Maybe I matter

I am having a tea. I am eating the rest of C’s waffle. I am not doing anything else. I am not listening to NPR because it’s a fund drive, and all I hear is blah blah, guilt, blah, guilt, guilt.

This is not what I wanted to say.

I feel guilty about everything. When I was a kid, teachers would say to my parents in parent-teacher conferences: “she’s not living up to her potential.” I would hear about it at home. “Work harder, do better, work, that’s not good enough, you’re smarter than that, you can do better.” A continuous, parental push to achievement, and me perpetually coming up short. I eventually fell in love with the Sam Beckett quote that goes something like “try again, fail again, fail better.” It sums up the fact that I already knew: no matter what the accomplishment, I would always fall short of the goal.

Even writing that, I’m arguing with myself that I clearly misunderstood the quote, and can see all the ways the quote could be taken in a positive light. I sink into the myre of self-hatred and discontent with my efforts and ambitions. I compare myself to everything I ever wanted and fall so far short. It hurts.

Dave has been telling me for years that I have to give myself credit for the work I’ve done, the art projects. He says I need to stop beating myself up. He says that when I have a goal, and really want to reach that goal, and then do reach it, I immedietely think the goal itself is crap. It’s like: “well, if stupid idiot me could do it then it couldn’t be a very good goal.”

If you’ve been with me at cocktails you’ve heard some funny stories about my Gram. She’s the kind of Gram who says things like “I love your hair, but what happened to your face.” She tries to help by letting you know just how many people there are in the world who are better, smarter, richer, and more creative than you are. A friend once asked “why do you go visit her?” And I said “because I love her.” He cringed, and laughed, and decided we both needed another drink.

As I write this I think about how my Gram would take issue with that cocktail anecdote. It’s annoying to her that I refer to people as my friends. My mom called me once, to relay a conversation she’d had about it with my Gram. Before mom could get to the part where Gram was complaining about this conversational trait of mine, I stopped her, and imitating Gram, disdainfully said: “everybody’s her friend.” Mom laughed. That’s exactly what Gram had said. I explained how it doesn’t make any sense, when relating an acecdote, to say something like this-person-that-I-don’t-know-very-well-but-who-I-actually-think-quite-highly-of-and-like-talking-to-either-online-or-when-we’re-in-the-same-room had a funny thing happen to them at work the other day.

That’s not quite what I’m trying to talk about. Hold on while I kick myself in the stomach for rambling on.

I had rehearsal for Sticky yesterday. It was for a play called I See Rainbows, by Eduardo Machado, which I’m in.

Let me cut in for a second and say that this is a powerful and big thing. It’s a thing that I’m writing about, and will post about, and if you’ve been following along you know just how highly I think of Eduardo, how much I admire him, and can perhaps imagine the fear and fun I have to work on this project with him.

Be right back after I smash my head into a wall for not having finished that post and already posted it. It was harder to write than I thought and then I watched netflix and fell asleep.

Michael Domitrovich is directing it. Michael is a bright spot in the universe, he is a place where the very atmosphere has more light and gravity less power. We were talking after rehearsal. He said the same thing Dave has been saying for years, that unless I can recognize my own worth I will always be stuck in meh. To not keep trying to make wholesale changes, but to priotitize, visualize, to take stock, accept that I’ve actually achieved something, done something, that is worthwhile even by my own jacked up standards. I’m in a constant pull between the practical and the ethereal.

I feel so small. I don’t want to feel small anymore.

Maybe the work I’ve done, and the life I’ve lived, are not meaningless. Maybe I matter.

I brought C to rehearsal. He played the whole time. When we were loud in the play, he came over and said to us "you shouldn't be angry at each other, talk nicely to your friends."

I brought C to rehearsal. He played the whole time. When we were loud in the play, he came over and said to us “you shouldn’t be angry at each other, talk nicely to your friends.” He is my constant bright spot in the universe.

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4 thoughts on “Maybe I matter

  1. c

    Just “being” with your tea and with Charlie eating a waffle is a goal many would find incredible to be able to achieve; congratulations on this (not so easy) achievement. Libby, I agree with Dave “stop beating yourself up” – but I know you won’t. Sadly, it’s been handed down through our genes for decades. If you want to know how fabulous you are, just call me anytime day or night; better yet, ask Charlie and he will tell you!

    Reply

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