Old Habits

One of the more cruel realities of growing up in dysfunction is that all the skills you develop to keep you safe end up making it harder to cope in the real world. Being unyieldingly stubborn was what made me insist that there was something wrong with my parents, rather than being wrong with me. It’s what got me through college when I didn’t have any family support, moral or financial. Refusing to see anything in shades of gray, only black and white is what allowed me to distance myself from their criticism and focus on getting what I wanted. It also caused me physical illness and mental anguish because I pushed myself harder than was necessary.

The thing about being a stubborn bitch is that you’re not just a stubborn bitch when it’s convenient to you. At east not in the case of disordered thinking. When a person learns things at the point where a mistake can cost them dearly, they tend to never deviate from the first thing that worked. So I have become a one trick general, using the same tactics that won me a battle throughout an entire war. Eventually that kind of shit turns a star in to an idiot.

On paper, I know it to be true that when I am well rested, well fed and well exercised, I do better work, I can work for longer periods of time, and I can switch between tasks without getting confused or losing my place. But then lunch rolls around, I haven’t finished nearly as much work as I wanted to, usually through no fault of my own except the altogether unrealistic working goals I set, and all it takes is the shame of underachievement to drive me straight past lunch to dinner, work quality and concentration degrading the whole way down.

Then, of course, I feel terrible that I didn’t go as good as I should have, and I begin to make a list of reasons why I should continue working long into the night to make up for my insolence. Which, I can tell you, doesn’t make things come out better.

But because my inability to hear “no” saved my ass once, I’ll hold on to it like a drunk to a bar-stool and we’re both going straight to hell. I always say I can’t keep this shit up, but it’s 1 a.m., and where do I find myself? Having to wake up in 6 hours and still fully dressed, writing this in the living room.