One of the most difficult things about having a self-hatred problem (for me at least) is that I realize how narcissistic it is when I’m in the midst of it. Right now I’m looking at some challenges that I hadn’t wanted to take on. As the time comes closer to the day that I have to actually engage with one of them, my feelings steep into a dark, ugly brew of self-castigation. I know, from the deepest part of who I am, that meditation and writing are key parts of how I have to deal with my “mental” illness. Meditation takes you out of that narcissistic, “I am the world, I am the children” mode (with apologies to the late, great Michael Jackson for borrowing his words) to “there is no me, there is stream of consciousness.” Writing helps to clarify, like ghee does to butter, what is driving the worst parts of my nature. I was so blessed to have parents who gave back to the community we lived in. My parents were blessings in every way! They weren’t perfect, no parents are, but they gave me the tools to get out of this hell I put myself into. I watch my siblings do it all the time, and considering the fact that I think there is some genetic component to my brooding self-loathing (maybe they got the blood clotting mutation, and I escaped that and got the “woe is me” mutation) I know that there is a way out that some part of me is choosing not to engage in even though it would improve my mental well-being. I’ve titrated myself off of medications that some told me I’d be on for life. I’m proud of that. The real question for me, that I am asking publicly as a way to call myself to some responsibility is; why do I feel the need to have secrets? Secrets from people who love me and are used to complete honesty as part of that package (which it should be). That is the knot I am currently trying to unwind like the contestants on “Survivor” which we have watched almost since Season One. I don’t mean secrets like an affair, or a secret bank account, I mean more minor secrets like going to the YMCA and using some of my tiime there to try and write. But just like not writing builds to a volcanic eruption of words from my mind, keeping the most minor of secrets builds and builds upon itself until I find I’ve spent money for something good for me (i.e. a personal trainer at the Y) and not telling my dearest love that I’ve signed up. I use the excuse in my mind that he would say “No”, but when I telll him (as I always do, I cannot bear guilt) he is nothing but lovingly supportive. I can honestly say that some long ago prayer to some deity was answered the day I met my husband because he is all that I have needed. Unfailingly patient and kind to me (not as much to the kids right now, but they’re teens who hate us – and even with them he exhibits feats of greatness as a parent I fear I never could). he supports me unconditionally, Kevin, you are truly the hero of all my crazy romantic fantasies. There is nothing like the wonder/despair of feeling like your co-parent is doing such a great job with the kids that you worry you may lose your relationship with them. (totally unsupportable by the reality of my life and how my kids act – but great fodder for the self-hatred blob monster in my head). I am blessed in SO many ways, bathed in radiance that I can only sometimes see and feel, but is always there. My words may not be of help or interest to anyone, which is a writer’s silent despondent reality (in my case). Still, the catharsis of getting them on the page, exposing my weaknesss to a wide web world, somehow helps me. Who knows why? I pray that today I will live feeling the radiance that bathes me, and celebrating the gifts my husband has. The gift to stay when others would run away. The gift of forgiveness to me and the kids, when holding a grudge and staying angry would be SOOOOO much easier. Few, if any, relationships are perfect. I hope that I give proper thanks and respect to my husband, a single man who took on a crazy woman (me – not the way I presented myself on e-Harmony : D ) and her three needy children, and still managed to dip me (as a paraplegic) in front of our fireplace and say, “My love, will you marry me?” A man with everything to lose, and many years of frustration ahead, with so much extra work that he already had to go through being in this inaccessible world as a paraplegic, but willing to take on more. Yes, I am indeed, bathed in radiance every day that he loves me, and every night we share, whether we are surrounded by the silver light of the moon, or bogged down in the latest challenge one of our children has presented to us. The wolf, my spirit animal and my inspiration, lays beside me every night. Showing his devotion to me and our family in so many ways I can’t count them. Unfortunately, my self-hatred will flare up another day for a confrontation. Hopefully, the lessons my family (my greater family – the one of the world, and the one of my siblings and my dear husband and children) teaches me will help me flip him/her/it the bird, and keep running on that treadmill another day. May your day be filled with blessings and peace.