I have to admit that taking criticism has never been my strong point. Taking good advice is often a challenge, too, because I dread looking like an idiot. But I liked to think that over the years, I've gotten better about it. That I'd gone from bawling ("I screwed up so bad they had to tell me what I did wrong") to nodding ("Okay, I'll work on it"). But perhaps I've flattered myself about my maturity level.
It is still very hard for me to listen when she tells me I am not doing enough. She is right, I am not fulfilling my potential capabilities. I seem to have associated this with wasted effort, though I cannot subdue my infernal drive towards "the pinnacle" of something. I have gone from questioning that lifestyle to being incapable of it. Now that I have tried to erase the approval addict workaholic from my personality and behavior, I have nothing to anchor myself to. My ultimate hopes are ideas that have become ideals instead of goals. I am a nothing, I am simply here, I guess, and I'm trying to make that enough.
It eats at me, that desire, that need that I cannot seem to fulfill. Simply being isn't enough. That "be as you are and all things will come about as a result of your complete self" mentality is so appealing, and yet it is driving me nuts. Why can I not achieve what that ambition of mine yearns for? I feel in my heart of hearts I am average. I have no faith in myself. As a result of believing that I'll never get to the top, I seem to have attached some sort of stigma with wanting to be the best, probably in order to protect my delicate ego. And then there's that perfectionist side I may never be able to erase, which halts all when it realizes that I cannot ever be number one.
She tells me that I am tripping myself up again. Yes, I am beginning to recognize the pattern. Dancing. Singing. Acting. Music. I guess now I can add academia to the list?
She said that it almost seems like I don't want to work. This isn't entirely accurate, but I cannot deny it either. I have practically given up on positions that interest me. I don't feel qualified or confident enough for the things I would most love to do. Stepping stone or no, I don't really want to be anybody's secretary. The thought repulses me, but I'm 22, and I need a job. I'm told I have to start at the bottom of the ladder, and if it isn't sitting at a desk, it's retail ... an even worse fate. It is small wonder that my efforts have been lackluster.
And then ...
It's so difficult to listen ... because I face myself every day, and it's ... hard. Besides often being almost incapacitated by my own depression on a regular basis, that perfectionist! It's forever there! This impossible standard applies to myself most of all, for if I cannot live it, how can I possibly preach it? It's impossible, I know it's impossible, yet I cannot relax my grip on myself. Maybe it's my drive for being something special feeding into this one arena that I've left for it.
I'm better off, I know I am. I've been worse. But I really think that I am ... sick. While I am no longer upon the edge of my sanity as I was when I lived with my family right after graduation, I'm still somewhere painfully close. I am embarrassed to feel so awful on a regular basis. I have never seriously considered suicide, for there's a spine in me that says "that's running away," there's a heart in me who has lost loved ones, that wonders "what happens to the people left behind," and there's a fantastically paranoid coward, the one who envisions me tripping and knocking out all my front teeth, imagining every single failed suicide attempt possible.
But I often think to myself that the world would be better off without me, that I do not deserve words of praise and faith in my potential, and as I haven't made much of a mark to start with, most people would not miss me. And I would not suffer so, if I did not exist. I used to wish that I was dumb, so that I would not be aware enough to feel like a living, walking problem. For a while I wished I was dead. And now I just wish that I were smart enough or mature enough or whatever enough to stop this cycle that I see and cannot seem to do anything about.