Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Harper's, Hemingway's & Redheads

It is the biggest conundrum of my life, my lack of belief in myself. I am at war with this one thing, this one festering wound gaping on the inside of my very being, at least 23 hours out of any given day. I don't know psychologically what it is about me wanting to sabotage myself at every turn, or stand in my own way, but I am a master at it. I've given myself ample practice after all, as I think I've believed the worst in myself since I was about six years old.

I have been giving a lot of thought lately about how to combat this hideousness that is self-doubt and complete disbelief and the answer seems so simple: maintain positivity, have faith, and stop rocking in the corner in fear and step into the murky, ominous waters of uncertainty--which is going after what I really want with the potential to fail--don't like that business--and let myself succumb to what will or will not be. So simple, sure. A piece of cake really, that I want to eat, speaking of cake, in my corner, while avoiding having to face big things. It's so much calmer in the corner with cake, though isn't it? Why ruffle the waters?

Because in actuality I fucking hate the corner I've put myself in (Dirty Dancing reference that I didn't mean to create, but roll with me here) and I abhor not being Pioneer Woman yet! Which is a blogger, writer, photographer, horse owning, cook book writing, TV show goddess and I loathe and love her at the same. damn. time. Ugh, why are all the best woman redheads? Ahem, my other hero, Lucille Ball, duh. Hmm, maybe that's it, I should go red again, and I have been fighting red for so long... gosh why did I never make that connection... Okay, I digress.

So my boyfriend and I got in quite a few little (okay and big) tiffs yesterday on this very issue, the issue of my disbelief that is. It was all me, projecting onto him, my own runaround with myself, my feeling that I am lacking and being scared, so on, so forth. Then when he confronted me, I ever so gracefully attacked like a caged and prodded wild thing. Claws officially out, baby.

Whenever DC says something I don't want to hear, literally my first response is to get away from him. If we are sitting on the couch and I am leaning on him, I lift my head and move to the other side of the couch. If I am standing in the kitchen and he's in the living room, I turn around or walk out of the room. If we are in bed and he has his arm around me, I try and squirm out from under him and get to the farthest reaches of the bed with my head turned.

I think that if I get myself far enough away and curled into enough of a ball he will sense I am not responding well and stop. He doesn't. It's crazy but when he pushes me, so far out of my comfort zone that I don't want to be near him, I want to plug my ears and scream at him to stop, I want to cry and I do, I am so mad, so combative, yet I respect him so much (after the fact, admittedly, in the moment I kinda can't stand him, sorry honey) for saying what I won't deign to let others say to me. Almost all of my tactics work on other people, if my mom is pushing me and I don't want to be pushed, crying seems to work, if my best friend is, I can easily agree with her and say I know, I know, and placate her enough that I am understanding and moved to action (which sometimes I am and sometimes I am not) but usually she doesn't go for the jugular.

Last night DC went for the jugular and I was so stinking, irrationally mad. I thought I will show you, you rotten pusher! I will write my novel and it is going to rival Augusten Burroughs, Chelsea Handler and your precious J.K. Rowling! How dare you! How dare you push me to the brink of my own belief and then let me fall! Well, by golly, it worked! He is a sneaky lil shit, as I have told him that nothing works wonders like someone not believing in me. Again, psychologically I don't know what that says about me. And for the record, none of his pointed questions even insinuated disbelief, they were just ugly truthful questions that were very hard for me to evade, like, "What do you seriously want to be?" I purposefully answered artist because I knew he was hitting close to home and if I said writer he would ask me when the last time I wrote was. Oh I was so onto him, but still, he is no amateur either, so he dealt quickly and efficiently with my sidestep and still got himself back around to the question I didn't want to be voiced, "How much writing have you gotten done since moving here? You talk about when you sell your novel, but it's always a distant whimsical thing? When are you going to do it?"

And boom, dismantled. He has hit my Achilles heel and I am done. And at this point I have tried, very unsuccessfully I might add to get as far away from him as possible. But he's onto my game and is holding fast. If he had let go, I would have fled. Honestly I was contemplating stealing his keys and making a mad dash for the mountains, that's how much I did not want to have that conversation with him, or anyone. Heck I purposefully avoid having that very conversation with myself 99% of the time, until even I have become a pro at hiding in the wooded depths of my own soul. I am a very tricky beast, that's for sure.

The thing about me is I can't be babied. Do I love it when I am babied? A lil bit. On adult things that I loathe doing, like my taxes--Mommmmm, fix it! Or the five year old in me that probably will never go away--getting ADD in a museum after an hour looking at old bones and tugging on DC'S shirtsleeve, I can't look at any more, I want an ice cream cone!

But really for the most part I love when people expect more of me and push me to rise to the occasion, for they are seeing something I am not recognizing in myself and that is I am a heck of a lot tougher than I give myself credit for. That's why Bob Harper and I got on so well; sure he absolutely pumped me up about my strengths and believed in me, but certainly as the sun rises in the East would he pulverize me in a workout, not tolerating a wuss out on on myself for one second and I honestly appreciated that.

Moral of the story, here, as livid as I was last night being challenged on my dreams and belief system, accompanied by all my histrionics and evasion maneuvers, now in the fresh light of day, I can deeply appreciate that DC would not back down just because I cried, pulled away, sulked for awhile and refused to answer certain questions, because look what it accomplished! Here I am writing. And as furious as I was for being made to so boldly introspect what I was doing, I have an even greater fury today to prove to not only DC but myself that if a writer is what I claim to be, then maybe I shouldn't talk about writing anymore, maybe I should just do it. Which leads me to my main man Ernest and this quote I have on the side of a writing box my mom gave me for Christmas one year:

The writer must write what he has to say, not speak it.

So I would like to salute the Harper's, Hemingway's and daring redheads of this world for doing bold and wondrous things and making me want to stand among your ranks. And for the record, DC was my Harper last night.


Stephanie Jane said...

I love this. I love that you can be honest with yourself (because that just may be mankind's biggest struggle ever), I love that DC loves you enough to do what you need even if it hurts him to watch you struggle, I love that you never really give up, and I love it that you call Hemingway "my main man Ernest". So much. You are beautifully human and you inspire me.

Shawnee said...

I want to write out so many wondrous things that I felt while reading but all that's happening is tears.

I can relate, oh so much, and this is particularly why I love reading what you write. Each and every post is unique but seems to hit a spot, a chord in my heart, that I didn't know was there.

Yes to tending to fall back on comfort but funnily enough I absolutely love a challenge.

That quote is my new favorite and I have always loved gingers. And Chelsea Handler! sigh.

I'm so happy for you that you have such wonderful people in your life, to push you to become the best you. Because if we're alike in that way, it's extremely important. You are so strong.