Kneejerk Pessimist

Right now, things are going well in my life. I can’t complain.

I have a job I enjoy and at which I am proficient (I’ve even been headhunted and offered supplementary work. That’s never happened before and I am stunned!). I am healthier than I have been for years (no smoking or drinking, regular exercise, easily five plus portions of fruit and veg a day, a healthy libido and gleam in my eye…). I have a partner who I love and who loves me (– Civil Partnership, ahoy! Rings and everything! But heaven forfend that anyone should deem it a marriage: it isn’t. So, no meringue frocks or wedding presents for us, just a deeply significant trip to the registrar and nice cup of tea). I have a future, commitment and security.  I have friends. I am not in debt, I have all the toys and gadgets I desire, I have free time to play with them and a little money in my pocket to spend on other small distractions. I live in one of the world’s most beautiful cities and I get to explore it every day.

- So why do I feel that it is all a trembling house of cards, waiting for the slightest breeze to tumble and fall? Why am I waiting for it all to go wrong? What part of me cannot accept that sometimes good things happen – not necessarily to good people, but to all people, regardless of the mealy-mouthed idea of “deserving”? Why can’t I feel that I am deserving of stability, love and success?

If I analyse too much, if I let my brow furrow and my gaze turn inward, if I keep thinking that it will all go wrong, then -as sure as autumn is readying its leafy coat- it will. And I know it. And still I can’t stop.

And then the questions start again: is your job really the best you can do? Why bother with the health kick? – your inheritance is almost certainly a tumour of some kind. Am I really loved and in love –or is it habit that is comfortable? What future do I really have? Why would anyone want to be friends with this? And so the toxic, self-defeating questioning goes on…

Even if this flurry of insecurity lasts a minute – a second, even - it is enough to rattle my whole day. I trip over my feet, I catch my hand on the kettle, I stammer and lose my train of thought. I become a self-fulfilling prophesy, lousing things up, hearing that mocking voice in my head that I can’t shut out “I knew you’d fuck it up. You’ll never be good enough.”  I hear the litany of my failures, in a dull intonation. I adopt an inner cringe. I withdraw.

I know I should be more accepting. I should be kinder to myself, congratulate myself for things I do well, the good things that I am, but it is hard. I should accept that I am loved- I find it hard to believe it, but I am- I should accept that I am loving, and that positive emotion can be expressed without fear of retribution. I should keep working hard to be positive so that maybe one day it won’t seem like hard work.

So, right now, things are going well in my life. I shan’t complain.

9 comments:

Fuzzy said...

Like you say to me my friend, we are these things out of habit and not nature. So I guess we unlearn and relearn and it doesn’t take overnight. I mean it took me years to learn fractions and as for my toilet training, well I couldn’t say.

Remember I said I thought we would be great friends for years to come? Well that wasn’t a line but a prediction. You are an amazing self-deprecating goddess who brings insight, intelligence wit and true friendship in to my life. So lets not try and f*ck it up * wink *

The Gripes of Wrath said...

You know fractions! *wail* Another one of my failures: I can barely count if I've got my socks on..Show off...
-and you're not supposed to listen to what I say - it's unnerving, not even my students listen to me...
As for fucking up - well - there are no guarantees -but I won't if you won't. Deal?

Fuzzy said...

*spits on palm* Deal!

Anna said...

Does it make you feel any better to know that a lot of other people (well, at least I) do the same thing?

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. "What do you mean, I'm happy? That can't be right...."

c'lam said...

and even if it all does go tits up, at least you have memories of all the good stuff.

The Gripes of Wrath said...

Funnily enough, the idea that if things fuck up at least I'll be able to remember things fondly isn't much of a comfort: I need to keep searching for the way not to sabotage myself/pre-empt my fuck-ups in the first place.
-I'm very good at the "consolation in the recollection of good times" bit,unfortunately I'm not so good at the "realising that they are good times", at the time element... *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel.

Homer Simpson

c'lam said...

ah, i possibly did not get my point across (my inarticulatemess astounds me). and again, i cannot say what i am thinking! but the general gist of it is, in trying not to fuck up you'll probably fuck up anyways, so try nto to worry about it.

and yes, i realise that this comment is probably even less articulate than the last one!

Anne said...

...Or, complain but realize that life runs in cycles. That we can be happy one year and unhappy the next and WILL be most likely but that's just life. Happiness forever and ever was never promised us. On a personal note, I love the good times in my life just THAT much more because I remember and acknowledge the unhappiness.
Don't think that there is something wrong with you. Life gets better, life gets worse. The point, I think, is to be happy while we can, but only because we know that we can't be happy forever. Be IN those moments of happiness and try to block out the voices, yes, because they will spoil it, but the only lies you are telling yourself are that you don't deserve the little happiness each of us gets. The voices are right in saying it won't last, but that's exactly why you shouldn't listen to them. Why sit and listen to that crap while you could be out having fun??