“Can’t close the closet on a shoe-box full of bones”






Perhaps it’s my generation (Gen-X).


Perhaps it’s the fact I had a controlling and overbearing mother and a disinterested father.


Perhaps it’s some combination of the two.


Or maybe it’s simply a weakness within myself, but – for the longest time – I never felt anything I had was really mine.


Regardless of the reason, I always felt my things belonged to my family and I just was begrudgingly permitted to use them.


Even if I paid for them with money I earned and they’d nothing to do with the purchase.




Now, certainly losing everything I couldn’t fit in a duffel-bag upon my fleeing Philadelphia westward was my fault, in the end.


But the fact I never felt truly in possession of my possessions contributed greatly to my error.


Why do I share this extremely shameful facet of my past with you?


For the same reason I share many of my successes and failures:


In the hope it’s useful to someone.


Which brings me to the observation I wish to offer.




I’m not a fan of the word “deserve”.


In many contexts, these days, it conveys (or breeds) a sense of entitlement, ingratitude and possibly selfishness.


Instead, I’ve adopted the term “worthy”.


I don’t deserve nice things.


However, I am worthy of them.


Whether it be time spent at the gym, a better pair of shoes, a cleaner home, et al, I don’t deserve it.


I am worthy of it.


Should, of course, I put forth the effort to acquire such.


In brief, it’s a concept I discussed in my book The Holistic Guide to Suicide:


A person is worthy of investment in themselves.




All too often in the modern world, men believe (via subtext or inculcation) they’re inherently unworthy of pretty much everything but the scraps offered them.


This is extremely destructive and – to my mind – a tremendous cause of self-loathing and depression.


In fact, it prevents them from any type of significant improvement – mental, spiritual or physical.


It’s one thing to think oneself undeserving.


It’s another entirely to imagine oneself unworthy of the fruit of one’s own efforts.


What you build with your blood, sweat and tears is yours, my friends.


Let no one tell you otherwise.


Your efforts crafted your creations and your worthiness, both.




Now, it’s possible you think me engaging in needless semantics.


Maybe I am.


Yet, I’d argue:


Framing is everything.


And the person that has no choice but to live forever in your frame—


Is you.




2 Responses to ““Can’t close the closet on a shoe-box full of bones””

  1. A♠,

    I think it’s part of a chronic GenX suspicion of everything and everyone. Most of the people telling us we ‘deserve’ something are usually trying to sell it to us, be it a product or a lifestyle.

    While the people declared ‘worthy’ are the sort we’d have run out of town or put in the stocks in simpler times. And we’re older and wiser enough now to recognize that. Boomers still have their idols to this day; we know better about ours. Theirs, they still believe brought them liberation.

    GenXers see clearly that most of that ‘liberation’ was from duty and loyalty. Our entire lives have been about being presented with the bill. Thus the sentiments of undeservedness and unworthiness.

    Our greatest possession, in the end, is our soul and the story of its journey. And nobody’s entitled to it. They might dissect it or armchair-quarterback it. It might be an object of mockery or hagiography. But it’s damn well ours.

    And it ain’t over. Not by a long shot. Last I checked we’re still living in History and only fools believe History gives anyone a vacation.

    You abandoned your possessions because they couldn’t come with you. You had to eject. The reasons were as life-threatening as if your apartment building was fully engulfed in flames.

    We’ve been presented with the unacceptable, complete with shame for lack of enthusiasm. My intention is to keep every damn thing I’ve earned, for me and mine.


    • JD,

      “The reasons were as life-threatening as if your apartment building was fully engulfed in flames.”

      That line has been such a comfort to me that words fail to express it.

      Thank you.

      Deeply and truly.

      All the best to you and yours,


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