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    Glass Buffet (part 2)

            Deep inside of me, there’s still a child carrying the burden that he is unlovable. That he is so flawed that all anybody can see are his glaring imperfections. That there is something fundamentally wrong with him that can not be fixed, no matter what he does.
            Sometimes, when I look in a mirror, I see this kid. He stares back at me from behind my green eyes. His eyes are red. Red from crying. He’s always crying. Because he’s stuck in the place, at an age, when life just plain hurt, all the time. He doesn’t know that I’ve grown up, become a man, taken him with me, and that we’re not there anymore. Like the stories you hear of Japanese soldiers stuck on remote Pacific islands who don’t know that World War Two is over, this kid is still there.
            One of the things this kid believes with all his heart is the fallacy that if he gets enough women to love him, to fall in love with him, to like him, to trip over how wonderful and adorable and great he is, that he’ll feel lovable. And when women give him love or attention or just like him, he does feel lovable. For a while. But eventually, he needs more. He needs another to go nuts over him. So he’s constantly trying to get women to love him, to like him, to give him attention, so that he feels better. But it’s never enough. No matter how many women find him beautiful and special, no matter how many women find him lovable, he can not love himself. So like a true fanatic, like a true addict, what does he do? He tries to get even more women to love him.
            It gets better. The more unavailable the woman, the harder he tries to get her to love him. This child believes that the way to redemption, the road to lovability, is to win the love of those most unable to love. He’s stuck at age seven, or nine, or ten. And that’s what life was like then. And the harder he tried, the less he got. So he just tried harder. He’s still trying today. That’s all he knows how to do.
            This is all unconscious of course. But I’m making it a conscious process so that I can do something about it. So much of our own work involves making the unconscious conscious. The first step is awareness. If this process remains unconscious, you remain unaware. And you can do nothing about it.
            There’s a saying in alcoholics anonymous that goes “One is to many, and a thousand isn’t enough”. They’re referring to drinks, but to this kid, it’s women. I’m not a sex addict. But I could have been. Something has always stopped me from sleeping with a woman just to sleep with her. Something has always stopped me from going out and trolling for a woman to have sex with just because I was lonely or horny or needed attention.
            I have never once woken up with a woman and regretted sleeping with her. I have to find somebody very attractive to go to bed with them, and I have to like them as well. I’m very picky about who I sleep with. That’s what’s saved me from becoming a sex addict, because without that strict criteria, I could envision this kid going out and finding some woman, any woman, to ease his pain for the night.
            This is the kid who wants every woman, including his ex-girlfriends, to still love him. This is the kid who wants intimacy with every attractive woman he meets, wants every attractive woman he meets to fall madly in love with him, never break up, but then go find another woman who will give him the same thing. And in the process, not hurt anybody, because that would make him feel worthless. His appetite is insatiable. And he’s completely unrealistic. He in fact lives in a fantasy world. He’s trying to fill a hole inside of himself with that which is outside of himself, and that never works. He doesn’t know any of this. But I do.
            I’ve been able to control this child by denying he existed. I stuffed him so far down in me that he was operating beneath layers and layers of other stuff. But as is virtually always the case, the pain within us drives our personalities to develop skills that will help us get what we want in order to ease this pain. Just because we deny the pain doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It’s still within us. It still drives us. We just don’t realize it. Just like an alcoholic who denies he is an alcoholic but who’s actions are driven by his need to drink.
            In my case, this pain, this longing for love and attention, is part of what drove me to develop charm, humor, wit, boldness, an outgoing and irreverent attitude, sex appeal, and other attributes I needed to get women to love me, or like me, or give me attention. I like to think of these personality traits as a sort of form fitting, skin tight body suit that shows what my real body looks like but prevents me from being naked. My body suit happened to be bright and colorful and sparkly and electric. It was a part of the real me, and still is. But it’s far from all of me. And the more conscious I become, the more in touch I am with this kid inside of me, the more I relate to the pain that he still carries, the more I work with him with the intent to heal, I more I shift. When I’m unconscious of this process, these personality traits I’ve developed drive me. When I’m doing the work to make this process conscious, I drive my personality traits. They’re not in charge. My kid isn’t in charge. I am. Big difference.
            I’m aware of this kid inside. I’m working with him, developing a relationship with him, instead of stuffing him down. That’s the only way I’m going to help him release his burden of feeling unlovable. He wants me to hear him. He wants a voice. He needs me to know him and love him. He needs to love himself. But he needs to learn how. So I have to teach him. And I teach him to love himself by loving him. And loving myself. Unconditionally. The way a parent needs to love their child. The way a parent needs to love themselves.
            One of the reasons (but certainly not the only one) I’ve never had kids is that I still have a few inside of me that desperately need my love and attention. When parents have these kids inside of them, but haven’t dealt with them, they pass too much of their own shit onto their children. I don’t want to be that kind of a parent. So I’m learning to love this child inside of me, and I’m learning to love myself. I can’t say I really understand how to do that, but I can tell you that I’m doing the work, I’m going in the right direction, and I’m making progress.
           Introspection. Self awareness. Prayer. Meditation. Al-Anon. Therapy. Books. A burning desire to be a better person. A burning desire to heal. A burning desire to self actualize. Connecting to my heart and coming from there as often as I can. Loving others more. Allowing myself to feel deeply. Being easier on myself (a real fuckin’ toughy). Owning my stuff and taking responsibility for my feelings and for my actions. These are some of the methods I use and have been using for years. These are some of the methods I will use for the rest of my life. Because this is a path I have chosen.

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and an even bigger buffet of Wrongs) Reserved.

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