Work In Progress

We are all works in progress. We all have our issues that we struggle with, whether we are aware of it or not. Not one of us is in a position to cast a shadow on the other. Yet we do, habit I guess. Sometimes I think that part of human nature is to want what we do not possess. “I wish I was taller.” “I wish I was thinner.” “I wish I was smarter.” On and on and on. Lamenting over what we desire and rarely accepting what we have.

The poet Phillip Larkin once wrote;

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had, and add some extra just for you.”

When I first read this I was offended. But when I really took a moment to absorb what he was saying, to look at life in an objective manner, it’s a true statement. Our parents did what they could, in the only way they were able. So did their parents, and so on and so on. It’s not easy to look at our parents as humans. The first time I saw my mother as a human being, with all the strength and frailty that is human, it shook me to the core. We tend to romanticize our parents and our pasts. We hold onto the pain, and sometimes forget the good times. Or vice versa. It takes a strong person to look at the entirety of their life and accept both the good and the bad.

I’ll use myself as an example. And yes, I’m going to share some intimate personal faults. Judge me if you choose. However, I’m finally not ashamed of them. I have taken these skeletons out of the closet and dragged them into the light. First, I’m a thief, either by choice or accident. I’ve stolen items. When I was homeless I stole food to eat. I needed shoes, so I stole them. I’ve assaulted others, sometimes it was in defense of myself, other times it was in defense of others. I’ve killed. Does it really matter the circumstance or the species? I’ve judged others, for no real reason then to do so. Sometimes it made me feel better about myself. I’ve given into peer pressure and hurt others. I’ve eaten out of greed, I’ve been lazy just because, and I’ve said hurtful things. Doesn’t really matter the reason. I’ve had sex out of anger, pain and not out of love. I walked away from a blind man when he needed help. I just followed the rest of the herd. Well, this is my ugly. Do I have any good?

I’ve given the coat off my back to another living being in the middle of winter. I’ve given my lunch to someone who was hungry. I gave my shoes away and walked barefoot down the street. I help everyone who needs it. I’ve stopped on the side of the road in the dead of night and in blinding snow to change a tire. I sat down next to a homeless person and shared my lunch. I’ve also done that with a dog. I’ve given love where there wasn’t any, and kindness when it was difficult. I’ve forgiven those who wronged me. I’ve even forgiven the ones who violated me. Does this make me a good person?

Who knows? Do you know? I don’t. Here’s what I do know, I am not without faults. I’m human, and under construction. We all are. If you open yourself up you’re bound to be judged or hurt. If you don’t you’re destined to be lonely. Some would say. So, do you hide or step into the fire? These are choices you make on your own. It’s definitely safe and easy to ignore the dark parts of you. It’s not as painful, and you don’t have to admit that you’re less than perfect. However, if you choose to walk through your own darkness, the reward on the other side is great. You become whole. You know yourself in a way that no one else can. I challenge you to admit to yourself all that is you. You are who you are because of all that is good and bad in your life up to this point. If you’re uncomfortable that’s okay, it just means that you’re growing. Stretch yourself.

Namaste

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