Last month my new therapist that I really liked "resigned" at the counseling center where I attend.
Fabulous. I get to tell my life story to yet another stranger who seems so nice and concerned.
I. Can't. Wait.
Actually, I had to wait about a month due to scheduling conflicts, and it really kinda sucked. Going to therapy is like having your own little cheerleader telling you that YOU CAN DO IT! (name that movie)
Plus, we've had a million and one things going on, and I've been a tad bit stressed. I don't handle stress well, I yell and cry, except my medication is generally not allowing me to cry, and yelling just takes up so much energy, so I allow it to fester and make me feel like crap.
While this beautiful (hot) summer weather has been happening, I have been feeling like crap.
While we have had many wonderful visitors since Memorial Day, and some great times were had, I have mostly been feeling like crap.
To those of you who saw me those times and think that I was just fine...I was either a) drunk or b) faking it.
(I did almost cry today! I was sitting at our bar eating lunch in the kitchen and I went to get more milk. I didn't move my knee enough and smacked it into the thingy under the countertop that holds it up. I almost passed out it hurt so bad. But I TEARED UP. Wow.)
I've been trying to think of things that my old therapist was telling me to do to make my life more manageable and generally make me a happier person. Things like giving myself a few minutes a day to take a deep breath, take a walk in the sun, relax for a second without feeling guilty. Let's just say that was a FAIL. What I also did do was a lot of thinking about why I am the way I am.
There is one constant thing I can remember doing since I was a little kid. Comparing myself to everything.
I can remember sitting on the floor at gym class stretching out before playing dodgeball or some appropriate game like that and looking at my friend Renee's legs. How come she didn't have the thing that looked like a fish gut hanging off of her thighs? I wish I could just take scissors and cut that right off.
I can remember seeing other kids (especially the boys) on the playgrounds running around. "Where do they get all that energy?" I would think to myself. Later, as I got older, I found myself saying that every time I went and visited my family in Southern Indiana. They would come home from a full day of work and start making dinner and just be talking and talking and laughing and be in this fantastic mood and I had no idea how they did it. How were they so chipper all the time??
In middle school and high school the physical comparisons got worse.
I envied other girls' clothes and hair and make-up and shoes. I ogled and dreamed about boys who were way out of my league, and pretty much anytime anyone of the opposite sex gave me attention I felt super duper special because he picked me and not some other girl to put his hormonal moves on.
I wanted to be a cheerleader, but wasn't skinny or coordinated enough and didn't know how to dance, and you had to know how to dance to be a cheerleader. I wanted to play basketball, but I was 5'1", and couldn't even make a free throw. Those two things were enough to keep me from trying out or even practicing.
I was jealous of how everyone had been friends forever, and decorated their lockers so cute, and how all the parents knew each other. I can actually remember being jealous of where other kids sat at lunch and when a food fight broke out, I yearned to be an integral part of it, instead of just an observer. (Except when they were getting into trouble.)
In college, I still envied other girls' boyfriends, and also apartments and taste in decorating their rooms and ability to handle their alcohol. I didn't dare rush a sorority because I didn't have the clothes for the rush process, much less the clothes for the actual sorority activities. I had friends in college who had really good "guy friends", and I wondered why I didn't have those.
I had all of these stupid horrible envious feelings because I noticed everything around me, and immediately and subconsciously compared myself to whatever it was I happened to be observing at the time.
Flat stomachs, skinny thighs, pretty lipstick, and cool streak of purple running through someone's hair. Cool older siblings, cute younger ones. A great taste in music and a CD collection to match.
Why couldn't I be all of those things?? Why didn't I have a purple streak in my hair??
And now, starting to think about venturing into my mid-30s, I am realizing that I should not have been comparing myself all those years. Old habits are hard to break, and I still do it to this day. Well-behaved animals or kids are always noticed. Houses with pretty and bright landscaping, houses with floor plans and decorations that I yearn for. Cute outfits, appropriately adorned with chunky jewelry and shoes that are probably way too uncomfortable for me to wear. Of course flat stomachs and thighs that don't touch, but those are just a given for just about any woman. Hair that has volume and is shiny, but simple looking. A white smile with no overbite. Even a confident walk is a mental note. "Why can't I walk like that?"
Thinking that way is so self-destructive.
I am me. For whatever reason, I am the way I am.
And I should start working on loving that girl. Because I am pretty cool.
I have adorable kids and really cute/sort of well behaved dogs.
I can totally pull off a pair of cowboy boots with shorts or a sundress.
Most importantly, I am none of those other people.
I am not the woman in Target whose kids AREN'T screaming at the top of their lungs. I am not the girl in high school who had had the same 4 friends since kindergarten. I am not the girl in college who loved to work out and had impeccable taste in clothes.
I am ME. And I need to learn to love me.