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Ego Shells

By Mandy Doerr

Driven to the point of madness.
The ego can be such a fragile thing.
This thin shell which encases my mind,
Threating to crack under the stresses
Of other egos more fragile.

I wonder,
As I watch them attack those around them
And lash out at the well-meant comment,
If they really believe that breaking
The shells of others will make their own stronger?

Do they try to pick up those shattered pieces
And paste them on their own ego shells?
Thicker the shell may then be,
But not stronger.
For the winds of insecurity
Whip through those cracks
Making the original shell even weaker.

And they change into a creature -
Insensitive to the feelings of others,
While supersensitive to any remark
Directed to them.

Still they scurry frantically
To paste on more stolen shell fragments
And more brittle becomes their ego shell.

Birds have thicker egg shells than reptiles.
Yet reptile shells are more flexible.
Does one really need to be protected by brittleness?

Perhaps not.
For humans are not born from brittle egg shells,
Nor are they born from leather ones--
They are born from a membrane much more flexible.

Then let birds have their brittle shells.
Let the reptiles have their leathery ones.
Let my ego shell be more flexible.
Let me follow the path of my nature
And be happy with my choice.

And if my ego shell finally goes away,
Then let me be born a true person--
In whom is reflected
The image of God.

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copyright © 1999, Amanda D. Doerr