Thursday, January 1, 2009

Kicking and Screaming; Hope part 2 aka 2009 Determinations

When I was in the 7th grade, I had a ridiculous crush on a guy named Eugene Summers, Gene for short. He was funny, cute, popular and not surprisingly, had a girlfriend. I liked this guy so much that I failed a very easy class because it was more important to me to pay attention to everything he was doing. I never really talked to Gene, but I did seek friendship with his girlfriend, I suppose to figure out what she was all about and see if I could identify with or imitate it. If I have children, I really, really don’t want girls, I don’t think I could stand to see my girl do that to herself. I’d raise her beyond militant.

One day, my friends decided I needed to tell Gene that I liked him. I can still see him now at the end of the hallway by his locker after school. I can still feel my girlfriends alternately tugging and pushing me down the hallway, while I stared ahead at him, struggling violently against them and loudly protesting their efforts to get me to talk to him. Even then I knew to be embarrassed by how over-the-top afraid I was to talk to him and ultimately did not talk to him at all.

I recall this story when considering this year’s determinations because of how violently I resisted doing something I actually wanted to do. I wanted to talk to Gene. I thought he was the hamster’s pantsuit, which is way better than the cat’s pajamas. But there I was, kicking and screaming, wasting both my and my friends’ energy and wasting a rare opportunity to actually talk to Gene alone.

The fear, hesitation, and spastic resistance of that episode has essentially been the story of my life. I’ve accomplished plenty on paper, I’ve been working in some capacity since I was 13, I’ve served in the armed forces, been a minority of a minority, of a minority; black, female, commissioned law enforcement officer, overcame obstacles, and held my own. However, much of it feels hollow, in part because those accomplishments were all marred by a constant fear of failure, and a lack of belief in my merit to be there. Even re-reading the mini-resume above, I’m struck by what I chose to highlight. They are evidence to me of the folly in linking any part of my self worth in the sterile accomplishments of career.

So with that, my squishy determinations for 2009 are:

-rework the vocabulary I use to define and describe myself. I’m really not as bad a friend as I tell myself and my friends that I am. I’m not as pretty as I hope to be nor as ugly as I sometimes fear I am. I am determined to be a more vigilant censor of my thought life, defining myself more by what I am, what I have, instead of what I wish I was, or what I lack.

-fake it till I make it. This one is extra squishy because I’m not yet sure how to articulate it. Part of it deals with not indulging the funks that I cycle through with the frequency and predictability of tides and instead pushing through like everything is okay since eventually, everything will be.

This doesn’t mean that in 2009, my goal is to become a robot, or that I won’t continue to wrestle with my insecurities and maladaptive habits. We are all wrestling with something, many of us with the same things, unconditional love of self and others, improvements to our physical and mental health, bucket lists... My goal with the squishy determinations is to develop a tolerance, maybe even a love, for who I am right now.

My concrete determinations, some of which are quite lofty are, in order of loftiness (least to most):

-get my house in order by Feb/Mar 2009
-take a vacation alone
-figure out how to participate in a Habitat 4 Humanity build and do it
-ask a guy out

The theme here is to challenge myself without passing judgement on who I am right now. To not drag myself kicking and screaming down the hallway towards the things I want and instead move towards them without fearing the outcome so violently that it sucks the joy out of any thing I do accomplish.

Happy New Year! A big thank you to Teresa, Uno, and Castron. I truly enjoy your patronage of my blog and your comments. I’m looking forward to meeting Uno’s Dos and Tres, her twin girls born just days before Christmas and in whatever random adventures the year holds.

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