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INTENSE SELF-ABSORBED NAVEL-GAZING
2005-07-01, 12:28 p.m.

INTENSE SELF-ABSORBED NAVEL-GAZING

I am a great believer in appearances. That is, I believe that appearance might be half of what is really going on with me. ME. NOT YOU. ME. To be specific, in the beginning of high school, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we typed our papers out on typewriters, I was a shy girl. I had one close friend, and I could not and would not make other friends. Never spoke up, never struck up a random conversation, did not relate well to peers (Iím sure it says that in my permanent record somewhere).

And then my one best friend moved, and I was left afloat, and decided I needed to do something about it or die a dried-up friendless virgin.

I knew what Not Shy looked like. I had seen it on many folks, many times. So I decided to emulate that behavior. Even though I was dying inside, ma, dyeeeeng, I forced myself to act like the Not Shy girls I knew.

Whaddaya know? I forgot what it was like to be shy. The behavior took over the emotions, and soon enough, I was friendly enough to have a reputation for being slutty, which is really not the lesson I was trying to teach here and I think I just took this little story a little too far, but there you go. I was friendly and had lots of friends, and spent a little time in the green grass behind the stadium, brown-eyed girl.

I digress.

There are times when I can feel my deeply repressed inner Shy Girl trying to get out. I quash her, yíall. I stuff my anti-social ways down, down, downÖand I make myself be friendly and outgoing. When warranted, of course. There are times when curmudgeonliness is the only way to go.

Fast forward to now: here I am, on the cusp of hormonal shakeup antics, and I can feel myself slipping into what I imagine might be mild depression. Foregoing makeup or fixing my hair, generally not paying attention to my appearance or caring. Wearing frumpy clothes because who the hell cares? Whoís going to see me? What do I care what I look like? What do I care what other people think of me?

Slacking oh-so-much on the job because what difference does it make? Whatís going to change whether I really try or not? Properties will foreclose, money will run out, people are going to sue, so why try?

And I go back to high school (mentally, that is, and you know high school level mentality isnít that great of a leap for me), when I overcame shyness by NOT ACTING SHY. And I realize that I can try to overtake depression* by NOT ACTING DEPRESSED. To that end, Iím dressing like I have somewhere to go where itís important that people think Iím all hot and professional, and Iím working on my work like itís important that I get this shit done.

*DISCLAIMER: I KNOW THAT ONE CANNOT OVERCOME REAL-LIVE DEPRESSION BY FAKING IT, ANY MORE THAN DEPRESSION CAN BE OVERCOME WITH EXERCISE AND VITAMINS, TOM. Iím talking about that slippery slope that I tend to slide down that leads to apathy, grumpiness, and a generally shit-colored attitude. Negativity. Feeling bad about myself, specifically THE WAY I LOOK, AND THE LEVEL TO WHICH I PERFORM AT MY JOB.

Me. Not you. This is all about me. You go explain yourself in your journal. We are all our own distinct little science experiments.

If my attitude wonít turn around and take over and make the changes I want to make, then Iím going at it bass-ackwards and making the surface changes I want. Iím going for the ends, and waiting to see if the means catch up.

Iím not trying to put a merry fucking sunshine face on anything. Iím not talking about pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, pasting a big fake smile on your face, and persevering in the face of adversity. You all know Iím much too cynical for that bullshit.

What it is is (I always like the double ďisĒ), itís a vicious cycle. I feel bad, I procrastinate at work, and then I feel worse. So I procrastinate some more, with a little hopelessness and self-loathing thrown in, and then I feel even worse.

I'm trying to reverse the flow. Tail wagging dog and all that.

What Iím doing is forcing myself to at least LOOK like Iím not a dumpy, frumpy, frazzled, depressed 40-something whose job is overtaking her ability to deal. Maybe Iíll eventually, one day, forget what itís like to be all negative and pseudo-depressed, just like I forgot what itís like to be painfully shy.

So Iím just practicing looking hot and busy. Iím cleaning out file drawers and putting old financial reports in storage. Iím forcing myself to spend just 5 minutes doing a task I loathe, and then I find that Iíve spent 30 minutes on it, Iíve finished, and I have something to feel good about.

Iím wearing super-hot pink shoes (which I took a picture of, but my picture phone is mad at me and wonít send the message to my computer, so the picture is just floating out there. If you see a random picture of super-cute pink shoes just hanging out there in outer space, those are my feet. Yes, I took another picture of my feet. Again) with jeans and a tight t-shirt today. Iím HOTT. Sure I have a floppy middle-aged belly! Donít look at it Ė itís hideous! Look at my magnificent ass instead.

Can you really train yourself to FORGET an ingrained personality trait, i.e. negativity and bitchiness? I did it with shyness, so weíll see. If I start to slide backward, will yíall remind? Thanks.

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