As an artist who has many skill sets, writing is always the most frustrating of mediums. Not because I’m less competent in articulating what I’m trying to communicate, but being able to “paint” a more vivid picture with words leaves less to the reader’s imagination. And that terrifies me. Like, oh my gosh! They are going to grasp very richly what I think. There is little to no room for them to wonder or ponder what I actually feel about this. So, trying to stoop to an unsuspecting audience in how I write is unsettling. Quite frankly, it’s exhausting. Because I’m never truly fulfilled in what I write if I spare context or explicit details, in fear of it offending anyone, being misinterpreted by the reader, and just revealing a more ghastly, graphic version of myself.
Let’s be real. It’s terrifying to broadcast your most “human-y” thoughts and allow people to peer into your self-perceptions. It’s safer to write in a “spiritual perspective.” Purging your writing of vulgar substance to make it “clean” also makes it vague. Really, withholding explicit content in the name of “not wanting to misrepresent God/morals/cause,” to me, is just a pretty way of saying “I don’t want anyone to know this side of me.” Which, is also just a pretty way of saying “I have fear of man issues.”
David was one of the greatest psalmists who wrote straight from the heart and allowed his humanity to be unapologetically expressed before God. He processed all the raw, unfiltered, messy truths of his soul. The fear, conceit, anger, self-pity, so-on and so-forth. He allowed his soul to vomit. Because David knew the kind of father that God is. One who allows His son’s ego to throw-up all its insecurities and junk, then lovingly clean it up. And once it was out, that’s when clarity came. David came to his senses once he let his pain have a voice. Because God does not mind listening.
Over-spiritualizing our pain doesn’t heal our heart condition. I think being honest with ourselves and allowing our pain to have a voice is the quickest way to healing and breakthrough. Please hear me, I’m not saying that we dwell and project our misery unto others. But as Ernest Hemingway so simply put it, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” Like I said, making it “clean” doesn’t always make it clear. Especially in Christianity, growing up in a conservative environment has instilled some really wonderful moral convictions in the foundations of our hearts. But I feel like God is less put off by crude content than we are. He’s a big boy, He can deal. I think He is more concerned with the honesty of our hearts than our modified behavior. And giving ourselves permission to write “hard and clear” often break our hearts open to what is really going on so He can step in and love those places of confusion, desperation and trauma. And honestly, I feel like the Christian ego is terrified of our own humanity, so we demonize our emotion. When all along, God has known that we are dust, He knows our frame, and thus why He gave us emotions in the first place. Pain and emotion are how our hearts communicate with us. Think about our body’s nervous system; it feels pain to communicate to the brain that there is something wrong or harmful in our body. Our hearts are the exact same way. And this is what I have come to see, especially in evangelical Christian culture, that we have lost our hearts.
It grieves me so much. Shame, fear and religion have separated our hearts from the closest level of intimacy we can have with God. Our egos have wandered off and plucked our own fruit off other trees instead of just sitting down at the table.
Therefore, this poem I wrote is from a very intense evaluation of the human ego. Especially a religious ego. It’s written in first person, not so much for the sake of admitting or confessing anything dark to make it seem more heavy, but to take responsibility for a lost humanity in a superficial culture. If the cry of our hearts is to be pure and void of conceit, being afraid of our own selves will only inspire shame and self-loathing. Running away from our humanity isn’t sanctifying our hearts, but running towards our humanity while being anchored in goodness and mercy of God’s nature.
Thus, here I go… Peering into the narcissistic mind, confessing the insanity and seeing how ugly and warped it is. And would you look at that, talking about it somehow causes it to lose its power. In the blend of being hyper intuitive, spiritually sensitive to others and hyper aware of my own humanity, I am able to write “hard and clear.” So here is my hard and clear. I won’t apologize for the content. I understand going public with this form of writing may startle, appall or offend. I’m okay. God’s okay. I don’t feel like I am doing anyone any favors by “cleaning it up.” I am writing straight from the heart. So, let’s plunge straight into the heart. Watch out, the human ego is about to belch out a lot of ugly, twisted unspoken motives that you never saw coming. The thing about pride, it’s delusional. The ego sees what it wants. And that’s what this piece is confessing, what paralyzed feelings and fears can’t express or admit, here I am taking responsibility to give language to what has never had a voice.
