I say things to myself. I guess everyone does and everyone who has had depression or low self esteem or any kind of mental frailty has been told to stop the negative self-talk, like it’s just as easy as zipping a zipper. These last two years have made me, if possible, more dismissive of anyone who tries to put “positive action” into the shit bucket load of potential solutions to mental health. Fuck you, my negative self talk is ingrained. It has its own apartment. I don’t need to “stop” it. I need it to not exist, and there’s a big difference.
Anyway one of the things I say pretty often is “You’re so stupid!” which, if negative self-talk phrases had last names, this one’s is “Smith.” I am not stupid. I am flaky sometimes. I make mistakes. I am impulsive and make choices I immediately regret. But not stupid. But I think it anyway, and this is why you can’t just “stop” negative talk. Negative self talk is like the receipt from the ATM. It spits out the paper and THEN you can crumple it up throw it away, but it exists nonetheless. One thing I do have insight on is where it came from and that is parents who told me I was stupid. Simple as that.
The second thing I say, and I say this A LOT, probably every day, is “Don’t be weird, Jane.” I’m going to have a hard time explaining this one, because I really hate it, but it does have its benefits.
I say things out loud that most people wouldn’t. I do things that are sort of eccentric. Examples: If I walk past someone’s desk and they have a plant on it and said plant has a dead brown leaf, I will stop, WITH THEM SITTING THERE, and pull the leaf off. I don’t know why I do such things, other than I’m just being weird. The other night Tim and I were walking through a restaurant bar on the way to our table, and a group of people greeted this woman sitting alone at a high top and then they realized she wasn’t who they thought she was and there was laughter and merriment and she said, “Oh, no, you don’t want to say ‘hello’ to me,” and as I passed her I said, “Hello!” WHAT THE FUCK.
I bring this up today because one of my directors and I were talking and we were sad we have moved from this tiny office we used to have where we were able to talk and visit and such and overhear what people were doing etc. (this was her more than me because I don’t care) Now we work at home and sit far apart in a much nicer building, and don’t talk to each other as much. I told her that Penny and I have calls once a week or so where we just fire up Teams and then talk and gossip. Well, okay, I didn’t say “gossip” but whatever. That’s what we do. She got all excited and said we should have a Teams call with all the people that used to be in the old office so we could talk and not gossip. And she was like “we’ll just get on the call and everyone will think it’s something official and then we’ll just say ‘this is so we can talk!” She’s very bubbly and I love her.
I sent out an invitation for a “Short Briefing” and in the body I put “We never talk anymore.”
I THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY. But then I realized I was being weird. And people don’t understand humor because people are The Worst. I got replies like, “Should we pull in so and so for the Briefing?” And “Will there be an agenda?” And shit like that. Christ. Why? Just why?
So anyway, now when I walk toward a plant with a brown leaf on it I say to myself, “Don’t be weird don’t be weird don’t be weird.” And the plant remains, sad and brown-leaved, but at least I wasn’t weird.