Strangers know my name, but it means nothing
they’ve seen my depths, I cannot hide
stripped in life’s lobby, the lights are blinding
and I am afraid
Shame slain by truth and trust
the picture changes
I see their lights, I’m not alone
– by abeastwithin, 2013
I was having a conversation with a gentleman this weekend who is making an attempt at alcohol recovery and struggling, having had multiple tries at stringing a few days together. He said that he looks at his dog and sees himself, he’s just this being, living a pre-programmed life, following his path out of habit with little or no control of his actions.
His story hit home with me. A few years ago I watched some nature show on Yellowjackets (wasps), the narrator was describing how they were basically “hard-wired” to carry out certain tasks with no free will. During my drinking days, I can remember many times when thoughts would break through the haze and I would see myself as one of these Yellowjackets, specifically buzzing around one of those traps that was full of dead Yellowjackets. Maybe something in me was trying to break through the denial that I had a problem, but I didn’t get it. I was in acceptance, a bad kind of acceptance. Unlike other people, I was a Yellowjacket, something was wrong with me, somehow I was hard-wired to just continue the behaviors that had been assigned to me, there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
Anthropomorphism is the act of giving human characteristics to animals or object, but I could not find an exact match for a word that described giving a human animal characteristics. Some suggestions were “inhuman”, or “dehumanizing”. Hmmm, doesn’t sound good…
Today I am not a Yellowjacket. I am not hard-wired, I am free to make choices, ask for help, and I don’t need to buzz around the trap anymore. I pray for this man that this freedom may be given to him someday.