Who can love the unlovable?

My dad left when I was five
I didn’t understand it.
What five-year-old does, right
I remember the fights
My mother and father screaming
As often as not it was about me
Or something I had done
I remember the ‘licks’
That’s what they were called in my home growing up
I would earn them for every misstep
Every mistake
Every misbehavior
All day long
They added up
And then they were applied
En masse
At night before I could go to bed
Every night
My first memories were of going to bed
In pain and crying
That’s how it was
Just a fact of existence

When my dad was gone
Discipline fell to my mom
To say that she was ill prepared
Would be a gross understatement
Her father had beaten her as a child
She didn’t know any way to react
To a child that felt he was to blame
For a litany of instability in his home
Except to emotionally
And very physically
To lash out
Striking anything and everything close to her
Pushing an angry child
To hate
Life and himself
Even more than before

School was bullies and good grades
That weren’t ever quite good enough
Social awkwardness and anxiety
Were at a premium
Then came the relocations
Moving was just something that was done
Every year or so
New schools
New teachers
New bullies
New fights
Repeating pains
Growing disappointments
Same depressions and anxiety
Same withdrawal and building rage

Accepting assault became the standard
When it was sexual
That just piled on
I deserved it
I was awkward
I was different
If my family didn’t even like me
Why should anyone else
Why should I
I hated the world
I hated me more

My own relocations
I was running
From anything that was difficult
From people who didn’t like me
From myself
And guess what
Big shock
It didn’t work
I tried new places with new people
I tried new clothes and new music
I tried reinventing the me everyone saw
The me inside was still damaged
Still broken
Still raging
Still in pain

Learning to love me
Loving the unlovable
The worthless
The loser
Was hard
But it had to happen
A friend found me
The barrel of a gun in my mouth
So drunk I couldn’t stand
Blubbering and crying
That five year old acting his age
I showed who I was
Quite by accident
To someone outside myself
And they didn’t run
If she could see me
Address me
Then maybe
Just maybe, mind you
I could

It was a ten year journey
From there to point
Where I could say I accepted me
And a few more years before
I could say like
Or love
But it happened
It’s real
I’m there
I still struggle
I have bad days
We all do
But if the unlovable
The disappointment
The throwaway
The worthless
If I can do it
If I can make it
If I can accept me
And care about me
Then nothing is hopeless
No one is hopeless

I told a part of my story
I cannot express
There aren’t words
That can be put together
In any combination
That can explain
How humbled and blown away I was
By the response I got
The words
That other people
Mostly strangers
Had thought out
To send to me
In reply to what I had shared
They were kind
They were supportive
They were loving
Loving words
From a normally cold world
Loving words
To an downtrodden child
Loving words
To the unlovable
To me

I’m learning
And in some ways I’m slow at that
To accept
The kindness of others
Without second-guessing
Without suspicion of motive
It’s not easy
Overcoming my depression
My self-loathing
My anxiety
My social awkwardness
None are easy
They are a struggle
But if I can accept me
And be accepted
You can be accepted
No argument
If I can love me
And be loved
You can be loved
End of discussion
Who can love the unlovable



-Dennis Sharpe


Man. Mostly Coffee.

“I make things up & sometimes I write them down.”

Born and raised in the middle of the American Midwest, Dennis Sharpe has been a writer as long as he can remember. His mother has told many people about the fantasy and science fiction stories he’d write on scraps of paper, and staple together as his ‘books’, before he’d attended his first day of formal education.

These days he can be found still writing, drinking coffee with friends, or spending time with his children (the true joys of his life) in Western Kentucky. You can learn more about Dennis at: dennis-sharpe.com