Thursday, August 2, 2012

Me and Myself: A Discussion.

In this post:  Me, taking on Myself.  Who has not been, uh, Myself, lately.

Me:  Dude, you hardly slept last night.  Athletes are busy competing and winning medals in various events in London and here on the home front you are kicking tail in self-denigration.  Which is not a congratulations, by the way. Winning a medal in self-flagellation would not make Me feel better about you, because that would only mean that you are excelling at annoying Me, which is...annoying.  Seriously.  I want Myself back.

Myself:  Yep, that's the bummer about being in a state of negative self-appraisal--it is like a dog chasing its own tail.  I feel like a jerk for feeling like a jerk.

Me:  These are not productive thoughts at 1:30 AM.  I need some sleep, yo.

Myself:  I was making a list of all the things I told Big Sis we would do "later," and feeling guilty about them.  I haven't fixed her bracelet.  I haven't planted seeds, like she asked a week ago.  I didn't get the hot glue gun out this morning so she could add one more thing to her fairy house...

Me:  Ok, look.  You read two unhelpful pieces of literature last night before you went to bed and lost all perspective.

Myself:  Hey, those were two very helpful, insightful, well-written pieces...

Me:  Not at night!

Myself:  Okay, you're right, not at night...(why is that, anyway??). But now it's night, and I want to keep reading Cheryl Strayed's memoir, Wild, even if it makes me cry and worry about my mother, and everyone else's mother, dying.

Me:  I am really hoping all these mortality fears are a phase, because, yikes.

Myself:  Cheryl Strayed writes, consoling herself after the death of her mother, "Nothing bad could happen to me, I thought.  The worst already had." But see, this was before she had kids, because there's that whole world of worry she hadn't yet anticipated...

Me:  Your kids are fine, if not a little anxious...Hey!  What a coincidence!

Myself:  Are you saying I am projecting my anxiety?  Making the girls worried or stressed?  Should I be worried about that?

Me:  You already are.  GAHHHHHHHHHHH.  Would it help if I reminded you that there are people with tangible, right-now worries who don't have the luxury of imagining dire scenarios?

Myself:  I talk to Myself about that all the time.  Go ahead and join the peanut gallery.

Me:  Can you channel some Buddhism here and let go of the things over which you have no control?

Myself:  I am good at that on airplanes.  But when I am driving...That's why I am also worrying about the quality of my relationships.  I have more control over those.

Me:  Okay, so you read an interview with Gabor Mate in The Sun, who reminds you that parenting is not "about techniques.  Parenting is about a relationship."  Don't go crazy cataloging all the things you're not doing for and with the girls; enjoy them.  Practice being more present, more patient.

Myself:  Okay.  I am trying.  I hate it when I'm shrill.  And controlling.

Me:  So do I.

Myself:  Really?  Am I that bad?

Me:  Stop it.  Right now.

Myself:  Sigh.

Me:  Give yourself a big break!  You tell others to do that all the time!  What is it with you this summer?

Myself:  I'm not sure.  On the bright side, I think feeling like this helps me have more empathy for others experiencing a funk.

Me:  I think you need to go back to work.

Myself:  Isn't that sad?

Me:  I don't think so.  I think you have balance when your esteem is fed by the relationships you nurture and work you do at your job, along with being a present parent and partner.  I think it's harder for you--for some reason--to have all your eggs in the family basket.

Myself:  I am far more critical of myself as a parent.

Me:  I don't think you're alone in that.  And I think everyone benefits from having an external form of building pride and faith and belief in oneself.  Which doesn't have to be work outside the home, per se, for everyone.

Myself:  Running isn't enough for me.

Me:  Nope, and that's okay.  It's one outlet--or inlet--but you need those interactions working at school provides.

Myself:  Nevertheless, I fantasize about not working.

Me:  Of course.  But truly, you'd love to work part-time.

Myself:  And then I feel a little selfish, or spoiled.  There are so many women in this world whose work--and I mean work!  Hauling water, etc.--is never done, and then I think I am having an American, first-world crisis of conscience.

Me:  Well, you are a product of your own society/community and its demands.  And beating yourself up for feeling this way isn't helpful.  Seeking out the sources of these feelings, and then making adjustments in lifestyle and approach is a more productive strategy than wringing your hands and wondering what the heck is wrong with you.

Myself:  Talking about it and writing about it is therapeutic.   I told a friend recently that I'd like to feel "more awe and less fear."  I've been there; I want it back.

Me:  Simplify, sister.

Myself:  I am working on it.

Me:  Good.  So...can we sleep tonight, maybe?

Myself:  After the Olympics :).

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