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On Frustration, Self-Promotion, and Never Being Good Enough

Please note: this blog is the product of having a really rough day. My stepfather was rushed to the ER by ambulance early this morning, and my daughter had to go to the urgent care because she was showing signs of a UTI. My stepfather turned out to be having vestibular vertigo, and when his tests cleared him of heart attack or stroke, he was sent home to recover. My daughter does have a UTI, but she’s had so many in the past year that the doctor who saw her wants me to contact my daughter’s primary care doctor and have her see a urologist and have an ultrasound of her kidneys, just to make sure there is no underlying condition that is causing her UTIs.  I think she’s having them because she hasn’t mastered the proper way to wipe and doesn’t drink as much fluid as she should, but it’s better to be safe and check things out than to have her develop something worse than recurring UTIs.

And to top it off, I saw something that just poked a HUGE hole in my ego and reminded me just how little my work means to anybody. It hurts a lot.

I really stink at self-promotion. The problem is, no one notices what I do unless I call attention to it, and it seems…I don’t know…wrong somehow, to call attention to what I do. I pour my heart and soul into what I do. If I share something I’ve written or made that I personally feel is important, it’s only after busting my ass and agonizing over making it good enough to be acceptable by my standards, and my standards have always been high and harsh. However, I’ve never been harder on anyone else than I have been to myself. To half-ass something that is supposed to be meaningful or special is just not something I can bring myself to do.

Even then, there are people who hate what I do, and I can’t do a single thing right in their eyes, ever, and their standards make mine look positively lax. To them, I am half-assing it, and I use that as a reminder to be compassionate to others when I feel like they’re half-assing it rather than putting in a genuine effort.

It’s too bad that I’ve never been able to turn that around and be compassionate to myself when my efforts fall short of perfection.

I do put out a daily blog (words.ladycygnet.com, for the uninitiated), but I just do that for fun–it’s not supposed to be profound or beautiful or even good–it’s basically a writing exercise while I attempt to hammer out a way to share word origins with people in the most humorous way possible.

But that’s the trouble with comedy, really. When I try to be funny, I’m not. When other people set out to be funny, they’re usually not. I get more laughs from a pratfall than I do from a cleverly worded turn of phrase.

And there are other things that I do behind the scenes that no one ever notices, and I doubt they ever will notice. I feel like a ghostwriter.

Or a ghost in general.

I’m frustrated. I’m beginning to feel like I have the heart that longs to do something worthwhile, but I lack the talent, and the reason nobody lavishes praise on me like they do on other people is because I’m unworthy of it.  Most of the time, all I think I’m good for is being a cook and housekeeper, and even then, I’m still not good enough, because my own private living quarters are in a state of ever-present encroaching chaos.

Clearly, my ego is getting out of hand, or this wouldn’t be bothering me so much.

Two professors who never agreed on anything else in their time at my alma mater agreed that I was a person with the spark to be a good writer.

Too bad that spark died sometime after I got married for the first time. I think it disappeared around the same time that the flourishing window garden I had in college and took with me to my first apartment with my new husband died.

And it’s my fault. Every bad choice I ever made led to something worse, and I don’t think all of the good choices I’ve made in my life will ever make up for the bad choices, much less give me talent where talent has been lost.

I have my daughter (who was the BEST choice I ever made in my life), and I fight for her, but beyond that, there’s not much left. I’m dating an amazing guy who has been wonderful at helping me sort out the broken bits of myself and reshape them into something that might be beautiful someday…but then I have stressful days like these that just burn the heart out of me and remind me that nothing I do will ever be good enough or make me worthy of anybody’s love–not my boyfriend’s, not my daughter’s, not my muse’s, and certainly not God’s.

If anything I did was worthwhile, it would be remembered.

But since it is not, I have not.

I feel like an utterly useless creation.  What am I good for?

I just don’t know anymore. I can’t even write worth a damn anymore. Every piece of identity I’ve ever had has been ripped from me, and I don’t even know who I am anymore.

And anytime I do get praise, it feels like a form letter, or like someone feels obligated to say something nice, even if they really want to tear me apart and remind me of just what a wretchedly talentless hack I am (as if I could ever forget). It feels hollow, and maybe that has more to do with me than it does with them.

Will this blog be perfect before I post it?

No.

And this is the reason: I’m venting.  This isn’t meant to be beautiful and polished; it’s meant to be an honest and real outpouring of what I’ve been feeling.

Maybe all of those people who told me that I was worthless and would never amount to anything were right.

And perhaps that’s all right after all.

1 reply on “On Frustration, Self-Promotion, and Never Being Good Enough”

Sweetie. You really are too hard on yourself. You’re your own worst critic. You do amazing things for me everyday. I couldn’t ask for a better girlfriend. I love you, so much.

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