When I was a little kid I used to play a game in the bath.
(Get your minds out of the gutter — ya dirtbags.)
I would do this thing where I would position myself so that when I would turn on the water I would block it from getting to the rest of the tub.
I’d stack my arms up to try and restrict the torrents of tap water from reaching their destination.
It was a silly game, and in the end a losing battle.
Water finds a way to get where it wants.
I was reflecting the other day about my childhood, and my path through life, in general.
It struck me, that I’ve had countless people over the years tell me, “you have to love yourself more”.
As if, that’s something I can just do.
Break open a bottle of wine, light some candles, put on some Barry White and really just get my love on. Make a commitment to me. Make an honest man out of me. Put a ring on it.
But, for people like me, it isn’t that easy.
I’ve written about this before, and I don’t think I was fully on the level. Because, for years I have just not been into me.
In fact, I’d venture to say that I fucking hated me. So much so that I’d force myself to binge eat food, gamble, take drugs, self-sabotage loving and supportive connections with people — anything and everything I could do to punish myself, I did it.
And, I mean, why not?
For years I was told that I was stupid, lazy, useless, fat, ugly, worthless, a loser. That was the image that was drawn for me. I had no escape from that. Those words and ideas were pushed were into me at every conceivable angle, without a safe space to get away from it all.
And so I began to feed that definition of myself.
A couple of weeks ago I had a huge epiphany, one that really shook me and made me question this image of me.
I was sitting in a friends kitchen, and she commented on how judgmental I was being about some guy that I had hired to do some work for me. She didn’t mean anything by it. But, it was in that moment of defensiveness that I realized something massive.
I’m a good person.
For as long as I can remember I have been telling people that I used to be an asshole. That, I’d been a real prick to be around, and that I was hurtful to people.
In that moment, inside of a kitchen on Southside Road, I realized something.
I’m not an asshole.
So powerful was the hatred I had of myself that I actually concocted a myth. A messed up fable about how I was a bad person, and that I’ve done horrible things to people
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve fucked up. I’ve said stupid shit, I’ve hurt people’s feelings, and I’ve broken hearts.
But, everyone has done that.
Whether intentionally or otherwise. It’s just a reality of life.
I’m not a unique snowflake, by any means.
The realization that this what I had done; that, like a playwright, I had created a character — a narrative that simply wasn’t true.
That’s how powerful self-loathing is.
It can hurt you, it can make you believe the lies you tell to yourself, it can ruin your life.
If, and this is a big fucking “if”.
If you let it.
One of the things that I like most about going to see my trainer Mike O’Neil (Energy Company), and not just Mike, but everyone in there that I’ve dealt with makes you feel like a person. And as you succeed they support it. Even if it’s just a small comment, it means the world to somebody like me. They’re helping in my personal renovations, offering support at times when I need it the most.
Through the diet and circuit training program that I’m on I’ve begun to not only see physical changes, but emotional differences as well.
I’ve realized that I am worth loving.
For real this time. No fakin’.
Now when I have those thoughts of self-loathing, I remember that it’s all in my head. That I’m a good man, and that is worth something.
It’s worth a lot.
As am I.
I attempt to remember that as often as I can.
And these days, I try and let the water through.
A tub needs to be filled just as a heart needs to be loved.
Fill her up.