I’m my own worst enemy.
I’ve been contemplating the vicious cycle of low self-esteem this morning. It always takes the form of an internal conversation, between Me and The Bully (also me). It looks something like this:
Me: I really need to start training for that thing in July.
The Bully: You haven’t even finished the laundry you started yesterday! Or done the dishes. Or cleaned up the gardening tools, which have been sitting out for a week. Or filled out the kids’ passport forms. You should get those jobs done first, slacker.
Me: But I’m tired. I’m tired all the damned time. And if I exercise, I’ll have more energy, and feel better about myself, which will, in turn, inspire me to do more.
The Bully: You talk a good talk, but you never walk the walk. Why don’t you start slowly, do the dishes, have another cigarette, play on Facebook a bit and then see how the day goes?
Me: That’s what I always do! And it’s not working! I feel like shit. I look like hell. When’s the last time I washed my hair? If I could just get UP and DO, I’d be so much better off.
The Bully: You think so? You think you’re made of the same stuff as the people in all those inspirational YouTube videos you watch late at night while gnoshing pretzels, capable of overcoming tremendous adversity one step at a time? You think you can deal with the challenges, frustrations and setbacks that come with any grandiose plan (of which you’ve had many)? You think you can stick with it? When have YOU ever stuck with anything?
The Bully: That’s right. All the things you’ve “accomplished” thus far have been flukes. It’s not like you’ve ever really tried hard to do something, get something, be something. You just kind of lamely fall in to situations, and wait. You’ve never been the proactive type.
Me: But…my university degree…motherhood…my writing…? Surely those count as accomplishments?
The Bully: The only reason you started any one of those is because you had time to fill. Let’s keep it real.
The Bully: Allrighty, then! I think we’re done here. Let’s go have that cigarette and stare aimlessly off the porch for a while and dream impossible dreams for a bit before tackling the laundry.
It’s crazy-making. And what makes it worse is that all the brains in the world can’t suss out how to stop The Bully from dropping in unannounced. This isn’t something that is ruled by logic and reason. If it were, it would be so easy to build myself back up by looking at all I’ve done, as opposed to focusing on what has been left undone. I could practice daily Stewart Smalley affirmations.
I could get a subscription to “O” and believe everything I read about self-love.
I could do yoga and start believing in chakras, and thereby clean ’em out.
Ah, folks. It’s a hard row to hoe, sometimes. I don’t have any answers.
But today the sun is shining, and I’m going to get out there and enjoy it, laundry and Bully be damned.