Thursday, April 23, 2009

Perfectionism 2.0 & Thoroughly Embarrassing Self-Pity and Bitterness

Too much to write about, I just can't remember it all, so let me start with some more of the charges laid against me, cuz they are still pissing me off. I talked to my therapist about finding the new hate-mail, and she sympathized with my inability to believe that anyone can be so ... pick your adjective. Unbelieveable!

Charge: I am a bad Buddhist because I'm 'supposed' to love everyone equally, but I admit that sometimes I hate people. Ok, I'm a Buddhist, not a Buddha. Loving unconditionally is a goal of buddhism but I defy anyone to say they can actually accomplish this. I'm working on it, and the first step is recognizing there's a problem. I'm not proud of hating people, it bothers me a lot, but at least I admit it. I have to start where I am. Geez, Jt, you read one book about Buddhism and you think you know everything. Well, you are wrong. If loving everybody was a requirement to call yourself a Buddhist, there would be no buddhists, am I right? F*ckn-A. Charges can't be dismissed because they don't make sense in the first place.

Did I talk about the one where I have this grandiose sense of entitlement? I think I did, talked about that one with my therapist too. How I spent my whole life feeling like I didn't have the right to take up space, had to apologize for my existence and take only what nobody else wanted. That sound like entitlement to anybody? Charges ridiculous.

Crap I can't remember the others I wanted to mention. Fibrofog...too much other stuff running around in my head. Maybe they'll come back to me when i write the next piece, Perfectionism 2.0. My therapist left me with this question this week: Why can't I stand to have anyone hate me?

I thought I was making real progress with my perfectionism. I don't get mad at myself when I screw up stuff - I let it slide, or just get mad at my life situation (being ill, no energy, poor, alone) instead of myself. I don't blame myself for things that aren't my fault anymore. Except. Except when it comes to people. I still have to be perfect. I have to be a perfect friend, perfectly polite, perfectly chipper and positive. I am convinced I have a tendency to be self-absorbed, so I make a herculean effort to compensate for that in my friendships. I feel like I 'owe' my friends that have been generous to me. I can't do enough for them. Well, really it's only Jd left that I feel this way about - she feeds me, pays for movies sometimes, buys me coffee most of the time, spends her gas picking me up from Kitchener and driving me all the way back to Cambridge. What do I do for her? Babysit occasionally. So in a way, maybe this is one more reason why I feel I can't unload or vent my problems to her - I'm already enough of a burden. I already take more than I give. She denies this of course, and I believe her. I do believe she does not feel like I drain her, take too much or owe her. But I can't help it, and I'm constantly anxious and on the lookout for ways I can pay her back, to restore some kind of equilibrium. The problem is, how do I know when I get there? Is it possible to ever get there? In two ways - in terms of resources, am I ever going to have enough to give to make up for what I've been given? And psychologically, is there any guarentee that its possible for me to feel like things are even if I can give enough? What is enough? So here I go pretending again. I'm terrified that I don't care enough, to I fake it til I make it - I watch myself and push myself to be more patient, a better listener, less negative, more helpful...and honestly I never questioned whether this was a good thing to do or not until now. Because what is it taking from me? I can't relax. I'm not allowed to be myself, self-absorbed or no. I can't be completely honest, I can't take the rest I need. Here is guilt motivating me still. Jd never sits down, she's always cleaning or folding laundry or making dinner, and I feel like I should help more, but the truth is I came over there to relax. I've always had this struggle defining the difference between laziness and the need to rest. (there's another charge - I don't clean my apartment properly because I'm lazy. Has nothing to do with how sick I am and the fact that, oh, I don't have a partner to help me out with the housework). Is it weird that she never really sits down to hang out with me? Sometimes I'm following her around the house just to talk to her. I know her temperment is different, she's an active person, she's not sick, and she feels she has to do that stuff. And after the kids go to bed she does sit down with me. But most of the time she's doing stuff and I feel like a lazy couch potato. She says she doesn't mind me hanging out while she's doing stuff around the house or in the yard. But hanging out while she's doing stuff isn't the same as hanging out with her. So I force myself to try to help even if I'm totally exhausted and really should be laying down, just so I'm with her, or, often, because I think if I help it will give her more time to spend with me. But she always has more to do - it never ends. A woman's work is never done. And honestly she likes it. She doesn't complain. And maybe that makes me jealous. Anyway, I feel like I can never be a good enough friend.

My cousins are also very generous to me - when I visit them they pay for everything - all my meals, and we are always eating out. Once again, they say they think nothing of it, but god, how much do I owe them? And sometimes I start to feel obligated to acquiesce to K's opinion because of that. I'm not allowed to disagree because how ungrateful that is.

