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2:32 p.m. - 2012-12-06
sense of self
You know you have issues when you find yourself Googling "how to develop a sense of self."

Talks with a. have made me want to take another crack at getting one. I have known that I lack one for as long as I can remember, at least since age 11 or 12. At least, I knew I lacked SOMETHING that other people had.

All the self-esteem I've ever had has come from two things, being smart and being pretty. I have always expected no less than perfection from myself academically, although if I couldn't have straight 100s I was OK with always being at the top of whatever group I was in -- class, school, state math meet. Beauty-wise I hated myself for a while because I'll never be a supermodel (no chance; I'm 5'4") and then I settled for being the thinnest person I know. I know thin doesn't make you beautiful, past a certain point, but fuck it, it does make you thin.

That's it. In other areas, I guess I strive for perfection and don't even come close, and that makes me miserable, so I recommit to being anal about school and my weight. I did eventually figure out that being as thin as possible was ruining the rest of my life, so now I'm anal about weighing exactly 100 pounds. If I weigh 101 I have a bad day because I'm fat and have no self-control. If I weigh 98 I feel guilty because the mother of a 5-year-old should not weigh 98 lb., etc. (If I weigh exactly 100 I think I feel fat AND guilty, but at least I'm in control!!)

How to develop a sense of self.

Really, I have no fucking clue.

So here are a few things I know about myself:

1. I am very curious about life. I love learning stuff. Anything. Languages, cooking, anything. That's waht makes my heart keep beating.

2. I have a terrible wanderlust. A. is the only other person I know who is like me; neither of us can live anywhere for more than a year without getting bored. Life is too short and the world is too fascinating to stay in one place for very long.

3. I feel that I have a purpose in life and the fact that I'm not trying to save lives in third-world countries has bugged me every day since childhood. (I am doing something about that right now. After 10 years as a journalist, I went back to school to be a nurse, and my goal is to eventually work for Doctors Without Borders.)

4. I love animals, and they love me.

5. I love kids and I love being a mom, but I don't think that's my sole purpose in life.

6. I am very loyal and I think, forgiving. After all, I spent years waiting for my complete turd ex to finish screwing other women and come home. I never wanted anyone else; now that I've found someone else I don't think I'll ever want anyone but her. I tend to think that people are beautiful and almost all sins are forgivable.

7. I am not materialistic. I am all for heat, hot water and food, and the ability to pay bills without stressing, but I have never wanted a mcmansion or a status symbol house on the water. Or a big expensive car, or a mink coat ... maybe I've fantasized, but I know that if I went down that road, nothing would ever be enough, and the more money I had, the more empty I'd feel. (See No. 3. You know how many starving kids you could feed with the money people spend on one beemer?)

8. I AM NOT PATIENT. With my kids, other people, myself, traffic, and anything else. I am working on that. I am much more patient than I used to be.

9. I have a quick temper that I have been working on taming for years. (I now try to obey the 24-hour rule: Don't tell someone off until you've waited at least 24 hours.)

10. I am not fearless, but I am usually more indignant, insulted, pissed off, or horrified by threats to show (or experience) fear. Or else I'm too excited by adventure or new challenges ... when faced by adversary, I tend to stick out my tongue. That's another personality trait I'm trying to hone a bit. It's not all bad but it tends to be unproductive.

11. I don't like myself and I tend to feel guilty about everything. Everything. I feel guilty if it rains or the price of gas goes up. I constantly feel like I'm failing everyone in my life and a whole ton of people I've never met, too. Maybe this could be a good thing (I care and want to make a difference in the world) but mostly it tends to be a bad thing (I'm self-destructive and I tend to withdraw from people because I feel totally overwhelmed and inadequate in every relationship.)

OK, that's enough for now. Do I have a sense of self yet?

Can't I just get one for $1.99 at WalMart?



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