Teaching kid a new math skill…
Kid: “Can you show me one more time? I’m not ready to try.”
Me: “I showed you several times– at this point you will learn best by doing it yourself. Just give it a try!”
Kid: “But sometimes I get afraid to try.”
Me: “There is nothing to be afraid of. Trying is how you learn, and if it doesn’t go the way you want it to, that just gives you good information for how to try again. Learning and success is a process, kiddo!”
Kid: “So you mean if I get it wrong, just learn from it?”
Me: “Yes! You got it!”
Kid: “When you say it like that, it doesn’t sound so scary.”
Me: “Exactly. It really is THAT easy. Just try! I promise you, you have nothing to lose!”
(2 hours later)
Therapist: “So have you taken any steps to pursue a writing career?”
Me: “No. I’m too afraid to try.”
Therapist: “I’m starting to notice this about you– you tend to start things from a place of assumed failure. You approach new things, even new conversations, or small tasks, as something you’re going to screw up. And immediately starting from this assumption puts you in a space of feeling defensive, like you constantly have to prove yourself. And that’s why it’s so hard for you to get started with things. And, quite frankly, why you’re so exhausted.”
Me: <stunned silence>
Therapist: “Big ‘Aha!’ moment for you?”
Me: “It took you 7 years to notice this about me?!”
It’s literally the one thing I was born knowing about myself
Therapist: “So do you feel relieved now that you finally gave your boss notice that you’re quitting your job?”
Me: “Oh my god, YES. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m anxious about the upcoming change. And it’s bittersweet. And I’m really going to miss being with my coworkers every day, several of whom are my closest friends. But I’m also excited, and know it’s the right thing. But more than anything I’m just really proud of myself. Usually, if I’m in a situation that’s comfortable, it takes me forever to get out of it, even when I know it’s what I need to do. But this time, I knew in like December that I needed out, and by February, I made the decision and did it.”
Therapist: “Right! (pause) Well..2010.”
Me: “Excuse me?”
Therapist: “You knew in December, 2010.”
Me: “Well, I mean, I didn’t really know then.”
Therapist (flipping through her notes): “December 6, 2010– ‘I need to quit my job. I’m unhappy in the system. I don’t feel fulfilled. I feel like if I stay one more year, I’m going to go insane.”
Me: “Right but that was just venting– I didn’t like KNOW know.”
Therapist (still quoting): “‘I know this with every fiber of my being.'”
Alright well I did it so BACK THE FUCK OFF.
This morning I woke up with an incredible sense of purpose, and vowed that I was going to check at least five things off my never-ending to do list. I had the energy, I had the drive, and I had a rare, large block of free time after work to accomplish it all. Today was the day!
And then– because I guess the universe hates me– suddenly, out of NOWHERE, on the day I FINALLY have the chance to be super productive, this totally crazy thing happened where I yawned and instead did nothing.
I can’t win.