“What I still am now is revealed most clearly to me by the strength with which the reproaches urge their way out of me. There were times when I had nothing else inside me except reproaches driven by rage, so that, although physically well, I would hold on to strangers in the street because the reproaches inside me tossed from side to side like a water basin that was being carried rapidly.” Franz Kafka, Diaries, July 19, 1910
I don’t want anyone too close to me. I like the company of strangers better because if you got to know me, you would not like me. This is how I think. Once you get to know me, you will leave. I have too many flaws inside of me to let you get too close. On the outside, I seem well and fit, but on the inside I am broken. In my experience, many people feel this way. I am not unique. Everyone experiences life differently and handles their brokenness differently. As I read this 1910 entry into a brilliant writer’s diary, I realize he and I, this ordinary Southern girl, have a lot in common. I am no brilliant mysterious creature. I am just a woman who wants to grow, so I give thought to why I am the way I am. I will acknowledge that my inner self is a whirlwind of objects that make no sense, but I know that through growth and daily work I can create something like an assemblage artist who puts together odd pieces to make a beautiful piece of art. That is how I see my flaws coming together.
I wish I could take each person who is hurting and who feels so broken and sit them down and tell them there is a solution. I wish I could tell them that I wake up daily with great anxiety and fear. I feel so unworthy. I feel so afraid that you will get to know me and that you will not like me. The first thing I do each morning is pray that “I am divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.” I pray that my thoughts are directed in this way during the day. If I find myself heading in the wrong direction, I stop and do this. If not for recovery and realizing the need to re-train my brain I would not have learned this. This can work for anyone. Alcoholic or not. I believe this way of life can help everyone. I know it has changed my life.
I woke up this morning as I do many days. In total fear and anxiety. Fear that something would be taken away or fear that I would not get something I want. Fear that strangers might get to know me. Fear that my friends would see my flaws. I spoke this prayer and meditated. I want to learn to be divorced from these thoughts so I can be that amalgamation of flaws that fuses into a beautiful spirit who is not afraid to be known.