highlander: There can be only one. That special one, that magic one who if she tried hard enough, sacrificed enough, could save the world. Save her family. Change things. So I twisted reality in my mind until I became that one.
On the flipside, the self-hating part of me stayed because I thought I deserved to be damaged; that I'd made yet another dumb mistake and screwed my life up. I then joined in the caustic cruelty to myself. Nobody was more brilliantly witty or unforgivingly acidic to me than me. That's what insecurity does to a person. Makes them nuts. Puppets. Yellow and miserable because we know we're yellow and miserable, and we still do nothing. A vicious circle.
Ah, but there's a silver lining in every black cloud. A vein of pure gold. Inside all of us, even the wretched morons like me who've screwed up most of their lives, there's something worth saving. The kid inside, the clean one who is still there, who still needs to be rescued. Because that will never change. That can never be touched, insecurity or not, horrific past or no. That kid is me. You. All of us. When first attempting to change the mindset of a lifetime, I couldn't picture the little me inside, so I used photos. It's weird how an insecure person always remembers the past not as the little tike they were, but as the modern idiot they became. So I dug out photos. Oh, here's one that was taken right around the time I was beaten with the yardstick until they broke it on my legs. What's the date? Holy shit...I was three-years-old. Look how little I am. Here's one from right after I was raped the first time...thirteen? I know I was thirteen but I didn't realize how frail a thirteen-year-old is. Hell, I'm just a kid. Exercises like that, for someone as visual as I am, really helped: photographic proof that yes, I was a child and no, it wasn't my fault. No self-deluding argument that I could have prevented what happened to me can hold up against photos of a baby girl in training pants, or a kid who hasn't even had a period yet. I uncovered a vein of gold inside myself and have been trying to dig it free ever since. Who would have thought that I could be a treasure? Who could have guessed that I always was? The biggest, best kept secret of all: my own self worth. So no, I don't hate myself anymore. I don't loathe the idea of my own existence, I don't long for death or dream of the freedom of suicide. Not anymore. Because I found something worth living for with that stack of family photos. Myself. What a beautiful, matchless treasure. Like my favorite poem, Invictus: Out of the night that covers me, black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my incomparable soul. We're all incomparable. We're all amazing. We just have to dig it out and shine it up and care for it. Happy prospecting, my friends. Take care.