Low self esteem. Lack of confidence. Hero or zero. Egomaniac with no self esteem. Fraud syndrome.
To the world, I look pretty good on paper. I’ve even been told by mentors of my editing and coaching practice to tone down my qualifications in certain circles because I was scaring people. In all areas of life, many people seem to like me. In my personal life, many do love me, seriously, deeply, truthfully.
And yet. Deep in my chest lived the ugly and sure sense that I was bad, bad, bad. Not just human-bad, with greed, small-mindedness, selfishness, venality, carelessness. Not just those. But something innately, organically, factually, awful about my very being. Otherwise, this badness said, the errors and omissions perpetrated during my budding years wouldn’t have happened.
Pain is powerful. It directs and guides, if we listen and treat rather than medicate and obscure.
Generations of trauma challenge the psyche. Trauma goes to the bones, the cells, the neurons, and rearranges truths.
It does not go to the soul. Only obscures it.
Forty years of therapy. Thirty-two years of 12-step. Twenty-five years of marital arts. Twenty years of energy training and work. Hundreds of thousands of words read, thousands of words written. Seventeen years of faith work. A lifetime of warm friendships and robust family connections. Millions of lovingkindness moments shared.
Hammer, breathe. Hammer, breathe. That was the rhythm of my everyday life. If I were good enough, everyone would love me, no one would hate me, life would be perfect and there would be unicorns, fairies and rainbows.
But the badness lingered, popping up any time I was less than perfect. Which, as you might imagine—perfection not being a human quality—was often.
Last Thursday morning, for reasons known only to my Higher Self but no doubt fueled by those decades of tough work, a big decision pushed its way into me.
I accepted my badness. I said to myself, “Okay. This is how it is. I am bad, and bad is how it’s going to be. I’m a very bad, very bad girl. So be it.”
Awful. Horrible. Hateful. Really, truly, deeply bad.
And that’s just fine.
Ha! Bad, it seems, is where it’s at.
Pop! Poof! Away went the lie of my innate horribleness. Not because I accept for even one second that mistakes and missteps need to be prevented if possible, or corrected as well and quickly as can be.
Oh, no, no.
But unaddressed, unloved, unaccepted badness will foist its poisons on the world, and that will not do, not ever, for any reason, not when there is within and around me the power to change. That is not who I want to be, who I am, or what the world needs now.
And underneath there, underneath the lie of that horrible, no-good, really awful awfulness, you know what lurked?
An entire universe of rainbows, unicorns, fairies, butterflies, daisies, kittens and puppies, along with more helpful nymphs and kindly sprites than I could count. There they were, just waiting for release, there in the safe zone of unconditional self-acceptance. Once I accepted my badness, out from the shadows they danced.
So here’s the deal: Some people like me. Some people don’t like me. Most are kindly indifferent beyond a superficial interaction.
You know who likes me best now? Sure you do…
Bad Gay, meet Fun, Loving, Kind, Gentle, Earthy, Silly, Potent Gay.
Holy moly! Just telling you about this, I need a nap. Self-discovery and personal growth is hard work. And it’s never done. But like splitting a stack of firewood, schlepping water to the campsite, or digging a new outhouse hole in 80 degree heat, it’s so worth it.
This blog post offered with special thoughts, prayers and energies for the healing of those whose unattended, untreated, unaddressed badness is right now leaking into our worlds.