Yesterday did not work out as I had hoped. After writing my post, I felt exposed and vulnerable and unable to deal with the activity I had planned – a walk with my friend and my dog. How weak is that? I just couldn’t deal with getting dressed and going out. In fairness to myself, I have to admit that the friend I was going to meet can be challenging. She was in a terrible car accident a few years back (drunk driver, he died at the scene & she barely made it – MAJOR trauma for all of us who weren’t in the wreck, but my friend only knows about it second hand…long story!) and she suffered a major brain injury. I love her, but she’s not the same person she used to be and it takes a lot of energy to deal with her sometimes, especially one on one. I just couldn’t face it yesterday, so I told her I had a migraine…and I stayed in my pajamas on the couch all day. NOT good!!!
During my sojourn on the couch, I caught a couple of episodes of “Girls,” and I kinda wish I hadn’t. I don’t know where they fit into the series exactly, so if you watch the show, this is either a spoiler or old news. Read at your own risk.
What I saw is this: Apparently Hannah has a history of anxiety and OCD, and she’s struggling with it. At the same time, she seems to have a publisher for her book, but she’s unable to write because she’s losing it. The pressure of her potential success is not helping. She’s eating Cool Whip with a spoon from the container, hiding out in her bedroom, wearing a T-shirt and underwear out of the house, etc., etc., etc. She’s calling her parents – especially her Dad, who seems to be the “softer” parent – for help and attention while avoiding her friends. It’s terrible. She even cut her own hair!! She’s a total mess and I’m sure no one else really gets it. Sound familiar?
It made me cringe (and take a shower). I’m not that bad – no ticks, I wear clothes when I leave the house, etc. – but I understand this part of her. Potential success is also potential failure. It makes you question who exactly you think you are. What makes you think you can do something as monumental as writing a book? Sure, that was her goal all along; she worked toward it in college; she was sure she could make it as a writer. But when it’s actually happening? That’s a mountain of pressure! The dream of your life is coming true – what if you screw it up? What if you aren’t as good as you thought? What if you succeed and then they want more? It’s more crippling (for me, anyway) than someone looking me in the face and saying, “No way. You’ll never be able to do that.” In fact, those words, that kind of feedback, drives me forward faster, with greater confidence and intensity than 20 people being supportive of me ever could. I don’t know what the head-shrinkers would say about that, but it’s the truth….
Anyway, just seeing her lose it like that was a little too real, you know. It made me want to crawl further into my shell. And it made me think stupid things like, “Yeah, I could write a book, but that pressure of turning it over to a publisher for editing, critiques and re-writes? That would be misery! And then, assuming I made it through all of that and, in the end, it was a success, they would want more because that’s their business! What if I don’t have more?” Cue the hyperventilation, fear and loathing! I got so scattered that I couldn’t remember if I had taken my meds…and the laundry is piling up again, and the sink is full of dishes, and I’m fat….
[Deep breaths. Today is a new day. Ddeeeppppp breeeaaatthsss.]
It’s now 10:30am on Sunday. I’m still in bed as I write this. My phone rang earlier, but I didn’t answer. I’ve had my coffee; I’ve done some reading; I’m writing. I’m scheduled to volunteer at the library this afternoon, so I need to shower, find some clean clothes to wear, and get my shit together…Why is is so hard? I just want to be good, to do what needs to be done, to hold it together for a few hours today at least…Damn, now I really feel awful!! Here’s the plan: I can procrastinate – while eating some cereal – for another half hour. Then I have to get in the shower and baby step my way through the next few hours. When I get home, I can put my pajamas on again if I want to. It will be OK. It will.