I started back in counseling in April. At my last session my counselor told me my homework was to “process my shame.” Of course she didn’t tell me how exactly to go about doing that. My shame isn’t really about anything I have done. It’s about who I am. I broke down when talking about my daughter because even though I am not the best mom, I suck at everything else. At least that’s my core belief at times. Or more accurately I believe that everyone else believes that I suck. And if everyone else believe I suck, then two other things must be true: 1) I really do suck and 2) I am worthless and have no love.
So I spent the afternoon writing all the ways I suck in order to “process my shame.” Here it is. Maybe you can relate. There’s really no words of wisdom that accompany this or happily ever after epiphany of self-confidence, but I am somewhat calmer than when I started writing. And tired.
I suck at being a girl. I should care more about appearance and take the time each day to shower, do my hair, makeup, shave, wear jewelry, and make sure everything coordinates. I should plan my meals and only eat clean healthy foods and exercise everyday so that I am trim. I should be able to drink a socially acceptable amount of alcohol without having it affect my weight. My nails should always be perfectly manicured and pedicured.
But I am none of those things because I like to sleep. I like to spend time on Facebook. I am too lazy to be a proper girl. Not proper like Emily Post. Proper like socially acceptable, accepted, liked, popular. The kind of girl my husband wishes I was. I am a consolation prize. I am what people settle for when they can’t do any better. I am always trying to make up to people that I am what they ended up with. I spend too much effort and money on trying to make my husband happy.
This leads to the belief that I suck at being a confident, empowered female.I should have left him when I found out he had cheated on me. A stronger, better woman would have realized her worth and left. But I didn’t, and now I’m stuck. Because I suck. Because I suck at being a friend. If I had more friends or more accessible friends I would have the support I had needed to leave. I would have had somewhere to go. But I suck. I’m not fun enough. I don’t go out as much as I should. I don’t find joy in the right activities. Standing too long at concerts hurts my back so I want to leave early. I’m not doing enough. I like to eat and talk too much. I care too much what others think but at the same time I don’t care enough.
I don’t have a real identity. Even my handwriting is inconsistent. It sucks. I can never be 100% real. The “overseer” in my brain is constantly reviewing, judging. Even while I write this I wonder if it’s poignant enough, visceral enough, relevant enough.
I half-ass everything. I get so tired from my brain that I stop caring. I care so much that I am too tired to care. And I just want to go to sleep. Or watch The Simpsons. Or The Cat in the Hat on PBS. I pretend to watch it for my daughter, but in reality I find it comforting. And these days I will do anything that makes me feel comfortable. I just want to be comfortable, warm, accepted. I don’t want to plan or rehearse everything I say and do. That’s why I like tequila. I don’t care about what I say and do when I’ve had a margarita. I understand now how people become alcohol dependent. When you are so full of anxiety and intrusive thoughts that you will do anything to quiet your mind.
And now I need a nap, or just a chance to lay down and stare at the sky, or lay down next to my daughter. I am comforted laying next to her while she’s sleeping. Listening to her baby noises. She is still perfect. She doesn’t know how messed up mommy is yet, and my hope is that she never does. I know the husband doesn’t want my issues to affect her, and he judges me because I still have anxiety attacks and lose my temper. He has told me that I don’t have that luxury anymore.
Hmm. Maybe I’m not the one who sucks.