Self-hate Poem from 1967

I wrote this when I was 25.  I look back at my life from this place of feeling so much better — though it’s also extremely unfamiliar — and see how much pain I was in.  The constant criticism of myself, the belief that I had nothing to offer the world, was what I learned from my parents.  This is something I am trying to leave behind, let go of, so I can move into this new world where I have something to offer.

I haven’t been able to read any of this early writing.  Every time I’ve glanced at it, wondering if I could use it in a blog post, I was immediately triggered back into an unbearable place, and I would quickly close the book and get focussed on something else.

(I’ve spent the last 24 hours trying to find language for what just looking at my journal for the 60’s and 70’s would do to me.  It felt like I was broken into pieces and sucked into a vortex of darkness and pain, and I slammed the door as fast as I could.)

Some years ago, when I was doing Journey Into Courage, and after I learned that my self-mutilation was a response to childhood abuse, I started to put together a book of excerpts from my journals.  I called it “Written in Blood,” because I had both written and painted with the blood from the razor cut on my wrist.  This is the book I was wanting to get published, when I said “If I publish a book, that will prove that I deserve to live, even though my parents were disappointed in me.”  I never looked at the book again.  Recently, I decided to burn the pages without looking at them again.  It took weeks.  As I was burning the last group of pages, this poem stood out, so I checked it and found it in my journal.


waste waste waste
nuisance nuisance nuisance
clumsy, ugly, stupid
self-centered, blind
polluter of air, polluter of water
wishy washy idealist
clumsy, ugly, stupid
confused, defensive
waster of inherited brain power
waster of food, air, living space.
parasite on the lives of docile men in grey suits
selfish, weak, worthless
unable to contribute anything of value to anyone
ugly, stupid, self-pitying
waste waste waste waste waste
nuisance nuisance nuisance

the cold, rational part of myself, the one who says ‘ought’, the one who says ‘be responsible’, the ‘father’, the critical parent.  The one who says ‘you must be socially acceptable’, ‘you must find work’, ‘you can’t sit around day-dreaming all the time’, ‘stop moping’, ‘stop looking for some great impossible mythic fulfillment and start living in the real world’.

burden to your friends, disbeliever of your friends
you see only mirrors, never windows
you wander down lost corridors & fear to open doors
lost, blind, stupid, coward
clumsy, ugly selfish
waste waste waste
nuisance nuisance nuisance
what justification is there for your life
does there have to be a justification?
only in the living itself and that is poorly done

i know that i have friends that i should call and yet i cannot bother them — i am unworthy to bother them with my paltry life.

i want someone to love me — how could anyone
love me?

waste waste waste
nuisance, nuisance, nuisance
gloomy, burden, a drag
selfish, self centered, self-conscious
weak, cowardly, blind, clumsy
doer of nothing
waster of food
polluter of air, polluter of water

why don’t you just go die

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