Unworthy: A therapeutic writing exercise in which I bare my bloodied soul


I’m sure some of you noticed my general withdrawal from Facebook as of late. The truth is, it’s been hard. I’m experiencing the joy of new love tarnished by those who would to destroy it. I’ve kept it in, kept it in, tried to tell myself it didn’t matter, but somehow it still does. And so I’ve descended into a pretty deep depression–the desire to stay curled in bed all day trying to cry away the hurt. I shouldn’t let anyone make me feel this way, and, rationally, I know it.

But the thing about being a writer is you have to be in touch with your emotions day-in and day-out in order to bring stories and characters to life. And, well, sometimes that’s not so great for writers’ lives off the page. This is one of those times. To close up feeling would be to dry out my talent, and it means too much to me to even attempt such a solution.

Instead I turn to my craft for guidance, reassurance, and hopefully closure. This piece is extremely personal, but then again so is every word I ever clack onto my keyboard. And as painful–private–as this is, it still comes nowhere close to the admissions I poured into both Open Heart and Torn Together.

So I had a beer, composed a depressing music playlist, and confessed my feelings below. Clarity, serenity, courage–I am waiting for you.


Unworthy. That’s how I constantly feel. Unworthy, unloved, unimportant. Self-esteem is something I simply can’t hold onto. And the funny part is that the world assumes the opposite, that I’m arrogant—no, I just try extra hard to compensate, to appear like I serve a purpose in any given social setting, rather than just taking up space that my peers would rather not have filled. I’m a living silhouette. Nobody likes a living silhouette. Not even me.

“Learn to love yourself,” conventional wisdom says. Well, that’s pretty damned hard to do when you’re constantly faced with rejection, disapproval, outright hatred, whatever. But why? I keep asking myself this tiny little question that harbors such huge implications.

I’m a good person. I type that just as sure as I believe it. I AM a good person, complete with morals, a conscience, a desire to do good onto others, no matter how many times they take my extended hand of help and yank me down upon the muddy streets, kick me, spit at me, remind me I’m just not worthy. Nor will I ever be. Yeah, message received. Can you quit shouting it now?

Cowering inside this oversized hunk of flesh is the nine-year-old girl who’s never had a friend, whose bio-dad would rather drive a fancy car than pay her child support, who never quite fit into her family, and still doesn’t understand why. Rocking that pitiful child in her arms is the twenty-seven year old divorcee who knows how bad her marriage was but still nearly lost her sanity during its dissolution. Curled in the fetal position is the woman who contains them both—still twenty-seven, still scared of rejection even though she knows it’s a given.

She expected to live alone forever. “I’m not the marrying kind. I’m not the anything kind. I’m meant to be alone,” she said, and she believed it with all her heart. That is until her heart professed a different plan altogether:

“You’ve got it all wrong. You are not so different that you’re doomed to be alone. This man right here, he was made for you. Or rather, you were made for him. But before you can have each other, you need to open up again. He will not reject you. He will only love you. Even when—especially when—you feel you least deserve it. He will hold you in his arms and let you weep giant, irrational tears. He will smile during the good times and make you wonder how happiness ever existed before you found him. You will be loved. But first you have to take a chance.”

And because the dream is what’s kept me going all these years—the dream of writing, the dream of happiness, the dream of love, and above all, acceptance—I take that chance.

“Here I am,” I cry, both overjoyed and terrified. “Here I am.”

And he finds me. We find each other. And despite our collective shortcomings, our far-too-long list of past pains, we seem to be made for each other. Just like my heart promised.

It feels like only a day, and yet it feels like eternity, since we found each other. I look into his eyes and see the long road before us. What came before doesn’t matter anymore, because it was all leading up to this. What we have is so personal, so true, so right, so—dare I say?—perfect.

But where there is light, there is darkness.

There are others who see our tiny flame of hope and make it their mission to snuff it out. “I’m not happy; therefore, you cannot be happy. Simple as that. You have what I want, which means I can never be happy for you—never even like you. Remember that whole thing about being unworthy? Yeah, you still are. Always will be. Don’t fight the status quo. After all, it’s there to protect you—I mean US, and clearly you’re not one of us. You need to go away, refute your happiness, cease to exist if you wouldn’t mind. Because your existence? It’s horribly inconvenient for us.”

And no matter how clearly irrational, cruel, entitled it all is, I can’t help but listen. “Pardon me,” I whimper. “I didn’t mean to cause any trouble.”

But how can I give up the dream when giving up one is giving them all up?

Why do I listen to them? Why do I crawl under the covers and refuse to emerge? Why do I let the blackness cloud my heart during its sunniest epoch?

