I should first point out I have not actually seen the movie that shares this post’s name, and I’m not talking about gratuitous cruelty to others. Rather I’m wondering, why we are so mean to ourselves?
If anyone asked a few years ago, I would have claimed to be a laid back, go with the flow kind of gal. To be fair, I really believed that to be true. Fast-forward to the here and now, and I’m stunned to find I’m a Type A, all go, no quit, push on through until done, tongue like a barbed whip, micromanager.
At least when it comes to myself.
As some of my blog readers know, my writing and online presence has been erratic over the last several years due to a series of eye surgeries and extended recovery periods. I’ve not shared a lot on this, not only because I was raised in the "keep your troubles to yourself" era, but also I truly believed the experience wouldn’t make a difference in my personal or professional life. I was, after all, a master at driving myself long past any reasonable breaking point and never saying die. Somehow, I’d find a way to keep on, keeping on.
Well, wasn’t I surprised to discover that couldn’t happen in this case.
Part of the self-knowledge acquired during this period included the discovery I am, in fact, a seriously driven Type A perfectionist when it came to "getting things done". And I’m never satisfied when the job is finished either. It doesn’t matter how big, or how small the task, I should have done better.
Exercise for 20 min? Should have done 30. Wrote 1,000 words? Should have written 3,000. Cleaned and mopped the kitchen? Why didn’t I empty, scrub, and re-line the cabinets with new shelf paper while I was at it? Put in a 12 hour shift and go to night class? Why didn’t I work 14 hours, get the rest of the backlog out, take two classes that night instead of one, and then come home and re-line the damn cabinets when I was done?
Where did this inner tyrant of self-expectation come from? Why didn’t I ever realize any of this before? More importantly, how the heck was I going to deal during the long periods of inability otherwise known as recovery?
I won’t kid you, it’s been hard. Suddenly, there’s a lot more gray in my black and white life. I had to cut myself some slack. A lot of slack, and I still do. Because, the funny thing about losing sight and living with low vision you never read in books or see in movies is it’s not a static state. There are good days, and bad days. Times where there’s not enough light, and times where the problem is too much glare and light. You had good focus yesterday and put in 20 minutes of editing time on the computer? Too bad, you only get 10 minutes today. For someone who lived and loved her organized plan the inability to make a plan and stick to it was—mind blowing.
There’s the old saying about how you either learn to bend or you break. Thanks to a caring support system and good friends, I’ve gotten better at bending. So here I am in 2015, flexing my way through one day at a time, learning to release my inner mean girl, and celebrating each accomplishment, no matter how small.
As for those kitchen cabinets? Still unscrubbed, and still with the same old shelf liner. Sorry. But don’t worry. The beauty is I can’t see them well enough to care.