Wednesday, January 8, 2014

On Self

Because it's been the sense of self that's been hurting here lately. When my boss does my job for me or leaves me out of the loop on something, it feels like he doesn't trust me; when the other boss takes my presence for granted, makes me work through the flu and then doesn't give a flip what I do all day, it makes me feel underappreciated; when my friends make plans without me or don't offer the right kinds of comfort while I'm hurting, I wonder if they care about me or if they'll miss me when I'm gone; when the boy I thought was headed for something significant flirts with the wrong girl across the dinner table, I wonder if I'll ever have anything certain. But, contrariwise, when somebody spends all day trying to make me laugh, I feel significant; when my row at church fills up with kids just like my moms back in Carolina, I feel like I'm doing something right; and when I get to say that I absolutely have to go in on my day off, I feel important. See, all of these little uglinesses that sit on my heart and distract me, it is the sense of self, of the promotion and the preservation of self that makes me care what people say and think, care when things go the way of my dignity being preserved or the way of my name being dirt, or, worse, forgotten. This self-ness, sometimes, works to my favor. It makes me better at my job, it's why I work hard to know all the answers to all the questions, to always be in all of the places at all of the times, to forsee what will need doing and do it before it becomes pressing. Often, though, it works against me. Every bad mood I'm ever in is because something has happened that trod on the toes of that sense of self. Every time I'm acting like a spoiled child, it's because somebody ignored me or treated me poorly and my self-ness didn't like it. And, if we call it what it is, self-ness is selfishness and self-centeredness and self-serving. And yeah, we all do it, but that doesn't make it right or safe. And it's self keeps us at each other's necks trodding on each other's backs and rat-racing into the black. It's self lets us talk bad about each other and try too hard and hurt othe people. And if we could just lose the sense of self, it seems to me like everything else would fall into place after it.

Anybody else struggle with this? Or is it just me?

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