The title quote is from Shakespeare's The Tempest. He was, I think, the cleverest of clever men. He understood that we are, all of us, every single one, a tangled mess of complicated motives, most of which even we're not quite aware of. We are much better at spotting the mess in other people than in ourselves, much better at accepting it in ourselves than in other people. Even the darkness we do see inside our own hearts is likely to be incomplete. We obsess over the damn spot, oblivious to the spreading stain.
Frederick Buechner says this: What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else. It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are . . . because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing.
I've spent days trying to come up with something succinct to write under here, but I can't. Currently my head hurts, I can barely wobble around on the torn muscle and inflamed tendon in my right leg and I am wondering if I am hiding from an issue with one of my children when I tell myself I need time to deal with it properly. My toes are fricken freezing. I am having a hard time keeping myself from ruminating about two different people, one of whom I thought I understood, one of whom I think other people are not understanding. I am procrastinating on an important assignment because I don't quite know how to do it and fear doing it badly, am secretly super impressed with myself that I have applied for clinical training. I'm ashamed of being fat but after a decade of ignoring it I am finally doing something about that too. I don't understand why I become so irritable when I am sad. My back is hurting too and my sinuses are infected again, again, and there are some moments when I think that every single person who has ever judged me and my behaviour should spend a day in this body and then they'd be bloody impressed at how strong and resilient, and even generous, I really am. I don't fear death or dying, my biggest fear, and greatest source of anger, is being misunderstood. I don't know what to do with the chicken for dinner. I complain and criticise all the time and I loathe it when people complain and criticise. I should clean the heat pump filter but I am not going to. I honestly don't understand it when people stop talking to me. I swear a lot inside my own head and believe in both evolution and divinity. I don't see a conflict. I love great clothes but never wear them. I am much worse at saving my money than I want to be and it's another thing that shames me. I don't think I have consciously done anything to hurt another human except perhaps as an angry child, and even then only once, but nevertheless I hurt people. I am probably more selfish than I'd admit to. I hate being told I look tired. If I had to name a thing I like the best about being me, it's that I never give up on trying to do, and be, better. I really love to learn things. I have never lost the thrill of being alive in an incredible universe, even though sometimes it gets buried very, very deep. I love my people a lot more thoroughly and unconditionally than I am able to convey. I am scared of heights. I don't seem to be able to concentrate enough to read fiction anymore and I don't know why, I think I am both clever and stupid, and if I could magically wish more of a good quality into myself, I would choose to have more courage.
This is not, and couldn't possibly be, who I truly and fully am, and that's not the point anyway. Humans are messy. All of us, every single one. Having compassion and patience with that mess, in ourselves and in others, is exactly the place where wisdom begins.