When I am doing something, though I am filled with apprehension that I will ‘get it wrong again,’ frequently I enjoy myself. This is especially true when I am accomplishing something, learning something, or doing something that I feel is worthwhile.
It was true most of the time I was running my daycare – and bye the way, the children and parents were nearly always happy with the care that I provided. With the exception of the times when I was overwhelmed, and so tended to repeat what I was doing for days on end, without changing to something new (such as when I was still running the daycare during our adoption placement visits – too stressful!) I really liked what I did.
I especially liked circle time (stories and action songs,) craft/science/baking time, and the times when the children just wanted to sit with me – even though for the most part, I don’t like people in my space.
When I took my construction courses, my fellow students believed that I was ‘smart’ and would come to me for help. I would explain – especially the theory – in ways that they could understand, when what the instructor had told them confused them. I could do that.
While I learn Spanish, or write stories, or spend time knitting, or… While I am doing these things, I often feel good. It is when I stop that I quickly start to believe I could never do it in the first place.
When I am outside, spending hours working on my garden, with my pets weaving around me, I almost feel like I am in Heaven. It is such a wonderful feeling to be out there doing.
During the time I was working at the motel, I pretty much believed I was good at what I was doing – and this was confirmed by those I worked with and for.
Though the anxiety is extremely high, even while I am doing the activities, my hope, and even my confidence is such that “I can do this” – until I get overwhelmed, that is. And then no amount of ‘positive thinking’ or ‘pushing myself through’ is going to help.
I crash. And when I crash, the exhaustion is all encompassing. It fills my life, and creates a fog in my brain, and tells me “nothing is possible.”
Since in work, and school, and parenting, and… everything else in life we are expected to be consistent, and to keep going, and to “always do our best,” the longer I spend doing something, the more likely I will crash, and the more often I will be seen (and see myself) as a failure.
I might be able to hold it together for a week, a month, a year… and then it is lost. I crash, and everyone who was watching seems disappointed. I think… I think they want me to succeed, and they are watching with hope that I will be able to do this well – but they don’t understand how very exhausting it is for me to ‘hold it together’ for any length of time. And the crash – which always comes – lasts so much longer than any activity that I was trying in the first place.
That is just a fact. Not something I have ever been able to overcome – and in fact, the harder I try to ‘hold it together,’ the less time I actually can, and the longer the crash will be.
And when I crash, I forget. I remember the anxiety, and I remember being overwhelmed, and I remember the crash – but I forget how good it felt to be doing something. I forget that I ever believed I could do anything. I forget that there was ever anything more to me than the crash that brought me to failure, and the disappointment that I see in the eyes of those who were watching; and I am so afraid to try again.