Category Archives: Self esteem

I Yam What I Yam…

Popeye said it best. Remember the movie with Robin Williams? The Spouse scoffs at its awfulness, and he’s probably right. The main reason I remember it is that it was the first movie I ever saw on a VCR. One of the huge Beta ones. In third grade my friend’s mom RENTED one for her birthday. Remember those days folks? It was amazing. Not the movie, but the idea of seeing a movie at home with no commercials. Can you tell we didn’t have cable?

Anyhoo, it’s Friday. That means a few things around here. I teach my weekly tech training class at work – and the head honcho made an announcement that no phones are allowed. Yippee! That should eliminate the nonstop texting that distracted me in last week’s session. Bowling night for the spouse (we’re so Honeymooners) means fam movie night with the minions. And I guarantee that a VCR won’t be involved. Are you kidding? The minions would die without the Scene Selection feature!

And The Big Sleepover is tomorrow. Coolness. Minion #1 had his birthday dinner last night, and surprisingly chose Napoli. Local neighborhood pizza joint with no crowds and yummy food. So the festivities have just begun.

Back to the topic. I Yam What I Yam. I’m just me. And I’m getting a bit exhausted – mentally and physically – from trying to be all things to make all people happy. I’m just me. See, I’ve got a friend or two – old and dear friends – that I’ve been really trying to maintain connections with. And it’s not working well. Whether they’re just extremely busy, have life stuff going on, or have decided that our relationship just isn’t worth maintaining – connecting is becoming more and more scarce.

I’ve tried. I’ve really tried to keep up the email – texting – Facebooking connection. I’ve tried the lighthearted reminder. The funny email. The from-the-heart supportive message. I’ve tried to say the kinds of things I think would maximize the conversation, the content and the connection. And guess what? It ain’t working, folks. I’ve mentioned the honesty factor. As in, if you’d rather not connect right now, please let me know. That ain’t working either. Yes, I know that ain’t ain’t a word, as my fourth grade teacher used to say. Until we showed her that it was in the dictionary. She was stymied.

So basically it comes down to me just being me. And – for once – not apologizing for it. I’m a smart person. I love to learn. But I also like to take a break with mindless escapism now and then. I enjoy fashion. I’m a girl. That doesn’t make me less of a person. And, being female, I can also be moody, crabby and a bit vindictive now and then. I’m tired of trying to hide it. Take me for what I am. Not perfect, but worthy of attention in my own right.

“Take me baby, or leave me.” Amazing vocals aside, that pretty much sums it up. And if you haven’t heard that song from Rent, do. If for no other reason than the amazing female vocal talent that’s required to pull it off.

So yes, I am a mom. A woman. A wife, mom and person in my own right. What I choose to do – or not do – makes me me. Working towards accepting that, as much as I may want them to, my friends just may not want me in their lives right now. I’m just gonna be me. And let them make their own choices.

Of course, it would be nice if open and honest communication let me know what those choices are. But that’s not on me. It’s out of my hands. Know what I mean??

How’s that for a deep Friday post??

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Filed under honesty, Moms, Relationships, Rent, Self esteem, working moms

Nemesis

Now there’s a word you can’t just say normally. You have to use a gravelly voice and draw out the ‘s’ sound. Nemesisss.That’s better. And let me clear one thing up for any of you non-sci-fi peeps who happen to be reading today. If it’s not obvious from the pic, I’m a Trekker. Not a Trekkie. Yes, there is a difference. While I have nothing but the utmost respect for Spock, Chekov, Sulu and Kirk, I definitely prefer Jean-Luc Picard and crew. And speaking of Picard, this is his nemesisss – Praetor Shinzon. Creepy huh?

 

Back to the topic now. Sorry about the minor tangent, but I had to clear that up. Growing up in the ‘burbs and living there now, it seems that I’ve pretty much always had a nemesis of some sort – because being in and around the city so much has exposed me to all sorts of people with all sorts of talents. At least since middle school. It has to do with my competitive streak. See, I’m an only child, a perfectionist, and extremely competitive. Always have been. No matter what it was, I’ve always wanted to be at the top of the heap and have focused insane amounts of energy to get there. Which, for some reason, has always put me in a position of having a nemesis – real or imagined.

