I don’t even know where to start except to say “Thank you.” Thank you for making me feel less alone. Thank you for giving myself permission to have as much compassion for myself as I do others. Thank you for reminding all of the rest of us that we’re each fighting our own battle and that we deserve more than just a few days of I-AM-KICKING-ASS happiness a month.
I’m still reading the comments. I’m still trying to figure out a solution. I’m still looking at the books and goals and therapies you suggested. But the one thing that seemed to come out more often than anything was the fact that we judge ourselves by incredibly high standards that are unattainable or which are impossible to keep up without crashing. We remember the things we didn’t do well and seldom congratulate ourselves on the things we do fantastically. Even in success we don’t give ourselves the chance to really appreciate what we’ve done and what we have. And that’s why I’m going to do two things.
First, I’m going to lower the goddam bar, because right now it seems so high that it scares the shit out of me and I get paralyzed and I end up accomplishing nothing. Instead, I’m going to try to set more attainable goals. Instead of “finishing a book” I’m going to “work on a chapter”. Instead of cleaning out the garage I’m going to clear off my desk. Instead of staring at the 320 things on my To-Do list, I’m going to spend the day answering the emails I’ve been avoiding.
The second thing I’m going to do is to celebrate my small victories and scratch out all the things that make me unable to see them without shame.
This year I lost 42 pounds,
but I’m still really overweight.
I went to the Parent-Teacher meeting
and I was the only parent who didn’t know anyone there.
I got invited to speak at a lot of conferences
but I turned 90% of them down because I’m scared to talk.
I’m writing my second book
but it’s different from my first and maybe people will hate it. I have to take a shitload of drugs so that I am normal.
And then there’s this:
Last week a woman asked if she could buy one of my weekly-wrap-up spots to promote her zombie-game kickstarter but I turned her down because I didn’t have any spots left. She thanked me anyway, and then she sent me one of the cards they’re working on for the game.
It’s a motherfucking zombie me, y’all.
And as I looked at it I realized that maybe I’m not that great at being a person, but I’d probably be a kick-ass zombie and perhaps I’m just in the wrong occupation. Then Victor pointed out that “flesh-eating zombie is not an occupation“, but I assume he just thinks that because he judges work based on paychecks rather than on personal fulfillment, and then I told him that he just didn’t understand because he’s a Republican, and he countered that even Democrats usually recognize that being a zombie is not a vocation to strive for, and that’s why I’m looking into becoming a Libertarian. Regardless, looking at that zombie portrait I realized that if I was a zombie I’d be out eating people right this second, and that would be a shitty thing to do. It ruins everyone’s day and is probably not sanitary or covered by insurance. Plus, I assume people taste gross. I had steak tar-tar once and I thought I was going to vomit on the plate, and I ended up cooking each piece with my lighter and I almost set the tablecloth on fire. The point is, even if I accomplish nothing today, I didn’t eat anyone. That is a win. For everyone.
The bottom-line is, there’s something very nice (and vaguely Stuart Smalley) about affirming something you accomplished and also recognizing something awful you avoided. I highly recommend it.
I’ll go first.
This week I wrote two pages in my new book and I don’t hate them. Also, I didn’t eat anyone.
PS. The zombie-kickstarter game people didn’t pay me anything for this and, in fact, I ended up sending them money to fund their project. This might seem generous, but keep in mind that they sent me a zombie portrait even after I told them that I wasn’t able to help them at all. Sometimes kindness just begets kindness and just keeps going. And sometimes that kindness needs to start with yourself. Be nice to you. I like you. I will not eat you. (Unless you want me to and we’re starving to death on a deserted island and you’re already dying of something. Then I might eat you. But I would cook you first. Because you are worth it.)