Wednesday, February 03, 2010

pariah existence........

You could take a warm wet washcloth full of soapy bubbles and scrub your skin until it squeaks.  You could rinse away all of that accumulative dirt and grime, replace the tired clothes threadbare and worn with something clean and pressed. You could comb your hair, brush your teeth.  You could even take the time to put on make-up and tempt your lips with a glossy pink.  You could spray a small spritz of light perfume to linger on your freshened self.  And still, the feelings attached to being a treated like a Pariah seep out of your soul, leaving you feeling deep freeze cold. 

It is a wretched feeling to be cast aside, treated like you're untouchable.  Avoided by people who matter, you can't help but receive the loud message in the reverberating silent energy that hovers in the empty spaces.  
Ugly, ugly, ugly........
Soul Poverty isolation living in a shanty heart.
In no time, the Pariah begins to believe she is unlovable, unwanted.... a disgraced wench, scorned by the bitterness of another human being.
Every thing is left unsaid.
Feelings are left unspoken
An exile of the heart begins to form
Silence pokes holes into the unquiet mind making it weep a high pitched loneliness until it seeks out an inner sanctum where it can hide away from painful sorrow and dejection.  

A Pariah feels like she is seen as an apparition when in fact she is a warm blooded human being who yearns to be recognized as lovable and treated with tender attention. She wants to be touched....touched by the warmth of another human beings fingers..... embraced by another persons arms ..... kissed with tenderness.
Days are long
Nights are open-eyed longer as the need to be held, to be touched grows salty tears of longing. In order to survive, you soon learn to harden up, to build a protective shell, to distrust everyone around you.  
You turn into stone.  
A roughworn scaly grey Pariah stone.  
A stone feels no pain................a stone holds no moist tears.
Those tears have dried up and what you're left with are the remnants of what used to be.

Have you ever felt this way? How did you pull yourself out of this shameful feeling of unloved numbness??


Jen said...

I felt this way after my daughter died after a very traumatic birth. Rumors were spread about the cause of death. Family and acquaintances didn't know what to say. There were occasions when people would actually see me walking towards them and turn to go the other way.
The death of a baby is so unnatural and people just don't want to say the wrong thing, so they say nothing.

I felt rejected, defective, betrayed. I felt like my body had betrayed me, my church, my town.
I was angry.

I know now that so many people prayed for me, but kept their distance out of fear. They did the best they could. It took me years to love my body again and know that it was not my fault that she died.

I asked forgiveness from one church member. My misplaced anger had rested on her face for over a year, and I need to let it go. SHe didn't understand, but it was the act, the ceremony of verbalizing it that I needed.

I've let go of a lot of superficial acquaintances since then. They were obligatory to begin with, and I simply don't have the emotional energy to put into them anymore. I find that I do have a deep sense of lonliness due to not being kept busy with drama and pettiness, but it's a holy lonliness, and I'm growing in ways that I never imagined.

God has introduced me to some amazing people that I would have never come across had I not let go and stepped out of my comfort zone.

awareness said...

Jen, your story is heartbreaking and I'm so sorry you had to experience such sorrow and rejection. When you needed people the most, they abandoned you out of their own fear and inability to figure out what to do to help you. Henri Nouwen wrote a beautiful piece..... that the very best thing we can do for another is to sit close, and sit in the other's pain. We don't have the capacity to take it away, but we have the love to understand and to provide a warm body close by.
Of course there are no words that can heal the pain you've endured and I don't think you were even looking for words. Just unconditional love right beside you.
The place where you are now? The holy loneliness is such a different feeling isn't it? Can you pinpoint why?

Reluctant Blogger said...

Oh yes! You write very powerfully and actually it rather took my breath away, whisking me back to those days of nothingness and hiding what I felt and not being who I had been anymore.

I am not sure how I recovered. Time was probably the main factor. And love. I did find someone who was prepared to love me despite the fact that I was a frozen pod. I also did some counselling.

But it never goes away. Even now, more than 25 years later, I am never entirely relaxed, I am always on guard - not sure what against.

Wonderful post. I like the way you alternate bold and normal text.

Charles LeBlanc said...

To this day? I still do it but we move on and fight the battle!!!

Of course, I don't dress the part and all the other issues.

I am what I am.

What you see is what you get!!!

If you don't like it?

You get the hell out of my sight!!!


Walker said...

I have never felt this waynor do i think i ever will.
I think its my personality and how I grew up.
I don;t think i ever needed anyones praise or approval because i am loner at heart and strong willed.
Those who are around me are there by choice and not sought out.

I can't say its the best way to live but its a choice that avoids some of the pain and scorn dished out by others.

I have also found those that looked down on you once return begging to be accepted back into your life.

