As a public school teacher I have seen sweet-natured fatherless children, basically unwanted and deprived, become successful adults leading the way for others into a better future. And I have seen entitled wealthy children grow up to do one terrible thing that caused them to become a social pariah who basically lost everything they ever had in terms of the love and respect of others. So, is love something that has to be earned? And its opposite, hatred, is that deserved?
This little naked imp, Mickey by name, believed he secretly deserved hatred for about twelve years. He apparently felt if his terrible secret ever came out, even thought he did not allow himself to remember it during the years between the ages of ten and twenty-two, he would instantly become hated by everyone who knew. He couldn’t stand the thought of anyone seeing him naked. He couldn’t even comfortably receive a hug or a kiss from his own mother, let alone anyone else. It was because he had endured a session of forced testicle-twisting torture while being warned not to cry out or scream for help. He was told it would only get worse and no one would hear anyway. And it lasted for what seemed forever. And now that the terrible secret is right here written clearly in words, he still prays that you won’t hate him now that you know.
But I can tell you truthfully from my own life experience that what you think you deserve is not always what you truly deserve. Nobody deserves to have happen to them the thing that happened to Mickey. That is why it is considered a crime in our society, even if it is a crime that often goes unpunished, as it did in Mickey’s case. To be fair to Mickey, if he had ever heard that what happened to him ever happened to someone else by the same criminal, he would’ve spoken up no matter what the cost. Protecting others from what is undeserved became a theme of Mickey’s life as a teacher.
So, how does one go from deeply disturbed self-hatred to believing one is worthy of being loved? See the picture of the little naked faun? That’s Radasha. He’s the part of Mickey that knows what it is to enjoy the sensual side of life. Mickey kept a secret part of himself worthy of love in his imagination. It was a part of himself he could secretly talk to about girls and sex and love… and why you shouldn’t kill yourself to put an end to the pain…. and that there is hope in the future for knowing love again. Real love.
And Mickey learned along the way that showing love to others, especially selfless love that helps them more than it does you, the giver of love, is like giving water and sunshine to both the weeds and the flowers. You won’t believe the beauty you get from the multitude of things that blossom and grow. Dandelions are weeds. Thistles will flower. And Mickey can testify that classrooms are like gardens. They can be mostly weedy patches at the start of a school year, and grow into lovely flowerbeds by graduation day.
So, does anyone really deserve love? At the start I believe everyone does. Of course, that is Mickey talking, and he has already proven to be an unreliable narrator who doesn’t himself see the greater truth in the overall story. But at the start they are all worthy of love. And what they do with that is up to them.