Saturday, October 6, 2012


Lately, I have been feeling inferior to some fictional excellent version of myself, or worse, to other far more beautiful, patient, accomplished people. Symmetrically-constructed demigods who seem to have clean homes and clean hair and cool jobs orbiting about them with such cosmic ease that it's not even necessary to wring their hands about Balance or Having It All or The Little Things.  And it's a fool's exercise for me to beat a tattoo of my own mediocrity, it's a selfish meditation. I, of course, admire The Little Things almost constantly, and yet for the past few weeks I've felt myself ducking under a low ceiling of sadness. Maybe the light is getting lower outside with the change in seasons or maybe mercury's in retrograde (just kidding, it's chemicals in my brain that are in retrograde). Here are a few things lately that I've very much not been:

  • Someone who doesn't nervously gnaw her cuticles to raw, pink meat, tender meat that stings when cleaning without gloves or juicing citrus
  • On that note, someone who dons gloves before cleaning 
  • Someone who consistently stops eating when full
  • Someone who puts her feet on the floor when the alarm goes off instead of someone who constructs a reality where I don't have to get up and go to work, right up until the minute that I can safely get up, dressed, and to work in time to be 5 minutes late
  • Someone who doesn't, in an attempt to add a sympathetic voice, just say something tone-deaf that falls so conversationally flat, I swear you can hear it ringing out after impact
  • Someone who politely declines gossip 
It is easy to lose sight of the fact that, in addition to all of these things I've listed, I was also not a lot of things a few years ago that I am now. Solvent, physically active, able to strap on shoes and run 4 miles on a whim, a bike commuter, able to sleep through the night, able to fulfill three or four commitments within a single weekend without getting so anxious I want to beach myself like a whale on top of my bed rather than try to make it all happen, able to try something new like distance running or backpacking without being certain I'll be called out as a fraud, able to keep doing that new thing until I can create my own small-scale best practices for it.

When you do become a thing you want to be, you stop worrying about it and it's like you never weren't that thing. And I forget to give myself a shade of credit after I've tucked it neatly into my life.

Also my living space is tidier than ever, though still sort of a disaster.


  1. I am also harder on myself than necessary. I've been brutally examining my social function and full of negative self-talk. I live in an awesome house but do nothing with it, don't shop, don't do dishes or cook. I barely get my work and school done, hug my husband and talk to my family. I'm on survival mode, and I think I can handle that until I graduate?
    And then I realize that I'm getting dressed every morning in something that's NOT sweats, that I'm getting better at my internship every day, that I'm working and going full-time to grad school, that my marriage is actually flourishing in this crap (mainly because he cooks), and all of the other positives.
    Thanks for reminding me to give myself a little grace.

  2. You just NAILED how I was feeling last week (I seem to have snapped out of it this week, or possibly I'm just too busy to self-flagellate).

    I often describe this mythical Perfect Me to B in moments of frustration and semi-comical despair, and once I've listed off everything she does or doesn't do (exercises at 6am regularly, irons her clothes the night before instead of 3 min. before leaving for work, eats only kale, no cellulite on her thighs, spends her free moments reading Plato, etc.), B pronounces her insufferable, someone he would not be able to stand, someone who sucks the joy out of life. And I feel momentarily cheered.

  3. Yes exactly to the last part! When I'm feeling like a jerk I also try to remind myself that past versions of me would be glad, or proud, or amazed to know that I've managed to do X thing or develop Y habit or internalize Z quality.

    Also: If you figure out how to stop eating when full, please notify me immediately.