We don’t have to hate ourselves for our own vulnerability. We don’t have to hate ourselves for what life has done to us. We don’t have to hate ourselves because hurt or loss or longing has gotten to us. Our desires will always be with us in some form, keeping us firmly attached to a world that will hurt us. We must come to love ourselves, love our life, in its vulnerability, in its impermanence, not in spite of all its flaws, but because of them. Because the vulnerability, the changes, the flaws make us who we are.
Sometimes I do, though, hate myself.
Not when I cry, but when I don’t.
Like when my daughter whimpers
to be held in the middle of the night
and I’m too exhausted to comfort her.
Or when I read the headlines about
Mongolian drought and close the paper
and pick up a magazine about cooking instead.
Sometimes it’s so sad to be awake.
That’s when the self-hate comes in.
Not that I’m afraid the world would hurt me,
but that I am a part of the world that would hurt.
Make me ferocious, I pray to my gods,
willing to be a warrior for love.
Make me a wind that scours the earth.
Make me courageous. Passionate.
Love-fueled and fiery. Don’t let me be weary.
Don’t let me be tired. And if I am to be vulnerable,
good. Let tenderness be my middle name.
Not numb. Not deadened. Not carefree.
Let me love deeper. Let me bleed
and reach out with bloody hands.
Let me work for what’s good. Let me
never get tired. Let me love. Let me
love. Let me stand at the center of fear
and say yes. Let me hurt and not shrink
from anyone’s pain. Amen. Amen. Amen.