Sunday, May 23, 2010

Coming Clean

Today is another Shut Up and Write Marathon...I haven't attended one of these in a while, and I can tell that my body feels strange to be back. My mind doesn't know what to do with all that paper, for starters--"what? You want to focus on yourself for a bit? How the hell does that work?"--and then there is the need to write the first draft long-hand, which means that the hand gets tired. The sun is out but it's freezing cold out there--my mother's voice is at the back of my head demanding to know why I don't go outside and play anyway, because if you want cold Lord knows there are days in the Midwest where you spit and it sounds like you dropped your car keys.

So get out there.

F, no.

I'm too old for a lecture, Mom.

And yet I'm not. Over the last year I have made three monumental mistakes because I thought I deserved to make them in order to "feel good," which is sort of roughly on par with justifying smoking by saying you're stressed out by your mother's cancer. It doesn't make sense and makes perfect sense. The other night I came clean to a friend, ready, braced, for the lecture. Her response, "You aren't evil." YES, I AM. "Nope." As though what I had done was, well, human. (And I would repeat it here, but I'm still not sold on the part that I'm not evil. So saying it makes me a bit nauseous. I am my own crazy aunt at the family gathering.)

The lecture I got wasn't to stop, by the way--telling me to stop any kind of behavior is probably the least effective mode of getting me to stop. The lecture I got was to start worshipping myself, which is completely opposite from my normal behavior. About a month ago my boss gave me the assignment to complete a self-evaluation and then warned me not to get my feelings hurt when he got a hold of it and gave it back to me for not being harsh enough. I gave him an even, steady look and said, "Believe me, I'll make your idea of harsh look like a tea party." He shrank back a little in his chair. "You wouldn't stun me by sending it back," I continued. "What would stun me is if you kept it, liked it, or was kind to it. THAT would throw me off my game." And with that head's up he followed my advice and accepted it, which meant that I was back off balance.

Kindness usually puts me off. I don't know what to do with it, or how to thank those who bestow it. Sadly, since moving here, my thought process is that if you grant me kindness you must be ready to ask for something--and if you're a man the motives that cross my mind are twice as sinister. So the lecture of kindness that my friend gave me was on par with putting me in a blindfold and spinning me about 40 times and then telling me to find the door. She put the extra confusion in the mix by adding this to the lecture:
You have to be nice to yourself too. Kind to yourself. Worship yourself. Or you'll keep making this decision.
Oh shit. How the hell do I do that? Be nice? Worship? To THIS?

YEAH, TO THIS, JO. But how...

I'm about to find out. Be nice, dear reader.

No comments: