Self #6: The Crusader

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance. –Carl Sandburg The Crusader While my other Selves whine, blame, stalk, wreck and gab, The Crusader seethes. It thunders against brutality, bullying and aggression. (No martial arts for The Crusader—WWE violence is all it can handle.) Its reaction is visceral and all-consuming. The Crusader is a composite Self pieced together from the flotsam and jetsam of past pain, both suffered and inflicted. It is a three-Self tag team, along with Guilt and The Victim. Reaction “Look at yourself!“ The Crusader’s rage is a plea. It wants… Read More

Self #5: The Chatterbox

You cannot quieten the mind: full stop! Those are tricks. You can take a pill and make the mind quiet—you absolutely cannot make the mind quiet, because you are the mind. –Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Awakening of Intelligence The Chatterbox The Chatterbox gorges on audiovisual stimuli, then regurgitates them 24/7. Its actions are inversely proportional to my desires—like tinnitus, it shrieks at fever pitch precisely when I crave silence most. Enthralled by its steady stream of psychic vomit, I lose days under its spell. It mocks all attempts to keep my train of thought from derailing—until weeds… Read More

Self #4: The Saboteur

Self-sabotage is the proverbial hammer over the head that finally wakes us up, demanding that we pay attention. –Debbie Ford The Saboteur While my other Selves blame, stalk and whine, The Saboteur digs. It seeks out successes (real and potential) and systematically sabotages them. No pillar propping up my self-worth is too sturdy or sacred for it to subvert. It doesn’t just destroy self-worth: it engenders a fear of self-worth. To cope—to survive—I play cognitive Whack-a-Mole, where I seek out sprouting shoots of self-esteem and slay them before The Saboteur can. My psychic landscape becomes a Stalinist dystopia… Read More

Self #3: Guilt—The Scavenger

No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart… –Alan Watts The Scavenger Guilt stalks the past. It roots around with its pain-encrusted snout. The more decayed the cadavers of my mistakes, the more gleefully guilt sniffs them out. The Scavenger then dumps them in the central square of my awareness. My heart bears the weight of a billion universes. The detritus of the past coats my face, clogs my pores, suffocates me breath by frantic, gasping breath. I shrivel, become insubstantial, insignificant, unworthy. I am nothing,        … Read More

Self #2: The Blamer

If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches… –Rainer Maria Rilke The Blamer The Blamer is my second-most vituperative Self, trailing only The Pity-Seeker. Whereas The Pity-Seeker melts hearts and evokes concern with teary, puppy-dog eyes, The Blamer hurls thunderbolts. He rages—oh, how he rages!—against everyone and everything. My genetic inheritance, my upbringing, the Universe, God (whose existence he doubts, but why relinquish such a juicy target for indignation?)—all are fair game. He fears two things above all… Read More

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