Pain – – has an Element of Blank – –
It cannot recollect
When it begun – – or if there were
A time when it was not – –

It has no Future – – but itself – –
Its Infinite contain
Its Past – – enlightened to perceive
New periods – – of Pain

Emily Dickinson1


Goal: Achieve catharsis of the soul. Possible outcome: None

Being in a state of pain, of deep and utter pain from rejection, does something to you. So many people have described this feeling in the past, and many more will try to describe it in the future. What I feel right now might not be comprehensible to anyone but me. But I still do write it.

Because there is no way around it, this writing must be done. What a silly thing to do. But pain makes people do stupid things.

    Brain scans carried out on volunteers showed that when they suffered a social snub, the brain's "pain centre" went into overdrive. The finding suggests that any emotional stress, such as the demise of a relationship or the loss of a loved one, might be far more closely linked to real pain than previously thought.

Matthew D. Lieberman, assistant professor of psychology at UCLA, The Guardian, October 10, 20032

Pain makes a mess of all feelings and emotions. It affects both body and mind, leaving you with that sting in your chest, nausea, sleeplessness, confused and with a non-existing self-esteem. Ok; reality described.


When everything was gold

Your mail:

If I had been lying close to your back I would put my nose in your hair
and as much of your body as near mine as possible.
Then I would have felt someone’s pulse and I wouldn’t be sure
which one of us this pulse belonged to. I would have sensed
the heat coming from you, while you tenderly had shown me with your hands that you were
ready, or perhaps satisfied. Caresses, touches.
All the things there are so few and so useless words to describe.

If I had been lying close to your back and put my hand gently on your stomach,
what would you feel?

My reply:

If you had been lying close to my back and gently put your hand on my stomach,
I would probably be quiet. Quiet to perceive the revolt of my senses,
a revolt that would start in my gut and spread out in my body.
My nerves would probably control my senses, conquer them without weapons
just by outnumbering them. There would be sparkles and fire,
and no one would hand over buckets of water to put the flames away.

If you had been lying close to my back and gently put your hand on my stomach,
I wouldn’t hesitate jumping into that fire,
walking on coals would be like floating on air, the heat would sooth me
even though the possibility for burns and blisters would be present.

If you had been lying close to my back and gently put your hand on my stomach,
I would want to get even closer to you,
to wipe away the skin that separates us,
I would want to move to the beat of your heart
as you move to the beat of mine.

If you had been lying close to my back and gently put your hand on my stomach,
I would have felt the possibility
that we were going somewhere together,
and then I would have taken you by the hand and led us there…

Your reply:

…I would have let you. Would have let you take me by the hand
and felt that I got tensed and relaxed,
I would have had knives and butterflies in my stomach and millions of stars in my head.
I think of your hands, your lips and your hair
which you have to put behind your ear when you bend to fetch something.
I think of what your hands may do to me
and everything I want to do in return when our bodies live a life of their own
and all reason and sense are gone like morning dew at dawn.
Take my hand and feel.
Turn around, let me caress your back. Give me a grin.
Give me your lips and set fire to yet another part of my body.
You glow, pulsating like blood.
I feel you against my chest, you prickle me and I tickle you.
Now we’re not even two anymore, going to that somewhere,
greedy, blood filled and ready.
My pulse beats heavily.
I hold your face in my hands… taste… it burns…
eyes closed and hands strolling red hot fields and valleys.
I want to feel you even more… will you let me?

I let you.



What would you feel if someone you held dear suddenly and totally unexpected told you, by e-mail, that they didn’t want to see you again. Ever. On the same day you took a leap of faith and shared your dark nightmares and fragile hopes with them. That you were accused and judged for something you’ve written down as a short-story. That they told you that your thoughts and fantasies told the truth about who you were and what you had done. (I wonder what they would say about Bret Easton Ellis by the way.) That their fear of what you might do in the future was so strong that all their faith in you had gone. That all your insurances of innocence had no value and were refused delivered. That you were denied the opportunity to explain yourself, that none of your phone calls, messages or mails were replied upon.

You would get hurt, wouldn’t you? Even though you were able to think rationally for a bit, even if you could understand their reaction. Or at least be able to see that it was this person’s own hang-ups that messed up the situation.

    Rationally we can say being excluded doesn't matter, but rejection of any form still appears to register automatically in the brain, and the mechanism appears to be similar to the experience of physical pain…

Matthew D. Lieberman, assistant professor of psychology at UCLA, Science, October 9, 20033

I thought I could be a writer, putting my inner thoughts, hopes, dreams, fears through a metamorphosis that would turn them into situations and feelings that someone else could recognize and be familiar with. I was always afraid of what my loved ones would say if they were able to read what I put down on paper. But I gave it a shot. You disappointed me; reacting just the way I feared. I can't believe how you forgot that summer so fast.

    You can't do anything about what people think about your work. They're mostly going to be wrong. They're going to criticize you and they're going to think it's about them. Anyone who thinks your work reflects badly on them is going to be mostly wrong, as your work is your own struggle to understand your own self. You won't be able to prove they're wrong; most people are not going to understand the project of the writer, the manifold whatevers of writing. They're just not going to get it and you have to live with that. It helps to believe that there is nothing shameful about trying to understand one's own self in public; it may be unsightly but it is useful work, and instructive to others.

Cary Tennis,, June 24, 2005 (my emphasis)4

Being a writer yourself, you still didn’t understand. You could only feel your own shame, fear of rejection and low self-esteem. No golden empathy could slip away from those dark feelings in your brain. I totally misjudged you. And I didn’t know you well enough.

