It’s windy now. Not, like, at this very moment, but rather in the sense of this is an ongoing condition. Ser, not estar. At some point, people will recognise that the climate has already changed, so these facile debates about it are pointless. Yet, I digress, as is my wont.
(Don’t worry — the thing about Bartók and how we’re all screwed is still coming, it just requires more time and focus than I can dedicate to it at the moment.)
As I teeter on the brink of another potential crisis, it seems a cruel joke, as it’s only in the last couple of months that I have begun to feel as if my mind and life were inching their way back toward order. With increasing frequency, I have found myself coming to understand more about who I am, and why I am the way I am in certain respects.
Growing up, nothing was ever good enough, even if I was the best, or had done the best at something. I attended the “best" college in the USA on a full scholarship, but it wasn’t the Ivy League dream held by some. As a consequence of all this unyielding pressure, I struggle greatly with any mistake, failure, or disappointment. In 5th grade, I failed a maths test because I didn’t realise there were problems on the back of the page. I cried hysterically.
What’s worse, this extends to the realm of personal relationships, too. If I do something that upsets someone, or which fails to put their feelings ahead of my own, I can’t cope. Instantly, I feel worthless, and so from time to time I have found myself feeling obliged to try to make everything work. To keep everyone happy. Often at the expense of feeling quite distressed.
In the midst of a very difficult conversation the other day, I stopped myself mid-sentence, as it occurred to me that it’s okay if things don’t work out. It’s okay if things you once could give yourself to you no longer can. I am nearly 40 and am only now beginning to give myself permission to attend to my own needs in ways that are apparently second nature to most people. It wouldn’t seem, for example, that all those who once counted me as part of their life are at all bothered by my absence from it in proportion to my own anxieties about it.
At nearly 40, I feel like I am building meaningful friendships properly for the first time since childhood. Still probably shit at it, but I am trying.
Let’s just keep trying, ok?