The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear. Fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.
— H.L. Mencken
So I’ve been thinking about this post lately. Not the boy – David’s got that part covered – but the end. This: “I learned, eventually, that you have to listen to everything, you can’t just pick and choose the parts that fit the story you’re telling in your head.”
And I was thinking about the story I tell in my head all the time – we all do it, we all tell a story about the life we imagine we live, about why we do things, and what we hope for. It’s the story we tell to get through the day, because the truth is so often less than we would like it to be.
My story’s about a girl who’s kind, and smart, and funny, and generous. Who’s successful, by most people’s standards, both personally and professionally. Whose life is more or less charmed in a number of important ways.
My truth, though, so often seems to fall short of that. I am often unkind, and particularly judgmental, at least in my thoughts. I regularly feel like everyone else is smarter than I am, particularly at work, and that I am a heartbeat away from people realizing I’m a fraud. I haven’t updated my weight loss photo album on Facebook in more than a year, because the truth is, I’ve gained 35 pounds in 15 months and I am terribly ashamed of that, and yet I cannot get it together to take control of my eating. My so-called charmed life has been scarred by some particularly shitty things, especially early on, and I lack the courage to truly face at least one of them. I live most of my life with some level of fear of not being good enough while setting such unbelievably high expectations of myself that it’s no wonder I fall short. I live with the man I want to marry and who I know loves me unconditionally, and yet I spend an inordinate of time and energy fighting the feeling that, sooner or later, he’s going to realize that I’m not quite what he thought. I drop out of communication with my friends and my grandma for extended periods of time because I just don’t have the energy or the attention span even to send an email, and by the time I do, so much has happened that I can’t bear having to recap it all, so I give up. That’s my truth.
Is it any wonder that the story I’m telling in my head is decidedly more upbeat? It has to be; otherwise, I’d never get out of bed.