Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Learning to Love Myself

It is Tuesday afternoon. Late Tuesday afternoon. Early evening, really. And I am sitting in my living room, laptop sitting on its namesake, listening to the 40’s station. The Andrews Sisters, telling me that the Rhumboogie is a killer. I believe them, they’ve never steered me wrong before.

My heart, or whatever that thing is that lives deep down inside of me which I’ve ignored for so long and am now working desperately hard to nurse back to health, is perfectly happy with this scene. Let the rain fall outside, let the chores get done later- this is right. That part of me is perfectly happy sitting on the couch, wrapped up in a blanket and doesn’t need to be doing productive things to feel good.

My head, loudmouth that it is, is telling me that I should be job searching. It’s week two of being unemployed and I haven’t gotten a job offer yet from any of those places I thought were sure to offer me a job by now. My head reminds me that money will get tight, that my boyfriend will start to resent me, that if I’m not working I should at the very least clean the house or something.

My heart and head are fighting as they have been doing daily since I got back in touch with my heart (or whatever it’s called). So I strike a compromise. I haven’t written in… oh, entirely long too long for it to be good for me. My writing Yoda is probably wondering if I’m just going to nix the whole blog again. I have been berating myself as is my norm. No one, I assume, is happy about the lack of writing around here.

So here I am, writing. It’s not a short story, which part of me thinks it should be. It’s not even fiction which, again, gets higher billing in my mind than journal-type entries like this. It’s more honest than I should be on a blog that could be read by any psycho in the world (that’s my head talking, again). It’s not productive.

But I’ve been finding, since getting back in touch with myself, that productive is not necessarily good. I’ve spent most of my adult life up to this point with the constant need to do something so I can reason why I’m worthwhile. I’ve never- not since I was a kid and didn’t have this densely intellectual, judgmental voice in my head- been able to be content just being. I’ve always, always, always had to do something in order to even have the potential to feel worthwhile.

My heart, it turns out, has always been capable of feeling content by just being. In fact, that it is when it is most content, or at least when I hear its contentness the loudest. But my head cut the mic down there so long ago that it’s been the only internal voice I’ve had any dealings with for longer than I can remember. And my head wants me doing something, all the time. And if I don’t do anything it comes up with a billion reasons why I should feel guilty, and then eventually it blows up into a whole harangue about why I’m a bad person.

Anyway, my point is, my head is an asshole. It intellectualizes, and analyzes and reasons me out of any sense of self worth. And it does it so well that I actually lost the ability to hear anything else. But lately I’ve been forcing my head to shut the hell up which is NOT easy. But when my head stops, I can actually hear my heart. And my heart, amazingly enough, is not only alive and well but has quite a lot of good things to say about me.


My heart is calm. It knows that I will get a job eventually and it sees absolutely no point on freaking out which my head desperately wants to do. My heart is happy with where I am in my life, it trusts that my boyfriend loves me dearly, that my friends are true gifts which I appreciate for all their worth and who also love me dearly, that my life is playing out as it meant to and thinking is not going to do anything to speed up the process. My heart wants me on this couch, with the 40’s station playing in the background, typing the afternoon away.

And my heart, I’ve realized, is desperately in need of same basic TLC. If I could cook up a big, steaming bowl of my dad’s homemade chicken noodle soup (the greatest dinner in existence) and give it to my heart I would. But my heart isn’t a physical thing. I’m not sure what kind of a thing it is. I think it might be a spiritual one but I’m not sure. One way or another, I can’t feed it my dad’s homemade chicken noodle soup even though that would probably be the most nurturing thing I could possibly give it.

But my head learned a long a time ago what my heart needed. It just never did it very well. What my heart needs is some good old fashioned self affirmations. My head hates those, thinks they’re hokey and new-agey and ridiculous marketing ploys for people more pathetic than I and keeps thinking of Stewart Smalley sitting in front of the mirror going “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and gosh-darnit, people like me.” (My head is the most judgmental thing on the planet, in case you couldn’t tell). So in the spirit of compromise I won’t write those.

But I will write about some other stuff. Through the years, in spite of my head, I have learned to not only accept but *gasp* actually like some aspects of myself. (Love is still a bit too strong of a word but I think like is a very good start.) And I think it would be good for my heart to write about them.

I will make the disclaimer that I have not cornered the market on any of these behaviors, quirks, traits, characteristics or whatever they are. I have no doubt that there are many other people on the planet who do these things, have these personality traits, think this way. But I’m coming to understand that the specific combination of all these is part of what make me me. This particular package, with it’s add-ons and wears and tears, is me. Unique, genuine, and- god forbid I say it- special. I spit in the face of Tyler Durden’s wisdom when I say that I am a beautiful and unique snowflake.

And with that in mind, I give you a new mini-series: Learning to Love Myself. Stay tuned.

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