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friday night angst
singapore sunset
amw
This has turned into a two-time Double Gulp month, which could be a bad sign. Or perhaps it's a little injection of just the absurd fun i need. A conclusion i came to about a week ago in my morning journal is that i need to consciously give myself more time to do things i love. But i do, don't i? Not really. Lately i've been busy with work, and when i'm not busy with work i'm feeling guilty that i'm not working or frustrated that i'm not excelling at whatever else it is that i am doing. When i mentioned it to my therapist she said i need more time to play. She said if i keep treating my hobbies like work instead of play i'll never get the rejuvenating effect i should be getting from them. She kinda has a point.

A lot of it comes back to having stupid high expectations of myself. I place so much pressure on myself at work to perform that it's almost like i've forgotten how to operate without it. I often lament my life pre-1999 because there's a pretty clear line there between when i was carefree and creative and, well, whatever i am now. That's when i started full-time work, when i started really taking responsibility for myself as an adult. Ever since i made that shift i've found it hard to take pleasure in simple things. In the last year i started doing things that were supposed to be fun for me - taking some classes, learning new things... but somewhere along the way i turned them into work. Somewhere along the way i decided i couldn't just have fun with it, i had to be great.

My therapist likes to attribute the high standards i have for myself to grandiosity, and when i'm really manic that's probably true. But what broke me up during our session was when i started talking about the expectations everyone else has for me. I was always the smart kid, the "gifted" one. Everything came easy to me - or so they all thought. Even just a couple weeks ago when i mentioned struggling in Spanish to my mom she wrote back surprised because i was "always so good with languages". Seriously? Today J said "you're brilliant", referring to i don't even know what because it just made me burst into tears from the pressure. Every time people tell me how intelligent or talented i am it adds to some dysfunctional sense i have that i can't just have fun with something, i can't just play with it - i have to take it seriously and do it well. The ironic thing is when i'm not having fun doing something i procrastinate and avoid it, so my advancement is limited anyway. It's a downward spiral.

I need to slowly rebuild the association of fun with all the things i love to do. I can enjoy reading trashy books and comics without feeling like i should be spending my time on something less low-brow. I can play my drum and enjoy playing what i already know how to play rather than constantly drilling more complex exercises. I can go to the gym and punch the shit out of some bags without worrying about technique or the assigned workout... I can play while i learn, damnit!

Heh, it just occurred to me that dancing used to be pretty much the only place i could just go and do whatever and have fun without worrying about how i looked. That's always been pure fun for me, but i don't even do that any more because of money. Small wonder everything started fucking up this year. The worst times always seem to start with me not dancing any more.
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