the only one

you’re
not the only one who
feels unworthy
to live or to be loved. you’re not
the only one
who feels you haven’t earned that yet.
you’re not the
only one who
feels lonely when you’re alone, and lost
in a crowd, who longs to make contact
but bitterly fears rejection,
who wants to try sometimes –
despite being wholly inadequate
to the task at hand –
but loses hope and courage
in the face of overwhelming
doubt and despair, who drowns in
memories of loss and longing.

you’re not the only
one who
has a great question
burning its way like an inextinguishable ember
through your soul and heart and mind,
a question that you never dare to ask
for fear the answer in your mind – as provided by
a part of you that has been proven so painfully right
so many times before that
its conclusions are written in lines of fire
on your very bones – would destroy you,
and that knowledge
is unsupportable, it cannot be borne and so you
cannot act.

you’re not the only one
who feels like anyone who thinks
they could want you must
have a screw loose, or not be
in possession of all the facts,
or has very poor taste and judgement
because you’re convinced
that you’re flawed down
to the core and ill-made
to boot, and you fuck up
constantly and let yourself and others
down on a daily basis and
don’t even want to try half the time,
you’re not the only one who
gives up and lets the solitary embrace
of unconsciousness win, or seeks fleeting joy
in the toxic love of the cigarette, the joint, the candy, the booze. you’re not the only one who wonders who
could love a person like you.

you’re not the only one who thinks
that they’re the worst person
in the world. you’re
not the only one who
feels like Hitler or Pinocchio or Rain Man
when you make a mistake
fail to perform perfectly
hurt someone’s feelings
misunderstand
act out
say the wrong word, the mean word, the dumb word
when you know the right way to be,
when what you actually did
fell so very short
of the high and far away mark
of what you meant to do.

if
it could somehow be possible
that you are not the worst
human in existence, that in fact you are every bit
as flawed and as perfect
as everyone else,
does it not then follow
that you too deserve
a portion of the abundant reserves
of empathy, mercy, love
and understanding
that you give to others
all the time, a gift freely granted
and not entirely commensurate
with their physical perfection
career accomplishments
bank account
noble surname
feats of strength
acts of valor
or any other mundane
qualities?

could it be that these so-called flaws
are some of the things that make you
uniquely you?
is there any way that
your being broken
is the very thing
that can make you hole-y and holy and wholly
beneficent in zenlike compassion
for others and self
once you fully grok that

you
are
not
the only one
who
suffers
this
pain.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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