To thine own self be true… or suffer consequences

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I’m thinking a lot about how I never want to disappoint anyone. How I want to be perceived as a hard-worker and someone who always does a great job. Why is it so important to me what people think of me? As those closest to me have pointed out: it’s not like they’re really paying that kind of attention to me or anything I do, because they’re busy worrying about their own lives. Now, since I know this, why do I still agonize over my ‘image’?

Because I need to figure out how not to do it, that’s why. I am just doing what I’ve always done, all my life, basically. Time to break the habits and just go ahead, living my life the way I have to live it. Screw what other people might be thinking. I need to do a much better job at taking care of myself.

It’s evident in things like what I did today. I went to the office, even though I really didn’t want to deal with all the sitting that I knew would be involved. It was our regular weekly meeting, and I wanted to prove I was a dedicated, hard worker who wasn’t just sitting at home, taking advantage of the telecommuting thing. No one told me I had to go in for this meeting. I just decided that I should. And so, even though I spent last night crying and agonizing over all the stuff I need to get done and felt sore as hell this morning (oh, like that’s any different than all the other mornings since April 16, damn it), I drove in, all my muscles clenched to keep my tailbone up and away from touching the car seat. This is how I drive right now. And it’s exhausting. By the time I got to the office, I was sweating. Yuck.

I went in and did the meeting. And it wasn’t a quick meeting. Oh, of course not. It dragged on and on, and I shifted all over the place in my stupid conference room chair, trying desperately to stave off the spasms that come when I stay in one position too long. I stood up when I felt like I could, without causing a lot of attention. I don’t know why I was so damn self-conscious, but I couldn’t NOT BE. I wanted to look like I was dedicated, and not in as much pain as I was. But I think I failed. I just have a feeling it was kind of clear that I was uncomfortable as fuck sitting in there while the talking went on and on and on. I wanted nothing more than to grab my stuff, get back in the car and do the annoying-as-shit drive back home and lay down with my trusty icepack.

But I couldn’t, because after THAT long meeting, I had another one. And this one was just as bad, except possibly worse because the chair I was in for that meeting was one of those small task chairs, and I couldn’t really do my side-sitting thing very easily at all. (I shift from one buttcheek to the other out of necessity.) I never want to say anything bad about work, even on a somewhat-anonymous blog, but DAMN. Sometimes it’s OK to just shut the hell up and get back to your desk and do some work, you know? There’s no reason to hash out a list of projects, and then revisit the list two or three more times before we finally end the meeting to make sure we all understand what we’re doing. A lot of people are guilty of doing this, it’s not just one person or anything. But today OH MY GOD I could have strangled people for doing this. Not right now. Right now, I need brevity and concentration. I need things to be efficient as possible so I can limit how long I am stuck in a chair. Period. That’s what I physically N-E-E-D and the thing is, I guess I don’t know how to get this across to other people.

I don’t want to be a jerk, or whine or ask for special treatment. I HATE THIS. The simple truth is that I am fucking miserable these days. I know it won’t be forever, and these are just injuries that resulted from an accident (not something I intentionally did) and they WILL heal. I just don’t feel like I have much strength left in me after days like today… when I spend all my energy on forcing myself to sit in chairs that result in searing pain (no exaggeration, either! OMFG it burned like a motherfuck right into my hamstrings by the time I got in my car after work) because I want to seem like a hard worker. I put myself through that, FOR WHAT?!

What, am I gonna get a special award for dragging my ass in and sitting there through two long meetings that totally just under four hours? Do I really think people are impressed by whatever it is that I am doing; that they care that I am there, or not? What did I really gain today by putting myself through this?!?!

Not a thing. Except…this.

I realized that I have to stop doing this crap. I had to feel that kind of pain, the kind that drove me to tears (and I haven’t been crying very much over this until now) in order to learn that the way I do things, the way I worry so damn much about what other people think, is the wrong way to live my life.

Over and over and over again I am forced to look at this and learn this lesson. I have had a lot of sobering things happen in the last decade or so. I almost didn’t leave a horrible, unhealthy marriage just because I didn’t want people to think less of me because “I gave up on a marriage” instead of working on things and weathering the hard times as a couple. I tried to hide my problems with writing my articles last summer because I didn’t want people to know the truth about my latest bout of serious depression and subsequent medicine-tweaking. I want to have this outer impression of someone who is fun, carefree and very intelligent– and someone who gets shit done and does things better than other people. Well. Ya can’t have everything.

And you can’t have an unrealistic viewpoint for the rest of your life, either.

So right now, I have to just let people know what I can’t do. I have to say no, I have to be honest. If I don’t start doing this, I definitely think I will drive myself into insanity for real. I think I need to go say the serenity prayer a few times before I go to sleep tonight, and think about the words. And find ways to live them.

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6 responses »

  1. did they give you a donut pillow to sit on or anything? would that even help. and yeah, those bitches can TALK! and Im not even there no mo. at least the first meeting was on the conf room chairs, those are a little better.

  2. No donut pillow, but that’s b/c I didn’t ask for one, either. Donut pillows don’t work because the pain is deeply embedded in my right buttock, too, in addition to the actual tailbone area. I tried a donut pillow the second day or so, and WOW, it hurt more than a regular chair! I have a coccyx cushion (and I still feel like giggling every time I say coccyx, yeah; that hasn’t changed!) that has a cutout in the back and even pressure everywhere else, but it turns out that it only works for so long. My sis gave me a phone book to sit on (have it under my thighs more) and THAT works pretty well. But silly me, I didn’t bring it. I left it right on the kitchen counter, where I put it so I would remember it.

    The one issue with the Chevy HHR: The seats can’t go any lower, and if I put anything on my seat to make my driving experience easier, my head literally hits the ceiling. It’s like purgatory. I’m stuck until this is over.

  3. All being a hard worker has ever earned me is the hatred and jealousy of my other coworkers. Oh, and also a father-in-law who is very impressed by my hard work (he said so to DH the first time he met me) and a husband who forgets that just because I work so hard doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to help!

  4. I would shake my head at you but I can’t because I am the exact same way. I put myself out there for other people and don’t think about what that does to my well-being. Case in point, I went back to work too soon after surgery when I really should have stayed home a day or more. I ended up feeling worse and probably did a bit of damage as well. Please take care of yourself. As two people in similar situations we need to be each other backup and say it is okay to say no I can’t do that.

  5. I just re-read this and thought of something funny for my fellow LOST geeks. I’m like the anti-John Locke these days, yelling, “Let me tell you what I CAN’T do!!”

    ha ha ha ha ha ha

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