It's best to hold the power that to be squashed by it

awareness said...

Reluctant...Love and counselling/guidance to help reframe thinking and reflect on the feelings really can help. Just by putting words to the thoughts and expressing them openly without being judged is very cathartic and can lead to us letting go of those painful experiences/moments when we found ourselves as the pariah. It comes down to recognizing your own gifts as well as forgiving both ourselves and the others who have treated us with such disdain or have ignored us out of fear or because they are going through their own stuff.
The healing balm is love. To be able to give it, and to receive it, trusting the other, feeling safe and whole, and knowing it is unconditionally offered is what we all want and hopefully are striving for.
It's a bleak gut wrenching feeling to experience. I don't even know if there is a word out there that can describe this type of loneliness.

awareness said...

Charles...just by putting yourself out there day in and day out asking the questions, rattling the cages, pointing out the wrongs AND the rights in this community, advocating, demanding, and of course STIRRING the pot, I'm sure you've felt that sense of being a pariah every now and then. I think anyone who is different than the status quo has felt it. It can hurt big time, but if we have the confidence built in from all the successes we accumulate while LIVING OUT LOUD, the feeling of being a pariah doesn't last that long.

When I was writing this, I was thinking of many scenarios where people would feel this... including myself. One of the most predominant groups I was thinking of were the homeless and the poor. It is so darn hard to scrape back up to a place where you're not poor anymore..... our system keeps people at the level of pariahs and they should be ashamed of that practise.
Keep fighting the good fight, crazy man!

awareness said...

Walker, you're lucky if you've never felt this at all. I think we risk being rejected or dismissed any time we take risks or love deeply. Then, there are emotionally traumatic situations we have to face, like Jen's story, when for no other reason but other's fears, we are left on the sidelines grieving and sorting out our feelings without the people we expected to come to our side.
It may be time limited, but the sense of feeling so all alone because of a situation, a break up, a lay off, a divorce, a clash of religious values, etc, etc, we become the pariah victim.

Like Reluctant stated, it stays with you. It changes you. It can alter our ability to trust fully again.

urbanmonk said...

yeah... been in that space. You remember? No job, no friends, no future, (or that was how it looked)It seemed like the Universe and everything in it had turned against me. Alcohol and TV ( and blogging) were my closest companions and mostly coz of how I felt about myself and how I thought others felt about me. Im studying to be a nurse now, and I am still not quite sure how I got here.

Canuckguy said...

--After reading this and a previous post(Seething), I am just wondering that maybe your job is getting to you, that it is stressing you out, that you are on the verge of maybe telling a boss to F.O.
--Maybe you need a break from it all for a while.
--Or am I missing the boat on your state of mind?

awareness said...

Monk...I remember, and I was worried about you on the other side of the planet! I couldn't be more pleased to know where you are in your journey right now. God works in mysteries... what you have endured and what you've learned through the struggle will without a doubt aide you in your new profession.

Canuckguy. :) I have been dealing with a conflict, yes. But, I am exactly where I should be career wise. I'm not burnt from it and I don't feel like a pariah there. The position is new, so there are a few things that have to be ironed out with respect to roles and responsibilities....
My head's on straight. I don't think I'm falling apart...yet. I'll give you a heads up though, k? thank you for asking.... :)

Kay said...

oh wow, so relatable, indeed. to become numb... i suppose this can happen many times in ones life, consistently having to pick oneself back up, brushing off the animosity and looking back only when needing reminded of the 'once ways' will not stay once it finds its way back...ugh...a definate good discussion topic.

awareness said...

Kay... sometimes its just our own state of mind that plays games with our feelings.... and sometimes it is a clear cut state of being cause by situations or events.... dont you think? Either way, the feeling sucks. But, I believe it's a pretty universal feeling and the up side of it is that after we've experienced it, we can empathize with others.

It is a great topic for discussion.... I just may throw it into my next workshop on empathy. hmmmmm..........

Jen said...

The holy lonliness (I love that term) is a conscious choice. I can either choose to numb my feelings of lonliness, pain, anxiety, and fear/anger with (insert substance/person/activity), or I can feel those feelings on my own. It's a process that one has to do alone, basically. You can go to support groups, you can have the love of friends and family, but owning your self is a very lonely process/journey. It's at times the quietest road I've ever been on, but by far the most rewarding.

Where I used to stand on the shoulders of friends / family for my identity, and numb myself to avoid feeling, I now stand on my own strong foundation of SELF, and I feel those feelings, shitty as they may be at times.

Thank you for your condolences, Dana. However, I wouldn't change a thing. Angel Hope's death was actually my birth. God used her in mighty ways. I am awake and fully alive now, and so is she.