I certainly spent my life thinking I was an outsider. My family was weird. I was weird. Different. Perhaps even… special. Oh, that “s” word!
And I thought my pain was special too.
I thought my pain – emotional, psychological, spiritual – childhood pain, teenage pain, adult pain – every kind of pain – was too different for others to comprehend. And certainly too vast to ever heal.
That made me feel like an outsider. “They would never understand” kept me from being open, from being honest, from reaching out.
I had a death-grip on my pain, cradling it inside me, too often withdrawing to lick my wounds, too frequently snapping at anyone that came too close like a feral dog.
And then I went to USM. And I learned to think differently about my pain.
I learned to share my pain. Haltingly at first, starting with smaller wounds. Working my way up to the pain that condemned me as weak, horrible, and repellant. Or so I thought.
I learned to listen. Really listen. And I heard the pain of others. And it was not different than mine. Not less than, not more than. Not different.
Their pain inspired not horror, but compassion. Not repulsion, but love. And so did mine.
I learned to forgive myself for judging others. Including forgiving myself for judging them as being unable to love me exactly as I am. Pain and all.
I learned that it was arrogant and selfish to think that my pain was different, or that it could never be healed. To think that others could not feel compassion and love for me. To set myself apart from everyone else.
I learned to forgive myself for judging myself as wounded and as unlovable.
And with forgiveness, came healing.
I learned compassion. Not only for others, but – this took much longer – compassion for myself.
I even learned to love myself.
And y’all know what RuPaul says: “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
Also, y’all remember, don’t be jealous of my boogie!
But I digress…
And in almost-unrelated digressions…
Havi also led me to the Pulp-O-Mizer.
Because everything is better as a pulp fiction cover, right?
Go play, y’all.