My friend DeAnne sent an email out today that linked to a great blog post titled “You are Super Cool” along with a YouTube video.
What DeAnne didn’t realize (until she started reading my post) is that her timing was impeccable, because this weekend I convinced myself I was exceptionally un-cool.
It all started Saturday morning while getting ready for the singing improv class. I was dressed, I had taken Sam outside and then I plopped down to look at Facebook to get a hit of funny before hopping into the car. Instead of finding the funny, I found a new photo of someone who had insulted me on several occasions in an improv class. “What if she signed up for the Laura Hall thing? She probably did,” I told myself. “I bet she manages to work in an insult in a song and you’re going to have to smile, because you’re pitiful. You don’t have a backbone.” “I bet this isn’t even a beginner’s class. In fact, I bet every professional singing troupe member in Austin will be there and you will fail in front of them and they will loathe your presence and pray you leave at the break. You don’t deserve to be there. You’re pretty worthless. Remember, no one ever thought YOU should be in troupe.” It didn’t matter that I’d talked two people into signing-up or that when one of them had doubts they signed-up anyway after I reminded them that they absolutely should be there; that they were great. I continued to beat myself up, “you realize they don’t really want you there either, don’t you? You’re odd and you make people uncomfortable with your presence. Why do you have to be so weird and off-putting? Why don’t you have more friends? Why don’t old friends want to be around you? It’s pretty obvious. You are too disgusting to be around.” I was suddenly my intoxicated and bitter grandmother on a bad night. The words that repeated in my head, throughout the day, “you do not deserve to be there.”
There was a rational side arguing in my head, too who took on the face of one of my teachers and one of my friends. “Beth, you’re brilliant. I wish I could say it in a way that you would believe me when I say that to you.” “Beth, you have every right to be there. You’ll enjoy it if you can just make yourself leave this house.” “Beth, you’ve got to leave the house now. You will be ok. You will be safe.” I stared at the rationale side suspiciously. “Beth, you know if you don’t leave, you are actively choosing to spend the day filled with sadness and regret.” I told myself, “I’m ok with that, because I do not deserve to be there; it’s a class for people better than me” and then I spent the day being self-indulgent and nursing my cruel side by beating myself up with every negative thing I could whip out. It was a day filled with deep self-loathing and weeping every time I moved. I finally decided to just sit still and stare catatonically at the TV. I now know more than I ever thought I would about the Amish and I did successfully polished off Season 2 of Downton Abbey.
I think what made matters worse; I didn’t have anyone around to talk me off this particular ledge. Jay worked that day and I wasn’t about to send him a load of crazy in an email. I imagine there would be nothing worse than being trapped at work and thinking, “my wife is having a breakdown”. A friend I might have called, I didn’t; she has to deal with my crazy all the time, she should get at least one weekend off. So, I sat and made myself feel miserable all day.
The next day I had to go to the theater and instead of lying about why I missed class, which had been my big plan, I offered up “I psyched myself out”. This was accepted, but there were a couple of disappointed sighs along with reassurances, “you should have come; it was ok. People asked about you.” They were absolutely right. I should have gone.
The thing about it is there is a part of me that knows I am actually pretty cool. You can ask Sam. She’s an excellent judge of character. I just sometimes forget.
I also deserve things – like going to a class I’m incredibly excited about. That’s not going to happen again.
I hope you all never forget how super cool you are and if you ever do, I’ll be there to remind you.