In a couple of conversations last week, I found myself saying that the difference between who I am today, and who I was yesterday, is that today I KNOW I will not betray myself. In days past, I TRIED hard not to betray myself, but I struggled in what has been an internal war of attrition between I and me.
This morning, I realized something else, though. In the past, I have often PUNISHED myself for betraying myself, rather than my betrayal being the punishment. Does that make any sense? Until now, I always thought of my self-betrayals as punishment in their own right, but, nah, it's more subtle. My self-betrayals have been my wrong-headed attempts to do the RIGHT thing--the thing that would get me the approval or love that I want--and when those attempts have gone wrong, I've rained down havoc and self-hatred on myself for it, never quite recognizing that my betrayals WERE betrayals, e.g., the attempts to fit in, pursue the wrong career, marry the wrong woman, or assume an impossible social mask. I responded to this treason by growing slothful, depressive, incurious, and indulgent. I ate too much, got out too little, was not good enough to my friends, and grew over-brittle around any perceived criticism.
F@!ck all that. The hurly burly's done. Yesterday I identified with Macbeth. Today, I am Macduff.