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When I Feel Broken

14/02/2013

It started innocently. ‘I would like you to watch that video and generate an article in regards to it.’ An editor asking for an assignment. I immediately said yes.

And it was one of those pieces of media that immediately talks to you. Cuts through the typical BS straight to your core and finds root in your mind. Takes hold. And it made me realize something…

There are few things more impactful than words. Sticks and stones. Crushing words. And while the generally accepted thought process behind the ‘Sticks and Stones’ nursery rhyme is to build up an impenetrable defense against exterior negativity…I think too often we build that wall of rock and make something so perfectly concrete that we ignore the most offensive, aggressive, angry, and hurtful person we know.

Ourselves.

I know for a fact in my life that I’m my biggest critic. I regularly call myself a dumbass. An idiot. Inferior. I hate the words I write. I fear sharing them with people. I hang my head when I walk because of the interior monologue that runs through my head telling me that – borrowing from Ze Frank – I’m unfit, unworthy. Even rotten. I fear making eye contact with people who only know my exterior facade – a happy-go-lucky goofball, quick with a joke or a smile. Secretly terrified that eventually someone will realize that I’m a fraud. I’m not happy. Well, at least, not always.

I worry about the bad days. I worry about what to do, how to get through it. And there’s no easy answer for that…I can’t think of a time where I tell myself that ‘Hey, it’s gonna be alright’ ever worked. No matter what, the mental state I find myself in – I convince myself that I’m not worth the time people put into me. That I don’t deserve the friends I have, the family around me.

At times, I find myself falling…no, that’s not right. Flailing. I find myself flailing against the interior voice – the little asshole, as I call him – that takes root in my self confidence. And for some reason, when I feel the most desperate, when I feel the most lost…the worst I could possibly feel – something happens that makes me realize that the good things in my life are the good things that I continue to strive for and live for. That I look at and realize that these treasures I have are the lifeblood that I crave, that I need. They are my soul.

The last time I felt like I was undeserving of affection, of happiness, my friend Todd sent me a link to Ze Frank’s video ‘Notes On Friendship’. We’d both discovered Ze last year, and his video ‘An Invocation for Beginnings’ was one of my motivating factors for sending in samples to Peeta to get involved with DFTBA News. However, at the time Notes On Friendship was released, I was in a spot where I felt – again- unfit, unworthy. Even rotten. And the video was sent to me as a text with only two characters – <3.

A heart.

Since then, I’ve recognized that the darkness, the fear and self-loathing will creep in, but I can open that video and feel better. On Your Bad Days, the video that inspired this piece, is a piece that I can look at and feel confidence in me growing…improving. I look at the smiles on the faces of my wife and son, and I feel proud of who I am and what I’ve done. I listen to a song like ‘This Year’ by The Mountain Goats, or ‘Strong as an Oak’ by Watsky and I know that I’ll get through it.

I remember a poem I read when I was a child by the poet Rudyard Kipling with these words from his poem ‘If’…and I feel brave. Strong. Confident. I feel unbroken.

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Jay

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