I’m having a hard time. Mostly I just don’t know what the hell I am doing.
It’s funny how you carry around all this baggage from place to place – one relationship or experience to another. And sometimes you think you’ve let it go and then life comes in and BAM, it slaps you in the face. GOTCHA BITCH!
This is a real thing that happens to me.
I’m going to say something nice about Janie for a second. I KNOW. WEIRD. But in all reality, I feel incredibly grateful for the friend she is to me now after everything that has happened because, as I’ve wandered along trying to find my way, and as I’ve stumbled and fumbled and fallen on my face again and again, she has been so kind. She knows how fucking hard I try to do the right thing and she knows that when I fail miserably (as I do), when I make mistakes (often), when I’m behaving poorly (more than I wish I did), that I’m better than that. She is honest and tells me…I get so frustrated when I see you do this to yourself. And as I sit around and berate myself and think I’m the worst person in the world, she tells me she’s tired of trying to convince me I’m a good person. Then she threatens to carve it into my skin with a knife so we can stop talking about me already and start talking about why Family Guy is so funny.
She is one of very few people who has shown me what unconditional love looks like. That I can be a raging asshole and she believes enough in me and the goodness of me that she won’t leave, even when I push as hard as I can against her. She knows when to be hard and when to be kind, when I’m struggling and insecure and when I’m stubborn and controlling. She doesn’t know this, really, but she has saved me – not only by being nice but by telling me even the hard truths. This is what divorce has brought us- an honesty that we had not ever known before, and enough trust in one another to know we can SAY it, we can HEAR it and BELIEVE it and still be okay when all is said and done. I never knew how badly I needed an ex-wife…but I think we are so much better for one another out here than we ever were in there.
It’s not REALLY that I think I’m some awful person, because shit do I know how hard I try to be good. I just feel so fucking disappointed in myself when I step back for a moment and see that I’ve screwed up so badly, that I’ve let myself down. That I’ve let other people down. I want so badly to be perfect.
And Janie says – IMPOSSIBLE. And I actually said to her – NO I CAN DO IT. I SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO IT.
This is a real conversation we had. I was not joking.
People always say I’m hard on myself and yeah, maybe. But shouldn’t I be? Shouldn’t I expect so much more from myself? Shouldn’t I be a much better person? Doesn’t everyone deserve that? Don’t I?
I think the worst of it is when you’re just basking in the calm of a moment, feeling content that you’ve made it through something extraordinarily difficult and there are so many important lessons learned. And then you hear it in the back of your head…that little voice asking…What did the five fingers say to the face? SLAP! And then the world explodes because you’ve just done something you thought you would never do again. You thought you were better than that. You thought you were smarter. You thought you’d learned your lesson. And by you, of course, I mean Janie. HAHA. Just kidding. I mean me.
I do look at my life as opportunities to grow. My mind is a ridiculous whirlwind of constant chatter – WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? I think I ask myself that same thing a million times in a day. I’m looking for answers, for direction, for signs, for messages, in everything. EVERYTHING. I can’t have a conversation without trying to read between the lines…like there is some secret message hidden in there. I’m looking for every reason you could be thinking I am not good enough. I’m waiting for it, like it’s inevitable. That’s the honest truth in all of it. I’m looking for you to to tell me that I’m no good…I am looking for a reason to justify this feeling so far inside of me that I can’t seem to get it out, because the moment I think I’ve let it all go, it grows again. And here I am feeling okay and then something happens…and I’m remembering every reason I have ever had for feeling like I am no good…and I’m back here. In this place. And all I hear is the screaming of everyone who ever said I was one thing or another. And you know whose voice is the loudest? Mine.
My mom and I had a conversation on the phone a few weeks ago. She told me I think too much. People tell me this a lot. I think too much and I am too sensitive. I think this is a double edged sword, because while my sensitivity and thinking tend to bring me to a greater understanding and help me arrive in a compassionate place for other people and the world, it also makes me fucking nutty. Because the flip side of it is that I can’t settle on anything. I can’t “just be.” I don’t know what that even means half of the time, though I’m happy to tell you that you should be able to do it because it’s okay and life will give you what you need. And I BELIEVE IT. For you. I have no idea why I think I am so fucking special that none of this loving kindness and acceptance and patience and good shit should ever apply to me. I DO NOT KNOW WHERE THIS COMES FROM. I DO know that it isn’t new. This is what I was born with. I have never NOT felt like this…it’s in my fucking soul. And try as I might to scrape it out and cut if off and leave it behind…it always comes back.
But maybe this thing I can’t shake is also the same thing that keeps me working really hard to be a decent person and without it I’d just go spinning out of control into outer-asshole-space. Maybe I need it to put me in my place when I’m starting to think I’m doing okay, when I’m starting to think I’m justified in my assholery. Which is so dumb because…seriously? IS ANYONE EVER JUSTIFIED IN BEING AN ASSHOLE? Jesus Christ. And yet there are times where I think…it’s okay. But then as soon as it happens it’s like I’ve had a stroke and I wake up to find myself on the ground, drooling and half of my body doesn’t work because HELLO YOU STUPID DICKHEAD. You’ve just been hit by a train called DON’T BE STUPID. Let’s get it together. Get out your apology pants because you’re going to need them. And I slip them on again – they fit like a glove because we’re like best friends, those apology pants and I – and then I slowly but surely get the use of my appendages back and I make the rounds and tell everyone ever: Hi. It’s just me…a bit of a mess. Please take a look at my pants…do they make my ass look sorry?