Embracing the Ugly

I’ve spent the larger part of my 24 years running from or denying ugliness.

A natural response to said ugliness is often some variation of “why me?” Why am I being forced to deal with this? Why is this happening to me? Me, me, me.

The fallacy in this line of thinking is considering pain and ugliness as something separate from us. Pain and misfortune aren’t something that’s inflicted upon us, it’s something inherently apart of us as human beings.

“Why me’s” are useless. The only thing I’ve come to know for certain is that nothing is certain. When we look at the pain from the ugliness and turn it into an unwanted intruder, we lose out on on the experience of taking our pain along on the ride with us. When we make our pain into a feral animal that’s somehow broken through our backyard fences instead of living in the shadows of our humble homes, it becomes easier to dissociate from it. It’s something different from us, something “other,” and as a result of that we don’t allow it into our consciousness as a part of ourselves, which is a disservice to the very real pain that is apart of everyone single persons human experience.

I think it’s part of most of our defaults, however, to run and deny pain and ugliness. Myself included.I’m still learning how to turn the “why me’s” into “where can I go from here’s” as best as I can.

Despite this, a blessing I’ve come to acknowledge with time is the extent to which other people are dealing with ugliness in their lives as well. Newsflash: we all are. That’s one of the most bittersweet realizations I’ve come to as a young adult: you think that you’re the only one knees deep in a steaming pile of shit, meanwhile the people you meet threw their jeans in the washer just prior. We’re all knees deep in shit, some of are just better at washing it off before heading out the door.

Undertaking the process of becoming more self aware has lead me to realize the extent to which I’ve tried to deny, numb, or run away from acknowledging unpleasant things. Grasping how often I clung to this unfortunate method of coping with unpleasantries in my life, it’s easy to see why I dissociate myself from pain. In many ways, it’s been part of my survival. But I know too much now to deny myself the experience of sitting with my pain.


Writing is often how I deal with my inner and outer turmoil. Sometimes I run from that too, because once you put the words to paper, or keyboard, they materialize. They are real. And then you have to deal with them. It’s a lot easier to run from things, we all know this. And we also know it makes the inevitable worse in the end the longer we put off dealing with whatever it is we’re running from.

It’s time to take ownership of your my misfortunes and deal with them.

Are you dealing with your ugliness, or just ignoring it?


One thought on “Embracing the Ugly

  1. Some very wonderful introspection here Jeanine. A friend asked me what my weaknesses were one time, and I didn’t have an answer. It’s not that I thought I was perfect, but it rather that I try not to think of myself as weak or strung, but always a something that is in flux, in progress. I also know that my “strengths” have sometimes led to sad or unpleasant results, and that my “weaknesses” might be justified given my life experience, and the best I can do is be aware of them, and keep working at them.

    I really liked what you said at the beginning here “Pain and misfortune aren’t something that’s inflicted upon us, it’s something inherently apart of us as human beings”. I think this is definitely true. There is no way to avoid this, unless you focus yourself to such a state of indifference or live in a state of extreme privilege, life will get hard, ugly, and painful. I’ve decided though that this might be only way to live a life worth living, and certainly to live a life that has meaning. And that’s the kind of life I want to live. From your writing I am pretty sure this is you too. You’re young, and while we think that our youthful innocence is lost all at once,it takes time to fall away. If you are intent on paying attention to the ugly and the beauty, it will be replaced by wisdom. The common trope that the dark helps you appreciate the light is quite true. Just don’t go seeking the dark, it will find you. Just, as you say, accept that it’s part of life. 🙂


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