I can't screw up, I can't be selfish, because people will only put up with so much and then they dump you. That's the belief behind Perfectionism 2.0. It's about people, and keeping them happy with me. I don't have to be a high acheiver or be good at everything, just a perfect friend. I have this nagging feeling all the time that people have just about had it up to here with me, and one more thing will be the straw that broke the camel's back. And that's a misunderstanding, in a way. All the things that I assume people find annoying about me aren't really what I'm meaning. Maybe I talk like a know-it-all, but I don't feel that way, and I don't mean to sound like that. Maybe I'm too sarcastic, but it doesn't mean I think I'm any better - I say the same sorts of things about myself, and I'm well aware of my own faults. Do I come of as arrogant anyway? So here I am, thinking I'm being genuinely me, when actually my efforts to 'be a better friend' are leading me back into pretending. Is anybody going to accept me the way I am, self-absorbed and impatient and sometimes just too tired to care about little things in life that people complain about? I try so hard to muster up compassion for that stuff even when I have no energy for it. I've got to say, being a better friend is a worthy thing to shoot for, but there is such a thing as trying too hard - when it costs me so much. When it interferes with my health and my enjoyment of our friendship. But I'm so afraid of being seen as a selfish, difficult person, and no matter what I do I'll probably be seen that way anyway because it's just the truth. Is it? I don't know. I'm afraid I don't care enough about other people. I care about humanity in general but individually and in the moment, well lets just be honest. I have my own worldview, and my own ideas about what's really important, and the things that most people bitch about most of the time are not on my list. So I really don't care a lot of the time. And I feel like that makes me a bad person, a bad friend.

Let's be more honest. I feel so deprived that the concerns of people that have enough money and enough love and enough health just piss me right off. You tell me about a real loss - you get sick or are in pain, somebody you love dies, etc. I'll give you so much compassion, I'll cry with you, because I feel that. I get that. But I really don't give a shit about the other stuff, the petty annoyances. Everybody has that, it's just life. Suck it up. I understand that you are all busy and stressed out, but you've chosen to say yes to all those things, to take them on. Don't keep complaining and not do anything about it - take responsibility for your limits and have the courage to say no. I can't pity you when you've got too many lunch dates to find any time to yourself. I can't say 'poor you' when you've bought something that's defective and have to jump in your car to return it. Is it wrong of me to get pissed off about these things because I can't even go out for lunch once a month, and when it takes a whole day's energy for me to return something that is broken? I don't want pity or to be felt sorry for. I just want people to recognize that these things that you get so frustrated about are actually not that big of a deal. That it could be so much worse. That you shouldn't look to me for sympathy about it because I can't even feed myself properly, and you want me to feel bad because your $100 haircut isn't quite right, or took too long? Know what I mean?

Ok, call me bitter, judging mind. Inner critic. Whatever it is in my head that is telling me I'm a bad bad person for this. This is where I'm at. It's easy for people who have their basic needs covered to say "want what you have". We aren't talking about want here, I'm talking about need. There are a lot of women out there who think it's essential to good self-care to get manicures and pedicures and buy some nice clothes every month. There are a lot of people out there who think spending $7 on a piece of salmon is par for the course, and healthy, and just do it. It is not until recently that I started thinking they might be right. That maybe I deserve to eat salmon and have some clothes too. That maybe it is just good self-care and healthy. But that just makes the fact that I can't have those things even worse. It makes me miserable. It makes me hopeless. People tell me, oh, you must have to budget really well on your income, and I tell them, I don't have enough to budget with, and that is the truth. If I spent what an average healthy eater spent on food in a month, including meals out, that would be all I could buy. No shampoo or soap, no toilet paper, no phone bill, no dog food. No bus tickets. No therapist.

So I'm fucking whining. So I'm a hypocrite, complaining and doing nothing abou t it. What can I do? Can't get better and work. Can't figure out how to live on pittance. Can't find a sugar daddy to pimp myself out to so I'll be taken care of. Can't lower myself to beg on the street. I'm trapped here people. So maybe being a good friend shouldn't be a priority right now. Except everybody needs to feel like they are loved and belong. Except even though I do have friends I still don't feel that way, so what is the point of working so hard to keep them? And if I'm trying too hard, isn't that going to make them go away too? God I make myself sick sometimes. I hate this blog entry and I hate myself for writing it. I hate the noise outside that is driving me nuts and I hate that I'm hot and sweating even though my feet are so cold they hurt, and I hate that I'm cramped with too much shit in my apartment and no fresh air and no direct sunlight and the NOISE, and I hate that my apartment is so dirty and that i have no energy to clean it and no energy to make healthy food that might make me feel a little better and am wallowing in my own fucking filth because I'm sick and have no help. Fuck being a good friend. I've got to just give that shit up and start being a good friend to ME first. Bring on the devastating loneliness then. I guess it's unavoidable. I might as well face it. What the hell did I do wrong? I don't deserve this life. And now I'm ashamed of my...everything.

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I sometimes write things that I don't really mean or believe. These are not to be taken literally, nor as definitive statements about me or my beliefs. Thoughts and emotions are transient, and I reserve the right to change my mind, generalize, exaggerate, give strong opinions, or write other possibly offensive statements. I don't lie, but I may say something that's not true to check whether I believe it or not, or to make a point. Call it creative license. This is my blog, and do have the right to say what I want. I'm using it in creatively therapeutic ways. Whatever the reader may think of me and my words, please believe that my core intentions are always good and I never willingly hurt anyone.