From Our Readers I Hate Myself: My Journey Toward Self-Acceptance From Our Readers

Monday starts – my dreaded nemesis. For as long as I can remember, I have declared bi-monthly that Monday morning will be the first day of the rest of my life. It always precedes a Sunday night of eating or drinking until pain ensues, cuing my lifelong habit of self-pity. And like clockwork, by Monday at three, I’d be lying in bed in pajamas pissed that the sun had the gall to shine while I attempt to sleep off my failure.

It started to get bad again after I quit a job that I despised in order to, I dunno, write the Great American novel. Considering I hadn’t even read the Great American novel (Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom has been getting dusty on my shelf for months now), it was obvious my intentions were hazy. Although my former job made me want to sprint into oncoming traffic, it gave me purpose. Now I was left to complete, and uh, start all the projects I would “get to” when I quit that god-forsaken job. But deep down, I didn’t think I could do it, so I didn’t even try.

On one bi-monthly Monday afternoon, my boyfriend called to check-in. “Hey, were you sleeping?” “No, I’m working,” I said in a groggy voice. “Ok, good luck.” He seemed concerned. “See you tonight.”

As I threw my iPhone across the bed, I felt worse. I blatantly lied to my biggest supporter in order to continue shaming myself. My boyfriend, who shall be known as Dave, is inexplicably driven, kind and I believe to be worth a great deal of money some day. I intend to hold on to him. If not for love, because I know he’ll buy all of my future lies.

The odd thing about this event and the billions of mid-day naps that came before it, is that despite my textbook behavior, I was not clinically depressed. I was acting like an (insert expletive here).

The night before, Dave witnessed another of my countless Sunday night episodes. He confronted me with, “Why do you do this to yourself? Do what you want to be doing. Just say it! You can’t work on it, if you don’t own it.”

Yep, it’s that simple for him. It was especially infuriating because I couldn’t say it aloud. “If you can’t say it, you’ll never get it,” he added. After much cajoling on his part and my resisting by trying to change the subject, I finally said it. Although timid and with tears in my eyes, I declared my greatest dreams aloud, terrified that another person would verbally crap all over it. “You can do it,” he urged.

And no, I am not going to tell you all what it is, not because I don’t respect you, but because it’s precious and nerve-wracking enough to publicly recounting this scenario. Let’s just say I have my work cut out for me.

We talked strategy until he declared, “I am so proud of you. Guess tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.”

NO!, I thought. He cursed me. He spoke my doomed mantra aloud, spiraling me into another Monday I couldn’t live up to. It was not his fault. I’m crazy.

So, when Dave called on Monday, I was forced to acknowledge that I had reverted to my old habit of being, what I like to call, an absolute idiot. I was lying in bed in my usual slump because I had failed to produce a Joan Didion-esque manuscript by noon. Obviously, I deserved to die.

I started to cry until I heard “What the hell is your problem?!” Scarily enough, it came from my own head in the voice of my mother. It was comforting, yet called me out on my bull crap with a sniper’s precision. She is a no nonsense woman and on most days, that is how I live my life. So, indeed what the hell was my problem?

The truth is I have never faced a tragedy in my life. I have friends and family who love me. I am competent and I really do get things done. I have just never felt good about myself. Simple as that. And I imagine a lot of people feel the same.

In no way am I trying to coax sympathy because, trust me, I don’t take kindly to that. It’s just like Dave said, once you say it, you have a place to start.

As I lay in bed, I thought, “What if this is just a bad habit?” I have negative thoughts and anxiety attached to anything I do. There they are again, thoughts from a total (insert expletive). But if it’s just learned behavior, maybe I can ditch it. The answer: pushing harder on my follow through than most people have to. But maybe others secretly struggle with this? Or maybe people are blatantly lying about how much they get done? (I’m looking at you, Facebookers!)

I am who I am. That’s it. Riding that emotion, I climbed out of my comforter cocoon, sat at my computer and wrote this piece. As I’m sure you have gathered, I am not Joan Didion. But, who cares? Now that I’ve said it, I can move past the dreaded shame of not being someone else.

So..I push. And when I mean push, it’s the emotional equivalent of pushing an elephant up a water slide, every morning. But I am who I am. And I’ve said it aloud.

You can read more from Alex Mack on her blog.

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  2. I feel ya. My upcoming 10-yr high school reunion has me facing my reality and I face these feelings everyday. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  3. It’s helpful to us all when someone is bold enough to speak their truth. We are all so much more similar than our ego’s would like us to think. Clink!

  4. You can do it!! I am making those little steps everyday! You’re not alone :)

  5. You are so lucky to have such a supportive boyfriend! I know exactly how you feel! I lost my job a week or two ago (got let go because of budget cuts) and now I have all of these things I said I was going to do, but I am to busy laying around and feeling sorry for myself to do them! And the part where you said that maybe feeling bad is more of a bad habit then anything made me realize maybe that is my problem too lol

  6. You’re not alone in this fight, at all. I’m in the same situation as you. It’s really easy to be a bully to yourself but like you’ve said, you have to push. Sometimes it gets really hard but it’s nice to know that I’m not that alone and that I’m doing the right thing. Thanks!

  7. Thank you so much for writing this piece. Today you are my Joan Didion.

  8. This is one of the most amazing pieces I’ve ever read. Not only because the writing is wonderful and funny and smart, but because I can hear myself in almost every single word. I have often wondered if I was the only one who struggled just to get out of bed in the morning. Years ago I was a very successful, driven, confident person. Lately I am proud of myself for simply getting the dishes done. But, I have found, that it is the little steps, the cliched one day at a time, one thing a day, that has motivated me to try and crawl my way back to that person I used to be. It’s a lot tougher than it used to be but I have to remember to just keep working at it. Thank you so much for sharing your personal struggles. Just one more tool for me to use as I climb that very steep hill.

  9. This is totally my life right now. Thanks for this. I needed it.

  10. Someone really close to me feels the same way and they are only in high school. They work really hard but they feel like all they do is useless. My family and I try to be supportive but at this point I don’t know what else to do and it frustrates me. What can I do to help?

  11. “I have negative thoughts and anxiety attached to anything I do.” That is the exact same thing I said to myself this morning. And I really wonder where the anxiety comes from.

  12. Yeah, you’ve pretty much described me also. You are very much not alone on this one. I’m not sure if it makes us types feel any better. Maybe a little bit?

  13. Good luck in kicking that bad habit. I totally agree with that.

  14. So, I guess this is the SECOND day of your life! Congratulations!

  15. Well said – this totally resonates for me.
    Totally brave too, so thanks for putting it out there :-)

  16. Reading this piece when I just woke up it’s almost literally a wake up call! You have just basically described my life, I also quit my job that I hate mas now sort of hate myself for quitting it because at least I had something to get out of bed for… I congratulate you for knowing and saying out loud what you want for yourself because I know from (painful) experience that not knowing what you want out of life is real pain in the (insert your favorite synonym).
    Maybe someday I’ll be as brave as you are and I’ll be able to push that elephant everyday! Thank you

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