The Introspective Salon
I don't really feel like making a monthly playlist or a monthly favorites post, but I wanted to post one more thing this month to keep up the momentum, so I thought I'd do a little Thoughts On. They seem to get the most reaction, and I enjoy writing them.
Today, as I'm kind of coming out of a slight funk, I want to reflect on the various ways I hate myself. It's going to be so much fun.
I pretty actively avoid admitting to depression, a depression that stems from my active self-hatred. I talk quite a bit about anxiety and write a fair bit about it, whether it's here on this blog or in texts to friends and family, but I steer clear of depression. I think depression feels more overwhelming, in fact, I'm tearing up as I write it now because I know it's true and it makes me feel pretty shitty.
Depression, for me, comes in the form of self-loathing. Now, that's another word that really gets me emotional. The littlest things can set off my deepest pits of self-hatred, like getting into a small argument with my husband about domestic duties. This is probably the hardest area for me, because I fear becoming a nagging housewife who never lets up on her husband. (Maybe I watch too many sitcoms. I think that's where I'm getting this unfair comparison. I keep hearing "Deborah!" in my head as I write this).
I fear this stereotype so much that I often times won't even ask my husband for help or tell him when something he does or a mess he made is bothering me. I just let this hate fester, this hate for the part of me that wants stuff cleaned up. I get this mindset that clean dishes don't matter and I shouldn't care about it because it's so trivial and I hate the part of myself that cares, so rather than confront the problem I just clean the mess myself. I think if it's not bothering him, then why should I let it bother me? I compare myself to my husband and think I should just be as carefree as he is. Maybe if I was I could stop hating myself. If I just didn't care about the stupid dishes I could sit down in peace.
(I would like to mention that my husband does do a lot of cleaning up around the house. Just like I know, logically, that I'm not the stereotypical sitcom wife, I also know that he is not the stereotypical messy and dopey sitcom husband).
I go through this self-loathing, domestic-duties, self-hate spiral of a thought process at least once a week. I try and remind myself that my husband and I are different people with different domestic expectations and neither of us are right or wrong, but I still can't seem to shake the idea that I'm wrong and I just need to knock it off. I just need to be a different person with a different brain.
I'm really tearing up now, because this next part is the root of all this self-loathing. I feel inadequate as a wife. Sometimes I don't think I love my husband unconditionally because I get so frustrated at stupid little messes around the house. I've gotten a lot better about this, I'll give myself that credit at least, but I used to clam up and do ye old passive aggressive maneuvers like slamming doors and being loud in the kitchen while I cleaned. I don't suppose I've forgiven myself for that. It's such petty behavior I can hardly believe I acted like that. I'm embarrassed. It feels kind of good, though, to admit to that past self, because I can really understand how far I've come knowing where I started. I'm about 85% more likely to open up a conversation about my frustrations now, rather than let them fester and burst out through slammed doors. And, actually, I haven't slammed a door since our first year of marriage.
The bigger issue of inadequacy is a very personal one. I've talked about it to death, really. I've even finally talked to my mom about the fact that I can't (right now) have penetrative sex. This is the biggest bubble to burst whenever I start feeling bad about myself. It turns into a total sob fest. I just think if I can't do that "wifely duty" (seriously, I'm stuck in the 1950s with that phrase, but I really do think about it like that), then I don't deserve to be upset about anything in our marriage, because I'm a failure of a wife. I can't do the one thing that supposedly makes every argument disintegrate into nothingness, so I should do every other "wifely duty" without resentment. (Again with the sitcoms, couples bursting into passionate lovemaking to forget an argument. Like that argument doesn't just resurface later).
Stupid unrealistic expectations on television.
It's not like my husband and I don't enjoy each other intimately. It's not like we can't do other sexy things, but we live in a society that sees penetrative sex as the true sex. The real deal. The thing that takes away your status as a virgin. I KNOW in my head, I know logically that that is all total stupid bunk. It's absolute cultural spew. I can't seem to shake it though. Just like, for the longest time, I couldn't shake all the negative messages I got about sex when I was younger. It doesn't matter to my emotions, my emotions grab at all that malarchy and decide to turn it into fact. Facts that remind me that I'm a failure. Facts that tell me to hate myself.
