Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day To Me



I slept until almost noon today. I haven't done that in years, but I had a crappy time last night. So did HUBS, and it was his birthday.

He wanted to build a new computer. We'd done our taxes and were getting a pretty good refund; but there were other pressing issues. The plumbing in our kitchen is shot and we need to pay his property tax from last year. I talked to him about it and told him I didn't like the idea of him spending so much, right now, on a computer when his isn't blown out. And I know his parents talked to him about it.

HUBS is angry. He's angry that he's 42 and can't just buy what he wants he wants to. He's angry that I don't have a job. He's angry that he feels like our whole financial life rests on his shoulders. He's angry that he has a job he basically enjoys, but where they've told him outright that he won't be able to move ahead if he stays there. He's angry that every time he comes close to getting a higher paying gig...he doesn't. All of that makes sense to me.

So last night, instead of enjoying his birthday, he told me how angry he was, is and will be about things until I get a job. It took a few hours. And when he took a break to shower I sat watching Access Hollywood, with a growing headache, and considered just walking out the door and getting into my car and not telling him where I was going or when I was coming back because I didn't know.

I stayed. When he came back into the room I apologized for being a depressed, unemployed and ambition-less loser. I apologized for leaving my job at exactly the wrong economic time, letting the process of applying for and not getting jobs demoralize me and giving up over and over again. I apologized for not knowing how to make working for myself work and for hating whatever office or retail job I might get in the future until I can make real money writing. I apologized for not caring about sex enough to do it when I don't want to and not even trying to find a job for the past seven months.

Then, we went to dinner. We drowned our sorrows in food and booze, and I, for one, felt no better.

I realized this morning, laying in bed trying to go back to sleep, that none of the things I want seem even remotely real or possible for me. For other people, sure. But not me. Whenever I try moving toward those things, I feel good only on the surface. Deep inside, there's a tight ball of tense fear that forms and says This will never happen, but you just keep on keeping on.

I don't feel special enough to have what I want. So, I stop trying and the fear of wanting goes away. I think that's why I sabotage myself so much.

The only way to get through the fear is to feel it and do the things I'm scared of, but I haven't mastered that. At all.

Clearly, I have some things to work on.

What's the scariest thing you've ever done? How did you make yourself do it anyway?

4 comments:

JeriWB said...

There have been so many scary things, all of which involved overcoming shyness and self-doubt and making myself interact with people. I'm not outgoing by nature, but waiting tables helped me learn how to approach people and make small talk. Then, somehow, I got a bunch of scholarships and ended up teaching. But socializing is like any habit, a person has to maintain a habit or they fall out of it. Working from home has been a real adjustment in that area. The key is to just keep getting out there, even when doing so feels like utter BS.

sophienaz said...

Scariest thing I had to do?
Age 11 - compering a school show.
Age 17 - unrehearsed speech to over 200 people
Just recently I started my blog.

Ask me the day before each of these events and I would tell you it was the scariest damn thing ever. After you do them they're just a memory. Some memories of success, some memories of failure. We try so hard to avoid failure we end up never trying to succeed. I don't mind a memory of failure. That's why I do whatever I think I should.

"I don't feel special enough to have what I want. So, I stop trying and the fear of wanting goes away. I think that's why I sabotage myself so much."
I know this. It is very difficult. As writers, as people who wish to use our creativity to reach people it is important to tap into our inner critic. Make it work for us and not against us.

Jon Jefferson said...

Everyday we run into fear that holds us back. It has been my experience that no matter how often I face the things I fear I am still terrified of them even after they are over. I have to face them again the next time. A good example for me is sending out the mini interview I do on my beer blog. Talking to people even through email, asking them to do something that will help me, is hard. It gets no easier every time I do it. But I do it anyway.

Courage is not the absence of fear. The absence of fear is insanity. Courage is feeling the fear but doing it anyway.

Feeling like you don't deserve it is normal. We all feel like that (either that or I have a huge amount of self doubt to work through). This is humility at work. Be wary of those who put on airs that they deserve everything. People like that are far less likely to work for what they get, instead they expect it all to be handed to them.

Citygirl said...

Jeri: In 2005 I made an effort to push myself out of my box quite a bit. I traveled to 3 out of town film festivals alone and talked to a lot of people. I had so much fun. And, you're right, now that I haven't done that for a long time I'm out of practice and back to the old terror.

Practice makes (almost) perfect with so many things.

Sophie: "We try so hard to avoid failure we end up never trying to succeed." Yes! I came to this realization a couple of months ago. I'm letting my fear keep me from success. Because if you don't try, you'll never get there.

Jon: "Feeling like you don't deserve it is normal. This is humility at work." It had never occurred to me that my feelings of inadequacy are kind of a good thing.

Kind words and good advice, everyone. I really appreciate it!

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