If I Get It All Down on Paper It’s No Longer Inside of Me Threatening the Life It Belongs To

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.

There’s So Much Left To Learn And No One Left To Fight

Keep in mind while reading this that I am fully aware of how absurd and totally counterproductive my thoughts are.

Last week I had a mini heart to heart with someone, and for the first time in a long time truly felt understood and not judged.  I was reviewing a case with my supervisor, and multiple times he commented that I was unusually quiet and wondered if something was wrong.  I denied anything being wrong.  After the case review we were randomly chatting, and he asked again if something was bothering me.  I stated that I felt that I can be annoying to my coworkers by talking too much and therefore was currently choosing to keep to myself unless someone wanted or needed to talk to me.  He stated he understood, but historically speaking, that strategy doesn’t work long for “someone like me.”  Someone like me being, in his words, a happy, bubbly person.  I may attempt to portray this personality to others, but, as my husband has told me, I am a very angry, resentful person.

Anyway, my boss basically said that attempting to keep to myself would most likely backfire on me because that’s not the type of person I am, and I was letting my fear of being disliked by my coworkers negatively impact my behavior and thoughts.  What we eventually got around to is that in my attempt to control my environment, I subconsciously yet purposely sabotage events and relationships essentially making everything I fear a reality.  When I said that I’m constantly trying to control situations because I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, he pointed out that most times there is no other shoe.  What’s more, if there is another shoe, am the one pushing it off the shelf.

I’m so worried that I’ll be caught off guard by something bad that I almost make it happen so that I have the control.  I’ll hurt me before you can hurt me.  Because if you hurt me, that will prove to me that I’m not good enough and I’m not worth NOT hurting.  So I sabotage everything good because of the paralyzing fear that it will go bad anyway.  Because I’m broken.  Or so I think.

But the thing is, I’m not.  Tonight while conducting a counseling session with a client very similar to me (anxious, self-sabotaging, belief of not being good enough) I had a mini epiphany. (Notice everything is “mini.”  Why is that?)  I’ve had this epiphany before, and I’m positive I’ll have it many times again.  I’m not broken.  None of us are really broken.  We may have flawed thinking.  We’re insecure, and we make mistakes, but none of these traits equate to brokenness.  They simply mean we are human.  As such, we are not perfect.  That is what it means to be human.

I am no less “good” than anyone else.  I may have a different thought process, a different work process, a different approach to life, but that in no way means that that other person is any better or any more “right” than I am.  In grad school I saw classmates stressing about papers and midterms.  I worried that I was not worried enough about these things.  My husband asked what my grades were.  When I told him my grades were A’s, he said, “Then I think you’re doing it right.  Did you ever think that the people who are so stressed are the ones that should change their approach?”  This doesn’t mean that my classmates were wrong.  It just means that I wasn’t wrong either.

Everyone is different, and everyone’s the same.  We all struggle just in innumerably different ways.  I will continue to make mistakes.  I will have many more moments of self-doubt, even self-loathing.  I will continue to drive my husband to the brink of lunacy with my clinginess and need for reassurance.

But I am not broken.  I am human.  And so are you.  And we are wonderful.