I feel like a failure a lot. My personality fails me (so introverted, so impatient). My house fails me with its laurel hedges growing into a tall jungle while I’m not looking. My lawn is rocky and barren and dry, spotted with dandelions. My laundry room houses not only dirty laundry, but also a hodge-podge of debris that collects. Plus two always-needing-to-be-cleaned litter boxes. I can’t get anyone to leave my tools in one place, so I have screwdrivers and wrenches strewn about the house and I can never find the one with the star-tip (what’s it called? I can never remember).
I failed one thing in all my academic years: a math test in third grade. I ripped it apart in anger and went home crying. When a mean choir teacher gave me a B+ for my semester grade in choir my freshman year, it ruined my grade point average and so I never again took a subjective class in high school. No art, no music, nothing that couldn’t be quantified and controlled. What kind of life is that? A safe life. A boring life.
I hate to fail. And yet I fail so often. When I fail–daily–have you seen my kitchen floor?–I want to run away. I want to abandon my family to someone who has a better chance of success than I. I want my kids to have a better mom, my husband to have a better wife. I don’t want them to have to live with someone like me who gets things wrong more than she gets them right. I want to wash my hands of the whole sorry mess I’ve made and relocate to a farm where I will wear tie-dye, grow my own vegetables and talk to the animals. Of course, probably the weeds would overtake my cultivated fields and the animals wouldn’t talk back.
Here’s the sentence I say to myself on occasion: “How hard can it be?” The answer, in the case of replacing a freezer gasket is VERY VERY HARD. Nigh unto impossible, as a matter of fact. My fingers are too weak and my constitution too impatient to successfully accomplish the goal. (The goal is to keep food frozen without creating icicles in the fridge.)
I’m sure that it’s not normal to feel like a complete and utter failure because one cannot replace the freezer gasket because one was too impatient to wait for someone to arrive who can complete that task with ease. It’s not normal to spiral into this black tornado of despair because I can’t keep up with my life. (If I do not get the lilacs pruned, there will be no blossoms next year.) It’s not normal that the thought of my storage room causes me great distress, the kind of distress that immobilizes me rather that motivates me.
And being not normal makes me feel like a failure.
I really thought I’d be a good mom, a good wife, a decent human being. (I have never been called for jury duty. Why is that?) I thought I’d have a lush green lawn and the kind of kids who would happily eat a giant chef salad for dinner. (Ha ha ha ha ha.)
I am pathetic tonight. Blame PMS. Blame the stupid freezer. Blame my puny fingers. Blame my schedule. Blame the government. Blame the mean choir teacher who ruined my grade point average. But ultimately, it’s all me. Imperfect, failing me.
And now, here’s the response:
Stop sniveling. Quit the self-pity. Enough self-exaggeration and melodrama. Your hormones are out of control. Fixing a freezer gasket is not the ultimate test of success. Imperfection is all right. Everything will look better in the morning. Your fingertips will probably even feel better.
Everything that must be done will get done. Stop complaining. It’s so unbecoming.
Be grateful. Be grateful. Be grateful.
Go to bed.
13 thoughts on “Taken over by a whiny gremlin”
I hear you.
Today, my new computer came. All it has shown me so far is that I cannot SEE anything anymore. Especially those teeeeny tiiiiny black-on-black slightly raised symbols that are supposed to tell me what’s what.
No one would believe the password I ALMOST set for this thing.
Not even me.
And, my internal ‘go to bed’ monitor is broken. The hormones over took that also.
I blame Swine Flu. Eat some (low fat) chocolate ice cream and go to bed.
On a card I received from a friend a long time ago….
Don’t worry, tomorrow will be different.
Not better, just different.
Mary with the un-updated blog
You are way too hard on yourself. Your schedule of work in addition to taking care of your family is for Super Woman. You need rest. I am so sorry that you try so hard and still feel bad about yourself.
Is it possible to have collective transnational PMS? I swear you’ve been in my head…
And that screwdriver we call a “kissy-face”… Don’t ask…
I hear you and I feel you.
After running around the house one night, complaining that I had this thing and that thing and the other thing to do and no one was helping me and blahbittyblahblah, my husband just looked at me and said, “So what?” So what if the laundry doesn’t get completed every day, my kids and hub still have plenty to wear. So what if all the dishes don’t get washed or the lawn isn’t mowed TODAY. Really, will the world fall apart if we don’t keep our self-imposed schedule? That really set me free, let me tell you.
I still get things done, and I like order and a schedule, but “so what?” can really be liberating. Try it.
p.s. If I lived close, I would totally take you out for coffee and a muffin. Calories consumed while helping a friend? So what?
If it helps very few people here trim their lilacs and they bloom every year.
You are way too hard on yourself. It’s part of being a woman, I know, but come on, Mel! You need to take a break from your life and all your responsibilities–or as many of them as you can–and have some time off! Seriously! You are burning your candle at both ends and you know it’s not good for you. You sound like you are very close to total burnout…so give yourself a break.
You’re reading my mind again. And I’ve been told that I’m too hard on myself, too, comments that are well-meaning but I just brush them aside. I feel guilty because I’ve taken on so much and I can’t do it. And I feel like a failure because I see other people doing it. At least they look like they’re doing it, and I can’t achieve that. I’m going away this weekend and my aunt is kid/house sitting. I have so much to do today because there’s no way I want her to see my house the way it is now. Ugh. I’m too hard on myself. It’s a vicious cycle. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.
Your memory of things long past reminds me of a brother who frequently muses over grades given by teachers he didn’t like (who didn’t like him?) or things someone said or did to him as a youngster. The rest of us always say: “so what? get over it”. But he doesn’t.
You know what we have always said of him? That he has the brain of a genius.
Aha – that’s you, Mel – a genius! With your memory, your way with words, your great abilities – you are one uncommon woman. Give yourself some slack. A genius THINKS, but doesn’t necessarily DO everything that’s needing to be done. (That’s what kids are for – THEY can trim the bushes; THEY can do the laundry; THEY can clean the litter box; THEY can fix the giant chef salad for dinner – – – for YOU; the genius mom!)
Oh my goodness!!… I’m living on that farm wearing tie-dye growing my own vegetables & talking to the animals (literally). My lilacs are trimmed but my house is a wreck! Our laundry is piled up & the kitchen floor hasn’t been swept for over a week, & I can’t even remember the last time it was mopped. Here’s how I see it… If the toilets are clean & you have a clean fork to eat with… What more do you need? Summertime is for family, fun & relaxation. Those around us are most important & all of that other stuff is not. It can wait & trust me, it’s not going anywhere! Hang in there!! & just do what you want!!
I got a C+ in handwriting in fourth grade.
I echo previous commenters, you are too hard on yourself!!! I have four kids and I am sitting here doing this while all of them are playing wii sims kingdom right now, a moment where they are not physically killing each other and screaming. We all have a list of things and I have come to learn no matter how perfect peoples homes look, they have their own internal ‘thing’ that is driving them nuts. I can’t seem to stay on top of the housework, day to day crap, .. you have probably heard of http://www.flylady.net, it has helped me at least be able to have people in our entryway without dying of shame. (with a days notice, the children can invite other children over for a play date !! )
hee hee,. I enjoy your blog and wish I had the guts to keep one. (I am too afraid of people I know reading it)
You make me laugh, and whenever I am too hard on my husband I go back to your entry a few years back about lance armstrongs wife, and I am renewed in my relationship. (he owes you a great debt of gratitude that he isnt even aware of!)
Yeah, you are definitely too hard on yourself. Praying that the hormone storm has passed. And it’s called a phillips head screwdriver. 😉