Friday, February 5, 2016

Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

About a week ago, my boyfriend and I had an argument that got blown cataclysmically out of proportion. I had hurt his feelings and instead of acknowledging that and apologizing, I reacted the way I frequently react when someone calls me out. I get really mad and really mean and freeze you out. Just straight up stop talking to you. And if you try to make me talk to you, I'll say any cold thing I can think of to get you to stop, to keep freezing you out. On this particular night, however, he was determined to break through, to talk to me, the real me, not the front I put up in fights.

He sat down in our driveway and asked me, "What am I supposed to do when you're wrong?" He was asking how to handle it, how to approach it, so that when he needs to confront me about something, I don't react this way. And something within me clicked that never had before. I am always right. Always. Always have been. In reality, I've been wrong thousands of times, but I really, really, really don't like admitting it. I don't like being wrong, who does? But in my situation, I commit so hard to being right when I'm wrong, that I exhaust whoever else is participating in my wrongness. I exhaust them to the point where they give up and continue loving me and everything goes back to normal. I'm lucky to be loved by some pretty kind people who'd rather not fight with me than be right. In my case, however, right-ness sometimes trumps reality. I've given up a lot to maintain my right-ness, friendships, opportunities, relationships, and more. I've told people I don't care if they walk away from me, if they never speak to me again, if they never look back, because some part of me feels that she NEEDS to be right. But the truth is, at the end of the day, I love being loved and loving more than I love being right.

As we tried to psychoanalyze me and what makes me so determined to be right about everything, Zach brought up my ego. When he said the word, "ego" I started to cry, because I realized quite easily what my right-ness was all about. I told him that my ego had taken a hit lately, that I didn't feel like the woman I thought I was, that I felt less than. I ascribed this to my inability to find an illustrious big girl job right after graduation. I said I thought I'd done everything right in college: gotten the grades, completed the internships, joined extracurriculars, studied abroad, worked my ass off, and now, it felt like all of that was just meaningless bullshit to ramp up a resume. I was so determined to win this fight--any fight--because I felt incapable of winning anything else. So yes, my ego is bruised. But my ego is not me. I am better, kinder, and stronger than my ego. I am better, kinder, and stronger than the voice telling me that I have failed, that I am not good at anything.

I turn 22 in seven days. I wrote this blog in my journal first, and as I wrote it, my foot fell asleep. I had to walk around while I was writing in order to keep it from falling asleep. It was very uncomfortable and made me want to rip my hair out at first, but as it went on, I started to think about what was going on. My foot has fallen asleep countless times, I always know circulation will come back if I move around and it will be over. I know it will end, and yet, in the moment, I am so frustrated by it. Just like this period of my life. It is kind of uncomfortable and scary, I don't know what comes next and I am pretty unsure of what I'm doing. But I know, this period will end. There will be a job, an idea, a transition, a change, a shift, and I will be onto the next big thing, forgetting quite readily the discomfort and anxiety I felt post-graduation. And what is so bad about discomfort? It reminds you that you're alive, that you're in control and able to alter your perception,  your surroundings, the way you feel inside and outside.

This is a strange period. My feelings change about it every day and I have to honor that. This morning, when Zach left for meetings, I started to cry. I felt like a failure again. I wanted to go to a job, a career, and feel like I was building something for myself. I felt like I was failing him and myself. He promptly reminded me that I am working close to 23 hours in the next two and a half days and that he is proud of me. He told me to write down 3 things I'm proud of, 3 things I'm afraid of, and 3 ways I can alleviate my fears. He is my boyfriend and my therapist and I am extremely grateful for his never-ending supply of love for me and I love him so very much.

So here are my things:

3 things I'm proud of:
1. How hard I've been working at jobs I didn't necessarily want but am starting to genuinely like, to pay my bills/rent, to take care of myself, and to do things that make the people I love and myself, happy.
2. For graduating. For making it out when I didn't think I would and for being okay on the other side, even though its scary.
3. For admitting, finally, that I can't always be right and that I have to let that control go. Who the fuck said do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? I forget. But I want to be happy :)

3 things I'm afraid of:
1. Failure.
2. Never getting published again/never getting a "dream job"
3. Being stagnant

3 ways to alleviate my fears:
1. Accept that I'm going to fail, over and over again, and I can't prevent or control it. Don't look at failure with a captial F, look at it as the place where you grow, learn, become a better/stronger person.
2. Keep trying. No matter what. Fight.
3. Recognize the difference between stagnance and stillness.