Can you remember any of your words? I couldn't remember that last one until this past weekend. At least, the "I" that I'm conscious of couldn't remember that last one. The rest of me had built an entire subset of my personality around avoiding it.
You see, our judgments are based on parts of ourselves that we cannot own. And that is all that they are. (No, seriously).
Every single human being has the capacity for every aspect of humanity. (Yes, even you ... yes, even me). Happiness, sadness, anger, passion, rage, bitter jealousy, pettiness, aggression, idiocy, ignorance, ineffectiveness, douchebaggery, and just plain disgustingness.
None of these aspects of humanity are a problem until we stop being able to own them. That is the point at which we start to dis-own them. We shut them off and out. As this process begins, we stop allowing ourselves to even perceive this aspect of who we are.
The trouble is that what we cannot own, owns us. If we can't own part of ourselves, we can't be frank about it when we start to show up that way. What we resist, persists.
Growing up, I often heard the voices of my parents talking about people, situations, and things being disgusting. (There may have been many different words that were used — what really matters is that the concept of disgusting is what captures the general idea). It was disgusting to say the word "piss", because it was crass. It was disgusting for a dog to lick his genitals. It was disgusting to engage in a public display of affection. It was disgusting to dress a certain way. It was disgusting to eat sloppily at the table.
I learned that disgusting was bad. It was wrong to be disgusting. It was unacceptable to be disgusting.
I started to see this in other people too. That person over there was disgusting, and look at what they don't have because of it. And then I started to gather evidence to prove the other side of the coin. Look, that person over there was well put-together and the anti-thesis of disgusting, and they were doing well with women. That person there, he was clean, professional looking, and he seems to be doing well financially. I was gathering evidence to support the judgment I'd created.
Ultimately, where I arrived, was that I could not be disgusting.
So I crafted a perfect persona, designed to remove that aspect of who I was. It hid my disgusting patterns from you. It hid the fact that sometimes I fart, don't shower, am unclean, abuse my body, drink too much, and do all manner of other things that I've learned are unacceptable and must be disowned.
But you know what happens when we try to dis-own a part of ourselves? It doesn't go away. It just goes into hiding. And so my disgusting patterns sat, hidden from the world. Hidden from my wife. Hidden from myself.
Not as well hidden as I'd like to believe — mostly, just hidden from me. My disgusting tendencies would stay compressed and suppressed until the opportunity arose for them to get out, and then boom, like a bag of worms finally slashed open, my disgustingness would ooze out.
What most repulses us about other people is what most repulses us about ourselves. If we really, truly, want to be whole and complete, we have to take on owning that part of who we are. We have to take on returning to love.
Sometimes that journey is slow. I've been doing this work for over three years now, and it wasn't until I came back from a vacation with my close friends this weekend that I got in the door, dropped my bags, stared ahead and realized...
What I don't want you to know about me is how disgusting I am.
If you want to hear about that little kid, making faces at the crying girl up there, let me know via comment and I'll send it your way. Thanks for reading!