I'm a thinker, and an analyst, and I tend to be hypercritical of myself. If I can't be the best at something, I don't want to do it at all. As a result, I almost never do anything.
I'm famous in my family for making ugly scenes out of moments that should be light-hearted and/or inconsequential. (Hey guys, remember that time I upset the Trivial Pursuit board at Thanksgiving, sending colorful little pie pieces flying through the air and skittering across the coffee table? All because I KNEW the right answers to EVERYONE ELSE'S questions, but not my own, and I got pissed off because I was losing? And I yelled swear words in the presence of impressionable children and stormed out, but forgot to take my purse with me? Yeah...that was fun, wasn't it. *sigh* Good times.)
If you beat me at Balderdash, or Scrabble, or even Chinese checkers, I'll respect you, but I probably won't like you very much.
In short, I'm kind of a jerk.
I can't cook if my kitchen isn't spotless. (It's never spotless, thus all the eating out.)
I can't sew if one stitch is screwed up. (At least one stitch is always screwed up.)
I can't scrapbook if I make one wrong cut. (I measure once, and cut...)
I can't write if I can't find the perfect words. (Hence the dearth of recent blog posts.)
Do you see where this is going, people? I am a perfectionist who knows she can never be perfect. I'm a master of self sabotage and a cultivator of discontent. No matter what I do or say, it will be the wrong thing. Therefore...I find myself on my day off crawling under a warm quilt, watching five episodes of Weeds back-to-back while eating three-fourths of a bag of orange creme Halloween Oreos.
And then I despise myself for all of my perceived shortcomings.
Somehow, I was under the impression that once I got help with my mood issues, sought and received medical attention for the depression I've suffered since adolescence, I would be fixed. Cured. Made better. It never occurred to me that depression is an on-going disease, one that I will battle for the rest of my life. The disease does not conveniently disappear just because I take a pill or two everyday. When I have a downturn, I get angry. I get ashamed, and I feel guilty about not feeling well. I'm supposed to be fine! I have no tangible reason not to be happy! But maybe...if my apartment were clean, I'd be happy. If I could sew without mistakes, I'd be happy. If I could finish a scrapbook page or a blog post, I'd be happy. It's not ME; it's these outward circumstances over which I have so little control...or over which I WOULD have control if I were just a smarter, more ambitious, skinnier, healthier, more attractive person.
Wrong. All wrong.
I'm not saying all of this to justify my being a jerk. I'm not blaming depression for making me act like a pain in the ass. I'm just saying that I'm a jerk to myself just as often as I'm mean to anyone else. Much, much more often, actually.
I'm mean to myself. I berate myself until I curl into a ball and achieve stasis.
In order to recover from this mode I have to allow myself to be imperfect, remind myself that imperfection is not only inevitable, but beautiful. It is what makes me who I am. If I were perfect, I'd be a Stepford wife, and truthfully, I'd much rather be fun, quirky, too-often-a-pain-in-the-ass Rachel.
I can list off in my head a million and one reasons why my feeble efforts at life are inadequate, why I shouldn't even try to cook bacon or knit a scarf, or hang a picture. And if I let myself, I will. I have an internal running commentary to remind me of the specific ways in which I fall short. But every once in a while, instead of listening to it, I tell myself to shut up. I kick my own ass, and I start hammering nails into the wall. I know my frame isn't ever going to hang straight.
Fuck it. I like it crooked anyway.