I can CHOOSE not to make myself crazy

 What a novel concept.  After reviewing the events of the last 48 hours, it occurs to me that I MAY have put too much on my plate Monday.  Ya think?  This will be an utter shock to those who know me.  Stop rolling your eyes, Debra.  I guess I don’t fully “get it” til I get it!

When I schedule myself for a day’s activities, it would serve me well to NOT schedule as much as humanly possible for that day.  I sometimes schedule thing so tightly that there’s little room for error.  If traffic is bad, or someone flakes on something I need in order to  adhere to my schedule, the whole process is thrown off.  On Monday, I had to rely on several other people to make all my self-imposed deadlines.  This never works out well for me.  I set my expectations of myself and others so high that it all ends up in the toilet.  Please refer to the previous post for a prime example of this. 

There was another aspect of my Shadow that set this all up before things even got rolling.  That would be Goodwife Bitchface, the perfectionist.  I call her Goodie for short.  Goodie likes a nice, tight schedule.  She believes that everything can be done within a set time frame, and she FREAKS OUT if there’s any deviation from the plan.  Yes, Goodie is a child of the Midwest.  She’s a Type A overachiever with little tolerance for any tomfoolery from anyone.  Her clothes are always ironed and starched.  Her hair, nails, and makeup are all perfect; they wouldn’t DARE be any other way.  She gazes in complete disapproval at anyone or anything that is remotely spontaneous. 

She’s a ton of fun, this one. 

Goodie expects the absolute best from everyone, everyday.  If things don’t go perfectly, she calls in Senor Fuckholio to browbeat everyone into submission.  She pretends Renfield doesn’t even exist.  She lives in her own perfect little 1952 world.  Men are deferred to, and she behaves impeccably at all times. 

I, however, do not.  I resent her just a little bit.  She’s rigid and judgmental.  I’ll bet she’s never cut loose and gotten drunk or done anything stupid in her entire life.  And she drives me to be perfect-  or else.  It’s just not healthy. 

I really pissed her off today when I de-escalated the whole medical fiasco from Monday.  I chose to do LESS than is humanly possible today to resolve the issue.  Goodie hates it when I do that.  I decided it wasn’t the end of the world if the doctor didn’t have the x-rays of the second-hand injury for the scheduled appointment.  If it works out, great.  If I have to go see him twice, I won’t die.  If I end up rescheduling that first appointment to completely take the pressure off, so be it.  When dealing with Goodwife Bitchface, I often forget that I have options. 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where she came from.  She is the over-  exaggeration of every critical parent who ever lived.  I need to remember that she’s not evil.  She’s just trying to do her job.  Like all parts of the Shadow, she is trying to keep me safe.  If I tow the line all the time, never complain, and operate like a superstar, she thinks she can shield me from life’s unpleasantness.  She is a true believer in the nonexistent Magic Combination Ensuring Eternal Happiness and Success. 

I needed this driving force when I was little to learn how to navigate in society.  I learned that people liked me better when I behaved.  When I was little, I was so good it was sickening.  I learned how to be polite.  I don’t always do it these days, but I know how.  Goodie’s intentions are well-meaning but her program hasn’t been updated in about 35 years.  She’s operating on an old agenda; trying to achieve old goals.  I’m an adult now, responsible for my own behavior.  I don’t need her protection in this way anymore.  She, like most of my Shadow aspects, has a light side.  She is smart, organized, and can get more done in an hour than anyone else I know.  She can think about 6 steps ahead and anticipate problems.  Then she can come up with a plan to prevent them.  She’s very resourceful;  I just need her to chill out a little bit.  She catches EVERYTHING.  This can be both good and bad for me.

My Shadow has had my back all its life.  It’s really is trying to do its best to protect me at all times.  It just doesn’t understand that I no longer need to react to situations like I did when I was five.  Its agenda needs some tweaking.

I believe that every woman has an inner Goodwife.  We’re all taught at a very young age what’s appropriate and what’s not.  How girls and women are expected to act.  Expectations and what defines appropriate behavior vary from family to family, but we all get SOME idea of what works in our families when we’re small.  While we need to know some of these things to function in society, many of our inner Goodwives go a little ballistic.  We’re bombarded with media and advertising that tell us our bodies are never in good enough shape, that our appearances can use more work, that we have to figure out a way to look 20 or 30 forever, or that we have no value if we aren’t in a conventional relationship.  God forbid a woman realizes she’s a lesbian.  What if you , like me, wonder if you’re just too independent or too messed up or just too scared to believe you can ever make a long-term relationship work?  And if you don’t have the confidence or desire to have children?     What if little kids with sticky hands make me itch?  Holy crap, look out for those judgments.

Ours is not generally a gentle, nurturing society for women.  Violence against women is rampant in our world.  We don’t have it as bad as women in some other countries, but we have it bad enough.  We still consistently earn less in the workplace.  If a woman is successful in corporate America, she’s usually regarded as some uber she-bitch that chewed up the competition and spit them out.  But if we don’t choose the corporate career and want to stay home and be a mom, we’re judged as not having enough ambition or wanting anything for ourselves.  No matter what we choose to do, we’re fucked.  And our inner Goodwives are PISSED OFF about this.  They believed if they did everything just right, if they achieve their goals, if they make everyone happy, if they find that magic combination, THEN they automatically get the payoff.  The gold star, brass ring, or Prince Charming on the stupid white horse to buy them a house with a white picket fence where they and their perfect children would live happily ever after.  I fear Goodie got a little smoke blown up her ass. 

Reality is that we often end up with sometimes happy enough lives where everything is a lot more WORK than we anticipated.  Talk about a bummer. No Prince, no white horse.  Hell, no white picket fence.   Reality turns out to be disappointing enough that a lot of us settle.  Sometimes we settle for a job we hate.  Sometimes we are so immobilized by fear of judgment that we do nothing (and then judge ourselves for that).  Sometimes we settle for a bag of crap in a relationship because we think we don’t deserve any better.  We put up with being beaten on or belittled, because part of us fears that those critics are right.  We think we didn’t get the fairy tale because something is WRONG with us.  BULLSHIT!!  Who originally wrote that Cinderella story?  I’ll bet it was a guy, and I’d like to kick his ass.

Every single human being is beautiful in his or her own way.  We all have very special talents.  Nobody can do what I can do.  Nobody can do what you can do, either.  We all deserve the very best in life.  We deserve to be happy inside our own skins, no matter what anybody else thinks of us.  Sometimes the ones who are the hardest to love need it the most.  Even the crazy, smelly and sometimes scary homeless people on the corner deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion because they are members of the human race.  Even me.  As a member of the human race, I deserve the same brilliant successes that everyone else does.  Simply by virtue of who I am.  No matter what Goodie says!


~ by dancingwiththeshadow on March 23, 2011.

2 Responses to “I can CHOOSE not to make myself crazy”

  1. “She is a true believer in the nonexistent Magic Combination Ensuring Eternal Happiness and Success.” Best sentence by far in this post!!

    “We’re bombarded with media and advertising that tell us our bodies are never in good enough shape….” this made me think of Mandisa’s song, “True Beauty.” I’ll send it to you.

    Another great post Kay, keep writing!

  2. Wow, Kay, Wow. Damn girl you just know how to say it. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: