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.