Why do you do the things you do?
I’ve taken a meandering path for a sweet nugget of insight.
“I can hardly believe how good you got at hating yourself”
These words came in hard and piercing. It was during a casual conversation with a friend about my physique. I mentioned my relief to be only driven by aesthetics. Previously my goals were attempts to cover up “stains on my character”.
His words hit a nerve. I was elated to be seen and known. But there was also a sting. I didn’t feel attacked, but it somehow hurt.
Slowly I made out a faint silhouette. The pain had a rough outline. It was vague, but only because I don’t look towards it. Solid and sensed, it’s an old companion I never named. It’s been constant, besides almost every breath, unnoticed, unregistered. Rolled into a background hum, I ignored it.
It’s simply a longing to be understood.
His comment hurt because it seemed to scratch at this emptiness. From my perspective, my self contempt is proportional to my experience. My friend knows more of my story then most. Yet, he seemed shocked by the effect it has had.
But none of this is right. My feelings had very little, if anything to do with what he said. They just woke up an ancient hollowness. Not being understood became my default, maybe even a refuge. It comes with protecting secrets. Playing the role of the other, I didn’t need to be understood. It was an odd truce. Questions and explanations would endanger my facade. I learned to dismiss the yearning.
Awareness seeks ways to the top. I don’t want to imbue the process with supernatural powers. It’s operation appears mysterious, but I believe it boils down to looking for patterns. In a way, my consciousness was searching for a way to open my eyes. The questions were confused, but the answer was: to be understood.
Coming to this realization I was released from the pain. I could hear his words differently. In fact they do express an understanding. He sees me and knows me. I only went down this rabbit hole to learn a lesson.
Interestingly, while I was dealing with this another powerful awakening also had my attention. I feel extremely purposeful publicly sharing the story of my trauma.
Along with seeing this mission came clarity on a lot of it’s aspects. I know more about how to do it. It’s a difficult topic, far outside of most people’s everyday. I need to be sure I guide the conversation, give it direction. I also see that I have an inner strength to give comfort and support. It’s rewarding to inspire people, but that’s not my primary motivation. Intertwined with that was an acceptance of the silence I may be greeted with. It probably speaks more to discomfort than anything else.
But for as clear as these were, they swam in the question of why? I have an urge but no real comprehension of what pushes it. Sure, there is a public service aspect. I feel very strongly that the subject of male sexual abuse and teenage trafficking need to be heard. Yet advocacy isn’t my driving force, just a bonus. Sometimes I know I do it as a tonic against my impulse to hide. But again, that’s not what fuels the desire.
With the previous issue resolved, suddenly I had a huge junk of this puzzle as well. All of this swimming around was to recognize my simple human need. I write to understand myself. I share to be partake in the sun drenched present, to be seen, known and understood.
Image: “Sometimes | Simple as”