I’ve been dealing with a funk lately, and one of the things the funk has decided to preoccupy me with has been failure. Failure to write, failure to keep up with household tasks, failure to take good care of myself and those that I love, failure to get shit done at work. You name it, my brain will figure out a way that I’ve failed at it and then proceed to make me feel terrible about it.
So, while I was sitting here this afternoon, mentally beating myself up over being a failure in all things, I finally thought, “You know what? Fuck it. I’m going to write. I don’t even care what comes out. I’m going to write it and I’m going to post it, and the Internet can suck a dirty donkey dick if they don’t like it”. That, of course, was false bravado, because after about 150 words the funk refused to be ignored further and proceeded to remind me that I’m a gigantic failure because I actually DO care what the Internet thinks about what I post.
As an aside, one of my habits while reading and writing is to look up words to make sure that they mean what I think they mean. This habit was partially born out of my annoyance at a former boss who used to say dumb shit like “that’s a mute point”, with no idea what the words he was saying actually meant. Although I know it’s sort of hard to tell from reading my F-bomb-riddled blog posts, I’m a certified vocabulary whore.
So, in my building panic about being a praise-seeking suck-nut, I opened up a new tab in Firefox and started looking up words for, essentially, praise-seeking behavior. This of course led me to the word ‘narcissism’ and the related psychological definition, and I sat reading with mounting horror what seemed like a near-definitive description of myself. From there, I started reading articles about how people become narcissists, what can be done to help them get over themselves, etc. I was in full-on psychological self-diagnosis mode and was getting ready to start looking up phone numbers for therapists. Things were looking BLEAK.
At that point, I noticed something down at the bottom of the page on the original description of narcissism that had prompted this snowball effect of self-diagnosis. There was a note I failed to see during my first, second and even third read through. It said, in essence, “Almost everyone will recognize some or all of these qualities in themselves when presented with this list. Self-diagnosis is dangerous and you shouldn’t do it. You’re probably fine, really…but if you think you aren’t, talk to someone about it rather than just sitting there assuming you’re the living embodiment of awfulness”.
I embellished, but you get the idea.
A light clicked on in my brain at that point. Sure, I have my funks and my self-esteem issues. I’m a perfectionist sometimes, and I DO seek praise from others sometimes. But…so do most other people. It’s called BEING HUMAN. All humans are a little bit narcissistic, otherwise we wouldn’t have survived as a species.
And just like that, my head slipped right out of my ass without even the slightest strain. I blinked at the bright light of the outside world, and once I realized what had happened, I started to laugh.
Because really, if you can’t laugh about something as personal as your own brand of crazy, you’ve probably got your head pretty far up your ass.