Thursday, June 21, 2012

Essay on Shame #20

Today I can't even remember who I talked to recently in a way that I should be ashamed of, a savage withholding. The erasing machinery's already at work, and this is what I fear when I put down the flathead screwdriver of keeping the gap open and shame activated: that I don't deserve to forget what I did. It's too terrible and I'm too terrible.

Let's do an experiment together, mistake-free me. You can be my lab partner who's embarrassed to work with me. Here's the hypothesis our science teacher gave us, the one we're stuck with, just like we're stuck with each other: what if what I did is too terrible and I am too terrible?

Someone else's being will be eroded.

Everyone else who knows will love me less.

What experiment can we set up to test whether this actually happens? We would need to stick around and watch that person and their being for a long time. We would need to pay close, anxious attention. We would also need to watch the people who know with sickening, diamond-bright precision. What would we be able to see, even with the finest instrumentation and greatest degree of panting awareness? A change, a shutting-down, a falling-off?

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