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I’m extremely bad at arguing.  That’s not entirely true, I think that I’m really good at it as long as I can keep my head.  But if I let the anger and rage overtake me, the gloves come off and I don’t fight fair.  However, I make it really easy for someone else to fight unfairly as I have been always open and honest about myself.  Those who know me best know where my soft underbelly is and where my weaknesses are.  If I push them far enough, they know the place where they can inflict the most damage.

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I call this the Trump Card.  If someone plays it when arguing with me, they will always win.  Because they can shut me up with the following words, “Well at least I’m not crazy like you”.  It’s like the fatality in Mortal Kombat.  I can hear the words in the background “FINISH HER”!  Those words finish any conversation and make me completely retreat and shut down.

My best friend pointed this out to me when I was telling him about an argument I’d had with my sister.  He told me that it always worked because I honestly believed it was true.  How can I possibly argue with something that I hold as my truth?

Real or imagined, I’ve always felt like the “crazy one” in my family.  When I was 14, we moved again to what felt like a completely different world.  I didn’t know things were so bad that we had to move, I just knew that I was ripped from a life where I had friends and was moderately popular into a school that was 4 times the size in a very strange place where no one seemed to care.  My sisters made friends so easily, and I cried every single day. 

My freshman year of high school consisted of school, swim team, and crying.  At one point, my dad staged an “intervention” with me in front of everyone else.  I remember sitting on the brick fireplace where they explained that they couldn’t deal with me anymore.  And that if I wasn’t careful they would “send me away”.  I wasn’t sure what that meant exactly.  But I knew that I was branded the crazy one evermore, and I had to learn how to hide it better.

I could go down this road for hours, exploring the ways I should have made my life better instead of retreating into “crazy behaviours”, Not only did I have the crazy, I inherited my dad’s short fuse and bursts of anger.  Punching the walls was too obvious, so I stopped doing that and started carving things into my legs just so that I could stop the pain inside my heart.  My parents decided to tread lightly with me but soon became preoccupied by the birth of my baby sister, so there was no longer any talk of “sending me away”.

Maybe I am too honest.  I share more of myself here than I do with many people, and it’s not like I’m making any attempt to hide it.  Maybe I feel more comfortable pouring my heart out to strangers than I am trying to foster normal relationships.  It all goes back to the fear that if people knew who I really was they would go away. 

This is me.  I’m the crazy one.  How do I start changing that reality?

 

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I get inspired at the oddest times – mostly when I am nowhere near a computer or any sort of writing implement.  I come up with what I think are amazing ideas and can’t wait to get somewhere to jot them down.  But by the time I can actually sit down and write, the thoughts are gone and they’re replaced with an all too familiar feeling of dread.

I’ve never been a confident person.  It’s not to say that I don’t think that I’m good at things, but I’m constantly comparing myself to other people.  I’ve always found people that are better and smarter and more talented than myself.  The conversation in my head goes like this – “Hey, you’re really good at x, you should do that more!  But this person Y is a lot better at x than you, so why should you even try? You’ll never be as good as Y”.  And lately it’s gone even a step further “Furthermore, Y probably thinks that your work is crap and that you’re a horrible person for even attempting to do something like that.  Why bother?  You’ll just fail or quit like everything else”.  With that battle going on in my brain, the confident part of myself becomes smaller and smaller, shrivelling up into apathy.

The rational part of myself recognises this battle but doesn’t ever step in to call shenanigans.  I can see it going on and since the confidence is gone, I feel absolutely powerless to stop it.  I have to keep fighting every single day to accomplish anything.  This takes perfectionism and polarized thinking to an entirely different level where I’m afraid to enjoy my own life. I’ve blamed the depression for the fact that I can’t enjoy things I used to love.  And while the wonky chemicals in my brain probably have a lot to do with it, I think my confidence level is probably the bigger culprit.

Sometimes is never quite enough
If you’re flawless, then you’ll win my love

Be a good girl
You’ve gotta try a little harder
That simply wasn’t good enough
To make us proud
~ Alanis Morissette “Perfect”

If I trace the journey that my life has taken thus far, I’ll see many forks in the road where I made a choice to quit because I was scared.  I was scared of not being perfect, of not being good enough.  Fear has kept me from trying anything outside my comfort zone.  And I’m afraid to even pat myself on the back for the times when I did leap.  I trusted enough to fall in love.  I moved across the ocean to follow my heart.  I went for a job I didn’t think I’d ever get.  I am strong, but not confident in my own strength.

I used to love writing.  I did it all the time, scribbling on any spare piece of paper I could get my hands on.  When I got my first computer, I was banging away at the keyboard pouring my heart out to the empty pages.  Then I found Livejournal and started sharing.  Sharing feels like it was the worst thing that could have happened to my writing.  I started limiting what I said based on what I thought other people would want to hear.  I started over-editing and over-analyzing every word. I tried to brand myself as an interesting and funny person.  A good friend of mine (at the time) told me that my writing was crap, and I wasn’t an actual writer at all.  She said I was a fraud who would never succeed, certainly not enough to make a career out of it.  And as a result of that critique, my confidence weakened and I stopped.  I stopped sharing.  I stopped writing all together. I only wrote when I had to, when the words were so powerful they were ripping through me.  But I stopped sharing those moments too.

