Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Throughout my life, I've had a tendency to take on more and more "projects" the more stressed-out I was getting. It's a self-feeding escalation, you see. The secret was that to begin with I was running away from whatever was bothering me at the time, often reality in one form or another. It was many years before I learned that it was just faster (and much less exhausting!) to just turn around and face what scared me and deal with it in the first place. Kept life from getting really complicated, too.

Not that I've entirely shed that tendency, oh no. But now, at least, I know to realize that when I'm committing myself to more and more "projects" that I need to stop and take a look, maybe there's an easier way to achieve relief from something that's bugging me. But first I have to recognize what's bugging me. (Current collection of projects: personal/voluntary: my novel, learning Spanish, organizing all of my photographs; involuntary: husband's recuperation from surgery this fall will require a lot of work on my part. Work-related: committing to creating a poster presentation for a conference in the fall-- in itself, no big deal, but added to the others, just another straw on the camel's back.)

Trouble is, I always have to wrestle with my ego in these little sessions. Turns out that I've always enmeshed my self-image with accomplishing *everything* I commit to doing. When my ego's enmeshed then it becomes a pride thang. "Pride goeth before a fall," I think is the hoary quote; well, let me tell you that phraseology doesn't do justice to the sweat blood and tears that have to be wrung out of me before I can get back to reality.

It can be really painful to face my own shortcomings. Maybe -- and I'm veering into the strictly fictional here because I ain't gonna put my *actual* personal life on the internet -- maybe I snapped at hubby a few nights ago and hurt his feelings when it was really uncalled-for, and I need to apologize. Maybe I spent some money I shouldn't have, and haven't fessed up yet. Maybe I spoke ill of someone who wasn't there to defend themselves (and no, it doesn't ameliorate it even if the person is a slimy, conniving lying bastard of an unelected politician; this is about *my* culpability, not his. Hrmm. I think I'd have to work on that one awhile longer...). Anyway, it's no fun facing up to that stuff.

But awhile back (like, uh, jeez, 17 years? Wow!) I undertook to make myself a better person. Someone *I* would respect. It turns out that that's damned hard, and you don't do it just once. You have to climb that hill over and over again, no matter how much you hate it, no matter how much it hurts, no matter how scared of it you are.

And then when you've done it again, you can look that image in the mirror in the eyes again. And that reminds you why you do it.

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