I am surrounded by words. Books overflow on my shelves, and take up residence in random places like side-tables and on nightstands. Magazines lay neatly stacked on the coffee table. My lap top is filled with words from the Huffington Post, the local paper, online entertainment magazines, to the posts I write and read. Words are everywhere; oozing out of every crack and crevice in my life. Because of this there’s seldom anything I read anymore that has a profound effect on me. I have been inundated with words and their meanings. They’ve begun to somersault one into the other and have lost their magic…until the other day.
I’d forgotten the truth behind the theory that less is more. As one who reads and write myself, I have become callous to the power that can be created through mere words. I’ve committed the terrible faux pas of adding explanation where none is needed. I’ve stopped trusting readers to digest and interpret. I’ve stopped allowing the words to speak for themselves.
Never has this error been more apparent as when I heard a line from a movie this past weekend. I happened to be channel surfing, caught just a few, brief seconds of a movie preview, and the impact was jaw-dropping. I have no doubt that part of it was due to the content, but it was the most perfect usage of words—not too little, not too much—that had the greatest impact on me. The movie was “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, the writer is Stephen Chbosky, and the quote… “We accept the love we think we deserve”.
Now I’m the first to admit that I have nearly a whole shelf on my back wall that is dedicated to self-help books. A buffet…smorgasbord…if you will, of books to assist in self-improvement that are tattered along the edges, corners creased, entries highlighted from years of use, with my personal notes scribbled on the pages. MANY books filled with the same kind of information, but it was this line that made me sit up and take notice.
I’ve had this occur before, this…moment of clarity. When I heard the words “You become who your friends are” in my youth, and “Love does not mean being in pain” while attending my first session with an abuse counselor years later. Each time I had that same kind of cathartic moment. I found the simplicity of the words roll around in my mind like a pinball in a machine, till they started ping, ping, pinging with recognition. These words—far from eloquent—didn’t need a drum roll to get my attention, or an explanation after to hold it. They were, simply put, well…perfect. In both of those instances they made me think; feel, than question, nearly everything about myself. So too, did these recent words I ingested.
Today I seemed acutely keyed-in to these words and their meaning, as I struggle with humiliation at having to admit I was once again duped into believing something that wasn’t true that someone I love told me, and will now face the shame of “I told you so” by everyone else. I’ve always tried to rise above these mistakes by thinking that being in love makes foolishness excusable. And so it seems to be, as my life is nothing more than a parody, and the joke, unfortunately, is always on me. But is it truly nothing more than how I view myself? Am I willing to be continually roasted by others, not because of my love for him, but by my lack of love for myself?
Pandora Patty summed it up beautifully yesterday when she made the statement, “He doesn’t value you”. So often I get lost in my own translation and find myself using words like ‘lack of respect’ or ‘a complete lack of disregard for my feelings’ when trying to describe my relationship, but was yet again reminded of the simplicity of words when I heard her use ‘value’ to sum up my current situation perfectly. This morning I find myself using this information I’ve been given and doing the math.
We accept the love we think we deserve
= I’m not worthy to be loved
If I am the author of my life, does this mean I’ve been the playwright of my own tragic comedy?