Do I sit in it for a bit? Bathe myself in the awkwardness and try to become comfortable in a place that holds no comfort, no room for me at all? Or is the metaphor too much? Is there no bath, no cleansing, and I am not sitting, nor standing, in such a place—for I am not anywhere, really: simply suspended in my thoughts, in my emotions, in my dreams; hidden in the murky shadows of my humanity … is the truth too much for me?
And then you see it: my fear. My fear of the truth and what it does to me. You see me, seeing myself. Catching a glimpse of what I begin to perceive: my life that is lost in living, my life that belongs only to me but seems to be owned by someone else. Someone you’ve not met before: you see me, seeing her, which is the me that is rarely seen. Vulnerable. Fragile. Frightened. Full of hope in a hopeless place. Terrified by such hopefulness, ashamed by it too. Released only in the moments when I’m not trying to make myself appear more than I am. Raw only in a moment that allows it. Slowly surfacing above the crafted layers, only because you asked to see it.
Is this what you really want to see? To see my awkwardness; to see my inadequacies; to see my being stripped bare … do you want to see the sheer truth of my soul?
Because I want to remind you, my darling: once you see me, you cannot un-see me; you cannot pretend once the mask for pretending has been removed. To show you my soul means I have to see it too; I have to pull back my surface layer and reveal her to you. And I suppose I can handle that—I know what my soul looks like underneath—but I’ve never seen her in the same moment as someone else sees her too. I have certainly seen how you—and many others—might see my soul; but never before have they occurred simultaneously: me, both seeing and showing my core. Exposed. Vulnerable. Ashamed of being ashamed.
To see oneself from the viewpoint of another is frightening enough … but it’s what I’m accustomed to, what I’ve grown used to: predicting, pretending, premeditating and manipulating perceptions—I see these aspects of my character already, my dear. Of course, I’m not always proud of them, but I know them: I wired them; I hired them; I thought them into being … they taught me how to see you, and how to see how you saw me too, before you had even looked. In fact: I made myself into another so you could understand me better; I made myself prettier so you would want to look; I made my life into one you love; so you could see just how much love I have. And in doing so, perhaps I saw everything … but I didn’t see it from my own eyes, you see. My eyes saw what others saw; my brain processed it, and those images became mine. And now I wonder: did my eyes see what they were really seeing, or did they see so much that I saw nothing at all? Because I purposely blinded my soul to the images that truly belonged to me. I did that a long time ago, my darling, when what I saw burnt my eyes, so much so that it left a scar on my soul. But a soul is a foolish little thing: it somehow sees even if you refuse to look. My soul has always watched what it wants, honey … and she plays those images on repeat, even if I don’t want to see.
So, what then, you ask, do I—does my soul—see? What does my soul want from this girl, entrapped and embodied in a human case, wearing opaque glasses to hide from the truth she sees? What is so frightening—so inadequate—about such a truth that makes being vulnerable so goddamn difficult? Underneath it all—is what I see, what I want, who I am … is she really that frightening?
No. She’s not. She’s not at all, my darling: and it is that, which makes me so awfully frightened.
I only want to be loved … it’s my soul’s secret, you guess. No. My soul’s secret isn’t that: it isn’t that at all. Of course, I want to be loved too … don’t we all? But more than this, more than anything, my soul wants to love. Only to love, is all.
I want to love with all of my soul … because love is what my soul is made out of, you see. Underneath it all, beneath my façade and multiple layers: all I am is love. And all my soul wants is just to give this love away. To love everyone and everything: there is no limit to how much this soul can love.
But such a thing is so horribly frightening, my darling. Such a truth—that beneath my crafted layers nestles a gentle and loving soul—makes me so incredibly exposed, you see. Exposed to ridicule, to praise, to adoration, to pity … yes, you guessed those right. But I am not afraid of these things, although at times I suppose I am. But the truth is: I am not particularly afraid of being harmed, humbled or humiliated, although such things aren’t ideal. What frightens me, my darling, is the exposure of the simple truth: having a soul made of limitless love is so horribly and infinitely limiting. Perhaps the essence of such a thing may be sweet, or sincere, or selflessly rare; but in this life—especially in this human body—my soul’s love, the depth of her love, is unfair.
