The few times I made it out, I hit the pavement and kept running without once looking back. With tears streaming down my face and my body trembling, I managed to feel a moment of victory. My lungs burned as my pace slowed to a crawl on my way to a sacred spot; a safe place. Sitting under my shaded hidden tree, near Tom’s Party Shop, my head rested on my bent knees as I let the tears flow with the power of a tsunami hitting land. The reality of my situation left me feeling defeated. That fleeting moment of victory was completely forgotten.
I rarely let my dad see me cry, resolute on not giving him the satisfaction. When he hit, I hit back. And I did all I could do to lessen the power of his contact. I braced for impact. I kicked. I wiggled. I punched. I bit. But my efforts proved futile. I, like that slow gazelle, was always overpowered. But despite my wounds, I somehow managed to walk away with my head held high, and with the confidence of a survivor.
People cannot be trusted, which meant that we always, have to keep our guards up. Who knows when someone will strike? Therefore, we must live life with the conviction that someone eventually will - even if that someone proclaims love and devotion. Showing any signs of weakness will leave you open for attack, so live life cautiously. And even if fear consumes you, never let anyone know you’re scared.
Looking back on those developmental years, it is clear how that time shaped my view of the world. Feelings of inadequacy kept me in a perpetual state of fear, guilt or shame. I constantly blamed others for my unhappiness, or pretended nothing bothered me. I was ultimately afraid of exposing my true self because I wasn’t sure it was worthy of connection. We all have this inherent instinct to connect with others because fundamentally, we know we are all One. But before we can fully grasp this, we must find that connection within. This becomes a challenge when we’re constantly told to look outside of ourselves for validation.
We have ideals. We try to meet them because we’re convinced that there is a certain standard to meet in order to be “good enough.” We need to be thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, strong enough, successful enough – and have enough “stuff.” Eventually, we should get married and stay married (with a partner of the opposite sex, of course), become parents & grandparents, have a house, a dog and maybe a cat – and then, if we live up to all of those standards…we may possibly be worth something. And while we do all of those “shoulds” to be “good enough,” we have to keep serving a God who supposedly loves us unconditionally, but who will quickly strike if we break a condition. Why would an all-powerful God create laws that must be adhered to, and then give us the option to violate them? It has been argued that it’s a lesson of “free will.
Let’s consider this: How is “free will” free when that very will doesn’t even originate from us?
“Free will,” by definition, means the freedom to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or divine intervention.
The role of “parent” has been projected onto God. The assumption is that a diety has needs. He needs to control. He needs us to follow his plan, and he has feelings. He gets angry when we disobey, and he’s sad when we don’t praise him. This magical man in the sky is constantly judging our behavior, and then he rewards or punishes us based on how he feels about what we’ve been doing - sounds a little like my father. Is it too grand to believe the magnificent notion that God is not to be feared, will not judge, and has no cause to punish – and then, to recognize that this God does not live outside ourselves, but instead resides within?
Have you experienced whole-hearted worthiness? Has society, your inhibitions, fear, shame or guilt, prevented you from experiencing your truth? I look forward to reading your comments.