I turn good things into dust, eradicate their grandeur and rebuild them into turrets of self doubt and loathing. When something good happens, something I should be proud of, I tarnish it with thoughts that it was a fluke, something that will never happen again. Whatever it is, it isn’t good enough. It will never be good enough. I will never be good enough.  I am blank.  I am afraid to write, afraid that what I believed to be in my blood is only vapor, opaque and insubstantial.  Afraid that I am insubstantial.

The affliction of self loathing, like blindness, feels like an unwelcome guest that creeps endlessly across the landscape of my life.  But, do I invite self loathing?  Is it a habit?  Some clichés are true; old habits die hard.  Or perhaps it is a stirring in my blood, adhered to my bones? Have I learned to loathe myself, or was I born with self loathing in my heart? No matter what I do, what I write, I am still the ugly girl, the child that shouldn’t have been born, the one who failed to do what she was meant to do, who failed to fix what was broken, and then broke apart from the weight of failure.

And, what of being broken?  I have been told not to refer to myself as broken, that if I do, it will become real.  But, it already feels real.  All these years of gathering pieces of myself, only to watch them break again; this is not an illusion.  Whether or not I speak the words, the breaking is happening.  I have felt it.  The pain of it and the beauty of it. But if being broken is wrong, something to hide and be ashamed of, is it then right to be ashamed of who I am, of being someone who embraces being broken?

My heart feels plagued by the constant anticipation of failure and the inability to grasp hold of any value in who I am or what I do.  I am not asking to be told I have value.  I know these waves of uncertainty and contempt are a human condition, prevalent in the struggle of  being alive. We all feel the afflictions of life. No one is alone in sorrow or suffering, and yet these things feel so lonely.

I have tried to shed these afflictions, but to no avail.  How can I escape them when I wake up in the same skin every day?  Skin I have tried to make beautiful by concealing it behind flowers, but still is grows dull and feels heavy.  Perhaps to shed the afflictions would be to shed my humanity, but the days when humanity is steeped in sorrow are so bleak, I can’t help but feel a longing to shed the weight of them.  And so I breathe in that longing, and then let it go.  I open my eyes to see that next to sorrow lies joy and that it too has been there all along.