I Didn’t Post Anything Yesterday And It Turns Out I’m Okay With That.
Sunday August 11th 2013, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Health (Not Cancer), Me, Myself, and Reid

I gave myself a very specific time limit to write last night, and once I hit it, I closed my laptop and went to sleep. I’m proud very proud that I was able to stop writing. Normally, I’m great at beating myself up. If there was a “Beat Reid Levin Up” contest, I guarantee that I would win. It’s never something I consciously think about doing, it just happens. Often times–probably most of the time–it doesn’t even make logical sense.

For example, even though there are clearly hundreds of medical tests that scientifically prove that I’m sick, I will often give myself an extremely hard time about being sick. You’re so lazy! Why don’t you get out of bed? Why don’t you try to accomplish something? Are you really even sick? Just like that, in the second person and everything. And I don’t really fight back.

It’s part of my automatic thought process and it has been for a long time. I’ve been actively trying to change this for several years now. It turns out that it’s really hard to change the way I (and I’d suspect most people) think. I don’t mean changing what I think about things like people and issues, rather, changing how I actually think–changing my inner monologue. The goal of this difficult push has been to allow me to cut myself some slack. Even when I had cancer, I’d constantly think, You’re not contributing anything to society! So I’d do something to prove myself wrong, which made me sicker, which discouraged me to no end, at which point I’d start it all over again. It was a bad cycle, and is often still a bad cycle.

All that is to say is that I’m really happy that last night, I didn’t think to myself that I had to finish a post. I didn’t think that if I didn’t post something, I’d be letting myself down. I didn’t reflect on the situation and tell myself that I was lazy. I just accepted it. And as happy as I am about this, I’m also very surprised. This is the first time in a long time that I was able to simply accept that I’d reached a boundary I’d set for myself and that’s all it was. There’s nothing else to read into what I’d done. It was what it was.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve tried to stop writing by a self-imposed deadline, only to have it turn into something terrible and scary. I’d try to go to sleep, only to be consumed by thoughts of how terrible it was that I couldn’t finish what I started. I’d get out of bed and write some more, and then get mad at myself for breaking my time limit. And so it would go, on and on and on, until I was too exhausted to get out of bed. The scary part is always feeling like I’m not in control.

I was worried about it last night. I was keenly aware of my looming time limit and I had a twinge of fear about how I’d react to not finishing something by my deadline. I turned out to be just fine with it. It seems to me that the unexpected feeling of being okay with it is an indication that I’ve begun to change the way I think. I was truly surprised by my own thought process.

One of my goals with writing again has been to let myself off the hook. I don’t think I’m cured of this in any way, or that I’m anywhere near having completely changed the way I think. I’m only in the very early stages of changing these things, but it feel really good to know that I’ve started making progress.

Another goal was to write and not get caught up in edits and rewrites, because that has kept me from posting consistently for the past two years. I want to go back and change the structure of this post, I want to add in a few jokes, I want to take out some repetitive ideas… but I’m not going to.

I’m going to sleep.

–Reid.


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