Monday, February 25, 2013

from bully to lover

My last post was about accepting grief... about acknowledging to myself the pain I felt at the small ways in which I was bullied as a child. That's a good thing, but I wonder if that approach may lend itself too much to enforcing an us/them mentality. The ugly truth of the matter is much more subtle. The ugly truth, I think, is that everybody has been bullied.

And the even uglier truth is that there were times when I also participated in bullying others.

I was a gentle boy, and I didn't mean to. But we all live with reservoirs of fear and shame -- unspoken and unseen wounds that make it easier to lash out at each other than to open our hearts. We cope with these wounds in different ways, but all our coping mechanisms are ugly, and anti-love.

I asked, in that last post, what my life might have been like if I had never been bullied. I asked what I might have become if it hadn't taken until my late twenties to really start to love myself, so that I could begin to authentically love others.

I want to tell you how I got there.

I want to give you the magic pill to take so that you can wake up, look in the mirror, stare past whatever skin you've got plastered over muscle-and-bone and say, "YES! GORGEOUS! YES!"

There is no magic pill. It is a process -- a process of which every last bit of my writing for the past five years has been a part. A process that started, I think, with admitting that I was kind of a mess... but that I was a beautiful mess, and that that was enough.

I have no magic pill, but I do have a lovely video that was linked, this morning, over on Dr. Beck's Experimental Theology website -- a TED Talk with Brene Brown called "The Power of Vulnerability." In her talk, Brown says "I know that vulnerability is kind of the core of shame, and fear, and our struggle for worthiness; but it appears that it's also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love."

That, internet friends, is where it's at.

Watch it. Seriously. Right now:

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