Some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth – so I’ve heard.
Me? I was born with a chubby foot in my mouth. And it seems I’m a slow learner. The reason I journal and blog, and became increasingly shy, quiet and retiring over the decades, is I really suck at the spoken word. It takes me ages to formulate what to say. I’m not quick off the mark with rapid repartee, then can’t process conversations and respond appropriately in a timely and intelligent fashion.
It is driven home on a regular basis, that things I say are not interpreted the way I intend. A common phenomena for most, but happens to me with alarming regularity. I am tempted to zip my mouth and become for all intents and purposes, fully mute. In lieu of that slightly dramatic and entirely unrealistic option, I can allow conversations to have a focus outside of myself, which is safe ground. Listening to the loves, lives and losses of my nearest and dearest is comfortable and familiar. Discussing my own life and internal dialoguing just never works out. I struggle to articulate my true meaning clearly. But with the written word? I feel far more comfortable and eloquent.
Why does this matter? It shouldn’t. Loads of people are not eloquent – and that is fine. But my lack of eloquence is coupled with crippling self-doubt and every time I slip, my default internal response is to remind myself what a dreadful person I am and how incredibly inadequate and hopeless my social interactions are destined to be. All of which is astonishingly unhelpful.
I am working really hard on overcoming the poor emotional coping strategies of the past. I have made a lot of progress. Had some recent slips. Pulled my socks up and determined I will plough on ahead. Having to regularly fish my foot out of my mouth is not conducive to recovery. Hence my blogging – a place I feel confident and comfortable with emotional expression and personal analysis.
High expectations have always been placed upon me. I have cogitated deeply upon this reality – do I create these expectations myself, or am I genuinely held to a very high standard by others? Quite possibly both – I have always been held to a high, unrealistic level of expectation by key people in my life. From there, I developed a personal expectation of perfectionism.
People make mistakes. Myself included. I am incredibly unforgiving of my own mistakes. And every time I slip up? There is someone to remind me I fucked up.
I burnt something. Missed a deadline. Sent the wrong email. Drove too fast. Said the wrong thing. Missed a payment. Forgot something. An infinite list of things I got wrong.
It is disconcerting how harsh I am with my lack of perfection. And even more astonishing how many people reinforce this self-hatred notion by pointing out my errors and asking what the hell I was doing.
Just once – once! – I’d love someone to help me feel better about myself rather than worse. To demonstrate the forgiveness I’m expected to have for myself. To offer the acceptance I try wholeheartedly to proffer when I see someone being hard on themselves.
There are so many things for me to learn, embrace and implement in my recovery – but the biggest of all is changing destructive thought patterns. It feels to me, that the safest option is to verbally converse about others, and to discuss myself primarily through the written word.
Is this the coward’s way out? Possibly. Do I care? Not at all. It is an act of self-preservation and for now, I’m acknowledging my strengths and weaknesses. I am so tired of feeling like a pariah. The less time I have to spend fishing my foot out of my mouth the better.