Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Misplaced Nail

One of the things an insecurity addict is really, really great at is being a blind as a bat dumb ass.  Looking back on my life and my own decisions over the past four decades truly brings that fact home.  But a not-so-subtle change has happened in how I view my own state of once-moron: I don't beat myself up about all those wrong choices and miserable longings anymore.  Nowadays, I rarely bring out the red hot pincers or lock myself up in an iron maiden for a bit of Me Torture.  That's in the past as well.  There's another thing an insecurity addict has a gift for.   We're extremely good at self-torture.  Everything revolves around how we can fix it, make it better, calm him down, get her to stop nagging.  How can we solve all of everybody else's problems?

There's nothing wrong with helping others.  I recommend it highly.  Wanting to do so is a golden thing, a sacred thing.  That desire can and has inspired millions to do the same.  When channeled in a positive way, an insecurity addict's emotions can make the whole world a better place.  Look at all someone like Princess Diana accomplished, or Eleanor Roosevelt, or even Paul Newman and his Newman's Own brand.  But like any addiction, it has to be controlled or it'll eat you, and anybody around you, up.  But focus it and there's no end to what can be accomplished.

Here's how an insecurity addict thinks, for all of you out there who don't know already: we see the world through shit-colored glasses with blinders on.  It's very, very hard to change our stubborn minds about a stupid decision we've made because stupid decisions are really all we have to cling to.  When forced to look at what a ridiculous and often self-made nightmare we live in, an insecurity addict will run for the hills rather than take good advice.  I remember a high school teacher chastising me about all the self-made scratches along my arms.  I clawed three new ones down the inside of my wrist, right in front of her.  Did it with a "fuck you" grin.  We love the attention of friends and family who worry about us, even while we secretly sneer at their misplaced loyalty.  We feed off the sympathy, horror and anger of others because we don't generate any affection for ourselves.  Why would we?  The bitch in the mirror is the one who got us into this mess in the first place.  Insecurity has to be tackled from the inside out.  It's a sneaky gremlin who's very good at hiding.  We've all got untold corners and rubble for it to curl up in, safe and snug in the nice gloomy shadows.  There's a kaleidoscope of darkness inside abuse victims for it to disappear into.

But think about it.  That makes us a precious commodity, my dear friends.  We're experts in pain.  There's a world of hurt out there that you're all familiar with.  Use that expertise to do some good.  Don't let insecurity tell you you're too stupid or inept to make a difference.  Learn from my own mistakes.  As a teenager, I desperately wanted to help in a habitats for humanity-type organization our local church had begun.  I never volunteered.  I wasn't lazy or uninterested; just the opposite.  I remember sitting at my desk in Sunday school, sweat beading my upper lip, as I tried to raise my hand when they asked for volunteers.  What was my reasoning for refusing?  I didn't know anything about carpentry.  I thought I might do something to make whatever structure we would be working on unsafe.  My misplaced nail would bring the whole thing crashing down.  Probably on a baby.  And the puppy sleeping beside the crib.  And a mama cat in a basket with newborn kittens.  And the loving grandmother who spent her entire pension check on a plane ticket to visit the new grand kid.  They would all die because I didn't know how to wield a hammer correctly. 

That's how an insecurity addict thinks.  The world hinges on our, and only our, misplaced nail.  That's how overpowering our stupid, egotistical, self-loathing angst is.  We are fragile, crackle glazed and broken creatures, many of whom will snap your fingers off if you try to help us.  Wounded bears in the woods.  Until we begin to sponge away our own inner hatred, we won't heal.  We'll keep being bitter, broken and stupid.  Worst of all, we'll recognize this truth about ourselves and the hate will grow stronger still.  I know.  I did it to myself most of my life.  It began with family telling me I was a piece of shit.  I took up the reins of abuse myself around the age of six.  But I changed.  You can too.

I still have a hard time with insecurity.  Not as bad as it was, nowhere near as bad, but still hard.  Little things set me off.  But I do my self love exercises every day.  I tell myself what a good person I am, what nice things I did today, how much I love Rebecca O'Donnell.  It's an alien thing to tell yourself "I love you."  Feels egotistical and silly at first.  But oh, what a garden can grow from such a tiny bit of watering.  I keep at it.  I do kind acts, little and big, and that makes me a better person.  Financial generosity and philanthropy are all well and good if you can afford it, but a smile to a co-worker and an offer to fetch coffee for all is like sunshine on a rainy day.  Think of it.  You can be a thing of light.  You just need to do a little loving spit and polish.  Take care.  I believe in you all.

Love, R

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