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To This Day Project: On Trying to Kiss Away the Pain

to this day, to this day project, to this day poem, they were wrong, anti-bullying, toxic relationships, narcissistic parents, child abuse, adult children of abusive parents

To this day, know they were wrong.

There’s an incredible video circulating on the Internet this week by Shane Koyczan featuring his poem To This Day. It has a very clear anti-bullying message, to be sure, as Cecily Kellogg noted over at her Babble Voices blog. She called the short film a “spectacularly beautiful yet wrenching work of art,” and I completely agree.

What I took away from the video, not having been so much bullied by my peers but having grown up in a home where I was constantly punished and told I was worthless, was the fact that no matter how a person becomes broken, so many of us – maybe all of us broken souls – try to in some way as teens and young adults, as Koyczan puts it, “kiss the wounded parts of ourselves and heal.”

Koyczan talks in this epic and theatrical piece about all the different things people can become dependent on as a result of terrible hurt: booze, pills, food, love. I have toyed with all of these tools of pain suppression at various points in my life, but the tactic that stuck with me and almost took me down was my subconscious willingness to participate in toxic love, repeating old patterns that had more to do with my mother than any lover, trying to kiss the pain of that fundamental rejection away. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it here now: broken people are drawn to one another. Sometimes the camaraderie we share is a blessing, but when it develops as relational enmeshment, it’s a curse. Becoming aware of that dynamic and then breaking your need for it requires really coming face to face with that core wound, that first time someone called you pork chop, in Koyczan’s case. Take a look:

Here’s to smashing all the things you thought you used to be.

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