Because, my darling: I am human—by nature, I am fallible and flawed—and such a truth means the entirety of my soul can never really reach the surface; she can never be fully released, you see. For I am destined to hurt—I am not designed to hurt, as such—but everything about me is wired for self-survival, self-interest and guided by instincts to preserve my ‘self’. I am predisposed with human qualities that inevitably leave my love undone; inevitably leave my soul unseen, unsatisfied, saddened beyond grief. Because the plain truth is even when I only love, I cannot love to the point of no pain—pain inside or pain that is not mine—I cannot love completely without sheer humanness and hurt getting in the way. I cannot only love, you see: even if it’s all of who I am. And my selfless soul is frightened and so ashamed of that.
So I suppose this is why I am petrified of being vulnerable, my darling—not because my inadequacies are exposed—but because it exposes that I am the essence of inadequacy. All of me is inadequate: my soul—all of the love that exists within her—in this life, in this life form … we just don’t work, my dear. My limitless love is unsustainable; it’s limitlessness proven limited here … it’s just never going to be enough, my soul and my shell as one.
And I’m not telling you all this to be all woe-is-me, or because I’m so wrapped up inside myself I can’t see the un-bubblewrapped reality surrounding us … it’s because deep inside I can never hide from the truth: the substance of my soul is futile in this life. But what hurts my soul most is knowing that my discomfort is a direct consequence of being human, and admitting to the limitations of being one … and it makes me wonder: do others feel so suffocated by the only life form that lets them breathe? Or is it just me?
You asked me why I feel inadequate … well, my darling, it is because I am. The substance of my soul fails in this life, don’t you see? One cannot simply love when they’re hardwired to love and protect themselves, as well. And it’s not that I don’t want to love myself—or I hate myself, or I think there is a problem with having a deep affection for one or another’s soul … it’s because I want to openly love, with every inch of it’s beautiful rawness, to feel it with every inch of my own rawness too; but such a thing cannot be achieved in a body so full of layers; in a body so fuelled by its limitations; in a body made up of atoms and matter designed to protect this underlying core. In a world so utterly frightened of seeing not only this core truth in others, but also the center of their own truth too. In a world where people see themselves through other people’s eyes—just so their own won’t get burnt.
I told you that sometimes I see the world like this—seeing with another’s eyes—perhaps you think it makes it easier for me: easier to see what isn’t there than to admit what really is can scar my soul. I told you that sometimes I see my soul as you might see it, and as the world around us might see it too—perhaps you find this vain, or strange, or mildly insane. But it’s not just my soul’s truth I’m sharing, my darling: I’m sharing more with you. Layer upon layer, I hand crafted the girl you see. Layer upon layer confirms her truth in me. And so I will reveal another truth she and I now know: it is not just my human body that has its limitations, my darling. You, me and every other soul in the world are restricted within the body that encases us. We are limited to their limitations. Our souls are embodied by our inadequate bodies.
So, I suppose I know that when I fall short in giving love, others fall short in receiving love. Even when my love is gentle and given with selfless hands, sometimes it is simply received with human, safeguarded ones. Sometimes the act of giving can be perceived as deceiving. And sometimes loving can be seen as merely wanting. It is the same for all of us: our roles, reversible; our situations, individual; our relationships, nonessential. Because each of us is fixed with our innate characteristics: it is our evolutionary guidelines, I suppose, which determined this.
And so I try to see my soul as you might see it: to see if I can minimise the difference between how she is seen and what she really looks like. I manipulate perceptions in order to limit my limitations, if such a thing makes sense to you. I look through the eyes of others, not to be purposely blind, but so I can see if my soul is visible from the outside. Because what I see—what my eyes see—is so many frightened, fragile souls who, underneath it all, just want to be loved. And I need them to see how much my soul already loves them—and if they could see her, perhaps then, all of our souls would be free; limitless and infinitely full of nothing but love.
Then again, perhaps my desire to love is simply a product of wanting to satisfy my ego, soothe my conscience or spoil my humanness … I suppose we will never really know.
All I know is: if there were ever a way to separate my shell from my soul what would remain would be a gentle and inquisitive little ball of love.
A little ball of love who, underneath it all, is frightened that—even in her deepest moments of vulnerability—she might not be able to bounce alongside others, letting them know that their soul is safe to play with hers. A little ball of love, confronted with the truth that she might not be able to show you, and everyone else, how boundless her little ball is. A little ball of love, ashamed that she may never reach the surface of her human layer; afraid that you may never see what she really looks like.
And her fears are my fears, my darling; her truth is mine too: for the gentle and inquisitive little ball of love is me. Which makes me incredibly frightened that—for the rest of my human years—I will remain inadequate, bathing myself in a futile dream; drenched by the limitations of my existence … slowly drowning inside the truth that I may never be enough for all that is inside me.