Pretty Sure It’s You

My stomach is turning. My head is spinning. What once stood upright and tall is withered upside down. Peace and calm are shattered by reality.

It’s either you or it’s me. Or maybe it’s both. I haven’t decided. Though I’m pretty sure it’s you.

I don’t know why I try so hard to please you. To make you like me. It’s pathetic. It’s sickening. It’s disgusting. And every time I open my mouth in an attempt to win your approval, I feel like one more piece of my soul has been sold on the auction block.

For way too little.

When will I learn? When will I stop trying? You aren’t worth it. You never were and you never will be. I don’t know how to cease the striving?

Daily I hope for salvation from the sentence I am serving with you. Oh how I will rejoice when this has run it’s course and you and I are done. Some days it is the only thing that keeps me going. Perhaps then … Peace, not Insecurity and Sufficiency, not Inadequacy can become my default mode of being. Again. 

Until then… I guard my heart by guarding my mouth. My words only serve to bury me. Protect my soul by covering my ears. Your forced laughter sickens me. Save the scraps of my self-worth by looking in the opposite direction. The site of you reminds me of how insignificant you think I am.

One day I will turn my back on you and walk away with the vestiges of my pride bundled up in my arms like shreds of colorful fabric. You will be left to swallow your disdain and emptiness—like a bitter pill—when you know not where to direct it.

And I will smile.

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Falls the Shadow

“Between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act, falls the shadow.” — T.S. Eliot.

This is not what I had in mind. At some point in time everyone utters those words. No exceptions. Most of you have already said it. And if you haven’t yet… I promise you will.

Maybe it was the vacation you had planned or the house you always imagined you’d buy. Maybe it was the career you thought would last forever or the spouse who promised to love and cherish you “till death do us part.” Perhaps it is in the visions you had for your children, or even the vision that one day you would have children. It might be the health and well-being you expected from your own body.

Whatever it is for you… there is probably something that didn’t turn out the way you planned. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes amazing blessings and miraculous surprises come our way. And that’s what keeps life interesting.

In T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men” there is a line that reads: “Between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act, falls the shadow.” There is much debate over what the entire poem means. And it means lots of different things to different people. But in that particular line I find it interesting to consider “the shadow” to be that grey area that exists between what we pictured in our minds and what we actually have.

If you’re anything like me, you might struggle with reconciling your dreams with your realities. And we may ask ourselves: How do I learn to be content living inside “the shadow”? I think the best we can do is to look around for the surprises… the tiny gems we never even considered to be of such great value: A neighbor who seems to come through just when you need it most. A co-worker who notices whenever you’re having a rough day and encourages you. A friend who knows everything there possibly is to know about you and loves you anyway. Family members who are your biggest fans and cheer you on even when you fall down.

These are the riches found in secret and unexpected places. We may need to write them down. Put them on the fridge or the bathroom mirror… somewhere we’ll always be reminded of them. This way, perhaps we will never forget that even if life doesn’t turn out to be the treasure chest we were expecting… we need to look closer. We will find that it is still a treasure bursting with sparkling jewels… just lying there… in the shadow.