Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I didn't go to work today. Couldn't. Woke up and kept telling myself to sleep for ten more minutes, until I was out of little blocks of time and I realized that there was nothing I could do to convince myself to get up and go bear it another day-- I hate it. I hate is so much.

I didn't have an excuse; there was none left that I hadn't used. I just didn't go. I don't think I will again.

I wouldn't be so hard on myself, hell, I'd be bordering on proud, if it weren't for one detail-- the job, I hate. The people, I don't. One, in particular, has acted as my de facto best friend for a few months now. He's been present at nearly every social outing I've had lately, and while there are a few other regulars, he is the one that I trust. This is because he is the dependable guy, in life, and at work.

I never wanted to get pigeonholed as "the dependable girl", because, as I learned from Burger King a few years back, it's the dependable one who ends up working the 14-hour shifts on their days off. So, at McDonald's, I tried to be somewhere in the middle, but leaning towards the opposite pole, a pole I have now undeniably fallen towards. It's not a shame that would haunt me, because it's not a job I care about, it's not even a job I can stand, but facts are facts: being the non-dependable girl means screwing over the dependable guy, and that's not something I ever wanted to do.

I'm so sorry.

Last night, riding home from a night spent with him and the others, I had an unsettling feeling that could only be quieted by writing in my head what I assumed would become a post here once I got to the keyboard. Instead, I told Zack what I had realized about the ever-present condition which handicaps me more than I can ever really know: my self-esteem. I know it's low, but I never realize how dangerous it is, save for a few moments where something brings the real bankruptcy of self-worth I have to into the light.

I remember clearly a conversation I had with Miss Jenkins, the elementary school behavioral therapist who counseled me before I understood what it was to be counseled. I was trying to explain to her the feeling I was always saddled with of not belonging, especially within my group of friends. "They're nice to me and everything, they never say they don't want to be my friends, but I just get the feeling if we were all kidnapped by an evil man who said that one of us would have to be sacrificed to a volcano, they'd all push me forward at the same time." I remember her reaction as being something of a benevolent laugh, as if she were recognizing the intelligence behind the statement; thinking about it now, I have to give my young self props. I've grown, become less awkward, more sure of myself or better at faking it, but I've never come across a more exact description of that one feeling; the one I still feel every time I find myself established in a group.

It stayed with me, exactly the same, for years: when I'd hide myself in a corner at my own birthday parties, convinced that nobody wanted me to be there. When I'd walk away from a cluster of people without saying anything look on from afar, seeing if they noticed my absence. Last night at the mall or back at Ben's aparment, countless times in Wal*Mart with Zack. Hide myself, and wait to see if anybody comes to find me.

I've spent a lifetime waiting for someone to find me. All because I can't seem to find myself.

I'd carve out niches in future groups; with girls, I was the funny one, but it never really got me by. This explains, in part, why I always drawn to groups of relatively unattractive men, where I felt I could leverage my sex to be accepted. The first group I remember really feeling comfortable in was the Auburn boys: Nick, Ben and Chad, all of whom can vouch first-hand for my theory that I use every resource at my disposal to feel welcome. These actions, inevitably, blow up in my face.

And all this time, I'm talking about myself within a group dynamic, but the truth is that it manifests itself in one-on-one friendships, as well, it just tends to take longer. If I can't figure out exactly what it is I offer a person after they have outlasted the "honeymoon" phase, my insecurity will cause an end to the relationship. The ones that last do so with a wall: Certain people, I only speak with only once in a blue moon, so as to eliminate any dependency which, in my mind, could only lead to disaster. Others, I allow myself within the mainstream of their lives with the firm understanding that I could never be any better than second-best to them (a self-fulfilling prophecy), and periodically pull back if I feel the bond become too strong.

Last night...nothing happened. The night was spent mostly playing Madden, which the dependable guy had purchased at the midnight release party at the mall. This left little time for the dangerous flirtations that are the only things which make me feel truly welcome in the group. In lieu of being able to supply any cheap thrills or being able to score the winning touch down for the team in the game (which I suck at), I spent a great deal of the night in an empty bedroom, crying with the burden of the feeling I couldn't shake. While it should have been relief that, for once, I'd gone an entire night without threatening my marriage, I idenitified what it really was somewhere underneath the cotton-candy hued sunrise on my long drive home: a mixture of rejection and failure.

It's not self-loathing, I reason: the part of myself influenced by logic feels an indescribable sadness every time I realize how truly little the other part thinks of itself. No, this isn't about hatred. It's just a belief: I am nothing; I have nothing to offer. When people see through the elaborate ruses that hold my daily life together, they will realize, as they always have, that I am not at all what they signed up for, and they will go.

I don't look forward to being left by my latest clan, if I haven't been already. Maybe not going to work today was a pre-emptive strike.

Or maybe it was just that I fucking hate my job.

On with it.