It’s the first word in my bio on my website. It’s what I have tried to emulate in my songwriting. Funny though, how it’s easier to do in a song than in real life.
Truth is, I’m not a very honest person. I strive to be, but there are some things that I’d much rather keep hidden in the dark corners of who I am. Ugly things. Shocking things. Things I don’t want you to see.
“Don’t look at me. I’m as ugly as ugly can be.
Don’t look at me. I’m afraid you won’t like what you see.
There’s a stain on my heart that is darker than dark
I’m a liar, a cheat and a thief.
Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me.”
-The Liar, from an upcoming project
For years, I have wrestled with this one sin that has sunk its claws deep into my flesh. I hate who I am when this sin shows itself. I have told myself that, if I can just beat this one thing, I’d be doing alright. My guess is that many of you have that one thing you wrestle with too. But as I dig deeper into why this sin has such a grip on me, I realize it’s not just one thing. You see lust, pride, envy, anger, greed, discontentment, selfishness; they are all woven together like a tightly knit bundle of nerves. It’s hard to separate one from the other. Suddenly, that one thing…is many things. And I realize I’ve been fighting the wrong battle all along because I focused all my efforts on only one soldier in the war. Leaving myself open to ambush over and over again.
There are days when I feel like I’ve won. There are moments when I no longer feel consumed. But they are fleeting. With every step forward it seems, there’s a step backwards.
“I sit in the middle of poison.
I sit in the middle of sin.
I say my prayer of forgiveness
then turn around and do it again.”
-Secret Sins, from the XP album, Ten Songs
(Written by Clint Locks, Arr. And performed by Tim Glenn)
I imagine that’s what it’s like for a drug addict or an alcoholic. There are days when they don’t desire that high. Those are good days. Strong days. Bright days. Then, out of nowhere, something triggers a craving and before they know it, they’re intoxicated again…and the days turn dark. The self-loathing returns. I too have found myself in this cycle. More times than I care to admit.
“It’s a cold dark hell in this hole of sin
I’m ashamed to tell but I fit right in
I keep spinning in these concentric circles.”
-Hole of Sin, from my album, New Pair of Shoes
The Bible says to confess your sins to one another. That’s hard to do in this society because we love gossip. We love deflection. Focusing on the sin of others allows us to ignore our own. Sin is messy and no one wants to deal with it publicly. We don’t trust anyone to know who we really are inside. So we lock it away. And I wonder if we are a secret society of self-loathers. We fear how much others would hate us, if they only knew. So we choose to hate ourselves instead.
“I hate that I’m so human, fighting with this flesh
This wicked war of wiles.
If I could hide myself in you and take on all your qualities
Now that would be worthwhile.”
-So Human, from my album, So Human
I wonder how many of you would still associate yourselves with me if you knew what evil sneaks around in the darkest parts of my being. I have done horrible things. Things that would give you every right to hate me, disown me. I fear the loneliness that would follow such abandonment. So I choose to shoulder the weight in silence.
“My cross is the shame I must bear, with me everywhere
I admit that it’s bigger than me.
Though I try to walk it alone, my cross is a stone
that’s bringing me to my knees.”
-My Cross, from my album, So Human
I wonder how forgiving we can really be of each other. And I wonder… is it possible to completely overcome these things in this lifetime? Even if I did win this battle, would another one be waiting? Perhaps that’s why heaven is so special—the absence of the dark corners.