Posted by: jt | March 10, 2008

a little self love

I’ve had “homework” assignments from each of the last two sessions with my therapist. If I didn’t find them so damn useful, I might be a bit annoyed. (Bear in mind, I’ve been all of three times now.)

The first task was to write down the three things I wanted to focus on / accomplish in our sessions. This was not only incredibly easy (hi, things I did before I called to make an appointment), but is also excellent in terms of pushing past all of the history that I feel we’ve been a bit (understandably) mired in during the first few sessions. Yes, yes, yes, I was a very angry girl for a very long time, but that’s not why I’m here. Anger is so last century.

This week’s assignment made me chuckle on two accounts, since I was instructed to write down five things I love about myself. My first thought was, Oh honey, I can do five things. My second thought was, So we can just rephrase last week as “three things I don’t like about myself,” huh?

This is conveniently timed, since I’m not entirely certain I have it in me to come up with a general list this week. Losing my Grandpa is still unfathomable, but it raises a number of other family issues that are particularly vile and painful. I have a tendency to take responsibility for things – as in I must fix them – and while I cognitively understand that I can’t fix everything, admitting that feels tantamount to giving up…which my idealist soul cannot do.

So I try to fix. I try to resolve. I try to keep it together and reach out across divides when I’m just as hurt, confused and lost as everyone else. It’s daunting and I honestly don’t know that I’m up to the task, but I have no choice but to try. With that in mind, it’s a good time to remember some of the things I do well – some of my strengths:

  1. I can see both sides. My empathy manifests in strange ways sometimes. As a child and still to this day, I cannot watch Winnie the Pooh because I can’t handle how mean everyone is to Eeyore. I just can’t wrap my brain around how people can enjoy these cruel stories. Traumatizing cartoons notwithstanding, feelings are something that resonate with me deeply and I can usually suss out the core issues of conflict. I don’t presume to know how or why people feel what they do but, on some level, I can see beyond my own perspective and feel theirs too.
  2. I get it (you). I’m a pretty intuitive person and a surprising number of people have told me that they can have conversations with me they can’t have with anyone else and others, more simply, that I “get” them. I have no intention or desire to dissect why this is the case, I just go with what feels right. There are a few people out there who I haven’t quite cracked yet, but I usually have a pretty solid, accurate read on what makes people tick. My intuition applies to me as well – every major decision in my life is ultimately decided by if it feels right. Kafka said it best, Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. Indeed.
  3. I am kind. Craig said this in an interview ages ago and it struck me that this is part of why I find him so addictive. Despite the 12 year old boy humor (okay, that’s addictive too) and the occasional thoughtless blunder, he really is kind. Initially the comment struck me as a bit odd and arrogant, but then I realized it’s a conscious choice for him, particularly in an industry known for its ruthlessness. While some people seem to come by it naturally, kindness is something I enact consciously as well. During my Angry Girl days I was, almost proudly, a pretentious bitch. I was haughty and obnoxious and used my intuition to slice right to the quick of people’s softest spots. These days I deliberately try to make people’s lives and the world a little bit brighter place. I fail far too frequently, but I try.
  4. A judgment-free zone. This is one of my mantras in life. This — this blog, this space, this anything-I-can-call-mine –- is a judgment-free zone. Most of the time this comes pretty naturally to me but, occasionally, we all need reminders. I do my very best to only judge your judgment. And you may take it elsewhere.
  5. I make myself laugh. This is, of course, half the battle. Whether other people find me remotely humorous or not, I can crack myself up with my quirky inner monologue. It’s probably rare that I achieve “witty,” which is likely the goal, but I’ve got quirky pretty much down.

I’m compelled to share that when checking on the correct spelling of “Eeyore,” I learned that Wikipedia has an entire category for “fictional donkeys.” I hope you enjoy that as much as I do.


And just because I think I can now…

  1. Being taken care of. “Call me back.” A deviation from our usual, “I’ll talk to you later” or “Call me if you want.” Yes, sir. I accept my orders. Thank you for caring.
  2. Memories. They’re overwhelmingly good. And I need to write them down. I’m a big girl, I can do it.
  3. Unstinting generosity. “I’m coming home but I need someone to help me pay for it.” Done. So, so very much appreciated.
  4. Good times. “You’re coming out. It’ll be fun.” And it was. Good music, good people, GOOD.
  5. I can take care of myself too. I can take a day off, I can cook myself good food, I can take long, hot baths. Yes, yes I can. Because I deserve it.


  1. *deviates from her normal pattern of emailing comments and dares to drop a comment (and a phone call) instead*

    I have no intention or desire to dissect why this is the case, I just go with what feels right.

    Thanks for this entry. Your positivity calmed me down, especially since I just posted a righteous angry rant of an entry, myself. Seeing your post directly below mine on RSS calmed me.

    (And you’re coming home? Rly?)

    You are beautiful. Take care of yourself.

  2. So my love, were we separated at birth?

    Your entry, my entry – as Rosie O always says – “same, same, same”

    except this is good sameness, very kind sameness

    everything is half the battle, isn’t it?

  3. I always felt the same way about Eeyore. I mean, what the hell?

  4. So my love, were we separated at birth?

    I KNOW! I posted and then I read yours and I just started laughing. You completely win on the Craig Ferguson quote though. Yours is way better. :-) I know I’m a broken record, but I really would sacrifice months of the show to get another book. I was promised three, dammit! :-)

    This is definitely good sameness. :-)

    I actually had a moment of similar “rage filled teen” yesterday when I basically eviscerated a colleague to his boss…we really ARE the same person…except mine was just this Monday, not last Monday. [shakes head] Parallel lives???

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