Looking at my approach to relationship, I am confronted with my self-image: masculinity perhaps? With my ability to get the things that make me happy, how I link that to self-worth, and so inevitably use other people as objects to establish my groundless sense of self, ironically preventing me from genuine relating in the very attempt to do so! That’s a trauma loop, and trauma has a way of looping itself – in our minds, bodies, and life experiences – until it can be resolved; or go on looping forever. I’m getting to know my wounds; getting to know myself I suppose, or the self in life that’s emerged so far. I perceive how this wound is embedded in personal experiences of longing and rejection, yet I see it also in a broader socio-cultural, economic framework that was thrust upon me, that weaponized me in a way. Doesn’t it make sense that we have built entire world orders on the basic human need for validation, trying to prove our self-worth to ourselves?

Toxic elements of my masculinity, or the patriarchy? I don’t know what that really means, there’s probably an element of truth to it. But I suspect it’s too easy to gender away the aspects of myself I find painful, to locate them in some outside force and destroy them there – because I (we) long to destroy that painful tendency within myself. That would be easier than facing it, owning it, pardoning it, maybe eventually even loving it. I suspect that a great deal of what I locate in my masculinity or find frustration with in femininity has more to do with aspects of my own humanity I’m ashamed of, unaware of, unwilling to own up to as my own. This is a shared human struggle, the struggle of identity. Of trying to lay our claim to existence as if we had any claim to begin with besides the very fact that we are. Which is all there is, all we need, and how I heal.