Lately, I’ve been having some self-beat-up-self issues. Second guessing myself. Bringing myself down thinking about past failures. Feeling like I can’t succeed at anything new I’d like to try because I haven’t been able to in the past. Working myself too hard. My favorite: finding a new genre or hobby or just something new I’d like to try and then rather than cutting my bites and chewing slowly, I just stuff the whole plate in my mouth and think about swallowing. Bad, Melissa, bad. How could I possibly enjoy that new thing? I’ve overdone it, and it takes something I sincerely enjoyed and looked forward to and, well… kills it. DEAD. I just want one thing that I can really focus on and be successful with.
And distractions! OH, the distractions! Or the little things that I turn into distractions to distract myself from doing the thing I want to do. Kind of like the flip-through video I’ve been meaning to tape ever since I finished my Project-Life-esque album from our Legoland trip. The book’s been done since this summer. The video? HA. I spent so long on my YouTube channel that I have yet to even set up the table in front of the window (for lighting), let alone the tripod. My nails weren’t done, I couldn’t decide whether to talk during the video, should I let Charlie help, the office is dirty, how will I find music I like for the background? Excuses. Distractions.
So, in honor of never posting “on time”, in honor of never being “normal” (despite my best misguided efforts), in honor of all the past failures (and successes), and in honor of every second I’ve felt overwhelmed or under-qualified – I say: no more. No more judging myself based on what I think I should be, what I think I should look like, how I think I should sound. No more deadlines for things that don’t need an actual deadline. No more beating myself up because I just couldn’t stomach one more glass of water towards my goal for the day. No more hating myself because I had a rough day and “needed” that Cutie even though it pushed me over my calorie limit for the day. No more shaming myself because I really did mean to get my run in but between all the literal running around I did to put out fires here, there, and everywhere, pick up kids from 8 different places, return this item, make this dinner, stain-wash this load, fill the dishwasher – no more. No more judging my life based on how clean the house looks before I go to bed, or how many times I stepped over the tiny pile of cereal crumbs instead of sweeping them up. I, quite honestly, am my own worst enemy. No more.
I belong to a culture/community where I don’t feel I fit in. And I’m beginning to be okay with that. Because the reality of this feeling is – who is? There must be someone who is viewed as “the one who does all the things” to feel that I don’t, right? And to find that person that we compare ourselves to, that makes as feel as if we could do better, try harder, etc. to be more like what they portray, we first have to judge this person based off of what WE see. We don’t know what happens behind closed doors, we don’t even know what happens when we turn the corner and that person is alone again. It’s all stereotyping and judging and assumptions. No more.
Ultimately, I need to fit in with ME. I can be a member without needing to perfectly fit in with my religion. I can own a home and be a nice neighbor without fitting in with my neighborhood or city. I can be social and hold friendships without fitting in just right with every social group.
I always considered myself a happy person. I always considered myself to not be a judgmental person. But, as I grew up, I realized that these were things I wanted to be. I look back and I realize there was a lot of anger and frustration that I didn’t understand. A lot of low days, and eventually they did take hold of me. Sometimes they still do. It’s great to be happy – but no one is “happy” all the time, every day. It’s okay to not have a good day. It’s okay to feel like you’re hanging just a little lower than everyone else. It’s great to feel you don’t judge others – but not because you feel that way based on the thought that you judge less than your neighbor. DUDE, yer judging. Just to figure that out, you juuuudged. No more.
I spend a lot of my day consistently worrying about others judging me, people looking at me and making assumptions about the way I walk, the way I dress, the way I talk, the things I like, whether they think I actually like those things or I’m just “posing”, whether they think I’m pretty, if I’m funny, if I talk too much. There’s a LOT. I get caught up in it. The reality is, I’m just walking from my car to the grocery store and I’M the one judging myself. The woman over there loading her groceries into the back of her old van while her son texts? Not only did she not see my T-shirt (or my chub) she probably has NO clue what it means. That guy checking his phone as he walks back to return his cart? He may not speak English or understand that I snapped at my rambunctious 3-year-old for refusing to hold my hand while crossing the parking lot. The older man sitting in the running truck by the entrance to the store? He might be waiting for his wife to come out, or his buddy who ran in to grab lunch – but I guarantee he’s not thinking about how I could stand to lose 20 pounds or that I need to find a way to tame my mane of unruly curls that love to frizz. Things like that caused me to stop trying. Couldn’t go to the store, because of what people would think. Couldn’t handle home life because dinner’s crap because I couldn’t go to the store. It snowballs and snowballs and suddenly I can’t get out of bed in the morning to get my kids off to school. I’m really good at this game. I’d stop trying completely – it’s where I’d end up anyway, right? No more.
When a counselor pointed out to me that a portion of my daily frustrations were based off of things that hadn’t even happened, it was both mind-blowing and life changing. I had never thought of it that way. I was real-time reacting to things that weren’t even happening. Assumptions. I was acting based off of assumptions and judgments of what I thought someone was thinking, might think, or might do. Judgments. Assumptions. The very things I was terrified people were making about me. Sure, I wasn’t road-rage-ramming people or having screaming matches, but personally, there is a lot of internal reacting and turmoil that happens before I outwardly react. It was taking its toll. No more.
There are a hundred million things I’d like to do with my life, different directions I could take. It’s a lot to realize and list out all the things I enjoy doing. Or even the things I love doing that I could try to turn into a job. And, maybe, even be successful with. For me, the best analogy is standing in a library and thinking that there is no way, in my lifetime, that I could possibly read every book that I’d like to – just IN this library. And believe me, our library isn’t THAT big. Especially for someone who reads a lot. But I would never be able to check out a book, nor enjoy reading, if I didn’t just try a book. I don’t have to buy the book, I don’t have to read it everyday for the next 17 years. I’m just checking it out for three weeks. If I don’t like it, the genre, the author, the cover – anything – there’s always next time.
I’m going to post to this blog. I’m going to take photos. I’m going to clean my house. I’m going to run three times a week. I’m going to post videos to my YouTube channel. I’m going to quilt. I’m going to sew. I’m going to read my scriptures. I’m going to cook and bake. I’m going to play games. I’m going to read books. I’m going to buy more comics and trade paperbacks. I’m going to buy more graphic tees (even though my husband thinks I’m a giant dork). And I’m going to do these things without deadlines, without judgment. And without rushing! One step at a time. If I don’t feel like turning on the sewing machine, I won’t. If I don’t feel like reading adult fiction, I’ll go to YA fiction. If I don’t feel like posting anything on my blog, I won’t. I’m going to try things. If I don’t like it, I won’t try it again. Seems simple. Here’s to keeping it that way…
I’m not a superhero. I’m not the perfect girl, daughter, library patron, sister, friend, Mormon, wife, mother, neighbor, or aunt. I don’t need to be.
But I am trying. Doing the best I can, and that is enough. I’m enough.