I am being haunted by Why’s,
And they chase me down and create a tightness in my chest,
Preventing me from seeing happiness,
From being able to bear the sight of it at all.
Why are other people so happy when all I feel is despair?
The Why’s chase ceaselessly,
They do not care for time or place.
They attack and strangle at their own pleasure
Un-phased by my outcries for mercy…for justification.
Why are you doing this to me? Why have I fallen victim to you? Why must I feel this way?
As the tightness in my chest grows
My ability to see the light,
My will to fight,
My strength to survive,
Falls away like a withered rose.
I am being hunted by Why’s,
They are ceaseless in their pursuit.
When they catch me the words that escape my lips are,
“Why are you doing this to me?”
In response is a whisper,
“Why can’t you forgive yourself?”
This is not my conventional post as I don’t normally post poetry, let alone a poem that I have written (though I do love poetry, publishing one of your own can be a very personal and vulnerable thing to do). But I felt that there was no other way for me to express what I am feeling at the moment except to use prose.
The problem with “Why” questions is that you can never find an answer that will truly satisfy. You can try and come up with as many different reasons or responses or replies to these questions, but they only serve as a tool to tighten the vice on your heart. “Why” questions can choke out your ability to see past the pain and the hurt, and they can continue to strangle your heart until you can hardly feel anything at all.
There are a million different “Why” questions out in the world, but I am plagued by just four of them:
Why did this particular thing happen?
Why did it have to happen to me?
Why did it have to happen at this exact moment?
Why can’t you forgive yourself?
I have no answer to the first three, however the fourth one is a different story. This one came in the disguise of the unforgiving, self-destroying “Why’s” but was in fact the complete opposite. It spoke softly, it didn’t accuse me, it didn’t judge me, it didn’t seek to destroy me. All it did was simply ask me, “Why can’t you forgive yourself?” and then left me alone in confused silence.
“Why can’t I forgive myself?” What kind of question was that? Nonetheless this question remained in my mind, repeating itself over and over again.
Why can’t I forgive myself?
Because I feel like it’s my fault. I did this to myself through one dumb decision; I got myself into this mess and there’s no one else to blame but me.
You have forgiven others for worse things. Why is it so hard to forgive yourself for something so small?
This is where I surprised myself with my answer…because I don’t feel like I deserve to be forgiven. When I look at the situation that I caused I see how one choice effected the whole future that I had planned, a whole future that I was desperately looking forward to. For me this was no small thing that I had done; it was in fact the worst thing I could have done because it subsequently destroyed everything I had hoped for. How does one forgive themselves when they believe they have ruined their future?
I have no answer for this “Why” question, or at least not one that would make any sense or be worth verbalising. I don’t know when I will have a response to that question, or when I’ll actually get around to the act of forgiving myself. At the moment I feel like I need to shake off the other “Why’s” in order to loosen the tightness in my chest; and maybe then I can properly address the fourth “Why”. Then again, maybe I have to face that daunting task of forgiving myself in order to banish the other “Why’s” from my life. Right now I simply don’t know what to do, all I do know is that I no longer what to feel like my heart is being twisted and strangled within an inch of its life.
Why can’t you forgive yourself?
I didn’t know I could