Wednesday, October 8, 2008

This year

Doing a cheshbon hanefesh is an embarrassing activity. When I think about my behavior of last year in an objective way, how can I not cringe with intense shame and ask myself how I let myself slip and fall? How could I have lied to myself, deceived myself, reassured myself that I wasn't doing something wrong, when I knew, very clearly, that it was? How could I have hurt others -- deliberately -- and taken pleasure in inflicting pain? How could I have opened my mouth and spoken viciously and spitefully about others? How could I have ignored G-d, ignored my relationship with Him, seen Him as distant and sometimes, shockingly, immaterial, almost? How could I have been so awesomely, frightening selfish?

It just makes me want to crawl into a hole and seal myself off from human contact, because as much as I say to myself, "This is wrong, don't do it," I persist, and persist, and persist, and it's almost an out-of-body experience, seeing yourself wronging others and yet continuing and not being able to stop yourself -- is it the frozen horror that keeps you from being strong enough, or is it evil possessing you, or is it just pride, just plain old stupid selfish pride that keeps you from saying -- I'm wrong, and I'm wrong -- and then stopping . . . because that is what has the tightest, ugliest grasp over us . . . the thought of losing face, of having to stoop down and humble ourselves and grovel before others and admit that we are flawed that stops us from doing just that -- from admitting that we're human, and oh for goodness' sake stop using it as an EXCUSE and grow up and realize that you were created to improve yourself and stop acting like doing something wrong is just ingrained in you and you can't fix it, because you can, you can, and you must, must, or you're just a fool, a petty little fool who is so prideful that she can't see how her pride just brings alienation, and sadness, and bitterness, and an inability to let others be who they are and to let others shine and others succeed, because it's just so ugly, that word - OTHERS - like a glaring menace that shines light into your face and refuses to turn off, even when you're begging for some respite from the harshness - but that's just it, isn't it, that when OTHERS become a capitalized force, then you've lost the ability to see beauty in people, to see them as an extension of G-d, as pieces of Him, and they're just things in your way, in YOUR way, because it's all about you, isn't it, and how YOU are being affected, and never about those other people who, to you, litter your life and are there to just fit into the greater picture of YOUR puzzle -- no, never you into theirs, but always they into yours, and oh G-d just thinking about having to ask people for forgiveness makes you want to cry, because it's that stinking pride again, springing up, barring the way, saying "don't do it - because then I'll be compromised" -- when why can't I realize that it's just the opposite, that it's not that, and that the so-called giving in is really a gaining of respect . . . but how can I know that when I just feel like I've lost, and that they've gained, and why oh why is it all about competing, why can't it be about people getting along, and why is it always about winning and losing and it's not a game, no, no it's not, it's serious, and there are others involved, and their feelings and oh it's all just stupid pride and get over it already because you're losing yourself in this struggle to stay afloat when really you're causing yourself to sink.

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