Thursday, July 30, 2009

Well, Here Goes Nothing

I've been thinking about something all day. I even found myself wanting to write about it a few times, but kept telling myself that it wasn't a good idea. It still probably isn't a good idea, but, I don't know. I don't have a point to any of this. I don't have an ending. I'm not looking for sympathy or any comments really. In fact, I sort of hate sympathy. Being on the receiving end, that is. I'm just at a place where the shell of my life looks fine, but inside I'm tied in knots. I've never been capable of successfully and eloquently expressing myself, so I sense that I'm going to write a bunch of poorly punctuated run on sentences. You know, like every other blog post I publish. I like consistency. Consistency is the one thing I can manage successfully.

The thing is, I'm such a mess. This isn't news to anyone, I'm sure. However, anyone who reads this might be tempted to approach my mother on the street and say, "Nancy, you've got to get this girl some help. I know a guy, I'll give you his card. " Heck, someone might pull Craig aside and offer him a prescription of Prozac to slip in my green smoothies. I'm not in need of a visit to the shrink, I promise you. I'm just sort of, um, bogged down by some inner demons. And completely incapable of finding anything good in me. To me, this isn't a problem requiring psychoanalysis and happy drugs.
I'm convinced that it's a congenital flaw. I got the big nose, freckles and poor self esteem in the gene pool lottery.

I don't understand how a healthy child born to parents who were married before she was born and have been married ever since could wind up with such horrible self esteem. I wasn't beaten. I wasn't neglected or abused. I was loved and brought to church every Sunday for all of my childhood. Nothing in my history would suggest that low self esteem and self worth would even be a consideration. We were a "normal" family. I put normal in quotes because we Kennedy's are hardly "normal" but when talking about socioeconomics etc, we were indeed normal. Two kids, two cars, a few stray pets. Hardworking dad. Long suffering wife. Ha! Just kidding, mom.

What kind of person could dislike herself so much, when she really has it pretty good. I'm healthy, strong and smart. My common sense level varies from day to day, but overall I have a good head on my shoulders. I have a relatively successful marriage (we haven't killed each other yet...successful, no?) (That was a joke, by the way. I'm like Chandler Bing, I make inappropriate jokes) and a healthy, thriving and happy child. We're not in debt, we don't live paycheck to paycheck, I have the wonderful opportunity to stay home and do the housewifey things that I love so much and I have lively green walls. Most importantly, I have a God who loves me.

What more could a person want?

Every now and then I inventory my life and see that all the important boxes are check marked. I don't lack anything. And yet, just yesterday I bent down to get a towel from under the sink to wipe up some sort of spill and a swell of sadness wafted over me. It was if I was thinking, "so, THIS is my life."
But this is the life I want. I feel stupid and selfish for complaining when so many people are truly suffering and I "have it all."

I do have it all.
How can someone so physically strong be so weak, self loathing and immobilized by fear?

I'm sure my mom would be the first to point out that perhaps it's a lack of God in my life, but God is still there and I've felt like this my entire life. Even when I actually went to church and read my Bible. It's not HIM, it's ME.

All ME.

Because, it is, after all, all about ME.

For as long as I can remember, I've, on occasion, pretended to be someone else. NOT like Sybil; I'm not talking mulitple personalities here. I don't hear voices, I promise you. I'm talking about good old fashioned imagination; an escape from the monotony of my life. I don't imagine myself in a different setting, but that I'm an entirely different person. Someone with flawless skin and hair that styles perfectly and effortlessly every day. Someone confident and capable, who didn't drop out of college. Someone without stretch marks and not addicted to Diet Pepsi. Someone warm and fuzzy, not cool and reserved like me.

Basically, my polar opposite.

It's fun to imagine; it's an escape and makes my life seem a tad more interesting.
But it's still empty.
Because it's not true.
In the end, I'm still me. Boring and neurotic. Quick tempered and judgemental. Afraid and closed up. And never believing that I do anything right.

Now that I typed that ,I must assure you that I'm really not crazy. I think I just have too much time on my hands.

Even though I know deep down that I have done many things right, I still question every one of them. I haven't a confident bone in my body. Like I missed the day where they handed out the manual for living a normal life and have been trying to wing it for the past 32 years.
I second guess every decision I make and get mad at myself for every little mistake I make. Like when I wash the floor and I still can't get all the spots up. Everyone else can, why can't I? Floor washing, especially with a Swiffer Wet Jet, is pretty elementary. Yet, I end up with smudges and spots and declare myself a floor washing failure.

God, that sounds so dumb. It IS dumb, I know.
See, I told you this doesn't make any sense.

The second guessing and self loathing goes much deeper, I promise.
You just don't want to hear about it.

I don't know.
I don't think there is a self help book in all of the world that will rid me of this.
I don't want to be unhappy. And on many days I'm not.
Like I said, I have it pretty good.

Maybe I need a friend. I wouldn't share any of this with them, however. It's far easier to type this and make it accessible to the internet at large then to confess any of this to an actual person.
I prefer much shallower topics of conversation with friends: reality tv, food, shopping.

Eh, maybe I'm just having a bad day. Or week.

I can't undo what I've done. There isn't an eraser big enough to remove all the mistakes I've made.

It's hard to look at myself in the mirror and know that this is who I am supposed to be. This is the messed up person God created and I'm stuck with it.
I know there are plenty of things I can change, but it's hard to pull myself from the wreckage I've spent my whole life accumulating. It's heavy and haunting.

And in the end, I'm still me. I guess that's OK. God saw fit to create me , so either He's having a good laugh right now or He's preparing me for something more worthwhile.

I really hesitate writing this and actually hitting the publish button. Mostly because if I do, my parents will read this and freak out. But the truth is, none of this is new. I normally put a different spin on things, poking fun at myself and my neurotic, self loathing tendencies instead of writing about them in a more serious fashion. I use self deprecating humor as a defense mechanism. I'd hate for people to think that I find myself completely acceptable. If they thought that, they'd think I was delusional.

Some people have naturally high self esteem; sometimes it's completely warranted. I admire those that talk a big talk and prove it through actions. I envy it too.
And then there are those that talk a lot of smack and don't follow through. That makes me wonder. Perhaps they've been force fed all that PC "yay for you" stuff that the parenting magazines and school systems have been preaching for so many years.

"Yay, you walked across the room without falling down, here's a sticker."

While perhaps I would have benefited from at least a smidgen of that curriculum, I'm glad I'm realistic. I certainly don't want to have low self esteem AND be delusional. I have my work cut out for me as it is.

So, mom and dad, don't worry. I'm just having a bad day. Or week. Or something.

In conclusion, I'm still a big mess. I didn't solve a single thing, but I feel a little better.

So thanks for listening.

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