The other day I was writing an email to a friend that started out with every intention of being a “Hey what’s going on with you? Here’s what’s going on with me” sort of thing. Instead it quickly devolved into one of those brain dumps where you end up venting about thoughts you haven’t fully processed yet. And, among all the other stuff, I wrote this:
D told me the other day, “I feel like you make me look better on your blog than I really am.” And I said, “I don’t THINK I’m being misleading. That’s how I really see you.” And then I thought about it and said, “I think if you were to write a blog, your stories of me would make me sound like a neurotic pain in your ass who is one set of lost car keys and a ten pound weight gain away from being served with divorce papers.” He just laughed like I was being absurd. I was kind of serious.I think my self-esteem sucks lately. I don’t think D makes me feel that way, I think I make me feel that way. Maybe its time to go back to therapy. Hey. There’s another email revelation.
After sending that email, I went home in a funk. And when D got home and could take over parenting duties, I went to the gym. Working out is usually a pretty good release for me. I never want to go when I’m stressed or unhappy or just tired. But within the first couple minutes I feel 100 times better. I physically feel the weight lift off my shoulders. I go when I don’t want to because I know I will get that almost immediate relief.
I got to the gym, jammed my headphones in, set the treadmill to an intense incline and pace, and started running. And as I was running, I just kept feeling more and more frustrated. Because I wasn’t feeling better. The weight wasn’t lifting like it usually does.
It wasn’t until this song came up on my iPod that I felt it. The weight lifted and I started feeling like I might be alright again. I mentally started dancing. And then I looked down and realized I was forty-seven minutes in to my workout. I felt like crying. No, that’s not honest. I did cry. I was a crazy person, crying at the gym, while running like a maniac on a treadmill. It wasn’t like I was a sobbing blubbering mess. It was just a few tears. But they fell because it took me forty-seven minutes. And I recognized that it took me forty-seven minutes because that workout wasn’t about feeling better; It was about punishing myself for being so stupid and weak that I have such shitty self-esteem. (Also, it’s a little sad that I’m only recognizing the irony of that statement as I’m writing this post).
Truth be told, I have a pretty constant monologue running through my head about what a worthless piece of shit I think I am. About how it’s just a matter of time before my friends, family, coworkers and clients decide they don’t want to put up with my constant incompetence any more. Before that email to my friend, it was just background music. I knew it was there, but wasn’t really tuning in. After that email, I’m humming along, saying, “Hey, I know this song.” I’m rational enough to know that thinking those sorts of things about yourself isn’t healthy, but I need help turning down the volume again. I’ve been to a therapist before. I learned enough from the last times to know when I need to go back before really falling over the edge.
I debated whether or not I should post something like this to the blog. It’s way more personal than the usual stories about the funny or cute things the girls are doing. But I decided that I would. Because if this blog is for the girls, and the stories I want them to remember, and the things I want them to know, then I think it’s important for them to know more than just the cute stuff. I want them to know that sometimes life is hard because of the external stuff: Your boss is a jerk, you’re dating an asshole, you have too much stuff on your plate. And sometimes it’s hard because your internal monologue just doesn’t match reality and you’re having a hard time bringing it back in check. But in either case, your response is the same. You don’t just let the hard times take over, you do something about it. You find a new job, you dump the asshole, you learn how to say ‘no,’ and you find someone with whom you can talk it all through. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to find someone to talk about it with. It will make me a better person, and that will make me a better mom.