Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Essay on Shame #4

I can't believe I said that corny thing about having wings. I can't believe I said that dismissive thing about working at Pizza Hut. I can't believe I said that thing about the kids in the Astor Home, or that other thing about wearing leggings as pants, or that other thing, to my class of ESL students, about men hitting women.

Believing it should be easy, because I did say all those things. Believing it should be much easier than erecting the complicated series of baffles, buffers and shunts required to redirect my mind away from the traps it laid for itself in the past. When I forget, when the buffer sequence works too well,  two things might happen: I might approve of myself too much, more than I deserve--the kind of person who would say that thing--and I might say something else.

This assigns a tremendous amount of power to my words. It believes that they can change my shape, can twist, shrivel or swell my features, the pitch of my voice, the force behind my muscles; it believes that they can set in motion series circuits and waterfalls of thought, memory and justification in other people as they do in me. I do believe that words have power; my two main forms of work have that assumption at their root.

If it doesn't matter that I said those things, words might not matter as much as I need them to. I might be making a terrible mistake.

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