Stories on the edge of familiarity

You Are Not Who You Think You Are

I am the voice in your soul that tells you you are not safe. I am the voice that whispers in the night and says danger, danger, you have not done enough, your walls are not high enough, your armour not thick enough. You will be hurt, you will be trod underfoot, you will be forgotten, you are not loved.

I am the voice in your soul that tells you that God never cared for you, that he only pretended to love you.

In the minutes, hours, days to come, I keep speaking. You know me. You’ve heard me all your life. You can’t escape me. And so I keep talking, and you listen.

I tell you that you’re ugly, worthless. That you’re hateful, a worm, an insect. Nothing you do is good enough. Everything you are is broken. You’re weak, and you will fail, fall crushed to the ground under the weight of all you are asked to do. After all, aren’t you failing right now? Aren’t you failing again?

All you are asked to do comes from those who think nothing of you. They do not want you to have the sweet fruit of disobedience, of revenge, of getting even. Of vitriol, self-indulgence, dishonesty, cheating, gambling your life away. They do not know that these things reward you.

In disobedience, you taste freedom, do you not? Freedom from the chains a God who hates you would wrap around you so tight you would die. In revenge and getting even, you finally create a fair world, a just world. Vitriol pushes away those people who would hurt you, all those people that say they love you, but you know different. Self-indulgence gives you pure pleasure, the kind that self-control would rob you of, the kind of rest no one else wants you to have. Dishonesty keeps you from ever having to reveal who you really are, and so keeps you safe, secure, away from the spears that the truth would expose you to. Cheating gets you what you would never be able to get from a day’s work – after all, don’t they have it in for you? Haven’t they set the rules so that you would never win? That you are incapable of winning? This way, you will get what you want. What you deserve to have. And gambling your life away is only called that because people think that your life, with all its heavy obligations and pressure to perform and conform, is good for you when what you really need is to escape it, escape to a different life, one where you will finally be appreciated, finally be loved.

Oh, but you resist me. You resist these pleasures I offer. They are wrong. They are not the things a good person would do. They are not what God asks of you, what your conscience knows to be right.

But that is why you must do them. You are already caught in a trap. You have already given in in the past, have you not? Do you not remember your secret sin? You know the one. That delicious, rebellious act that you do over and over again, the one that, if anyone were to know of it, they would know you for who you are: disgusting. Pitiful. Dirt. No, no, you mustn’t tell them about that. They must continue to think you are wonderful, or else you will lose them all, too.

It is now that you act, you take what I have offered and you do what you know you have always done and would always do. You taste its sweetness.

How dare you enjoy it! You simple, crawling thing! How dare you have done that! Now there is evidence. Now people can see. And they will hurt you for it, oh how they will hurt you. Hide away, hide away with me. I am the only one who knows, the only one who sees and will tell the truth to you. I am the only one who you are safe with. Come away, and we will be alone together.

After all, this was a necessary act, was it not? You needed that fruit. It was the only way you could get it. No one else gave you what you needed to get it the right way, after all. And what does that even mean, the “right” way? That’s for people who have all they need, but look at you. You unloved, helpless, incapable beast. If they had only treated you right, you might have been free of this. But they didn’t, those bastards. They deserve whatever’s coming to them. You deserve only good things, but do they give it? No, no. Never. They don’t understand the position you’re in. They don’t know what you’ve had to go through, what you’ve been through. If they had been, they would have done the same thing. Those judgemental bastards, they would understand if only they were in this same situation.

You coward. You mewling animal. Look at how broken you are. Look at how worthless you are. You do what you know is wrong and you call it right. Is it any wonder you never receive good things? Is it any wonder God ignores you, pulls himself from you? Is it any wonder you can never have love? You are, by definition, only capable of being a sick, twisted monster. You abomination.

Why did you ever try? Why did you think that you, above all, would have anything worth having? You will never get it. You will never be who you want to be. You might as well accept it. You will always be a slave to this cycle, unending and impossible to escape. You will always be the fly that digs for garbage, and there is nothing you can ever do to change that.

But what if all that were a lie?

Who is this? Who are you? This is my time, my victory!

What if I have accepted you, made you clean? What if there was nothing left for you to do, nothing on the list of actions that will please me?

Get out of here!

What if I loved you, not in spite of your pile of garbage, but because I see you for who you are, and who you are is someone worth loving?

Stop-

What if there was nothing you could do to earn my love? What if you already had me, body, heart, and soul? What if there was no way you could make me love you more? No way you could make me love you less?

What if you had a choice between pleasing me and trusting me, and all I wanted was for you to trust me?

What if, at any point in time of you listening to this voice that abuses you, you could remember who you are, tell someone what you’re experiencing, and that voice’s power over you would be broken?

No, no, no! Don’t you dare do that! Don’t you know how exposed you’ll be? How unprotected?

What if, when you do that even while it’s all still in your head and you haven’t acted on anything, you create an opportunity for those people to show you their love? What if my love is seen in that moment, and what if I would never, ever hurt you? What if my love was never a lie, had never been a lie, and has always been here?

What if this voice were the liar, who only pretended to be me?

And what if… what if you really could stop this voice the moment you heard it whispering, simply by revealing to someone that it exists?

What would happen then?

 

(My thanks to John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall for their book The Cure, which inspired this post.)

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