All Cleaned Out

Struggling with things I should have more energy to tackle is something. But being “all cleaned out” is also an expression that is so apt for someone who gives more than they receive on a regular basis. The caring instinct can leave you with very little left, and what is left makes you feel starved. And then what you fill yourself up with isn’t that good for you, inadequate, and even hurtful. This is also such a woman’s experience. “Why do you let them treat you like that when you have so much going for you?” Why indeed… But that perhaps you are too complicated for yourself, and there’s no one who can reassure you, and not ask for something from you at the same time. Something you really don’t feel it’s their right to ask of you. But you give anyway, because deep down you also just want them to go away feeling satiated, and leave you alone (except they never are and never do willingly, till you let them stomp you out, and they can’t give back what you gave to them, but you never seem to remember that).

Or so that is your experience. And then you’re finally really empty, cleaned out. And that gives rise to a tidal wave of overwhelming worthlessness. You’re garbage. You’re nothing.

I will pull out of this, enough sometimes. It’s a quality that requires vigilance, but also leniency, self-forgiveness. And the last is probably the hardest, for someone who judges themselves without very much sympathy.

I’m sorry you seem so stung
And I’m sorry you think you have to hold your tongue
When you’re so pretty and smart
I’m seeing you caving in
Becoming afraid of all these men
That you’ve given your heart

I saw you with your makeup running down
Now what’s that all about?
You say you don’t want anyone around
Cause you’re all cleaned out
All cleaned out

—-Elliott Smith

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