At first these nemeses were purely musical in nature. My Number One Competitor in middle school actually had the audacity to be better than me. She beat me in not one, but two auditions. How dare she?? My overachieving brain couldn’t handle that, so I threw everything I had into practicing and becoming a better musician. But it became more than that. It wasn’t enough to just improve – I had to beat her. And not just musically. Looks, popularity, dates, all of it – I was determined to be better than her.
Of course I failed miserably. My short, skinny, dorky mouthful-of-braces self couldn’t compete with the tall-blonde-blue-eyed-outgoingness of her personality. But that didn’t stop me from trying – for about five years. And – go figure – when I finally did finish ahead of her in an audition, she wasn’t friendly anymore. Go figure. Should have been a life lesson, right?
Wrong, of course. Other nemeses followed. Not just musical – social as well. That dumb competitive streak outgrew the musical side of me and extended to everything. Boys? I’ve gotta admit, I gave it my best shot – but always lost out there. Seriously. I’m not kidding when I say that my First Date Ever – to homecoming – asked me to take his mom’s place selling Cokes in the corner so that he could dance with her. No lie. You can’t make this stuff up.
And as an adult – once I quit the music scene – there was always someone I had to beat. Can you say ‘competitive streak run amok?’ I can. Try it five times fast. The person who always tried to be the center of attention at work-related gatherings? I’d get mad every time, feel slighted and try that much harder to get more attention. Just like a kid – negative attention was ok, as long as it was attention.
Even today. One of my coworkers jokingly asked if someone I mentioned in a conversation was My Nemesis. When I stopped to think about it – I realized that he was right. There’s someone out there right now whose every word and action just burns me up. They love to toot their own horn, and often! Really. You can actually see the steam coming out of my ears – I’ve looked. And what’s my natural fight-or-flight response? Competition, of course. Some part of my Id (wow! A Freudian reference! Some part of Ed Psych must have stuck!) kicks into high gear at the very thought of this person and acts out – to be smarter, more talented, more positive, less narcissistic, prettier, a better parent, you name it – just so I can feel like I won. It’s driven me to some pretty petty acts lately. Not gonna go into specifics there – it’s too embarrassing.
So what gives? Why is it that my stupid competitive streak can’t just find a POSITIVE outlet for once? Just once? Because I’m tired of competing over things that don’t matter to anyone but me. Very tired. I mean, it’s not like someone is going to give me a medal for this. Wait, they actually might. Biggest Crazy Idiot Trophy.
Am I the only one out there with this problem? Is it, as my spouse so tough-lovingly says, ‘a woman thing?’ How do you deal with competition run amok? Any and all comments welcome please. Hey, if there are lots of us, maybe I could start a support group. Thoughts?

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Filed under Competition, Moms, Musicians, Parenting, Self esteem, Women's Issues

Labels

 
I have a problem with labels. Not the paper kind. The mental kind, which can be much stickier and more troublesome. See, I am definitely a Type A personality. I like control. I like order. Add to that the problem fact that, according to the Brain Colors test, I am also extremely Gold. Not golden – that would be a bit egocentric. But Gold. That means I like rules, regulations, checklists and routine in the extreme.
 
How does this relate to labels? Quite simply, I function best when I can put a label to any situation, relationship or person that I may come across. For most of my life, I’ve labeled myself in some form or fashion, just to simplify things in general (or so I thought.) Friend. Musician. Teacher. Wife. Introvert. The list goes on and on. And, in the process of creating these labels, I managed to box myself into them. I would think/act/make decisions based on whatever label I chose to identify most with at any given moment in time. You can see the problem here. I boxed myself in.
 
Relationships have been the same way. Upon meeting someone new my brain immediately tries to put a label on the relationship. Friend? Acquaintance? Co-worker? Instead of just living in the moment and enjoying getting to know people I jump into the compulsive attempt at labeling, and therefore, placing boundaries and expectations on, any new relationship. It makes mountains out of molehills and complications where none should exist. It poisons relationships. And it’s not fair to those people either.
 
 
Goal-setting is worse. Live in the moment? Ha! It’s been nearly impossible for most of my life. My brain is so goal-oriented that I spend so much time looking forward to the next step. I’ve really struggled with enjoying the now. That’s been my new challenge – and something that the last few months have taught me. Living in the moment. Blooming where I’m planted. Finding happiness where I am instead of where I will be.
 
I’m a work in progress…

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Filed under Identity, Introspection, Labeling, Personality, Relationships, Self esteem