Sunday, November 28, 2010


Dear Sentry,

I have never questioned the reality of my many imperfections. Like so many others, I accept my flaws and then seek to magnify them tenfold, hundredfold, and so on. I find that my battles are not with outside forces but myself. I already carry the darkness that seeks to overshadow whatever bright hopes exists within my so-called soul. Doubt, shame, silence...characteristics that insidiously tell me what I can't and shouldn't do.

I am always afraid to work through these aspects of me. Why? Because I really am afraid of my potential. What if I am all that people claim I am...or worse, even more than that? I don't mean that with any form of arrogance or narcissism. I write it as one that is attempting to reconstruct his mind after such damage has been inflicted on it.

In my heart of hearts, I believe - in error that everyone but me deserves happiness. I truly do hope for happiness in the lives of my friends. I am always eager to learn of a new love interest, a new joy, a new friend. I want to believe in a happy ending for them. They deserve such happiness. But when it comes to me, I just don't believe it. I see every flaw, every falsehood, and every sickening thought that I hold within. I see my failures, unnecessarily huge in my sight, and wish to retreat and surrender. My skin is thick as well, for no amount of persuasion from friends can make me think otherwise. And, in keeping with honesty, I have always felt that the line from Beauty and the Beast applies to me, "For who could ever love a beast?" I am that beast and no amount of watching that movie through to the end can connect the beast at the beginning with the prince at the end. They are two separate beings to me. I fear that I will be alone all my life and yet feel as though I will have to accept this reality and make do. There is something rather disgusting about that attitude, don't you think, Sentry?

So yes. I do not believe I deserve happiness despite the fact that in contradiction to that belief I still strive for it. I still harbor the descendant of the view that I am somehow hideously ugly. But what about those that say I'm cute? I anticipate you're responding with. I never know what to do about those compliments, I admit. I alternate between thinking they are teasing me to just being nice. For example, "How are you?" is a phrase people say because polite society demands it but it's an empty phrase, it seems. The polite response is "Good" regardless of how you really feel. This is how I see it for the benign side of people telling me I'm cute.  And that is rather insulting, no? I reduce, arguably, genuine compliments from what they are - truthful - to lies veiled by a smile. Is my view of humanity so tainted? Am I really that cynical, Sentry?

I know that I am fragile and weak. I will stand mightily by my friends' sides and defend them till the bitter end. I will soberly take note of their many triumphs and mistakes. I will bolster them up when they are feeling down and give an outpouring of love towards them on days of sadness and days of joy. Why? Because I think people need to be reminded that they're not alone and that people do care about them. I'm a hypocrite, aren't I? Because in that same thought, I will proceed to deny my very friends the opportunity to help me. After all, I'll think to myself, I'm beyond help.

I will take verbal abuse and pretend not to show it (unless they know just exactly how to pierce that thick skin of mine). But come the end of the day, when no one is looking, I will still drop to my knees and let slip the tears down my cheeks. I have noticed that in coming out of the closet, I accepted the reality that I am emotionally vulnerable. That by allowing myself to feel, I have to actually feel. Such a funny situation, really. I used to put my most vulnerable feelings far away from where they could get hurt, psychologically speaking. But I have learned that in order to truly feel and truly allow myself to love, laugh, and care I must allow myself to be vulnerable, allow myself to be hurt. What I mean by that, Sentry, is not that I seek to start blubbering in front of people at the first mean comment thrown my way. Rather, that I become emotionally available to myself and capable of giving 100% to situation, be it amorous or amicable.

I'll be honest, even though I have shattered much of my past attitudes of how ugly and stupid I am, I still harbor those fears that I am those things to some extent. Ugliness has just shifted to the view that I am a slob and fat. Stupidity has just shifted to believing me to be lazy, not smart enough, and drearily dull. These, thankfully, are weaker than their predecessors but they still hurt. What is most interesting throughout all of this is the disgust that I possess that I am weak because of these attitudes. That is most certainly true, Sentry. So long as I see myself in such a negative light, I am weak. That weakness, though, translates into a not-so-strange phenomenon that I must rely on myself to deal with problems even when those problems drive me to my knees and cause me to do things that I will later regret. For example, I may not cut myself as frequently as I did in the past. But the temptation, however slight, remains and I have given into it before...but that's a topic for another day, Sentry. My only point is that we find ways to cope and some of those coping mechanisms are not healthy or wise to engage in. I am no different in this with how I cope.

Really, in utter honesty, you must admit that I am pathetic to some degree. I am a quarter of a century old and I still act like a child. I possess all the understanding of romantic relationships as a four year old does. I am rather stupid on that, as on so many other subjects in life. I desperately want to be done with school but I have no plan for what to do after school. I believe I am nothing special. One must accurately admit that my need for protection stems from a false view of my being weak. That desire is ultimately undermined by the need to prove to myself that I can be strong. Ah, how funny the mind works!

So, Sentry, I suppose this letter to you really qualifies as a self-examination. But that shouldn't surprise you. I am incomplete and flawed. I would love one day for my knight-in-shining-armor to capture my heart. But I think my knight is as real as any mirage in the desert. This world is full of flawed people trying to make do with what they think is right. I am no different. I can only expect from another what I expect from me. So, you cannot blame me when I admit with frustration that such expectations are paradoxically low and high since that's how I see myself.

I have much to learn, Sentry...

Your friend,

P.S. After reading over my letter to you several times, I feel a sense of relief and peace. Relief at accurately expressing my flaws and admitting my knowledge of their flaws. Peace at expressing them and hoping that I might change and be truly capable of expressing love.