Ever have one of those days

where everything you touch just turns to shit?

I started my day with a plan.  It’s Monday.  While I didn’t exactly start the day with a song in my heart, I wasn’t dreading returning to work like I sometimes do.  Then the day progressed, and I found out I’ve miscalculated the available funds in my bank account.  Not to my favor.  Houston, we have a problem.  SURPRISE I don’t have as much money as I thought I did when I made some discretionary expenditures (oh, like food and gas and dog food) over the weekend.  This happens to me when I don’t pay strict attention to what’s going on.  It’s a hit, but I can handle it.  During my lunch hour, I “swing by” the doctor’s office  to pick up a referral for a hand x-ray she promised to leave me.  Unfortunately, it was left at their OTHER office.  They scan it and give me a copy.  They also fax it to the x-ray people.  Of course, this all took longer than necessary.  My lunch hour gone and another errand to run, I fly back to work to make it on time.  I find parking and decide I’ll move the car in an hour to the lot that gets cheap at 1 PM.  It’s 11:57, so I pay the meter for an hour.  I get back to work, and it’s fairly busy.  When I look at the clock again, it’s 1:40.  Son of a bitch.  I tear outside and yes, I have a ticket.  Mood blackens a bit.  Now I’m REALLY pissed at myself for not paying attention.  Another $20 I can ill afford-down the drain.  And I can’t find my keys in my cavernous suitcase of a purse so I can move my car.  Mood approaching Defcon 4.  I unceremoniously dump my bag on the floor of my cubicle, and there are still no keys.  I start crying.  I HATE it when I cry after I’ve gotten frustrated, especially at work.  My boss comes up to help me, and I feel like a complete idiot.  She is kind at a time where kindness makes me cringe- doesn’t she understand that it’s time to chew myself a new ass over being stupid enough to get into these situations?  Of course, her kindness (kindness that I am incapable of extending to myself in this moment) causes me to continue crying.  I’m mortified.  She must think I’m a lunatic.  We find the keys and I go back outside, pay the meter, and run back to my desk. Okay, maybe not run.  But I am walking briskly.  I mop my snotty face off and try to hit the reset button.  I try to remind myself it will work out okay.  This is NOT the end of days.

Now I can’t find my phone.  It’s not in the cavernous bag.  Although I try to remember to put it in the little side  pouch it belongs in, I spend a lot of time looking for it.  My phone,  debit card and car keys are the most commonly misplaced  items known to man.  I’m all riled up again.,  Not crying anymore but LIVID with myself.  Those inner critics are gear up for an ass kicking of epic proportions when the negative self-talk starts.  It is not kind.  It goes something like “Dammit, you do this every time!   When the hell are you gonna learn that you need to put this shit back where it belongs EVERY TIME and you wouldn’t waste all this time looking for shit!  And if you paid more attention and actually wrote out that BUDGET you’ve been thinking about for months, you wouldn’t have spent that money and you’d be able to pay the stupid parking ticket you were dumb enough to get!” 

In the midst of this insanity, I text a message to a friend, who intervenes and tells me to do something to ground myself.  She suggests taking a break, or doing a quick meditation.  Of course, I can’t take a break and I don’t have those meditations handy, so I simply walk to the kitchen and get a glass of water.  The mere act of drinking water interrupts this deluge of inner turmoil (I have no idea why),  and I start to feel better.  Now that I’m not in mid-tizzy, I know for a fact that I left my phone in the car.  I make arrangements to take a break early and go out and get it.  Armageddon averted once again.  Total emotional meltdown avoided.   Back to Defcon 1.

I finish my work day and get ready to blast over to the x-ray guys and knock that out so I can have the report for my specialist appointment in two days.  I weave through traffic and make it in record time.  I hand them my form, the same form I wasted my lunch hour picking up.  And the man says to me “It’s not filled in.  We can’t do your x-ray if we can’t reach the doctor.”  It’s now after 5.  We all try to call the doctor- no response.  I did make it back to my car before I started weeping again, but I didn’t have any TIME to cry this frustration out of me because I had to get out of that fucking maze of a parking lot before I spent 30 minutes there,  or I’d have to pay for parking for this total waste of time and energy.  (The x-ray guys didn’t validate for parking anymore.  Lovely.)  I make it out of the parking lot on time and head home.  I am seething, but a calm numbness flows over me as that negative energy is stuffed away.   I chalk today’s events up to  “Well, its your own fault anyway.”  I arrive home, and I start to eat.  Potato chips.  Good thing there weren’t many left.  Rather than gear up to a full throttle binge that would make me feel momentarily better and eventually TONS WORSE, I decide to write about this process in the moment. 

What happened today was that I simply got tag-teamed by aspects of my Shadow self. 

I really wanted to organize the introduction of these aspects before showing examples of how they just grab the ball and run with it.  Evidently, that’s not the way it’s meant to be.  This is sometimes messy and disjointed work.  So, I guess I’ll introduce the players as they appear.  All these personas are on the dark side of my shadow self.  There  is also a light side to my Shadow, but I’ll have to save that for another day.  Before I commence with introductions, I need to explain how they all came by their names. 

