Song of Belonging ∞ A Love Letter to the Withered Outcast
You arrived without fanfare, to a mother, alone in the forest, biting down on a leather strap. Your first encounter with this world was a lonely one. There you were, covered in dirt, soiled by your own afterbirth, no midwife in sight.
Not much has changed!
It would be romantic to say the mother bears and the sweet fawn welcomed you, baptized you in the river and swaddled you in fresh leaves.
We could make ourselves feel better by weaving a fabulous tale of a wild woman raised for the hunt by mountain lions.
We could showcase you, sparkling and naked, in the moonlight, the strands of your skin glistening with the moisture of your own sweat. Your coming out party, Hollywood style!
But the truth is, not one creature came to comfort you.
You were born an outcast to a woman banished.
You arrived to the sound of crickets. Your own mother didn’t even bother to scream out when the birth pangs hit a crescendo.
No one was listening.
She turned her rage and her ragged voice inward instead. You felt it rain down on you like a hurricane of hatred. With one last push you were out.
Even she walked away.
This wasn’t a desert birth by the way. Had you been born in the desert, you would have joined a desert tribe, a collection of hearty souls who have learned to thrive in the heat of dry, dusty places.
No. You had a desert birth in a rich, wild, lush, forest land where thriving came easily. Just not for you!
You were born as a barren place in a land of riches, a blight on an otherwise perfect landscape.
Or so it has seemed. So you have been told.
Your destiny has been to stand apart, and in the standing apart, to grieve.
You have pined endlessly for the absence of a faceless, amorphous something you can not even name. For the lack of it, you have daydreamed of ending your life over and over again.
It isn’t that you desire to die.
It is that no one has ever taught you to live.
The experience of loneliness and exclusion is interminable, insufferable. You simply cannot fashion another alternative.
You can only imagine.
Fingers pressed against the Plexiglas wall, your cheek smashed against the cold surface of your bell jar, over and over again you trace the outline of a little girl gathered up in her mother’s arms. That mother’s smile is burned on your brain, etched in your mind as something you will never have.
When you tire of this conjured scene, you run your mental fingers over the fantasy of friends waiting, gifts wrapped, love overflowing. It’s your birthday. Everyone wanted to come.
You also work tirelessly.
You make beautiful things, spinning and weaving accomplishment after accomplishment from within that hard plastic cage.
You release each masterpiece just as your mother released you: to the deafening silence of the night. A pair of little black legs rubbing out a furious song is the only thing that reminds you to inhale and exhale and inhale again.
You tell yourself the joy of creating is enough. You are lying and you know it. Like your mother, you walk away leaving your treasure to wither in the scorching loneliness of a silent night.
Back to your solitude!
But you have not always lived alone!
Before, when you were still naked, still vulnerable, still faithful to a dream, someone touched you. Your heart sang. Your body quickened. You came alive.
But it wasn't to be. As it turns out, you wasted your liveliness on a bitter, miserly hope of the most fallacious kind.
It certainly wasn’t love that man had in mind. Neglect is a vast pool of opportunity for a sadistic mind.
Now, most of the time, you content yourself with going unharmed. You stay in your isolation chamber dancing with time.
Still, occasionally, when the moon is full, the stars align, really who knows why… desire stirs. At first you ignore it. You smash it down, mop the floor, clean the lounge. You do what you can to squash that treasonous hunger.
It only ever leads to one place: You lashed to the train tracks, a locomotive bearing down.
With every narrow escape, you make a vow not to need. You swear an oath against your desire. You turn on yourself. Head hung, shoulders hunched, you go back to your cylindrical dwelling for one.
You withered little thing, I love you.
I have a secret for you too!
It’s all a lie. I get that you have taken it to heart. You have baptized your soul in the eyes that look the other way and the ears that refuse to hear. You have turned rejection, abuse, and neglect into a referendum on your tired, pillaged soul.
Even beggars think enough of themselves to expect the alms. Yet you don’t even own a bowl!
Truthfully, there isn’t anything wrong with you or your desire. You just never got your regulation issue “how it works manual.” No one ever mentored you into your humanity. So, you have remained like a ghost haunting the living.
You walk around with labored breath and sunken eyes. You are weary from unfulfilled yearnings the fulfillment of which is just one interpersonal skills workshop and some good vitamins away.
You carry around gut wrenching, unresolved pain that you could learn to put down.
I’ve got your rubbish bin right here.
You live in a Plexiglas bell jar made of your own shame.
Let me get you a big-ass power saw!
This endless loop of misery and isolation is like a bad song stuck on repeat.
Just turn the fucker off!
Seriously, repeat is just a setting in your iTunes menu.
It’s time to strike up a new tune.
The title (of that nameless, faceless, amorphous yearning that has driven you half mad all your life):
Getting there is a matter of two key things:
- Commit to resolving the pain of your past such that you are more invested in the promises and opportunities of the present on an emotional and practical level; and
- Become a student of interpersonal success who seeks out the skills and relationship resources necessary to penetrate the victory circle of relating with yourself and others.
If you need a starting place, consider taking my Trauma Alchemy Quiz.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos, copyright korionov.