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	Beloved friends, this is for all of you.  Some of you I have
corresponded with extensively in years past; some of you have seen my
posts in months past, and some of you are wondering who the hell I am
and why am I posting this?  I am posting this because I love so many of
you, and I owe this group a debt of friendship and understanding.
	I stumbled on this group almost three years ago, and was
astonished to discover that there were people out there who thought like
me!  I was shaken to read posts that echoed my own dreams and fears, and
I cried at the kindness of certain regulars who answered my first
hesitant questions and welcomed me.  Friends made here and on a kindred
group, discussions that offered as much illumination as heat, and many
other things that happened then awakened me to myself.  I learned more
about who I am in the last three years than in the three decades
previous.  I matured, I learned to face the Beastie that tears me apart
from within, and I found my God again.  (Yes, you witty ones, I had lost
Him.  In running away and hiding from Him, I had lost the way back).
	I have made no secret of the fact I am Christian, and no apology.
Be warned. Nor have I hidden that I am gothic, but not a goth.  I don't
particularly listen to the music, I don't wear black (much), and I don't
wear makeup and go clubbing--but then we all know we are more than the
stereotype, do we not?

	So many of you hurt inside; I know it, for I see the reflection of
my own pain in your letters in posts.  We are misfits, we're the ones
who don't fit in.  So many of us are both creative, and depressive; many
of us have been through addiction or brutality.  And all too many of us
hate ourselves for what we perceive as our own worthlessness, our
persistant failures, and our purposeless lives.

	Beloved, do not hate yourselves.  Have others told you that you
are worthless, that you will never amount to anything?  Do you believe
that you are?  Reject such counsel.  In the eyes of God you are worth
more than all the gold ever mined.  You are beloved, and you are sacred.
As you are sacred, be holy unto yourself; do not degrade yourself, or
let another degrade you.  You will not find worthiness in letting
yourself be abused.  Respect yourself; do not deny your own capability
to do and achieve; do not deny your own power and responsibility.  You
are not a helpless victim of fate unless you choose to be.

	Do you despise yourself for the things that you do?  Then do not
do that which you despise.  You are not a helpless victim of desires and
impulses; all that you do, you choose to do.  Accept it, confront it,
deal with it.  Accept it: no one and nothing moves your limbs and your
tongue save your own will; you and you alone are responsible for what
you do and say.  Confront it: do you keep doing things that you despise,
and yet feel helpless to stop doing them?  Ask yourself WHY you do these
things, what reward you get from them.  Dig past the surface reasons,
and ask "why?" until you find the real reason, no matter how deeply
buried.  It may be something simple, and it may be something ugly and
petty, and it may be a fear you are fleeing, but knowing the truth is
half the battle.  Deal with it: when you know the truth, you can rip the
whole mess out by its roots.  When you know what drives you to do what
you do, you can face that underlying truth, and choose how to respond to
it, rather than reacting in a fog of confusion.

	Do you despise yourself for what you fail to do?  Beloved, ask
yourself why you do not do that which you would do.  Have you set
yourself too great a task?  Have you deliberately set yourself up to
fail?  Or are you like me, someone who tends to avoid even trying, for
fear of failing?  Do you believe at some level, that if you fail at
anything, it will somehow be the end of the world?  I tell you this from
my own teachers: if you try, you may fail, but you may also succeed.
And if you fail, well, you can clean up the mess and try again.  But, if
you don't try, you don't succeed, you don't fail, you don't do ANYTHING
whatsoever--and that is a greater failure than failing a task attempted.
	Does depression sap your will, your energy and your hope, keeping
you from succeeding at whatever you turn your hand to?  Don't give into
it: if you stop doing things because you don't feel like it, you will
find yourself doing nothing whatsoever, and getting ever more deeply
depressed because of your inability to do anything.  Rather, wade
upstream against the current; DO, even when you don't want to, don't
think you can, and don't see any purpose to it.  If you fight it, the
dark tide eventually slackens.

	Does the emptiness and futility of life drive you to despair?  Is
your spirit empty, does life seem pointless and futile?  Beloved, no one
who lives is meant to be empty and purposeless.  Your spirit is empty
because you have nothing to fill it with.  You have nothing to fill it
with, because you have not sought, nor have you asked.  That which fills
the spirit is not found within the self; turned inward, Self is a
sucking black hole that devours everything that gets near it, not a
source of anything.
You do not have purpose, because purpose is not found in Self.
Purpose is found outside one's own self.  Purpose is found in living
one's life in a world of others, and in doing for others.  Whether your
purpose is to play the blues or build railroads, you do it for the use
and benefit of others, not your own private amusement.  If you seek
purpose in what you can do for yourself, you will have trouble finding
it; if you seek purpose in what you can give to the world, you will
eventually find it.
We were meant to have purpose, and to act; humans rot within if
they have nothing to do and no reason to do it.  We were meant to be
fulfilled in the Spirit; there is that within us that hungers for the
divine, and we suffer without it.  But.. we are also free.  We are free
to make our own mistakes, free to cut ourselves off from God, free to do
innumerable things both good and evil.  We will, we do make mistakes.
We suffer from those mistakes.  But in the end, we learn from those
mistakes (though some of us have to repeat them a few times, just to be

	Know this: we are all children of God, and we are all loved.  It
is written, and I also believe, that God wants us to live, not die.  He
gave us laws to live by for our own good, not his, and finally distilled
them all down into two commandments: love God, and love thy neighbor as
thyself.  To love God is to obey Him, to understand what He has given
you, and to accept His love for you: seek, ask for His help when you
need it!   Love your neighbor, know that she or he is beloved and sacred
to God, as are you, and is as human as you are, with all the flaws and
imperfections and quirks that make us mortal.  When you can accept your
own flaws and your own holiness, you can also accept that of your
neighbor; and when you can accept (and forgive) your neighbor's flaws,
and see the holiness that exists in spite of those flaws, you will find
that you can accept and forgive yourself, as well.
	And when your neighbor, your brother, your sister is suffering,
reach out and comfort them, give them your love.  And when you are alone
and hurting, reach out, and be comforted by the love of God, for He is
there, always.  Seek to be your Best Self, because you are holy, and
beloved of God.

						--Dragoness Eclectic