I do see the contours of your inner torments. I only wish you could see them yourself. But when you just cut me off with no explanation at all, I’m having a hard time understanding. That makes coming over you really difficult.

As a wise man just said to me:

    If words get you into trouble, it was trouble that was already on its way to begin with5.

Maybe that’s the bitter part of it all.


A mad girl fighting for things she believes in

I needed to know. Needed to know what was going on inside your skull covered with that black hair that looks so spiky, but feels so soft. I usually don’t do these things. Don’t want to be a nuisance to anyone; don’t want to make a fool out of myself. But this time I didn’t care. Some times you just have to fight for the things you believe in. It is my strong belief that talking to each other is the only way to try to solve problems that has occurred. When you denied me that opportunity I couldn’t just give in. And that’s why I spent hours in your garden, outside your bedroom window, waiting for you to get up when your alarm clock rang. Then you couldn’t run away. Then I could make contact. Then I would be able to look into your eyes. I awed for that moment. What would I see?

I saw rejection, contempt, anger. I tried to tell you all the things I wanted you to know, tried to beg you to forgive my thoughtlessness. Tried to explain that my words were nothing but words and had nothing to do with the way I am or what I’m capable of doing to you. But your angry look paralyzed my ability to speak rationally. Some words came out of my mouth, but I can’t remember what I said anymore. It has all faded away in the big, black fog that covers that part of my memory. I remember some of your words though.

    You’re nuts, sitting here all night. Now I really know that I’ve made the right decision. Go home, you wacko! I don’t want to see you again!

So that’s it. To you I was ready for hospitalizing in a mental institution. For me I was just a girl fighting for things she believes in.

This shows clearly that two people may interpret the same situation in totally opposite ways, depending on their earlier experiences. And that if there’s not a will to understand each other, there sure as hell is not a way either.

    Lonely adolescents unwittingly adopt harmful ways of escaping the sadness… (…) Another unproductive coping mechanism is to deny any interest in socializing more or in relating more intimately: "I'm not interested in having a girl/boyfriend." (…) Gaining awareness of these escape mechanisms might help the person get motivated to learn social skills and build his/her self-esteem.

Clayton E. Tucker-Ladd, Psychological Self Help, Chapter 66

This is why you rejected me. You’re so scared that it’s better to cut clean. So you think. I can understand that fear. I pity you for not being strong enough to even try to change your ways.

But my pain is still there.


What pain does to love

In order to live through this period of pain I have to withdraw my love for you, to put it in a drawer, to distance myself from it. Maybe that’s the hardest part of it all.

At first the drawer is kept wide open. I can see my love for you almost totally exposed, but it is so valuable to me, I can’t stand doing anything else than keeping it there for all to see. But your ongoing rejection is so painful that I just have to close this drawer a bit. I struggle, pushing with all my strength. It’s very hard to even reduce the gap by an inch.

‘Cause I miss you.

Everyone is looking for someone to blame
But you share my bed, you share my name
Well, go ahead and call the cops
You don’t meet nice girls in coffee shops
She said baby, I still love you
Sometimes there’s nothin left to do

Oh you got to
Hold on, hold on
You got to hold on
Take my hand, I’m standing right here, you got to
Just hold on.

Well, God bless your crooked little heart St. Louis got the best of me
I miss your broken-china voice
How I wish you were still here with me

Excerpts from "Hold On" by Tom Waits7

I mourn. I sit alone, getting utterly drunk. I watch old technicolor movies. Ingrid Bergman makes me cry. I’m sure that all is lost. My tongue curls itself while I call a friend on the phone.

    ‘Sall over with m’fella. ’Saful. ‘Sunbearable. He woan come back.

Then, despising myself for my self pity I cry:

    ‘I’m ‘sgusting, I know. Tell me t’stop. Tell me I don lov’im. Tell me I’m better of without’im. That fukin freak.

In time this drawer will be closed. But it may never be locked. I have no key. You took that away with you.


The afterworld

Surrounded by pain, I hesitate to go forward. I read a lot of stuff, in order to help myself understand, to get ideas and messages that could get my screwed-up head back in its right state.

    Feeling terribly upset when losing a lover may be hard but desirable. After listening to the pain for hours, I have often asked a person who has just been rejected, "How would you rather react to such an important loss?" The point is: your sadness comes from your good traits--you were loving, devoted, caring, committed, trusting, and involved. You had given your whole self to the relationship. Isn't that the way you want to be? Isn't that the way you want your future partners to be? Would you really want to be so self-centered, so uninvolved that you could easily dismiss a love relationship?

Clayton E. Tucker-Ladd, Psychological Self Help, Chapter 68

Yes, this makes sense. I’m trying to force my neurons to perceive the truth of this statement, but they’re a hell of a bunch. Fighting back in every way they can. My shoulders still attached to my ears, my smile still gone, my gut still acting like I’m sitting in the most terrible rollercoaster ever built. But I breathe. I live.

    Who needs love?… who needs the pain of it?… Well, it seems we all do, no matter how much it may hurt. We all need it, because without it we would not be human, without it we would be lost, without it we simply could not exist… Without love – even with all the agony it causes – this world, this life would be truly unbearable…

P. J. Oszmann, January 1999. Revised October 20049

I cling to this. Yes, I need love. I want love. And because this last bit of reason in my mind has survived, I live. In pain, alright. But I still live. Being able to write and to share my inner emotions helps me. Although I still live from minute to minute, I live. The sun is shining today. I’m not out there yet. But the sun still shines. I’m human. Are you?

(No disclaimer attached.)



1 Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems, New York:, 2000
5 Augustine