And This is the Thanks You Give Me?
Written By: Miss Ashley D
I once started a cold war with a man over pulled pork. I had spent nearly twenty-four hours with that hunk of meat. Pulled pork is a process. A long and involved venture in brining, seasoning, slow roasting, shredding, and simmering. Without any kind of warning he did not show up. He did not call. I was left there alone amidst a feast for a family of seven complete with a pineapple upside down cake made from scratch.
With every phone call that went unanswered my thoughts festered. Amassed themselves in a weary mind, tugged at my heart strings, set my stomach to turning. I imagined that he was out having his way with some woman. I imagined that he was finding great pleasure in my panic; my manic, depraved, insane reaction. I whole heartedly believed that he was out drinking beer with his friends or else perusing the town, up to no good. I had myself entirely convinced that I done something, or perhaps not done something. That I had spent the entire day slaving over a hot stove for nothing, that I was still only second best on quite an impressive list of number ones: that all my efforts still left me short of the mark.
I was soon to learn that he was home in bed recovering from a terrible bout with the stomach flu. When I saw him a few days later I shamelessly expressed my anger over meat and potatoes. He looked at me through annoyed eyes and with a toying tone said, “You know, Ashley, you have to stop always assuming the worst. Always assuming the worst”.
I was quite taken aback. I did assume the worst. I assumed the worst ten fold. I assumed forty five different versions of the worst thing I could imagine. I allowed my mind to inflict unnecessary pain on my soul. I dragged myself through the mud over leftovers.
I would like to say that I have grown. Many moons have passed since the now comical pulled pork incident but I still carry those feelings of doubt with me. I apply them to everything I do without even thinking about it. I expect nothing less than malice from those I leave myself vulnerable to.
It doesn’t stop at lovers, as they may be. The neurosis extends well in to the realms of friendship, family matters, and employers. It comes from a deeply evolved fear of disappointing the frowning and furrow browed masses. It comes from the very simple idea that I am not worthy. Where I picked that gem up, I’m not entirely sure.
I could wager a guess though, that somewhere between carefully folding wild confessions to juvenile boys and not engaging in so much as my first kiss until well in to my teens, is where the never subsiding feelings of inadequacy stem from. I could blame my less than impressive physique. I could insist that it’s because most of my pubescent and even adolescent years were comprised of listening to young men confess their sins and dealing with the fallen women that lay in their wake. I could have very well formed this opinion of myself on the constant disappointment I seemed to provoke from the patriarchs in my life; my father for letting my education get away from me and my grandfathers for abandoning their faith.
Yes, I loath disappointing as much as I am unable to appropriately handle being disappointed. It is a never ending battle with psychosis. It is minutes, hours, days, whole entire weeks of talking myself back from the ledge; of not allowing myself to be strung up on some nonexistent cross; of reminding myself that no one is coming to mourn. It’s every second of every day trying to convince myself that I am in fact worthy of unimaginable spoils; that I am not inadequate; that thought I may be disappointed it is not because I am a disappointment.
It is days on end of not trying to project my negative outlook on others.
Sometimes though, my fears get away from me. They get so far from my control that any kind of rational thought is out of question. I am a homosapian. I contain a gelatinous mass inside my skull in which the rapid firing of neurons wreaks more havoc then originally intended. I am a female of my species. I am also a woman. I do not come with an off switch. I do, however, come complete with real emotion; raw, off the cuff passion. And try as I might I just can not seem to keep the barking dogs of my subconscious at bay. No matter the situation, regardless of the catalyst, the absurdity just comes spilling out.
I somehow still believe in the innate good in people even when my fears have gotten the best of me. Even when I’m wading waist deep in defeat, when I’ve let down myself and those I love, I still want nothing more then to believe that I’ve been assuming the worst again.
And more often then not I have been.
For as much as I try to live actively in the ever expansive moments of now it is still quite on ordeal trying to keep my yesterdays in the past. Trying not to compare and contrast. Struggling as I may to convince myself that this is a new chapter in a new book, a story that has yet to even be written.
I have consistently told myself that I am too much; too much of this, too much of that, too much of everything. Lately I have adjusted that sentiment. I have changed it only slightly, I prefer to refer to myself as so much, so much of everything. So much of smiling, laughing, dancing, rejoicing. So much unrefined energy. So much joy trapped however deep beneath terrible, terrible, paranoia.
Someday though, I infer that I will just get over it. Get over the missed dinners at six. Get over the betrayals. Get over the notion that I’ve let everyone down. Get over that God damned pulled pork.
I will stop assuming the worst.
For now I plan on actively trying to not let my irrationality overcome me. I will trade the submissive for the dominant. I will exchange the weaker and fairer for the wiser and stronger; the unsure and inadmissible for the certain and the calculated.
I will be better for all of my shortcomings, whether factual or absurd.