I think people believe I do the homeless work I do because I am somehow a better person than most.
In reality, I do this work because I feel like a worse person than most. I spend my life trying to do things that will make others respect me and loved ones be proud of me. It's an impossible pursuit. I guarantee you could be Jesus himself and people all around you are going to be annoyed and "disappointed" in you.
You will never be a good enough "Son of God."
One of the reasons I was a heavy binge drinker was because it covered up my shame and self hatred.
While I was able to stop drinking, I never was able to let go of this intense, seething disgust I have for myself.
So I went in other directions instead of drinking. I ran 3 marathons: Chicago, Pittsburgh and Akron. I built a theater in my home. I threw myself into my businesses. I have been taking anti-depressants for quite a few years. And now I'm a homeless activist.
All those things cover up this feeling. But it always is in there waiting to attack.
Fortunately, the worst of it is a sharp, sudden feeling that typically doesn't last long: a few hours typically. But the pain is so searing that it feels nearly unbearable while I'm in it.
I try to make all these posts have a point. I don't typically just tell a story for the story's sake.
But in this case, that's what I'm doing.
This isn't a post of redemption or salvation or of "how I overcame my self hatred." I've never overcome it. I've only tried finding salves to sooth it. And fortunately, while often present, it typically is not incredibly intense most of the time.
This is just a post of connection. This is a post to let anyone else out there who may feel the same way to let them know they aren't alone.
I want to also say that those "gurus" out there that tell you your happiness is completely in your control are full of shit. "Happiness is a choice," they like to say in some sort of variation. That's not true.
Happiness is a blessing. When you feel it you are fortunate. When you don't feel it it's not your fault. Chemicals in your brain, circumstances and a lifetime of experiences are what determines your moment to moment happiness. That's all. You can't force yourself to be happy.
Just the same, I hope you have a happy 4th of July.