I am my own worst enemy. I always have been–except for a brief stint in the seventh grade when that bully-girl Nikki was my enemy. In retrospect, she probably had a crush on me and turned aggressive when I failed to love her. I had no idea, and even if I’d known, I’d have had no idea, you know? These things happen.

But otherwise, it’s me.

I’ve internalized all of the negative talk I’ve ever heard about myself: I don’t have any feelings, I’m frigid, I’m too stubborn to know what’s good for me, I have terrible taste in music, clothes, books, movies, other people, I am gullible, selfish, lazy, willful, preoccupied with all of the wrong things. I think about these things and the people who said them to me all the time. I am the over-sensitive little boy in Down at the Dinghy.

I know that none of these things are true. I can point to empirical evidence that disputes every one of those things–but here’s the thing that I can’t disprove: I often give the impression that I’m a total wreck, because I often feel like a total wreck.

I often feel like I am hanging on by a thread, even if (experience has shown this time and time again) everything will work out, I will get done what I need to, I almost always reach the goals I set for myself, and I do, in fact, know what I’m doing when it comes to taking reasonable care of myself and those I care about.

And yet. To get my shit done, I always have to run myself to this same crazy brink. My most productive time is spent staring over an edge of my own creation, working like mad. Panic-stricken that I will fail to meet my obligations. Guilt-ridden that I will let down everyone who has helped me. Frantic to tackle all of the things before the world turns back into the pumpkin of abject failure. I cannot manage my time or my finances or my self-talk without fear. I admit it.

Everything (and one) I know assures me that this is not healthy and must be fixed. But everything (and one) also says that I will be the happiest if I can just learn to harness whatever I consider my weaknesses to be. So… I need to learn to run on my dis-ease? Because I would like to be the happiest. I really would. I would like to know how this madness can somehow be converted into nourishment. What a metabolism that would be.

In the meantime, right, I will just keep making my way. I will continue to do it my way, as it is the way I can always see, even in the dark. I get how some of my weaknesses are gifts. Stubbornness, for example, is a gift, as is terrible taste. After all, no one is ever in line for my tickets, and the thing I want is almost never sold out.

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