Seeking redemption

I’ve struggled with self hatred my whole life. There is a lot not to like about me. It’s meant that when I’m public facing I try as hard as I can, as much as I can, to be a good person. To be kind, and helpful and patient, to give more than I ask for. I’ve never yet managed to get this to a level where I feel like I’m good enough. On the inside I’m quite a mean person, judgemental, selfish, attention hungry, envious, resentful and hard to please. I fight it as best I can, but my fundamental nature has nothing much to recommend it. And it is hard, trying to be good. It is so hard when you aren’t those things and they take attention and effort all the time. I have the desire to be a better sort of person, but not the capacity.  Spirituality has given me some tools for presenting more usefully, but not for dealing with the inner issues.

When I’ve touched on this before, there have been kind and generous people who have tried to tell me otherwise. It’s well meant, but it takes me no further forward in dealing with how I feel about myself, how unbearable I find my own shortcomings and uselessness. I have done a lot of work on me, over a lot of years, trying to be a better person, but there are things inherent in my nature that I can’t hack out, and I am exhausted from fighting myself all the time, and I don’t honestly know what to do with this.

The real me, the me who is not a carefully constructed and well written persona, is shit. Attention hungry, fragile, demanding, wanting too much, giving too little. I’m not a good person to get too close to. And so every now and then there are little blow ups, and people I have claimed to love do the sensible things to protect themselves  and move away from me, and I feel sorry for myself and round we go again.

The me I present online is so fraudulent.  It works so long as no one gets too close.  And even writing this I am too aware that it sounds like a bid for sympathy and consolation, and that some people reading it might try to tell me that I am ok. Because some of you are lovely, and kind and willing to see the best in me and not to look through that to the ugliness underneath.

Today I am starting to properly ask what it would take to justify my existence. I will have to do far more than I have done. I would need to do something genuinely heroic, genuinely life changing for others, properly good.  It might be possible to redeem myself in my own eyes, but going after that would also have a price tag and I’m trying to work out whether I can have that, or whether it is too selfish, too self indulgent to make sense. To try something heroic because I want to redeem myself is deeply selfish, and if I do that at someone else’s expense, it’s still not good enough. Even the self-loathing feels self indulgent, something to wallow in, some basis for seeking attention and making excuses. I have no idea how to become a better person.

There is a lot to figure out.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

17 responses to “Seeking redemption

  • potiapitchford

    Oh Nimue, I see so much pain in your words. I see someone who has been told so often, and probably early age, that they are attention seeking, demanding or fragile that they believe it. I see someone who struggles with trying to be what they feel is expected of them and failing to live up to the standards they believe others have, someone who feels they have to justify themselves. And I feel pain for that person.

    “Drama queen” they called me and some still do. “Self involved”, “over reacting”, “misinterpreting”… I could go on. It’s true from their perspective I guess but it’s not true from mine. I feel strongly and sometimes react fully in that strength of feeling. Others see it as over dramatic but it’s how I feel. I’m learning it’s ok because I need to help my daughter learn that just because others think she’s being over dramatic doesn’t mean that she’s intentionally being so.

    You are a beautiful and flawed person Nimue. You aren’t perfect, but no one else is either. You feel intensely and some can’t cope with that but it doesn’t mean you are wrong. It’s never easy to be different but you don’t need a heroic redemption. You just need to keep doing your best and picking yourself up when you stumble and fall. I need you to keep picking yourself up, to keep stumbling along. That’s what makes a real difference to me.

    • Nimue Brown

      Thank you for this. It helps. I’m not in a good place, and there are, I realise, things about distress that lead me to expect anger and knock backs, and that fear is big right now on top of everything else.

  • Unicorn Dreaming

    Just accept and love yourself exactly as you are.. 😊💛😊

  • juliebond

    We are all a ‘work in progress’. Keep on keeping on.

  • Sheila Murrey

    Just writing and sharing this, all so openly and vulnerable, makes me think you may be judging yourself too harshly. Who are you trying to win over?
    And can you, right now, give yourself a real big HUG?
    Nobody’s perfect. ❤️🦋🌀
    But we can be thankful for our NOW breath. Breathe it in. 😉

  • Sue Marsh

    This post was difficult to read and makes me feel sad, but at the same time so proud of you for sharing the “inner-most you”! I have love for you, no matter who you think you are. There are no easy answers Nimue and you alone have to find your own answers but just know that there is a huge team of folk who are behind you, always willing to listen, reading your terrible heart-felt words and to lend a hand or an open heart to you!

  • tina


    I find it hard to believe that someone who is trying be a good person could possibly not be – if you were really so terrible, surely you wouldn’t care enough to try?

    And as for justifying your existence – why should you need to? Would you ask anyone else to do that – even if they’re sometimes unkind, or selfish, or judgemental? We’re all flawed, but no-one should need an excuse just to exist…

    • Nimue Brown

      I can’t remember a time when the need to justify being here wasn’t a thing for me. You are right that I don’t think about anyone else in those terms, but it runs deep for me and when I’m struggling, it looms large. I don’t think I’ve ever trusted myself that the trying meant anything.

      • Christian Reiniger

        “I don’t think I’ve ever trusted myself that the trying meant anything.”

        Who do you respect more – someone doing “something great” without even trying, or someone constantly trying to be at least a decent person?
        In my opinion, trying means *everything*. The effort and intention says much more about the personality than the outcome.

        And you are not just trying. You actually help a lot of people “just” by writing your blog entries, and by writing them your way.

  • Elizabeth Silvolli

    Made me think of Granny Weatherwax in witches abroad.

  • lornasmithers

    I think sometimes we are what we are… stroppy, selfish, bitter, jealous, all those bits we keep hidden as well as those bits we put on display… I certainly am those things. I don’t think it’s about being better, or redemption, or even acceptance. Maybe self knowledge. Maybe as opposed to ‘being better’ making the best of what we are???

    • Nimue Brown

      Interesting, my immediate response to you saying that is to see how all of those qualities are interlinked with your determination, your desire for the world to be a better place, your grief at what is lost and damaged, your frustrations with capitalism…

      • lornasmithers

        That’s very kind of you… shows how different things look from the outside and in… likewise with you I see someone who is very generous and supportive toward other people and the environment and uses their talent and creativity not only for their own gain but to supports others… it’s easy to focus on the negatives when you’re down isn’t it?

  • locksley2010

    Is it redemption or self-worth you seek?

    Are we not multi-faceted? Are we not a living amalgamation of differing aspects and masks for every occasion?

    Just because we identify parts of ourselves we don’t like, it doesn’t mean we are terrible people. And even if we are…. so is everyone else.

    We are complex, flawed beings with capacity for being good, bad, heroic and villainous. We are all Human, for whatever fortune or ill that means.

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