M is for Muck

Because we all have some, somewhere in our lives.

The difference is what we do with it.

You can get right down in your personal muck and really wallow in it. You can smear it on your face, let it fill your ears and blind your eyes, you can stuff it up your nostrils and inhale until it taints every single breath you take. You can let it fill every wrinkle in your skin and every crevasse in your soul. You can fill your navel and gaze infinitely into the muck.

On the other hand, you could show that much who’s the boss. You can refuse to look at it, think about it, talk about it, hear it, smell it, taste it. You can pretend nothing is or ever was staining the soles of your feet or dappling the hem of your trousers with darkness. You can shove that muck so far down that it will never see the light of day, and nobody who ever meets you realize you even know the meaning of muck, much less had some in your life.

Either case is equally sad.

Muck is one small component of what makes us who we are. We’ve all had some crap somewhere along the line. Our hearts have been broken or we’ve broken a heart. We’ve been disappointed, rejected, fired, let down, lied to, mislead, robbed, raped, beaten, starved, overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, ignored, accused and just plain bothered. But just because you’ve stepped in the muck, or even lived in the muck, doesn’t mean it has to define you for the rest of your life.

You could cling to that foul-smelling darkness and use it as a crutch. You could use it as a framework for your whole life. You could build complex, elaborate defensive structures of muck, keeping you perfectly safe from ever taking a chance or pursuing a dream.

But why would you?

On the other side, you can pretend nothing bad has ever happened in your life. That also means nothing real has ever happened in your life, and you’re going to come across as having all the depth and personality of a paperclip. It’s called repression, people, and it does not do a body good. Pretending like this makes you brittle and jumpy, easily frayed and defensive. Not only do you need to construct this whole new reality for yourself, but you need to convince the entire world that your reality is the one true reality. Anybody who remembers things differently must be wrong, they are mistaken, they are dirty liars, they have an axe to grind–they must be dismissed or discredited.

Doesn’t that sound exhausting?


You could wrestle yourself out of the slime and then lay down a board, so the next person on the path has an easier time. Or you could warn someone of muck ahead, show them the stains, diagram the secret path around it or the shortest course through it.

It’s your choice what you do with your muck.



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3 responses to “M is for Muck

  1. Donna Ross

    I can see someone with a smudge of muck on their face and their friend offering to wipe it away. What an opportunity to help someone clear away an issue…

  2. I like to throw my muck in the middle of the room, make fun of it and pretend it’s funny. Point at it and jeer, and encourage other people to do the same. Otherwise, I admit I can be the repressive sort on the major things, and tend to keep those close to the vest. I make the little things a big public joke, and then I can hide the big things in plain sight. How’s all that for healthy? Muckity-muck-muck.

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