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs by strong and brave activists lately and they have awakened in me those same longings to share.  I’ve started keeping a notebook of things I want to blog about.  There are currently 3 or 4 pages of bullet points of things that are important to me that I feel like I need to share.  Topics that are important for me to explore for my own good, and maybe inspire someone else into seeing things in a different way.  I’ve been mad at myself for making excuses as to why I’m not actually WRITING about them.  Today’s topic was not on the list.  But if I can’t conquer this fear, none of these ideas will ever be anything more than bullet points in the spiral notebook in my handbag.

Unprofessional is crying in a bathroom stall in an office bathroom before it’s even 11 AM.  Unprofessional is someone who can’t take constructive criticism without folding into a stupid crying girl.  That’s me today.

I made a silly mistake, and it got escalated to one of my higher ups.  He emailed me directly advising of the mistake and how to fix it.  And he’s really a nice guy and wasn’t trying to be mean, and even said “hey, it’s a learning thing, and it’s been fixed now, so no worries”

But to me, it awoke in me this horrible fear.  Fear that I’m completely stupid and way over my head and out of my depth and have no idea what I’m doing.  I have been afraid of this for 9 months, that someone is going to find out that I’m a fraud and have no business being in this job.  I’m not confident in my abilities at all, because I have absolutely no background in this kind of thing and I’ve been making it up as I go along this whole time.  Mistakes like this, to me, are unforgivable.  No one died, it didn’t affect the company at all, but in my head, I feel like this is something they could fire me for.

Other times I feel like I’m really good at what I do, and that what I do is important.  But I changed job roles recently, or rather I got more duties handed to me without any training, and I’m still getting my legs under me when it comes to the job I was originally hired to do.  My work ethic seems to be detrimental to myself because I can’t give myself a damn break and forgive myself.

I don’t have time to really analyze where all of this is coming from, but I wanted to post this while I was still feeling it.  I’ve been censoring my posts for weeks, only writing at convenient times and not in the heat of the moment.  There’s something to be said for editing, but I started this blog to analyze the times that I felt irrational and to try to make some sense of them.

Somewhere in my brain, I know that I’m smart enough to handle this job.  I know that I’m not a fraud, and that people are allowed to make mistakes.  But if I know all that, why am I holding back tears as I try not to call myself a stupid pathetic loser?

I remember vividly the first time I ever told my mother about my husband.  I was in the blissful throes of “omg he likes me so much” and I wanted to tell her all about it.  And she said “You know what I love?  Is that you found someone to love you despite your body type.  You know, he loves you as you are”.  I know in my brain that these words were not meant maliciously, because I know my mom loves me.  As I am.  Whatever that means.  But tell my heart that? The words were like weapons and I took them to heart.  As if I was this unlovable person that couldn’t possibly be loved at my weight.  As there was something absolutely wrong with me that someone would have to completely overlook or “get over” before they could decide to love me.But isn’t that what society tells you? If you’re fat, you’re going to die alone and no one will ever love you unless you fit some mold?

A few years ago when I was living in Alabama, one of my coworkers asked why I wasn’t married, since I was about to turn 30.  Ignoring the rudeness of that, I just told her that I hadn’t found the right person yet.  And this woman, who I’d just met a few weeks earlier said to me “Well, you’re just too picky, then.  I know lots of guys who would go out with someone like you“. 

So what can I ascertain from that phrase “someone like you”?  Intelligent? Geeky? Funny? White? Short? Curly haired? Of course not.  And in case it wasn’t clear the first time, she made sure to spell it out for me.  “There are lots of guys who like women with extra meat on their bones”.  Well…good for them, then.  And thanks for thinking that I am not capable of finding someone to love someone like me and that I am being TOO PICKY with something as important as the person with whom I will spend the rest of my life. 

My husband observed that people are so worried about being “PC” that making fun of fat people is the only thing that’s allowed these days.  And in his way, he’s absolutely right.  Being fat is regarded as something that makes you a second class citizen.  And it’s perfectly acceptable for people to tell you how fat and disgusting you are.  As if you had “no idea”! And that it’s “for your own good”.  It’s ok to be prejudiced against someone who’s fat because we’re conditioned to believe that weight = unhealthiness.  So if someone’s unhealthy, they don’t deserve to live.  Or they don’t deserve to live as comfortably as everyone else.  So why shouldn’t you be able to discriminate against them? Because it’s really all their fault, isn’t it?  And if they really wanted to change and be better, they would be.

Guess what? You can’t tell a damn thing about what kind of person I am by looking at what’s on the outside of my body.  You can’t instantly tell me what my cholesterol levels are, or my blood sugar, or the status of my organs, or my fitness level.  You could guess, but you’d be wrong.  And do ANY of these things make me a person of worth?  And furthermore, are any of these things any of your business?

The realization I’m slowly coming to is that I’ve spent most of my life letting these judgements define me.  I see myself reflected back in the eyes of strangers and I have learned to hate what I see staring back at me.  And it’s hard to break that habit.  It’s hard to be allowed to love someone like me when I am told by everyone else that I don’t deserve that love because of what I am.

Someone like me is someone who is a person of worth who is loved BECAUSE of who I am. And I have to keep telling myself that I am a person of worth until I can shut out the voices that keep telling me that I’m not.