What fails to have a voice usually lives in insane compromise striving to relate and belong to something that will define it. Pain that isn’t ever really defined or acknowledged usually hides out in shame. Shame is the most insane handicap to our self-worth. A crippled self-worth usually starves because shame withholds the painful parts of us that we are afraid other people might see. So, withholding pieces of our heart from people doesn’t even give them the chance to love us fully. So of course people are walking around feeling empty, only fractions of their story are being seen which makes the love they receive from others conditional.
A narcissist demands being fully accepted for a partial story they won’t fully disclose. And it makes sense to their pride, they just never give anyone the chance to reject them for the things they are ashamed of if people only see the pretty surface level things.
But, those secret parts of us still need to know love, and needs will compensate and do whatever it can to be met. So what does our soul do, it sells out for so many “lovers” to feed itself to stay alive. Our souls are so interesting. A soul makes us harlots when it suffers from negligence. Self-respect is lacking when your soul is starving, and pride is the counterfeit of self-respect. And respect is always a byproduct of how we love well. If we lack respect for ourselves, it’s because we lack love for ourselves. And so we play the harlot, and indulge in the attention other people give to the external parts of us to compensate for an anemic self-love. We have all played that harlot. Our ego has made us its bitch and fear has kept us from leaving that abusive relationship.
Whoops! There it is, the first cuss word. You’ll be fine. Phew. Perhaps someday I’ll not feel the desperate need to explain myself so much in these preface paragraphs before my actual piece showcasing. I’m hoping and praying to God that the reader hears my heart. As strange as it sounds to any Christian ears, this fore-running of the heart and in the drastic manner than I’m taking really does come from a place of deep conviction.
I understand some people’s heart posture of reverence before the Lord looks worlds different than mine. But this is my posture, “Lord, let’s keep it real. This is what I feel… this is what my flesh burns to say or do… I know. You already see it, I’m only saying it out loud because somehow it unplugs my emotions and I know I can’t always blame the devil for things in my own heart and so let’s look at them together, shall we? You and me Jesus, let’s look at all this crap and You can comfort me as I talk about what hurts or pisses me off. And somehow, there’s an exchange for Your righteousness and it all makes sense again once I get it off my chest. Thanks Lord. You aren’t as impressed with my own shit as I am. Guess I ended up making it all about me again. Sigh. Let’s restart and get back to loving You now that I have felt Your unconditional love touch on this touchy place. You’re the best Jesus!”
Whores and Harlots
Controlling what I feel and what others perceive
My conceit and mental retreat is forced to live make-believe
Half-truths I weave with deceit, tidbits I piece
Fabricating a self-preservation that feels concrete
In denial, put a gag on my inner child and hide
Keep it unseen; though my conscience whispers “come clean”
Nah, why bleed?
Vulnerably is a surgery that cuts too deep
I’ll just convince myself by convincing others I’m free
My conscience says I’m cheating, misleading, deceiving
But what determines what’s true if I got the whole world believing?
My pain bears no name because silence gives it shame
Shame amplifies my anxieties and anxiety ups my game
Pretending not to care but withholding the full story
Partial truth masquerading as transparency
A little honesty feels like complete honesty
It’s as real of a feel as I believe in this narcissistic fantasy
My pride becoming my pain’s vigilante
Who needs soul food when you’re eye-candy
When you live exterior you forget that you’re empty
No need to grow a soul, keep it all surfacy
Looks like I’m selling my body,
Make everyone fall in love wit me,
A whore for myself, how I love myself vicariously
Running in circles around those close to me,
They try to love me
Try to have intimacy
I don’t believe it
I run circles around it
Addicted to my own affects
Caught feels for how I make others feel
Where lust feels like love because I’ve never known real
Can’t handle. Can’t deal.
Just stay in control.
Fuck my body, just stay away from my ego.
I’m a whore for myself.
It’s my possession. My obsession.
No one can know.
That the roots of evil is in the ego.
Let’s glorify the sin of the body,
Modify behavior, demonize emotion,
Have that be the real abomination.
Lest I confess that I’m accepted without it.
Fuck that, I have to compete. If it’s free, it’s offensive.
It looks sacrificial to hustle, and not be emotional.
Let’s look pretty and impressive.
Take these insecurities and dress it.
It’s more dignified to be indifferent than desperate.
Conserve my humanity and coast it.
Others will want me if I look like I don’t want it.
Evil is genius, and ego is oxymoronic.
To feel wanted and not want,
Makes me my own harlot.
To want someone less, makes them want me more.
My ego is mine and I’m my ego’s whore.