I Eat My Pain

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About Jackie Summers

Jackie Summers is an author and entrepreneur. His blog F*cking in Brooklyn chronicles his quest to become a person worthy of love. His company, Jack From Brooklyn, Inc. houses his creative and entrepreneurial enterprises. Follow him on Twitter @jackfrombkln and friend him on Facebook


  1. Beautiful! Thanks!

  2. Wow, this came at a really interesting time for me. I published a post today about how I am doing the exact opposite of what you counsel here, even though I know it’s wrong, and I’m reading Radical Acceptance, the philosophy of which you encapsulate perfectly here. Lovely post, and one I will be thinking about.

    • Hilarity, I read your essay on stages. It’s incredibly hard but so necessary to move forward, eyes open, heart open, lessons learned. I wish you strength and flexibility on your path; may you be impervious to past pain and totally vulnerable to new.


    • Radical Acceptance is a great book! I’ve read it and re-read it several times. Somehow, when the going gets tough, I always have to read it to remember to stay present and feel the pain.

  3. Ahhh, to be bitter and jaded. I still have yet to enjoy a relationship, mostly as a result of the endless nightmare that represented my “childhood.” I am actually debating whether or not I should ask out a beautiful woman on a date… one who seems like she may like me. I can never tell whether a woman is attracted to me or not, mostly because I do not like myself and cannot comprehend the thought of something showing an interest. Combine this with the fact that of the ~100 women I have asked not a single one has given me a yes, and you have quite a negative outlook.

    The fear of rejection is intense and horrifying. The fear of what will happen should I get into a relationship is also horrifying. Having someone care about me, want to know me, like me, love me, is incomprehensible. The act of being vulnerable and open with another person, open with the emotions I have kept bound and shackled in the darkest recesses of my being. It would not be fair to share my burden with another person; it would not be fair to share the unspeakable nightmares with another person.

    Then, of course, there is the inevitable end. The agonizing, brutal, crushing pain. Reliving the realization from childhood of there being no love.

    • First, practice accepting all of your emotions. Get used to knowing how you really feel. If you’re accustomed to blanketing over your feelings with anger or apathy, you may even be overwhelmed. It may take awhile to get into the habit of knowing how you feel.

      If all you feel is anger, the anger is hiding what you really feel.

      Once you’re used to handling your daily feelings, start thinking back to your childhood and what happened to you. If it’s too horrendous, get professional help.

      It is very much worth the trouble, getting to know yourself and your feelings. Feelings occur for very necessary reasons; they’re necessary to survival. Civilization tells you to ignore them, for reasons that only serve civilization. If you can get away from all that nonsense (“men don’t cry”, “suck it up” et cetera), you will get better.

  4. Fascinating concept!!! Definitely one to think about!

  5. Beautiful post, Jack.
    I am careful to not to prescribe a dose of ‘get over it’ to someone in pain. Even so, I occasionally catch myself offering Hallmark card platitudes to someone in pain. It seems to be the expected response. As if the current culture of healing has more to do with returning to normalcy {whatever that is} than with actual healing.
    The experience is wasted if you do not gain strength or wisdom from the pain.
    Couldn’t agree more…
    ‘I eat my pain, not because it nourishes, but because the lessons it provides prepares me for the path ahead.’

  6. Jackie, I simultaneously love and hate reading your pieces. I love it because Jesus H. Christ you’re a helluva writer and these columns hum! Ironically, I hate it for the same reason and because it reminds me how much I need to improve! ;-)

    But I think you left one very important thing out of this piece.

    “Anybody want a peanut?”

  7. Ahhhh yes, Jackie! Once again your words emanate with me exactly!

    Society doesn’t allow us our pain, does it? We’re not even allowed to grieve the dead for very long before we’re expected to get over it. Thank you for sharing this analogy from one of my favorite movies. Beautifully stated.

    • T, you know I think “society” can fornicate itself. The one thing we all have in common is pain; denying it doesn’t do anybody any good.


  8. I love your posts, Jackie. Please keep them up… you’re fantastic.

  9. Wow this is so true and something I wish I’d heard or read about a decade ago.

  10. So raw and inspiring! Thanks

  11. I’ve always wanted to be a banker, but didn’t know how to get past the complicated amoral code. Now I know how, and my career can finally take off. Thank you.

  12. Mostly123 says:

    Really liked the article Jackie – a compelling argument for taking the bold and courageous path. In practice, I myself have always been somewhat more partial to the Daffy Duck philosophy (“I’m not like other people, I can’t stand pain- it hurts me!”) but as time goes by one begins to realize simple truth that life cannot be lived in a perpetual state of pain-avoidance. It’s better to make peace with it, and use all the tools that come your way; even your pain.  

    Really liked the Princess Bride reference too- got me thinking about another movie from the 80s:   

    “Pain and guilt can’t be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!” –Captain Kirk, from “Star Trek 5″ (awful movie, but a great quote) 

  13. letters2mary says:

    This is absolutely first rate both in style and content. Too frequently our response of first resort is “make it feel better” which is palliative but leaves us a mile wide and puddle deep. Life requires encounters with all manner of things which we would like to step around, but there are reasons why “avoidance” is classified as a defense mechanism.

    So happy to have discovered this writer.

  14. I shake and fight, cry and piss, moan and groan with MY stuff.
    I read this hoping to find a sword to slay my stuff.
    But oh…its about pain of lost-love…not about MY stuff of pain.
    Sh&t !
    It was off to such a great start too!

    Can I sit before that plant?
    Can I devour it?

    I thought I had been doing so for the past 30 years.
    But i guess not.

    I’m guessing that I take bites of it
    fully knowing its gonna hurt me more.
    Its gonna make me sick!
    Its gonna nearly kill me.

    i bite from it.
    It still sits there and heals.
    Its still ‘that plant.’

    I can’t kill it unless I devour it
    and make all of it mine.

    Sorry to restate the obvious above…but dang man! i get this!!!
    Thank you!

  15. Jackie, you’ve somehow summarized the past nine months of my life. To say “I get it” would be a gross understatement. Thank you.

  16. MCaulfield says:

    Thank you for the reminder to be brave :)

  17. Wow. I don’t read much on the GMP anymore and honestly, this caught my eye because I thought it was a about literally eating. And I thought it was written by a woman. Neither were true. But damn, what a great piece. Having recently finalized my divorce, I found myself nodding over and over and over. . .

  18. Vivian Casanas-Cruz says:

    A beauty! Very well explained. Thank you for sharing. Love Kahlil Gibran. Once, I made a play about his life.


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