“She was a druggie; she deserved to die.”
Some people make callous remarks like that for the shock value, while others truly judge that harshly. It’s not as simple as a failure to understand addiction, a lack of empathy, or a holier-than-thou attitude… and it’s not unique to the critics. I would suspect many addicts think similar thoughts about themselves. Some may not want to live; others actively wish to die. Then there are those who are ambivalent about which category they fall into. Like me.
I don’t purport to understand addiction, but in a way I think we ALL do in some regard. I have my food issues, which run a similar path of self-destruction, and sometimes seem worse than drugs in the sense that you can’t just not eat (and therefore have to manage it constantly). The thing is, it doesn’t matter if you’re Whitney Houston or Jane Doe. You can have it all in the eyes of the world, and have nothing inside.
If you have struggled, you can relate. If you’re human. If you’ve known loss. Or shame. I can’t imagine enduring the whole world’s judgments for all my mistakes; how many people could cope with becoming a laughingstock? I’ve fallen from grace, destroyed my career, and allowed my addiction to overtake me … but fundamentally, nobody cares. I write an anonymous blog and I don’t speak to anybody from my past. It’s the inner critic I have to contend with. That’s the enemy for most of us.
The point is this: I understand self-destruction. I understand self-hatred. I understand getting into a hole you can’t climb out of. I have compassion for what she went through. Why is it, then, that I can find no compassion for myself? The lyrics, “ Learning to love yourself … it is the greatest love of all” run through my mind, one of the Whitney songs I grew up listening to. But why does it always sound so hokey to even talk about? Because we don’t even know what it really means?
Therese at The Unlost writes, “I love all of you. Emptiness and all. Fear and weakness, insecurity and all.” You know, those parts in ourselves which we refuse to tolerate, which convince us we are unacceptable to others. Fittingly, the title of the post reads, “TheGreat Valentine’s Day Hoax: Why the Love We Seek is our own.” If you don’t have it, no one in the world can fix it for you, or give it to you, or buy it for you.
I hopelife treats you kindAnd I hopeyou have all you've dreamed ofAnd I wish you joyand happinessBut above all thisI wish you love