Today I had therapy, and we ended up with an exciting basis for NEXT week’s session, where we’re going to dive deeper into how 40+ years of coddling and condescension from everyone in my family could perhaps make me constantly doubt my capabilities as an adult, and affect my self-worth in all areas of life.
Awesome. Great. I’m SO glad I did this. 🙄
(I am, but…Christ. Originally I just went to therapy for some Breakup Krazy Glue, but ended up shattered six ways to Sunday. At least when my therapist starts writing groundbreaking articles about family insanity, maybe I’ll get royalties.)
(By the way, I am STILL very much on Team “Whatever Your Family Did, You’re an Adult, Handle Your Shit.*” But it turns out I just need some strategies to make that work as more than just bluster.)
(*Unless your family was LEGIT awful and not just underminey, in which case, obviously, you have the right.)
(Part of my damage is minimizing my damage because so many people have much worse damage.)
I told an OkCupid guy I’d gone to the Women’s Conference, and he wrote back asking what “the most inspiring takeaway” was.
The honest answers to this question are not suitable for the first few online dating messages.
1. No matter how crippling my imposter syndrome gets, I shouldn’t be afraid to speak, because chances are I’m NOT the stupidest person in a given room. (Though I still don’t believe that.)
2. We can put too much onto the ONE person in our paradigm of monogamous relationships, and it’s to be expected that we get different things from different people. I am not a slut or a bad person for getting those needs met, and I shouldn’t feel bad about it. (Though I still do.)
3. My knee-high black leather boots are better suited for your filthy sexual fantasies than for walking 6 miles at the Convention Center.
I’ve been discussing career goals with a friend, because I’ve been feeling totally stuck in what I’m doing, and I feel seven kinds of shitty** about it, just allllll the self-doubt/loathing, staring down the barrel of a TON of work and thought to figure out what my next move should be, because I have no idea.
“I have always thought someone should pay you lots of money just to be you and write what you already write. I don’t know exactly who that should be — Cracked, Bustle, Jezebel, The Mary Sue, various advertisers for your personal blog? — but I very much want it to happen. I know you do too, I just thought you should know that I read a LOT online and I would read all your stuff even if I didn’t know you. Just saying.”
Awwwww! You guys! ❤
I mentioned this predicament to another friend, and SHE complimented my writing, too!
“I know you’re not fishing for compliments, but I LOVE reading you. Anything you write is super smart, quick, and has so much relatable stuff with large dose of humor and humility. You seem like you have a treasure of stories you could write about family, men, and relationships. WRITE!!! For me.”
I was not fishing (nor am I now), but DAMN, I should’ve done this YEARS ago! Ego. Boosted. My friends are like my self-esteem fluffers!
** There actually does exist a chart ranking the seven kinds of shit. The reason I know this is not as disgusting as you might think, but, I mean, possessing that knowledge is really never IDEAL… I’m going to stop talking now.
This post started one way, but took a wrong exit to a place in my head I visit sometimes. It usually passes within a day, and then I’m back to at least a marginally normal self-image.
I went on vacation in part to get some perspective, maybe achieve sudden clarity via Southwest Airlines party mix.
I did, but not as much as I’d like.
But I did realize I can’t meet this guy I’d been talking to on OkCupid. We’d talked about meeting once I got back, but I realized I’m not feeling a connection, at least not yet. I have pretty good instincts for that, though, so possibly not ever. (This has also happened with two other OKC people.)
I feel bad, but even though That Guy felt nothing for me except my clitoris, that whole debacle helped me remember how I feel when *I* feel a spark with someone, even if it’s not mutual. My ex, too — I felt that in my gut and in my butt, and I’m not feeling it for these OKC people. Whatever the issues, my interactions with That Guy and my ex set a standard for what I need to feel and how I need to be treated.
I know I have to move on eventually. I just don’t think I’ll be able to, or should, until I feel something more compelling — I don’t need to be in love, I just need to feel a chemistry.
