A Close Shave

A Close Shave

My whole life, I have struggled with being loved. People say they love me, but there is a part of me which doubts them. I think to myself that if they knew all of my thoughts and feelings, they’d hate me. I imagine myself as a pariah, someone to loathe. As I say, all I’ve ever wanted to do is love people and be loved by people. I want to bring joy, kindness, and compassion to people. I want to uplift lives, I want to help them see the inherent goodness in themselves, and each other.
I just don’t believe I’m a part of that group, because I hate myself. You’ve no idea how much I hate myself. It wasn’t always this way. When I was a boy, I didn’t hate me. I rather liked me, and took pride in myself. I’m not saying I was a braggart, just that if someone said “Johnny, you’re smart,” I would reply with a smile and an “I think so, too!”
Lately, all I’ve been finding is cruelty. The past few months I’ve seen terrible cruelty, and a total disregard for the well-being of other people. I’m wondering if perhaps we’ve entered the age of the ideological purist, who cannot abide deviation from that purity, lest they become one of the enemy, and when you won’t pick sides between the colors white or black, you’re derided by both, and shunned as less than human.
So this less than human seriously considered something he hoped he’d never consider. Now, I’ve had thoughts before, dark ones, but this time I stood right in front of the mirror, and just stared at my reflection. I kept thinking it over, turning the problem inside out in my head, finding new angles, and just looking for solutions as best as I could. One persistent conclusion kept making its way to the forefront, and I considered it.
As I stood there, all I kept thinking was “I just want to love people. Why am I here?” over and over again, along with an occasional “just think how free you’ll be. No one could ever hurt you again. No anger, no hate, no cruelty, just free.”
As you can see, I ended up not doing anything, but it was there. It was right there. Still, there were several reasons why I ultimately stepped away. Firstly, my mother. She needs me. Secondly, that decision has no way back. I don’t think I’ll ever actually do anything, but I keep coming back to the question. It plagues me.
Why am I here if all I’m ever going to experience is pain?

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