This is part-one of a three-post series. Tomorrow I will post Love your neighbor as yourself? No thanks. And next week (if I can finish writing it by then) I will post the final and most important part of the series.
I recently published an essay called, I’m Christian, unless you’re gay. If you haven’t read it, please do. In the aftermath of that post, the question was sent to me repeatedly, “How do I actually love myself?” This series of posts is my imperfect endeavor to answer that seemingly easy yet nearly impossible question.
Except… in today’s post, I don’t attempt to answer it at all. Instead, I sat down and decided to be completely honest with myself about the man I was when I somersaulted into this journey. Sometimes in an attempt to learn about myself, I write dark truth wrapped in wholly fictional narrative. I don’t usually share those with you when I write them.
That is what you’ll read today.
What you’ll read today was me, as recently as 14 months ago and as far back as 21 years ago. Hell, to a much smaller degree, this was me as recently as this morning.
This was me, broken.
This was me, hurt.
This was me, looking for ways to validate myself by hating everybody else and by blaming everybody else.
This was me, looking for any excuse as to why my failures weren’t really my failures at all.
This was me, never able to understand why each of my relationships always fell apart.
This was me, incapable of seeing the people who cared about me and incapable of seeing the people who didn’t.
This was me, wondering why I had been divorced.
This was me, constantly needing to be better than others.
This was me… hating myself.
I hope that an honest glimpse into the darker corners of me will help you venture into similarly formidable places within yourselves. Because, isn’t that how we all become better? Isn’t that how we all grow and learn? God, I hope so. Because I’m about to get uncomfortably vulnerable and I’d hate to do this alone. Anyway… here goes.
The Value in Hating Yourself
What a slob. I didn’t understand why that guy didn’t dress better. He had a decent job. He was surrounded with good examples of how to dress properly. And yet, he didn’t. He wore khaki pants that showed two inches too much of his always brown socks. He always wore a tight polo that barely came down to his pant line. Most days he wore tennis shoes. Ratty, old, dirty, ugly tennis shoes. The guy needed serious help.
“Whatcha doing?” an unrealistically friendly voice chirped from behind me. I turned my attention from Jim the Slob and spun around to face the most annoying lady in the office. I hated when she talked to me. She was so fat. She was grotesquely fat. Being friends with her was social suicide. I grunted. It’s how I always responded to her insanely annoying questions. That lady drove me nuts.
Continued on next page.