I wondered if I should meet that OKC guy just to interact with a man in a potentially romantic capacity, the way I used to go on job interviews for practice. But I don’t want to make anyone my practice. Having BEEN used fairly recently, I can’t do it to someone else. (Though I hear it’s effective.)
I may still be too damaged for this. I can’t tell if I’m really not ready, or just scared.
I already wasn’t feeling the best about myself when my ex and I broke up. I asked him why he was even with me, what I’d contributed to our relationship, and why he’d want to have children with me. He explained the kid thing, but wouldn’t tell me why he’d been with me. He said I should know. I still don’t. I believed he loved me. I believe he still does. I just don’t know why. (The best I can come up with is that I let him have his own space and his own time, and never made him watch “The Notebook.”)
Following that, That Guy made me feel smart, sexy, and funny…buuut then told me he never really thought any of that. Well, I guess the “sexy” part was true — as indicators go, his constant erection in my presence was probably a good one.
When I thought he cared about me, I spent time with him thinking, “Pfft…I’m amazing.” He said my confidence showed, that I owned my business in the bedroom, that I was funny and a good writer — he was one of the reasons I kept writing this blog. And then he was like, “Ha ha, just kidding, you’re none of those things.”
So I’m not enough to keep one man if I don’t want to have a baby, and not enough to keep the other guy because…I guess maybe I’m NOT the person he made me feel like I was.
Plus there have also been professional aspects where I wasn’t good enough to do one job or another, and a general feeling with my family that I’m just not worth being heard.
So… I don’t know what I’m doing now. I know it’s called SELF-esteem, but mine’s been knocked around a lot the past few years. I don’t know if I’ve ever considered how deep-seated all this is, and I see the therapist partly because I don’t know how to fix it myself. I have friends who, if they’re reading it, would punch me in the neck for thinking any of this. I don’t ALWAYS feel this way, but when I do, people can tell me whatever good things they want, I just can’t see it for myself.
Ahem… Why, what do YOU think about on vacation?
P.S. Next post, I promise, back to OkCupid snark, Valentine’s rage, masturbation, and the feminism of bath sponges.
The other day I wrote about That Guy, how I can’t block his email address without an existing email, but I’d deleted all his emails, emptied the trash, and sent in a sweeper in case there were any stragglers.
So obviously today I get an email from him saying he’d been going through some books and found two I’d loaned him a million years ago, wanting to make arrangements to return them. (By mail or go-between. Not by seeing me in person. Don’t be absurd — you save “in person” for people you give a fuck about, right?)
So he either saw the post, because he follows this page on Tumblr, or he just happened to have emailed me. I really don’t know which.
Also, if he saw it, part of the post was: “There was comfort in the idea of closure, because there’d be no more worrying about letting my guard down when checking email — let’s be honest, stupidly half-hoping I’d ever be worth more than a drunk-texted apology at 3 a.m.”
So…if we’re going to assume he’s seen it, the underlying message of that email is that I’m NOT worth more than that.
Breathing. Breathing. Breathing. I am, like, 150 times stronger than this.
I sent a friend a hormone-infused tantrum of an email about how much I suck. More on that later, but this was part of her wise response:
“The voices in our heads are often complete dickwads. We should be sort of thankful for them, in a way. If we were running around with full knowledge of our innate awesomeness and no self-doubt we would be insufferable cunts. So thank that voice for that. And then tell it to fuck off, because you got the message to check yourself before you wreck yourself, and you are doing quite well, thank you very much.”
I got this email from a good friend shortly after my last post, and I’m sharing it here because I think it probably applies to a lot of other people:
“You are kicking adulthood’s ass. I know you don’t feel like it but you are. You were unemployed for a long time and you got through it beautifully. I know you’re still worried because the new job is so new and you’re still a little scared, but you’re going to be fine.
“You have also dealt with a lot of strange new romantic relationships without too much drama.
“You are stronger than you think. You are an amazing, kind, funny, and smart person. I know this last year or so has been awful, but you are showing it who’s boss.
“Keep on keepin’ on.”