(Written in October 2005)
This morning I woke up with an ache in my heart and realized I was angry with myself for not being beautiful. Then my heart went out to me, and that helped a lot.
DAMMIT! Somewhere, at some time on the planet there must have been men who would appreciate me — who would appreciate my intelligence and my passion, and my woundedness, and how hard I’ve worked to heal from those wounds. Surely there’s a woman worth loving in there, one with value above a pretty face. and my anger and my pain and my ability to be present for someone else’s pain. Surely that’s worth something?
Somatic Experiencing with Brad helped a lot. I wasn’t sure if I was even going to talk about the man who rejected me but it came up, with a lot of tears. At one point I became aware that my body — arms, thighs and butt — was making a container for the pain in my heart. That was comforting somehow. Then the image of the battlefield that appeared during “Red Rain” appeared again. Blackened earth, bombed out buildings, destroyed vehicles, corpses, a few lost people wandering around. Black sky overhead with a gleam of light near the horizon. Reminds me of the “bombed out village” I found in the work with Debbie. Brad asks if I can imagine someone there with me. I first imagine Mama Greene — but it doesn’t work, she doesn’t belong here, I can’t make her appear. I sit alone with it for a bit and then suddenly remember Joanna Macy who is immediately there next to me. I tell Brad about the workshop, learning not to be afraid of despair, knowing that I would not change how I’m living even if I knew there was no hope, because I can’t live any other way. Brad says “Because it’s coming from inside you. That’s true beauty.” I had said earlier how much it hurt that I wasn’t beautiful, and a little about being angry at myself for not being more attractive. Now I realize that my life was wrecked before it even got started, part of the devastation Western Culture has inflicted on our planet and all of our psyches. That burned-out landscape is the collective psyche of Western Culture, the flip side of the slick advertising and the neon lights. I realize that I’m not alone in my pain, that I’m not alone because I’m unattractive and worthless, I’m alone because this is a bad time to be a woman looking for a male partner among the shell-shocked victims of the ongoing world war. That helps a lot. I tell Brad about the last line of the poem: “How dare I be discouraged in this work by anything so trivial as fear of personal failure?” I realize that the whole issue about whether I’m attractive or not diminishes into the category of “trivial”. It’s much easier to imagine that there are men out there who would appreciate me, it’s just that my chances of meeting one are minimal.