November 12, 2009

Note To Self


You know, you're really annoying sometimes. Perhaps I should narrow that down. You attract strange people in bathrooms, choose to scratch your ass at inopportune times, sleep so soundly your wife is left to deal with whining children in the middle of the night and, more importantly, you're a self-doubting asshat. In particular, your gut reaction to anything you have to do that is remotely challenging is to immediately shy away, to downplay your own skills (nunchuk skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills...girls only want boyfriends who have great skills), and to seek a way out of being saddled with whatever uncomfortable, challenging responsibility you're about to be saddled with. And then, after that, you enter a state of denial (not the river in Egypt) and wish that whatever happened that precipitated said responsibility hadn't happened at all. Which isn't helpful. During this, you get a tingly feeling in your face and a sinking feeling in the pit of your soul that makes you feel as if your entire body is being sucked into your bellybutton and you wish you could just disappear. But you don't. Your bellybutton isn't that big or talented.

Inevitably, you pull yourself together and dive in with both feet (though this expression has never made sense to you since one doesn't dive with one's feet unless the meaning of dive has changed dramatically over the last several years), doing whatever it is that needs to be done with a vast flurry of activity yielding positive results. Unfortunately, you sometimes proceed without thinking everything through or waiting for the right pieces to come together. This is another annoyance, but, like your fear of leftovers and your inability to read Thomas Pynchon, will not prevent you from living a full, rich life.

In the end you wonder what you were worried about to begin with because, inevitably, the end results are impressive and the challenge was kind of fun. You leave people with the impression that you're good at what you do (which you rationally know you are but in the back of your mind there's this niggling thought that says pulled one over on them again!). And people want you to do things for them. Things that are challenging, uncomfortable, and make you want to crawl inside your bellybutton. Because life is cyclical like that.

Remember these tendencies. Remember that you're pretty good at what you do. Or you wouldn't still be doing. And for the love of Phil Collins have a little faith in yourself.

Yours in Christ,

P.S. - Don't forget to schedule your car for service. The fact that the radio shoots a CD across the car, turns off, then resets itself to the local Christian radio station whenever you go over a bump can't be a sign of anything good. Someone's going to get hurt...or find Jesus in the backseat. And that's not a euphemism.

Posted by Chris at November 12, 2009 6:09 AM

I totally understand all of the above. So, while I can't offer you much on that except to keep on truckin'...I can help with the dive/feet thing.

You can jump in with both feet or dive in head first. :)

Posted by: Holly Reynolds at November 12, 2009 6:24 AM

I so blame you for the weird looks my colleagues are now giving me. I'm sharing an office with some relatively dour guys for a few weeks... and trying very hard not to laugh at your last paragraph just didn't go over too well. Probably the strange shape my face changed itself into.

Posted by: Hannah at November 12, 2009 6:34 AM

If it makes you feel better The Man sleeps so soundly that he rarely gets up with The Boy. (It made me crazy and it was the source of many fights.)

Getting out of our comfort zones is scary. Very scary. But usually the result is worth it.

Up here, we say Jump in with both feet. Which makes slightly more sense.

Posted by: Nat at November 12, 2009 7:20 AM

And NOBODY wants to find Jesus in the backseat in that fashion.

Posted by: Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah at November 12, 2009 8:16 AM

Amen! (Just sticking with the theme of your last paragaraph.)

Posted by: Elizabeth at November 12, 2009 8:33 AM

I enjoy that you use the term "asshat".

Posted by: Michelle at November 12, 2009 8:38 AM

Thanks for the last little reminder about having faith in yourself. I put my name in the hat to fill a slot on the Board of Trustees for our Library. I just knew that no one would vote for me and that the other two candidates were far more qualified than me.
Guess what? I was voted in unanimously I'm still in shock. Now the real test is in four months when I have to run for the post and be elected at the Town Meeting. That's a three year appointment. This was just to fill the position of a woman that moved away. Still...

Posted by: Maribeth at November 12, 2009 8:58 AM

There are so many things I want to comment on in this post, but lets just concentrate on that last one shall we. I am sure you already know what I am going to say but just in case you don't.
Maybe your radio is trying to tell you something! :)

Posted by: Jeff A at November 12, 2009 9:25 AM

Great post Cactus Man! Just what the doctor ordered this morning too.

Health and happiness to you and yours!


Posted by: JJ at November 12, 2009 9:26 AM

Me too. Hopefully we can work on this.

Posted by: Sandy at November 12, 2009 9:44 AM

With the exception of meeting strange people in the bathroom and that my car stereo works fine (and maybe a few other things, I can relate to this quite a bit. I think I'll just pretend that I wrote it to me.

Posted by: sarah at November 12, 2009 9:53 AM

This is a note to self and not to me? What?

Posted by: k8 at November 12, 2009 9:54 AM

Your belly button rumblings in this post now have me fascinated with your belly button. um.....that isn't exactly what I mean. Great, now I have a new title "Chris Cactus' Belly Button Stalker". I think I need more coffee!!

Posted by: DeLurking Di at November 12, 2009 10:14 AM

Thank you for this post! It is nice to know I am not the only one who second-guesses myself on a regular basis.

I can relate to most of your post, but my radio works just fine and the only person/thing that has been in my backseat in a long time is my dog. ;-)

Posted by: Krush at November 12, 2009 10:19 AM

When jumping into uncertain waters or from a really high cliff you must dive in with your feet first, slightly tilted backwards with your heels pointed out (surprisingly not your toes). This causes your body to quickly rock onto your back immediately after hitting the water.

I wouldn't recommend diving into unknown depths head first.

However, if you're just questioning the word "dive" when not referring to going head-first, well, my 1962 dictionary says it's to "plunge" into water from a depth, with no mention of heads or feet. :)

Think you're being to hard on yourself. And my husband doesn't leave me with the unhappy kid in the middle of the night because he's ACTUALLY a deep sleeper, he PRETENDS he's a deep sleeper so he can get out of it. Yet I still love him.

Posted by: Jeanne at November 12, 2009 10:40 AM

Well, self-doubt all around these parts. Know exactly what you mean.

Posted by: debb at November 12, 2009 12:06 PM

Thanks for reminding me I need new brakes & rotars....

Posted by: Rose Winters at November 12, 2009 1:43 PM

You gave me shivers. seriously. We're living parallel lives at the moment. I have been having the same conversation with myself as I try to muster up the courage to start a business I've always wanted to do AND I swear to the universe my car audio has the same issue. It turns itself on & off at random and at bumps, holds cd's hostage and then spews them out randomly, changes tracks on my ipod...

Posted by: laineyDid at November 12, 2009 3:24 PM

You had your expressions mixed with the feet/diving thing, I think, which a couple people pointed out :)

Posted by: Heather at November 12, 2009 4:25 PM