Monday, April 11, 2011

Shame

Sometimes I wake with a start in the night and I am thinking, you are *mumblety mumble* and you will never be the man you think you are.

Think you are? Have faith you are is closer, because there is no evidence of it.

It must be nice to be one of those people who just live their life in the belief that they are everything they should be: decent, upstanding, even noble. Most people seem to feel that. I never see anyone who seems to feel shame. Most people, it seems to me, if their life mistreats them, do not feel it is anything about them. Maybe you need to be able to feel that to stay sane. Maybe to be able to live, and not just die away day upon day, you must not feel shame.

Yet I do. I feel ashamed of myself today. I had my doubts about B, but I didn't express them in a way she could respond to. I was cowardly, and let her spin our relationship into a place she couldn't drag it out of. She was an accomplice, willing to indulge what is bad about her too, but I am capable of being bigger.

I know I am, yet when I'm called on to be a man, I find it easier to be a worm. I wish I could have been her friend, when I know that's what she needed; instead, I am one more shitty man, unwilling to be a little bit better.

***

In the evening, the children were playing a game, way past their bedtime, that involved congaing through the dining room, dressed in sheets. I couldn't enjoy it. I felt the pressure of the oncoming morning, the need to get them up and about. I felt too stressed to laugh along.

I ruin so many moments that could bring joy because I am so joyless now that I cannot see it when it's there. I have such beautiful, funny children. I feel like knowing me is more poisonous for them than never to have known me at all.

***

In the early morning, all three of my children are in my bed. I have Zenita wrapped in my arms, Naughtyman's feet in my back. I am hopeless at expressing love. Hopeless at everything. I feel like I have been cruelly punished for not being perfect, for not being quite enough for anyone to want, to cherish or love.

Why am I so terrified of being judged? Surely no one will hate me more than I do, no matter what I've done? Surely no one will do worse to me than I have? I feel like having to deal with me is more poisonous for me than never to have been at all. Yet I do not have any antidote, or hope of finding one, only shame that I can burn in until finally I die, and am nothing at all.

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