Things About Pain

Hurt people hurt people. It's an unavoidable truth.

I have been working on the end of the story of my time at Marble and I've been struggling with taking an honest look at who I was when I left that place and how I did it. It was an ugly time for me and I have to own a lot of mistakes and the pain that I inflicted on a lot of people in the process. It's not fun. It's not comfortable. But as with every other season of my life, it is imperative for me to take responsibility and look my failures full in the face. To not whitewash or rewrite history. To tell the truth however shameful and heartbreaking it is for me.

As I began to ask other people about that time in my life, the feedback was almost universally aimed at my deviation from the moral standards and principles I had been raised with. My breech of relationship with David and the community. My "infidelity" when I began dating - or as it was termed to me: "sleeping" with other people.

The hot shame of facing other people's version of these memories is searing and real, but no less valuable to the process I am in. It forces me to recognize the damage I inflicted, whether I agree with the standards used to measure my failures or not. It isn't about what other people thought, or think of me, it's about hurt I caused to them and others... and it's very real.

As I began to break away from the sheltered life I had grown up in, I was still very much a child. I had limited experience with the "real world" - or so I thought. In my imagination David had been a caricature of evil that rarely occurred in normal, all-American life. Turns out, nearly 30 years later, I have to admit that abuse, control, narcissism, manipulation and sexual infidelity are the norm out here in the "real world," not the deviation.

I plunged headlong into dating like a unbroken pony out of the round pen for the first time, with no expectation of consequence to myself or my children. I was unbridled, but I was injured in ways that I refused to admit. I charged through life recklessly while the innocent victims of my rampage were drug along behind me with no say in the matter.

I sought out counseling a handful of times, but failed to find anyone very helpful in navigating my internal conversation. I eased my pain with alcohol and momentary substitutes for love. I was so intent on being wanted that I exposed myself to rejection over and over and over again, always with the same results.

Growing up with the belief that all of my Disney-esque dreams would come true if I followed the rules I saw laid out in scripture, I fell into the chaos of disillusion when I realized that neither god nor life works on such a regimented schedule. I decided that if being good had earned me such heartache and destruction, that there was no reason to be good any longer. I seared my conscience and attempted to reject consequence. This pathway was even more false than the religious one of my youth, with equally brutal fallout.

I cannot escape from or re-write the history that I have lived, I can only own it and recall it as part of my journey with the painful honesty it requires and try to find gratitude for this dark season in my life, and forgiveness for the damage that I inflicted on others, especially my children. All of these things, the loss, the heartbreak, the hardening of my conscience and the reawakening of my soul happened for reasons I may never fully understand, although this journey of storytelling has helped give me insight, closure and purpose.

As you read my story, I hope that the realness of my human experience is conveyed with the humility which it requires.

Nietzche said: "My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it... but love it."


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