Like you, I have a lot of roles I have to play throughout my days, but the one I hate the most is when I have to be “Meany-Pants.” Whether it’s at work or elsewhere, I hate conflict. Except, apparently,when I’m being mean to myself. I am really good at being mean to myself.
If I had spoken to my friends the way I spoke to myself lately, I’d have no friends left. Unfortunately, I can’t just walk away from myself.
This week felt like a big long parade of things I cannot control. I never thought of myself as a control freak until I started realizing how often things I can’t control send my anxiety through the roof. Every single day seemed like curve ball after curve ball, and every day, I got meaner to myself. Why didn’t you see this coming? You should have known better. You always screw up like this…
I had a challenging week. It happens. Sometimes, the universe just gives you a hard week. I couldn’t have seen any of the major things coming. I wasn’t screwing up, but that didn’t stop me from being needlessly hard on myself.
One of the things I was trying to focus on this year was on being kind to myself. I was doing better at it, for the most part, until I moved.
I think that I have probably used the word “stupid” more often in the last week than I have in my entire lifetime. Part of it is just the amount of stress I’ve had because of moving and getting used to a new role in a new church in a new town in a new state with new people and a new home and a new grocery store to figure out and an all-out mental deficiency when it comes to distinguishing my apartment and office keys, which look identical.
Part of the stress is coming from the continuing Reorganization of Cindy that has been happening for a while now. In understanding myself, I get to know the parts of me that I like and don’t like and what I can change and what I can’t change and it’s just all exhausting. It’s no big challenge to find and understand things I don’t like about myself – I’m quite good at that. What I’m not good at is recognizing the good things.
A little more than a week ago, I was let down by cancelled plans. They were unexpected plans, since I didn’t think I’d see this person for months, when suddenly, the chance to see him in a few weeks became a possibility. The next day, plans got cancelled. Plans are usually cancelled with him, for one reason or another. Immediately, I started mentally cycling through all the reasons I should be beating myself up over it: I should have known better because plans are usually cancelled; he never meant to make them in the first place, I know how busy he is and I should be more patient, I somehow fell short of being worth plans and his time… A million and one reasons to feel like a fool, each one getting worse.
I messaged Melissa, who asked if she could run it by her husband, Matt, and I messaged Brandon, and eventually a friend whom I call BobbyJeff (not his real name). Their responses varied according to their personalities, and I really appreciate their help; they are part of the village that is raising this person. Matt and I are a lot alike, so it doesn’t surprise me that his response was the one that made the most sense, and then, after a bunch of other things, he said to Melissa:
“Cindy’s a catch. She doesn’t need to hang onto a maybe, she needs to realize that.”
That first sentence is really hard to accept. It’s outlandishly hard to believe. Dangit, Matthew, why did you have to throw that one in my face? It’s one with minimal supporting evidence. I think I’m a great friend. I think I’ve got plenty of redeeming qualities that make me well-suited for a number of roles, but when it comes to men, apparently I’m missing something. I don’t know what, or why. My darling friends try to assure me that it’s not me, but my cynical, anxious brain gets in the way.
I am trying really, really hard to be kind to myself. To not let the stress and anxiety push me into being Miss Meany-Pants towards myself. It’s hard, because it’s easy to be mean to myself. It’s easier to default to cynicism. It’s easier to start obsessing over things I can control in place of the things I can’t, and I’m trying really hard to not do that – it’s good to vacuum the house, but it’s not necessary to vacuum the couch six times a day simply because the dog got on it just after I vacuumed it 20 minutes ago.
Yesterday was an attempt to be kind to myself. Though I am generally over the case of mono I had and not contagious anymore, I hadn’t really had a day to do nothing since I moved, and I was wiped out. I slept later than usual, read, took a nap, watched horrible tv, cleaned the kitchen, read, and went to bed early. While not 100% restful, it’s kinder than I’ve been to myself in a while. I wasn’t as good at shutting off my brain, but it was a step in the right direction.