I was working through a wonderful book called The Artist’s Way, and one of the suggestions was to name your inner critic something silly and come up with a cartoon image that you couldn’t possibly take seriously.  That being said, here are the folks that pulled a number on me today:

First off, let me introduce you to Renfield.  Renfield is the weasely procrastinator.  Denial is his strongest tool.  Renfield is brilliant at avoiding responsibility.  He wants to do nothing more than sit in a corner (or on the couch) eating flies (or watching endless reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and wait for someone else to take charge and tell him what to do.  Renfield has lots and lots of ideas.  When he won’t stop throwing them at me, I get overwhelmed and end up sitting on the couch watching Buffy.  Accomplishing nothing and berating myself for not getting any items crossed off the to do list.  This is how Renfield stays in control.  He likes to drive the bus and call the shots.  His favorite thing to do is render me immobile by either throwing too much information at me or simply appealing to my defeatist tendencies.  “Well, it just doesn’t really matter anyway.”  “You can’t fix it.”  “You’re screwed.”  “No matter what you do, it will never really amount to anything.”  “You might as well console yourself by lazing about and feeling sorry for yourself. …. tomorrow is another day.  Why don’t you just call this one a wash and go to bed.”  I actually even considered doing just that tonight and pulling the covers over my head.

Except it was only 6:00.  If Renfield had his way, I would waste the rest of the night and do absolutely nothing but open the door for his compadres.  Because once Renfield starts, they show up like lemmings headed for the cliff.

Renfield’s favorite tag-team partner is my most negative inner critic, Senor Fuckholio.  I picture Senor Fuckholio as a cartoon Mexican catfish.  I’ll draw him one of these days and post the drawing.  He wears a sombrero, complete with dingleballs all the way around.  He’s kind of creepy and  leers at everyone, has this weird handlebar mustache, and has the most ridiculously overblown negative air about him. Once Senor F shows up, the real fun starts.  “Well, you really never have been any good with money.  Probably never will be.”  “No common sense.”  “You do this ALL THE TIME.  You’re going to end up homeless and living under a bridge if you don’t get your shit together.”  “I don’t understand how you can be so smart and so stupid at the same time.”   “I can’t believe you didn’t move your car on time… and why didn’t you notice that the x-ray slip didn’t have anything checked off underneath all that writing?”  “I really don’t know what we’re supposed to do with you.  You’re hopeless.”  Wow.  Senor F expects me to be perfect and to know EVERYTHING.  How the hell am I supposed to know which box the doctor, who went to school for a million years, is supposed to check on a stupid goddamn referral form?  Really?  Kiss my ass, Senor Fuckholio.

Finally, enter Rosie the Fat Girl.  Poor Rosie is a mess.  Rosie was named after a friend’s dog who really wanted only to eat herself to death.  The dog food had to be completely out of reach for Rosie.  Rosie the Fat Girl’s only coping mechanism is to eat until she feels better.  And she never really feels better, because she hates herself for eating and being fat.  Food is her best friend, and it makes all the problems go away momentarily.  Her favorites are salty and sugary foods.  With enough of a sugar high, Rosie finally feels peace- if only for a minute or two.  Rosie is a pitiful and sad figure.  She breaks your heart.  I just want to pick her up and love on her, even though she kind of grosses me out. 

Rosie only got ahold of a few chips and two frozen mini Baby Ruth bars before I started writing instead of falling down the rabbit hole with Renfield (and Buffy), Rosie, and Senor Fuckholio. 

I consider this to be monumental progress. 

All these characters are really doing is bringing my attention to areas I need to work on.  I don’t care much for their methods, but part of learning to dance with them is finding some middle ground and asking them to give me information in a way that doesn’t want to make me want to go to bed weeping at 6PM.  These Shadow faces represent parts of me I have ignored and abandoned.  I’ve exiled Renfield and his brilliance, because it’s not really safe for me to succeed at anything.  I’m not safe if I call attention to myself with accomplishments.  Then people might actually EXPECT things from me.  Acting on Renfield’s brilliance would make me visible.  Senor F… well, he really is kind of a shithead.  I know when I ignore him, he just leers more and screams louder.  When I try to banish him or even take away his keys so he can’t drive the bus, he laughs at me.  Someday, I’ll figure out how to reclaim some of the power I’ve given him.  I won’t let him lead the dance forever.  I think the solution comes from interrupting the hateful tirades and changing some of my belief systems. I have some work to do finding peace with him.  And Rosie just wants to be loved.  She’s the part of me that’s tired of me being mean to her and really only wants some caring attention.  Some honest affection instead of piles of food.  She’s a one trick pony, and she only knows to eat to make herself feel better.  I hope I can patiently teach her to learn to trust me.  It’s one of my goals to be kinder to Rosie so she can one day raise her hand to get my attention instead of reaching for the Oreos. 

I would never say the things I say in my head to other people.  I would never be so rude, crude or vicious to another living person.  I know the work I need to do is all centered on learning to be compassionate with myself.  To love me.  I am no less deserving of my own respect than anyone else.  The end goal here  would be to grant myself the same courtesy I give others.  To treat myself as a trusted friend within the confines of my own head.  And stopping the craziness today was faster and easier than it’s been in the past.  It gives me hope that things can get better than they are if I keep chipping away at it.


~ by dancingwiththeshadow on March 21, 2011.

3 Responses to “Ever have one of those days”

  1. This is great post Kay! I kept laughing and crying along with you. I can’t wait to name my inner critics. I have those three plus a few more. This is a great way to deal with them. It helps to have something that makes you laugh through it all.

    Sorry you had a bad day. Just get up tomorrow (or today, since it is already Tue.) and try it all over again. Just look forward to writing a new blog post.

  2. Thanks so much for the encouragement! Today is indeed a new day. I love tht we get to start over. Sometimes, I’m actually able to hit the reset button in the midst of chaos. Hoping to see more of THOSE days as I forge on!

  3. CONGRATS – on “short” circuiting your process yesterday!!!!!!!

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