Oct 12, 2005

Being Miserable

If you were to ask me what I thought of myself as a person, my general outlook on life - I would say immediately that I'm pretty positive and easy-going.

But as I've realised with alarming clarity over the past few days, it's not true. I'm actually extremely tightly wound and negative.

Just talking to people - what they remember about me.

"Remember you said something about your hair that you didn't like it".

"Well I know you, I know you like to carry a grudge".

And other lines.

This is horrible! I never wanted to be this miserable person who looks at everything through ebony-coloured glasses. I didn't think I was.

I know I've never been good with compliments. In that horrible roundabout way where I have never really been good at accepting them, because I find it hard that I've been adequate or good at something. But somewhere along the line that turned into fishing for compliments. The more I played my achievements down, the more compliments I hoped to receive. I became reliant on others' opinions for my own self-validation. Like Queen Mab, I didn't exist if people didn't notice me (and approve of me).

This has led to terribly negative automatic thoughts. Any time a small problem presents itself, it becomes an all-consuming crisis. I can't just relax and think "Oh well, it will all work out, I'll just chill". Everything will lead to doom, the worst-case scenario.

I mean, my mother had CANCER this year, and I still didn't learn the lesson of "Don't sweat the small stuff". I was so worried about my mother, so scared - and yet now she's OK, I've forgotten that there are REAL crises in the world that matter so much more than my stupid small ones.

But then I think is it all relative? There are no discernable problems in my life that an outsider would recognise. Decent job in the industry I'm trying to progress in, a good family and friends, stupidly extreme material wealth (not earned), never been abused, never been harmed, nobody close to me killed or died, never been in a bad car accident or struck by lightning or savaged by a dog.....

Maybe it's guilt? Maybe it's not wanting to feel happy about my incredibly privileged life because people would think I was a posh snobby bitch. Maybe they think that anyway, I don't know. Maybe I want too much to be cool, to have street cred. Maybe I think about these things too much. I normally don't feel very smart, and wish I was more intelligent. But recently I've been thinking how much easier life would be if I was just a bit dumber. If all I wanted to do in life was move to the burbs and pop out kids called "Mikaelah" and "Jaidyn" with some dumb beer-swilling football jock. If going on a two-night hotel-motel holiday to the Gold Coast was the best travel idea ever.

God I talk a lot of crap. The horrible thing of it now is feeling so down and negative about being a down and negative person. I DON'T want the cycle to continue, but I feel bummed, and think I NEED to feel bummed for a while in order to recognise it's a problem and work on it.

It was suggested to me by a very wise lady that I'm always rushing, and that's what leads to the stress and negativity. She said my constant activities and resulting tardiness may be making me feel stressed automatically, before anything else has even happened. So when I rock up somewhere and I'm running late, and look tired or stressed, then people will pick up on that, and only see the negatives. I think this might be very true.

But other people work, and run late, and have stresses, but can still show up somewhere looking and acting relatively positive and relaxed. Why can't I? Or perhaps more to the point, why WON'T I? Why is it so hard for me to shrug off the bad shit and look forward? Am I that hung up on feeling miserable all the time?

One of the things my Mum has always accused my Dad of is trying to "bring everyone down" with him. He picks on people, and makes nasty comments sometimes. I remember so clearly so many occasions where Mum would say to Dad, "You're miserable and you just want to bring everyone else down". And I rise very easily with my Dad, get angry easily. He enjoys that, but it's obviously been very unhealthy for me. I am my father's daughter - I now am down, and although I'm not actively trying to bring other people down, it seems to be happening.

The more I tried to be cool and hip and fun-loving and the kind of person people would hold a seat on the bus for, the more it didn't work, and maybe the more frustrated and negative I became. I have been told many times by people that the only way for people to think you're cool is to say "Stuff the lot of you" and do what you want. I could never do that. I worry too much about people liking me.

There's a couple of things I think I need right now.

I need my own space. I HAVE to move out. It's getting critical. And I think I have to move out alone. If I was living with someone else I think I'd start rushing round after them, or consulting them on stuff, yada yada. Maybe in the future I could, but I think I need to live alone initially. And I am looking. I'm looking at rental ads online trying to find out what I can afford and where if I go with renting - and I'm also trying to get a real estate's agent help in finding a place for sale if I decide to go with buying. But with the whole living alone thing, renting is looking like a decent option. I probably couldn't afford a mortgage on a nice place on my own.

I also need sleep. I haven't had a substantial sleep in days, and a decent sleep in probably weeks. Stress and deep thought about my current issues doesn't help of course, but I think I need to stop trying to do everything. So tonight I'm going to veg out, do some stuff around the house, put fresh sheets on my bed, read for a bit, and have an early night. Hopefully.

I was going to put up the details for "Interesting Times" the play, but as this blog has become now more of a personal record and journal than a public diary of my activities, I don't think it will make much of a difference. I've already done a mass email mail-out, which I believe is more handy.

The play did open well - even if I didn't end up behaving the way I'd planned and prepared all day to behave. I am really looking forward to seeing the play evolve over the next three weeks. People seemed to like my interpretation of Lord Hong - ie, they thought I was scary! I'm really grateful for having the chance to play a quiet, controlled and let's face it evil! character. It's good discipline that I just need to adapt to my real life!!

It's my birthday in two days. I have very ambiguous feelings about it. On the one hand, I'd love it if everyone made a fuss. But part of me wants the whole day to just pass unnoticed. I think the healthiest thing to do is accept it as a day, try to have fun, and see it as a turning point. I do not want to be spending my birthday next year worrying about my negativity and other bad points. I simply want to be having fun.

Wow, another massive missive.
Cheers, Natalie.


  1. There is nothing so cool as self confidence, and this is what tends to come across with people rather than "stuff the lot of you". People consider me popular and cool, but I tell you what I worry constantly about what people think of me. The main thing is that I decided that I came to grips with who I was some time ago, and refuse to make apologies for that... it's not so much a lack of concern for the opinions of others but a lack of regret for any choice I've made.

    Have conviction in everything you do and regret will never come. Even the negative experiences become positive additions to who you are if you don't compromise on your choices and believe in what you do - whether it turns out for the best or otherwise.

    I'm afraid I too have tended to see you as tightly wound and over stressed much of the time, but here's the far more important point - it's part of who you are and people like you, so why put yourself down for it? Accept it as who you are and work with it. From where I sit it seems like a lot of your stress stems from your tendency to not accept who you are and only ever see the gaps to who/where you would like to be.

    So you're tightly wound? Let people know when that's going to affect them, and make jokes to alleviate the stress some. So you come from a posh family, use that and let it be part of you don't deny it and feel guilty when your privileges are noticed, use them to the advantage of those you care about. You need to turn these "negatives" into strengths and it can be done.

    I'm a complete control freak stress bunny, it's one of the reasons I'm always so busy, and it takes a lot of work to be me and make sure people like me and I do things for them. I come from money (though admittedly they prefer to keep it for themselves *sigh*) and I earn quite a lot now, but I use that to help out the less fortunate and make jokes about the posh lifestyle we all lead. We're not that different you and I, it's just that while I don't particularly like myself a lot of the time, I know who I am, and I know that has its ups and downs and I roll with them.

    Besides... one day you'll get to witness what happens when I stop coping. A lot of people feel a lot better when they've seen me bawl my eyes out crying drunk and depressed - as I tend to do when the suppression stops working.