…Should not throw stones. That’s what they told you. So you use your fists instead. You’re so angry, so confused and afraid. The only thing that helps you through is the idea of tearing down everything that you have built. The beautiful glass house on the edge of a scenic cliff becomes a twisted prison where you catch the reflection of the person you’ve grown to hate in every surface. So the smashing begins. It hurts at first. Your fist shatters the glass and your knuckles split and spill blood. Your nerve endings sting and your mind screams at you to stop. But you can’t. Not now. Not when there is still so much damage to be done.
You strike another surface, the cuts grow deeper, but soon the shock takes over and you’ve torn away the flesh leaving nothing but exposed bone, making those thick panes easier to crack. You tear down the walls and rip down the roof, until all that remains is the skeletal frame of a once stunning home. You’re bloody and tired, but still you’re not done. Just because there is nothing left standing it does not mean there is nothing left to destroy.
You drop to your knees and you rip the floorboards free. The torn flesh of your fingers catches on the splinters and nails. It hurts; oh god does it hurt. But you want to see your glass sink into the dirt and these goddamn floorboards are preventing the indignity. You toil until the boards are gone, but you can still see the reflection of the man you hate in the shards now lying in the soil, smiling manically at you as though he is somehow in control. So you punch. You punch and you punch, caving in the reflective skull of that piece of shit until his face is lost in the splinters of glass and your blood soaks into the dirt. He’s gone. That man you hated is finally gone.
So you rise and you walk to the edge of the cliff thinking that your troubles are over; and not a single stone was thrown. But your stomach drops when you see that the once calm blue waters of the ocean before you are now ink black and brooding. The storms are coming and you’ve just torn down the only shelter you’ve ever known. You realise then in that bitter sweet moment of triumph that all you have succeeded in doing by tearing down everything you’ve ever owned, is exposing yourself to the unrelenting touch of a winter’s chill.
You turn to your broken house of glass just as the first whip-crack of thunder echoes overhead, and you stare down at your damaged hands, unaware of what possessed you to cause this destruction in the first place. You move into the home and you sit amongst the piles of broken floorboards and the slivers of glass, your face streaked with the tears of a god and a fraud as the heavens release their wrath. You’re soaked in an instant, watching as your dried blood moistens and dances across the surfaces of a life left in ruins. Your bones ache as the winds cut through the skeleton of your safety and solace.
With nothing left to give you sit and you wait out the bitter cold and the brutal winds that cut through you with an intensity that leaves you breathless. You accept that there is no more hope, no more opportunity for the man who destroyed his own glass house.
But after an eternity those vicious rains subside and a single sliver of light slips through the clouds. It’s minuscule, not enough to warm you, and in your fractured mind you see it as nothing more than a taunt to a man as broken as his home, left sitting in the dirt
Then it happens.
The clouds shift again and the pinprick of light falls into a pile of broken glass, causing as flash-flood of colour to pierce your vision. A kaleidoscope of earthy browns from the soil, deep reds from your blood and gentle blues from the rains dance across your eyes and for the briefest of instants you can see the glasshouse standing in all its glory once more.
You know now what you must do; you must rebuild your home, your solace, and learn to protect yourself once more from the bitter cold of the rains. You light a fire and you gather your broken glass, heating it until it can be made whole again. You erect your walls and you replace your damaged floors, admiring the now stained surfaces of a once perfectly polished world. Your glass has been dulled, and your floorboards warped, but you would have it no other way, because this is the house that you built yourself. This is the house of a man who survived the rains.
You bandage your hands and you let your wounds heal, and soon enough the sun returns and you venture to the cliff to watch the calm blue ocean stretch endlessly before you. You spin towards the house that determination built, catching sight of the man that you hated staring back at you. He’s older now, more dishevelled; but you realise that maybe he’s not so bad after all. You take a breath and you vow to never again destroy the beautiful home at the edge of the cliff that you created. To do so would be crazy; you can’t survive those long lonely nights where the chill presses against your chest until you find yourself wishing you were dead. No, from now on if you need to feel the rains you won’t tear down the house, you’ll just take a stone and break a single window instead.
I few years ago I went through a bout of depression. I was unbelievably low and I hated myself and everything that I had become. I tore down the walls of my own psyche and I left myself exposed. But through my writing I found myself again. Writing was the pinprick of light that burst through the clouds and allowed me to see the world anew. It became my reason for rebuilding my glass house. My hands are damaged, and my once crystal clear walls are now stained with the blood and grit of my own toiling. But I would have it no other way. I wouldn’t be the writer I am now if I hadn’t sat through the rains of self-doubt and self-loathing.
For me there was no shame in being broken. There was only pride when I learned to pick myself back up. At some point in our lives we all falter. But if we embrace the better angels of our nature we can rebuild ourselves to be something far stronger than we ever believed possible.