Bliss with my love. Despair because of those who would rob us of what we’ve finally found. Why do they think it’s their right to judge, to decide who deserves happiness and who doesn’t? Why was I born to be unworthy, no matter how hard I try, how much I insist on maintaining my integrity in a world that hardly remembers what that word means?

Simply put, I don’t know, and I’m tired of trying to figure it out.

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  1. First off, whoever is making you feel this way about yourself, who is putting you down, and who is continually trying to take away a happiness that is rightfully yours (it is your right–everyone has the right to happiness and to be and feel loved and when you find it, you hang onto it) then that person or persons need to be removed from your life. Harsh, maybe. But this life is far too short to put up with ANYONE’S B.S. Seriously. There is no reason for you to allow anyone to dump their garbage (because that’s what it is) inside your head. You wouldn’t stand for someone to come into your home and dump their trash on your living room floor and smear it into the carpets, so why let them dump their crap in your head? I know,I know…it’s hard not to listen, especially if it is someone we truly value who is saying these things. But this life is too short. It’s too short, Emlyn! And you don’t have to put up with this. I don’t know who is making you feel this way. I don’t know if it’s easy to walk away from them, but for your sanity and your happiness, I suggest you do it. If that’s not possible, then you need to tell that person that if they can’t be happy for you, then they need to keep their mouth shut. Take a stand. Don’t let anyone ruin the good thing you’ve got going. Move forward, look forward, hang on. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. For what it’s worth, I think your amazing, and I don’t like seeing you hurt this way. I’ll totally kick some ass for ya, just point me in the right direction.

    Seriously, hang in there, hold onto your man, enjoy your happiness, and know I love ya.

  2. Everything Angela said and more! You are worthy of all the happiness you can imagine, and more you can’t even fathom. Dump the people who are trying to pull you down. Cut them from your life like cancer, because that’s what they are. You know I love you and believe in you and am proud to be your friend. You know I’ve been through what you’re going through. Hold onto the joy and love and let everything else go. You deserve the love and joy. xo

  3. Wow. I don’t know what those people/person are thinking, but you deserve all the happiness you want. People that want to hold you back are nothing more than a cancer. I know it’s hard, but sometimes it’s best to sever ties with them and move on with your life. In the end, it’s about what makes you happy, not them. On a lighter side, I’m fighting the urge to ask who’s butt I have to kick, but unless they’re in Florida I can’t offer more than my support. Hope you feel better. Nothing’s worth punishing yourself over.

  4. I echo every single thing the others here have said to you. Em, believe me, I have been there. It’s so hard to believe you’re good enough. The thing is, you are. Since they have already said everything I was thinking (and did it far better than I may have been able to), I will just say this: Emlyn, you rock. You have accomplished so much and I am inspired by your work ethic and talent. I just hope to be half the writer you are.

    Do what makes YOU happy, not anyone else. You really do deserve it.

  5. Thank you for all your wonderfully supportive comments, guys. Between writing it all out and hearing your responses, I’m feeling much better. I know there are people who love me, and I can stand by the fact that I’m a good person with good intentions. Unfortunately, goodness attracts darkness–those who prey on others they know won’t fight back. I refuse to–to quote U2–“become the monster, so the monster will not break (me).” I’m proud of who I am, and those who can’t accept that don’t belong in my life. I <3 you all. Thank you so much for reaching out to me in my dark times. Occupational hazard these feelings, you know?

    Em :-)

  6. As you see here, perhaps you’re listening to the wrong people :). There is a special discipline to drowning out those naysayers. And for those of us from difficult childhoods, it sometimes takes even longer to get to the point of putting away the bad and focusing only on the good. You sometimes feel bad for so long, good seems like the scary enemy.

    Keep being vulnerable and you’ll know who your cheerleaders are. These are the people you surround yourself. Leave the rest be.

    This is what I learned from reading THE FOUR AGREEMENTS. A very simple process to learning how to undo the damage of feeling unworthy. We’re with you on your journey!

  7. Emlyn, know that the nasty people who constantly harp and comment on you in a negative way are usually those who are scared by the confidence you display but don’t feel. We sometimes don’t do ourselves any favours by pretending to be confident and outgoing. For those of us with a sensitive nature Facebook is probably not the best place as I found out on more than one occasion.Nowadays I just use Facebook for announcements and blog pieces but don’t go there to socialise. I found Gather.com is easier for that as you choose groups you’re interested in and have something in common with members…like authors groups, writers, readers etc.
    When I’m down I give myself a misery loves company playlist to listen to while I deal with emails.My Pinterest page is full of oldies with meaning. It’s part of our nature and can’t be helped but it is cathartic sometimes to get the frustration out of your system. I hope you’ve managed to do that now with your friend’s help and will go on stronger than before.


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