Flotsam; Self-Worth Washes Ashore

I can’t be strong, mature, and hard without hating myself for it. After my talk with Michael, I have been sleeping poorly. My digestion is upset. I am poorly focused. I have been fighting the urge to despise me, to punish me, to bludgeon me back into weakness.

For maybe the first time, I think I know why. I learned it on an apparently unrelated issue.

How to approach this tactfully…Hm.

I wanted to play cards. I’ve wanted to play cards for a couple of days, but Shannon was very tired from excessive workload. Tonight she agreed to play cards. After shuffling and dealing, I could see she wasn’t very interested in her hand, but was playing because I wanted to. She was willing and happy to be there, but not thrilled to be playing.

So I put the cards away. While it is acceptable for me to want to play cards, it isn’t acceptable for other people to be burdened with my needs. Many of you have heard me play this song before. My mouth rattled, and I said progressively stupider things, and she suggested that we just go to sleep. So we did. Well, she did. I thought.

First I thought about being fussy, but I’d argued for my right not to play cards, so that was out. I tried to revile myself for being unlovable and stupid, but got a tenuous grip. It’s something I’ve been working on. Why wouldn’t I want to play cards? I had a winning hand, she was willing to play….

She was too tired to have an interest in the game for herself. And if she couldn’t ….

Oh, screw all metaphors.

If she was too tired to manage an orgasm handily, then it is unreasonable for me to push myself on her.

Think about that one.

I am telling myself…in effect…I cannot have sex unless I pay for it.

Don’t I trust her to love me without paying off?

…Yes. (I stopped to check, just to make sure I’m not begging the question)

Then what is it I really don’t trust?

Why do I let people push limits beyond belief? Bow to Crystal for years, wuss out on enforcing rules with Michael, any number of other examples?

What has being fussy about laying down the law with Michael got to do with getting a happy tonight?

If I don’t supply orgasms, if I don’t cook, if I don’t fix everyone’s computers, if I don’t cough up cash, if I don’t bend the rules, break the rules, remove the rules, if I don’t eat people’s abuse —

— they won’t love me. I love other people because I do. It has little to do with them, in the end, more to do with me and how I feel. I have seen other people love; they are much the same as me. So I know that other people love,not because of what they get from the object of their love, but because they just do it.

Except with me, because I’m so utterly worthless.

“…so utterly worthless.” Where did that come from? It’s one of the things that I tell me when I’m hating myself. There’s hatfuls of such crap. I know it isn’t true when I’m healthy, but if I’m tired or depressed, sometimes I’ll fall into self-loathing. Last week I found that pattern, too.

When I’m tired or depressed, I am less productive. And, if I don’t cook, fix, serveserveserve–

You get it.

Most of you reading this have loved me far beyond my perceptions of self-worth. The only thing, in most cases, in common between you folk — besides the fact that all of you, to a person, is remarkable and wonderful and I love you — is me. If you are all so wonderful, then that tells me a lot about me.

But THAT ISN’T THE POINT.

Here is the point. This is what I may, finally, have figured out for me, something that I knew for other people since I was a child.

No one earns love.

You can’t. You can earn privilege, trust, respect, but not love. Love is a gift, and you can’t earn gifts, no matter how much you cook, no matter how much you bend, no matter how much you serveserveserve, all unasked.

People love me because they love me.

I’m going to go snuggle up against my wife and, if she wakes up, tell her that I’m smarter than when she went to sleep.

10 thoughts on “Flotsam; Self-Worth Washes Ashore”

      1. Yay! I don’t know what sort of hours the household keeps, so getting in after midnight may be too late. If so, I’ll schedule my flight out for a more civilized time the next day.

  1. Big Brother,

    I love you.

    I am learning to know you (a little better every post).

    I respect you more every time I read of the hard things you put your brain through (hard stuff like: I am worth it, not easy stuff like: I am crap!).

    You have been slowly earning my trust. That takes more work than even people who know me well fully appreciate.

    I have never tasted your cooking, but I’ve seen your heart (in your words, in your actions). I’ll never get an orgasm from you, but you’ve won tears from me – tears that needed to be shed. You’ve never so much as offered an opinion about my computer but you’ve meditated for me, and told me what I’m worth.

    For all these reasons and more that are jejune to list, I respect, trust and – as a result – like you.

    And for reasons that are deliberately unfathomable to me, I’ve felt love for you from nearly the first time we ‘met.’

    Now go snuggle Shannon and let her tell you what we all feel.

    1. Darlin’ girl, I had to shut my office door to snuffle in quiet. You have always been remarkable, and just keep getting remarkabler. I’m lucky to have you. Love you–

      –“never get an orgasm from you”? Hey! What am I, chopped liver?

  2. You are brilliant, you are brave, and you are loved.

    You inspire me with your writing, to examine areas of myself that I often hide from view. You look without flinching at the dark, sticky areas of your soul and in turn shed light on my own. You tackle hard issues, make choices and share the experience, making it easier for me when I need to make similar decisions. Without knowing it, you have helped me grow this past year into who I am today.

    Thank you.

  3. You wrote:
    “Why do I let people push limits beyond belief? Bow to Crystal for years, wuss out on enforcing rules with Michael, any number of other examples?”

    Man, it sounds like I need to get in on this before you succeed in changing yourself. I can’t believe I’ve wasted the past 25 years!

    You are right, you can’t earn love. Unlike the others above, I have no idea why I love you so much. Nor do I know why you put up with somebody who is your biggest critic minus one. But by following through on things, on what you told Michael, and stuff like that, I think you can earn and reinforce your own self respect. Yes you feel physically sick, because you are seriously setting out to change yourself, and change is frightening. Pre-race jitters multiplied by the factor of importance. I think it’s worth it and I hope you do too.

    Um, at first I started to say if you wanted to play cards so damned badly, to play solitary. Then I figured it out. I’m way too literal.

    1. Yep, you missed your golden opportunity. Silly, silly man. *shakes head sadly*

      “Pre-race jitter multiplied by the factor of importance.” Nice. And accurate. And, in fact, I think it’s worth it or I wouldn’t even try. The physical reactions are settling out, so I assume that I’m accomadating the new mindset. *relieved sigh*

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