All posts for the month April, 2017

So a friend came to me the other day, struggling with emotional pain — the kind of thing that comes from years of self-doubt, self-loathing, and self-deprecation. We’ve all had a brush with it at some point, right? That niggling little voice in the back of your mind that sometimes whispers and sometimes screams, but never really seems to just shut the fuck up and leave you alone.

It’s the voice that tells you, “No one wants someone like you,” or, “You aren’t good enough for that girl,” or, “You’ll never be as pretty as XYZ.” The same voice that loves to remind you that you’re too fat, or too skinny, or too furry, or not muscled enough, or that you don’t know what others do, or a million and one other little things all designed to maintain the status quo and remind you that — for whatever reason — you just don’t measure up and you never will.

Let me start by saying that I am far from being a motivational speaker. Here, in fact, is some of my own personal self-deprecation: I suck as a human being. I’m way too fat. I’m an old furry redneck with social issues. I’m flawed in a thousand different ways, and listing all of them here would only serve to depress everyone.

But I will tell you, gentle reader, the same thing that others should have told you by now: You matter. You are important, whether you know it or not. Your life has meaning and purpose, and you have a reason to exist – it might even be that you are someone else’s reason to exist.

You’re beautiful, even when society tells you that you don’t measure up. Remember that societal standards exist for one simple reason: to sell you some shit. “Wanna wear that pretty new outfit? Oh, wait. You aren’t a size two. Fuck you. Come back when you can fit our new creation,” is quickly followed by another commercial, promising to help you become that size two in record time, so long as you purchase their new product. It’s a vicious cycle, and one intended to keep you in bondage and servitude for your life. You’ll never be good enough for them, because the moment you reach one goal, they’ll tell you that it’s not your final point, that you have to do something new.

Lost some weight? Good. But if you don’t get that crooked tooth fixed no one will think you are pretty. Fixed the tooth? Sweet! You better get to running, though. You’re showing a little flab from the earlier rapid weight loss. You need a new car, too. Something flashy. And your house? Not good enough. Your job is shit, so find a new one. Why aren’t you in a relationship? Why don’t you have kids?

It never stops.

It never stops because industry preys on our insecurities. They know you want to be perfect, and they built empires on those desires.

The problem lies with the quest. Perfection is unattainable.

So you have flaws. So what? Who doesn’t?

“But, I’m fat,” you say.

And? Just last week you taught a child a trick that showed them math was not to be feared.

“I’m shy. I can’t fit in with others.”

So? You sang a song at that choir presentation that had people in tears with its beauty.

“I’m too short.”

You also make the best lemon pies in three counties.

“No one will ever love me.”

Yes they will, and chances are that someone already does and you either don’t know it, or you simply won’t acknowledge it because it goes against the status quo in your head.

We can bounce these arguments all day, but it all comes back to the same thing. For every flaw you see, someone else can see a merit. You look in the mirror and see the imperfections, the mistakes, the things that you’ve been told all along make you less worthy. You’re seeing things from your own side of the glass — with eyes that have been taught and conditioned to feed data straight to the dark little voice that tortures you every day. Why feed that fucker when it’s just going to lie to you again?

I know that just reading a set of words, or even hearing them spoken to you, won’t magically make the insecurities vanish. No one is going to read this and think, “Well, shit! I wish I’d read that years ago! All my problems are gone now!”

It’s not a simple thing. If it were, I’d already be living it, and not sitting here thinking to myself, “Why would anyone want to read some shit you wrote, dumbass?” It’s worth it, though, to take just a minute and look at yourself through the eyes of someone else. For just one brief moment, silence that inner critic. Tell it to fuck off around the back of the house and have a smoke. Listen to your heart instead of that insidious bitch.

You do matter. You are important. You are beautiful, and you are loved.

It’s a simple set of words. Read them again.

You do matter. You are important. You are beautiful, and you are loved.

See? Pretty easy phrasing, right? Yeah. You’re already hearing that voice again. That was a quick smoke break.

It’s a series of thirteen words. I’m no expert on how the mind works, but I know if you tell yourself something often enough and long enough, your brain tells you it’s true. Maybe instead of always saying, “I’m not good enough” (in a million variations), you could try these thirteen words.

Every morning when you look in that mirror, there the words are. Boom. You said them as you looked into your own eyes.

I don’t know how this will turn out, and I don’t even know half of the reasons why anything like this works or doesn’t. I’m just a fat, furry, old redneck, thumping on a set of keys and worried about a friend. Maybe this will help.