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Most of my life I’ve lived inside my own head. When I was a kid, it was a defense mechanism. I escaped into books and stories and a fantasy world that offered me the serenity and control I didn’t have at home. Some people might find it odd that I equate serenity and control, but for me they go together. It’s not so much about controlling other people as it is controlling my immediate environment – which is not the same thing. It has taken years to see that exerting that control over myself and my surroundings ultimately caused more damage than the safety it originally provided. Years of therapy never taught me that lesson – or it was never explained in terms that I could understand. Or I just didn’t want to understand it. Who wants to hear that their means of survival, their M.O. is completely ineffective?

I had to figure that out on my own and then I had to figure out a way to change something I’d been doing for 40 years my entire life. Going back to school was part of that plan; so was re-doing my match.Icantgetadate profile. I tried reconnecting with old friends, but that didn’t work out very well. I decided to find a church so that I could be around people who are positive and uplifting – people who are motivated and have goals and direction in their lives.

The Shrew has been dancing on my last nerve for a month and last week I lost it over something stupid. I don’t talk about her very much because she is a very negative influence in my work life. Cartman made me laugh but the Shrew makes me homicidal (the joke is that at least I’m not suicidal). The Shrew has backstabbed me, tormented me, alienated me, made me look bad and generally made my life hell for the last six years. I tried to befriend her but it didn’t help – she still did her best to make herself look good while I looked incompetent. When she decided to telecommute, I thought I was in heaven – for about a week. Then she went about making my life hell in different ways since she wasn’t there to go through my desk and listen to my phone calls and report it all to my boss. Think Roz in 9 to 5 only shorter, less likable, and not as funny.

Last week I decided that I have had enough. I’m not dealing with her anymore. No matter what I do, her behavior doesn’t change. If comment on the spring-like weather, she will say it is going to rain. If I say something about work that is remotely positive or encouraging, she corrects me. She is the most negative person I have encountered in twenty-five years. She is a vortex of pessimism; she is a nasty, bitter old woman.

I think what bothers me most about her attitude is that I can see myself in it in so many ways. My sense of humor is dry and a bit on the cranky side. It is a persona – I think – but I don’t want that to become the ‘real’ me. I don’t want to be bitter and hateful and cynical.
I’m almost finished with school and have to figure out what I’m going to do next, which is scary. I want to go to this church but I’m working up the courage to go by myself. I’ve let myself fall back into a funk and I gained back 5 lbs that I had lost. I’ve stopped focusing on constructive, proactive goals and started bitching about everything that is wrong in my life.

This week I’m going to start making lists of everything I’m grateful for. I may share it here, or not. If I am looking at it on paper (or on the computer screen), it refocuses my attention and helps me understand that I can no longer live inside my own head. My world isn’t complete without people in it, without interacting and doing and caring. It won’t change the Shrew (I know from experience), but it will change me.

Because it’s still all about me.

* I can’t help about the shape I’m in
I can’t sing, I ain’t pretty and my legs are thin
But don’t ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to

Oh well

Now, when I talked to God I knew he’d understand
He said, “Stick by me and I’ll be your guiding hand
But don’t ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to”

Oh well

-Fleetwood Mac

“Oh Well”