Explaining shit

~~~explaining shitTo explain something feels like somehow controlling it.

In the absence of being able to explain something — especially something painful– we feel confused and helpless.  Anxious.  Out of control.

It’s like without an explanation we can’t absorb, or process, or digest this particular fact or experience.

Like there’s a hole we need to fill, but cannot.

It’s uncomfortable, this hole. 


So uncomfortable we may seek any explanation with which to fill it.

And in our effort to escape the discomfort we often choose explanations that hurt us.

Like the abused child, unable to understand why he or she is being beaten, who fills the explanatory void with “I must deserve it.”

Or the loved one of a suicide victim, unable to explain the suicide, who fills the void with “I should have done something to stop it.”

Or the gay person, rejected by a homophobic parent, who decides “My gayness makes me unloveable.”

Such explanations are not just inaccurate or unrealistic or unfair. 

They’re dangerous.

They create a burden some of us carry our whole lives.

They distort our perception of ourselves, other people, of relationships in general.

They distort our perception of life in general, too.

“Life,” said Joseph Campbell, “is this wonderful, wonderful opera.  It just hurts.”


Beware of your need to — forgive my vulgarity — explain shit.

Because sometimes shit just happens.

And sometimes life just feels shitty.

And it’s beyond our control.

And it’s nobody’s fault.


3 responses to “Explaining shit

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