Hear me read this post.
The important thing to know is what is healing. There is a place in all of us — a difficult spot — where something is felt that is literally unbearable. It is too simple to say what we feel is pain. It is a kind of pain: anger, embarrassment, despair, humiliation, fear, hurt, or a complex arrangement of these emotions, a dark bouquet. And more to the point, this is a place inside ourselves we have learned to bypass quickly, an image in a movie put on fast forward the moment the pain begins; fast, fast forward, until the effect is only momentary discomfort, obliquely conscious, or numbed out completely. This is the door to the wound. And the wound will have its way, like a broken piece of glass or a metal blade swallowed at an early age.
We avoid constantly the point of that blade. Others cannot see what it means to us. I may show you only a facade of arrogance or some selfish, superficial part of me when internally at the moment I switch to fast-forward what I actually experience is humiliation, or the all-consuming fear of it. I develop a reputation for arrogance or shallowness, but what I cannot see or feel is how I got to be this way. Switching into fast-forward has become automatic, so that I no longer feel the frames of the movie that I might see if I slowed down. And I have my explanations for all of this. “It was the way I was raised. My parents did this to me. I’ve always been this way. It’s just the way I am.” I hardly notice my deflections and dismissals of the deep parts of me where unsettledness and maybe chaos still reign. In the end I give this place a voice, begrudgingly. This is the voice of my low self-esteem, my dark side, my insensitivity. If I am clever, I go farther: this is my lack of meaning, my search for Vocation, my bitter complaint with the world.
Healing comes when I resist the fast-forward button and I let the movie play; when I attend to my experience, when I name the thing I’m actually feeling, when I notice the specific discrepancy between my emotions inside and the way I am projecting myself to others.
When I see my masks. I can begin to remember my life and start to re-locate joy. It is someplace. But first I have to find the folder I put it in. I’ve forgotten the password to open it. (Here’s a clue: it’s listed under your mother’s maiden name.)