ARRRRGH. I’m so sick of me. I haven’t been this sick of me since I was a teenager.
NO ONE WARNED ME THAT BEING THIRTY WAS GOING TO BE THIS MUCH LIKE BEING THIRTEEN.
I really didn’t need to be haunted by the ghost of my teenage self this year. But, boy, that’s what it feels like. All of that, “you really are crap; people really do hate you; nothing you touch will ever turn out right; throw the towel in now, but no you CAN’T can you? Can’t even give up properly, you idiot . . .” Yeah. That. I didn’t miss that.
And the weird, bizarre thing about it is that stream of abuse runs in perfect counterpoint to my rational, optimistic mind. I can see that life’s not a disaster. I can see that my loved ones don’t hate me. I can see all of the good things in my life and appreciate them and enjoy them. I can even live in my rational, optimistic mind for the majority of my days. It’s just that there is this constant, flowing stream of hate and despair in my heart, running right along beside it. Where does it come from? Is this just part of living in, as my daughter once called it, "a fallen, whiny world"?
I don’t know what to make of it. I really don’t. Is this sin? Is it depression? Is it temptation? (Is it the truth?) Does what it is vary from moment to moment, depending on how I respond to it? I don’t know. Up till a year ago, I would have said that it was adolescence, left behind long ago, unmourned and unmissed.
I know I can ignore it for hours on end – sometimes even days at a time. But I also know that it can suck me in for days at a time and I have to struggle to make my way out. Sometimes I even have to struggle to struggle, if that makes sense.
Wow. I do know that it hampers me. It wraps around my legs and trips me up.
I know that music and prayer and exercise and writing keep it at bay.
(I know that I am tired. I know that I feel I don't deserve to feel tired.)
I know that it keeps me constantly second-guessing myself.
That’s why music and prayer and exercise and writing help, I think. Those are things that I’m sure about, things I don’t second-guess. Because I’m sure that music is beautiful. And I’m sure about the One I pray to. I know that exercise is good for me. I know that I’m a writer.
Loving my kids and my husband: that helps too. Another thing I’m sure about. They’re mine and I’m theirs, and I am to love them.
It’s very good to have things I don’t doubt, even if I sometimes doubt if I’m doing them well. The difference between being thirteen and being thirty is that I know that doing the right thing is better than doing the wrong thing, even if I’m not doing the right thing as well as it can be done. Huh. But, yes, I think that’s maturity. Because I used to be so scared of screwing up that I’d never even start. Now, more often than not, at least I start. I’ve learned to say, “Help me, Lord. I’m going in,” instead of, “Help me, Lord, I can’t.”
I really, really, really could.
I wish it weren’t winter anymore.