Due to the self-hate spiral, I've had a fair share of break downs throughout the course of our marriage, all of which built up to such a volcanic explosion because I wouldn't shut off that voice in my brain going "I hate myself I hate myself I hate myself." This happens less now, but if an argument does happen to unhinge then I just settle so easily back into that self-hatred mantra.
A few posts ago, I mentioned that I was getting a lot of joy out of saying a self-love mantra, and for a month I did! It brought me so much joy and confidence, but just like any other habit, it takes a long time to build self-love. When I stopped being so faithful to the self-love mantra, I started ignoring my feelings of sadness and inadequacy and burying them deeper, only to be met with them all again. Hello little seeds of hate, I recognize your existence. You want to tell me I suck and that I'm worthless. I know your plan.
Oh gosh, worthlessness has got me all teary, too. That's another big one for me. I suppose it's right in line with inadequacy, but it has less to do with my status as a woman and a wife and more to do with my existence as a human. This one gets me at work or while I'm writing or when I'm sitting around trying to enjoy myself but I feel like I should be DOING something. Just last night, I was enjoying watching some iDubbbz vidoes. I really like his Kickstarter Crap series and I only discovered them last week so there's a LOT to watch, but after awhile I started to get this sick feeling like I shouldn't watch anymore. I've watched enough. I'm such a worthless piece of crap watching all of these. What a waste of time.
Yea, those words didn't feel too good. I tried closing my eyes and changing my mindset. I'm just enjoying some downtime. I find these videos funny. I deserve to enjoy myself. The more I had to TRY to relax, the more anxiety built up and the worse I ultimately felt. I got anxiety from laying in bed watching videos! All because I don't feel very good about myself. I didn't think I deserved that time to watch the videos because I hadn't done much all day.
Yea, I measure my self-worth in what I do. A terrible, terrible measurement. I KNOW that logically, but my emotions have a different idea.
Self-hate really permeates all areas of life. While I'm in the shower, I'm just shaving my legs but I accidentally cut myself. Spiral of self-hate. It's a small spiral that doesn't last very long, but still, it's quite intrusive when I'm showering, a time that should be relaxing! Self-hate creeps up on me when I'm driving, when I'm cooking, when I'm talking on the phone, when I'm grocery shopping, when I'm at the doctor's office. It sneaks up on me in the middle of a social interaction or event, causing me to get all antsy and just want to go home. It attacks me on days when my hair won't lay nicely or I haven't done laundry in awhile and can't find anything decent to wear. Self-hate causes me to react with strong emotions to small hiccups in life. It's an intruder of the worst kind because it knows exactly when to intrude to have the worst impact.
Self-hate feeds feelings of depression and feelings of depression feed self-hate. When I start to think "what's the point? nothing matters," what I'm really thinking is "what's the point? I don't matter."
It's hard. It sucks really bad some days. I get these spiraling thoughts and all I have the energy to do is lay around. I don't know how to balance that. Should I give in to that feeling and let myself rest for a day or two, or should I power through and do stuff anyway? Most the time I find that laying around only makes me feel worse, but it's hard to find the motivation to do anything when I feel worthless.
I'm leaning on the side of power through and do stuff. A few weeks ago, I decided to start nipping my biggest culprit of self-hate, the inadequate wife thing, in the butt. I'm sick of ignoring that problem. I've been working on it since we got married almost three years ago now, and little has changed. So, I scheduled an appointment for pelvic floor physical therapy. I feel slightly frustrated that I didn't try something more sooner, but you know, even a year ago I probably couldn't have handled this intrusive therapy. So, there you go self-hate spiral, I'll stop you there.
This past week I've been feeling quite down. I've allowed some feelings of self-hate to take hold and I've been trying that whole laying around thing. Really, that's just another way to ignore my problems. I'm good at that. I like to ignore. So today, I decided to try something else. I did some creative writing for an hour this morning, in 3 twenty minute increments to combat my propensity toward distractions, and then I sat down to work out these vulnerable thoughts. My self-hate spiral would like to tell me I haven't done enough, but I'm going to stop it by saying an hour of writing yielded over 1,000 words. 1,000 + words that I'm proud of, and that I enjoyed writing. (But, hey, future self-hate, even 100 words would be better than no words). And, now that I'm at the end of this blog post, I'm not crying anymore and I'm feeling a whole lot better and more energized.
So, too bad for you self-hate spiral. Today, I'm unwinding you.