I’ve just come across the most life changing revelation:
I was having an off night - one of those lay-in-a-mess-across-my-narrow-hallway-floor sorta scenarios - when I started voicing my thoughts on the root of my coldness.
Why is it that I get the weird feeling in my chest when I connect with someone? It’s not a loving feeling - it’s a feeling of discomfort. A defense mechanism. Why does it make me want to stay away from them for days on end? Why does it feel like people cannot possible like me? Why does it seem fake and incredulous if they do?
My father stood ruefully along the carpet steps of our stairwell while I let words flow aimlessly past my lips. In all honesty, I find that nightfall is the best time to tell someone how you feel. Where it’s late and you find the words that you so desperately need to say. As if they’d been burried deep in your skull all along, just waiting to be dug up like some sort of jewel of wisdom. Or perhaps they’re a sort of werewolf that would only reveal itself on a full moon. Anyways, the point is, I discovered that I feel unworthy of human affection. I am ultimately unlikable, in the weary perception of my mind. And I voiced these opinions neutrally - in a tone that resembled a matter of fact as opposed to self pitying (or, at least that was what it sounded like to me.) And my father, clearly distraught with the idea, fought to convince me otherwise. Of course, I had no interest in what he had to say about that. Because surely he had some ulterior motive to make me believe a unruly lie (one which only makes sense in my mind, as opposed to spoken aloud). The conversation went on like this for a little bit, until I asked my father why he was sad. He said that I saw this place (our home) as a negative environment, and see him as a negative person. “On the contrary” I said, “I see you as rightfully angry. You see, I was merely the witness of an abusive relationship, whereas you were the one being abused firsthand. I understand. I get it. And I am sorry.” And as much as it went against my previous views on my father, I finally found empathy for the man. He went through way more than I ever have, and he still keeps his head on his shoulders. This light of empathy opened a door for me - and what it lead to was an utter open-ness of what it means to be alive. I want to be compassionate. I want to love people whole heartedly. I don’t want to be influenced by the conception of “I can’t do that because it ails my personality”. I want to live in a world where my mind asks “What happens if I don’t?” And the answer is awful in comparison to just giving it a shot.
So I got up. I hugged my dad. I held him hard, and let the most alien but precise words escape my lips.
I appreciate you. You’re a fantastic dad.
And you know what? The empathy - the true expression of compassion - didn’t kill me.
In fact, it made me feel fuller. Less empty.
I think the main point of my schpeel is this: care for others without inhibitions, and you’ll no longer loath yourself.