1. What Does He Have That I Want?
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What Does He Have That I Want?

Oh shit! Here it comes again.
I've seen another one of those
    young men,
And I am flooded
With feelings of emptiness, sadness and self doubt.
What does he have that I want?
Suddenly, I can tell you details
Of how that man must be.
His beguiling smile, and easy motion
Reflect a grace that comes from within.
He flows through a life of ease,
Charming fulfillment from others.
I imagine myself
Trapped in a world
That renders forever unattainable what I imagine he has.
Attempts to respond to this situation in the past
Only amplified my distress.
Trying to ignore him would not help.
The sight of him was burned into memory.
I would remember and be tormented long after.
Trying to meet him would not help.
I would be too uncomfortable to function.
Trying to inventory how little I really knew about him
Would not help.
All roads in my mind led back
To feeling bad about myself.
It's not about him.
It was never about him.
It's about me
And my own imagined deficiencies.
Youth, beauty, confidence, grace:
I feel too strongly their lack in myself,
Powerless to get them,
And most importantly,
Unworthy and defective as a person from their lack.
What do I want from him?
To feel good about myself.
And so I must confront, not a lack
Of beauty, grace, or youth,
but confidence.
As the shrill, criticizing Harpies of Homer
Were transformed into trusted advisors, the Eumenedes,
So must I transform myself, just a bit.
It's time to replace certain old and well established
Habits of memory, judgment, and belief.
When it's about
    What I have,
    What I know,
    How I look,
    Who I know,
    My talents,
    Or my accomplishments,
Any comparison or judgment can find a difference
And label it a defect.
It's time to redirect my attention
To the reality that
By dint of being alive and aware,
And for no other reason than that,
I am worthy,
And I will choose
From a position of self-awareness
To act upon or accept the other differences.
From a foundation
Of basic self acceptance,
I can manifest youth, beauty, grace and confidence.
Or enjoy a joke about their lack.

21 July 2004

by Bill Cattey