Today I totally blew something at work.
I felt like an idiot. Angry at myself, really. All I could think was – see? You’re behind already, and now this. You are just horrible at life, and people are going to hate you, and this is totally inexcusable. How could you mess up like this? You’re just a complete screwup. I truly wanted to go home, lay down, and never wake up.
It sort of ties in with a lot of my history, which I have been thinking a lot about lately, and how it ties in with my current issues. Perfectionism plays a huge role in this current eating thing. Like, I feel like if I eat too much, I’m losing some game in which winning is eating as little as possible. If I go to the store and anything at all is too small for me, I feel like I’m a failure somehow. Like I’m losing the game of sizes because I cannot fit inside every piece of clothing in the store. The only perfect weight is the low weight I have not attained. I have to be the best at not eating, disappearing, being small.
This has deep roots. My entire life, I have been in a pressure cooker. My parents used to yell at me for grades below an A. When I had a B- in history, my mother was ashamed to have me as a daughter. When I had a B+ in math, I was lazy, I got yelled at, I was not living up to expectations, I was failing at the job of being a student. when I didn’t want to go to Vassar or Bryn Mawr or Harvard or Johns Hopkins, I wasn’t living up to the standard of attending a good college. When I didn’t get the highest award possible at the awards ceremony, I didn’t get congratulated for the award I DID receive, I got criticized for not getting a good enough award. When I didn’t play my best at soccer, I wasn’t living up to the amount of money being spent to put me on the team. I don’t think my mother told me she was proud of me until I was 19 or 20, and still when I graduated college cum laude the question was why not higher.
And it was global. I took the SAT at 12, and I got a good score, and that score haunted me. I wasn’t living up to the potential I tested at. I wasn’t making the right choices to fully live that out. No one bothered to ask why I wasn’t acing school when they thought I would (and by ‘acing’ I mean all A’s including in AP classes). They just yelled. Maybe had they asked, we would have noticed my bipolar, my stress, my cutting years early. I wasn’t allowed an off day, a bad test, without being criticized, punished, yelled at. Who in life doesn’t have bad days or make mistakes? And yet I wasn’t allowed? I was failing as a student, a person, a daughter? Nothing, no matter what I tried, was good enough. It’s a wonder i kept trying.
And so now, in my head, nothing is good enough. I learned the script, I absorbed the rules, I no longer need reminders because I do it myself. And when I mess up, I am a failure who never lives up to her potential, always underperforms. When I am not the best at everything, I am a failure.
When I eat, I am a failure. If I gain weight, I am a failure. If I cook toast wrong, I am a failure. If I mistakenly forget to clean a dish, I am a failure. There is nothing I do in my life that I am not at risk for being a failure at; each day is brimming with new possibilities and opportunities to prove that I am not and never will be good enough.
Well, there is one thing I AM perfect at. Knowing I am a failure.