I don’t like me

This morning, like so many others, I washed my face, saw myself in the mirror and thought “You again? Really?” I’ve been looking at a version of the same reflection for the last thirty years so I don’t know how I get so caught off guard sometimes. It’s that sometimes I guess the thought of being stuck with myself for all eternity is just so disarming.

On days like these, I feel compelled to pull out my long list of inadequacies and ask them all to sound off. Hearing them call out I can do nothing more than lament all the ways in which I’m deficient.

I don’t get up right away when the alarm goes off. I don’t take the dog for a long enough walk. I don’t know how to mitigate world hunger. I don’t put all the pillows on the bed. I don’t know how to style my hair. I don’t fold the laundry like they do at the Gap. I don’t buy enough groceries. I don’t know how to skype to talk to my brother in LA regularly. I don’t wash the floors as much as they need it. I don’t scoop the cat’s litter every day. I don’t respond to my friends’ emails fast enough. I don’t call people back. I don’t always make dinner. I don’t know how to contribute to my community. I don’t call the oven repairman when I say I’m going to. I don’t know how to find the job I want. I don’t know how to earn a living doing what I love. I don’t write well enough. I don’t know how to make people happy. I don’t know when to use ‘might’ or ‘may.’ I don’t know how to advance human rights. I don’t know how to speak up for myself. I don’t know how to manage my time. I don’t know how to make crème brûlée. I don’t like my clothes. I don’t know how to be brave. I don’t know how to take a blood test without fainting. I don’t know how to whistle. I don’t know how to help natural disaster survivors. I don’t know how to make it through the day without coffee. I don’t know how to calm down. I don’t know how to stop talking as much as I do. I don’t know how to live in the moment. I don’t know how to love myself.

The list goes on and on. The order might change from day to day, but nothing is ever removed. I just keep adding more and more faults to the list, cycling through them in my head to make sure I don’t miss any (I don’t write down things I want to remember).

I was doing just that as I rushed to make my doctor’s appointment on time (I don’t leave the house early enough). I drove up a nearby side street and in one fast motion I parallel parked into a tiny space covered in uneven ice, that was barely the size of my car (I don’t always exercise caution when I should). I got out of the car and fumbled around in my purse to make sure I had my OHIP card (I don’t keep my purse tidy). As I walked away I heard a loud “wooo” aimed at my general direction. I turned around to see an elderly lady pump her fist in the air.

You GO Girl. I never thought you’d get into that spot.”

I looked around, wondering if I should take a bow and hoping she would repeat herself so someone else would hear it.

In thinking about all my imperfections I totally forgot–I am an awesome parker! Truly awesome. In fact, I can parallel park any car, on any downtown street, in the middle of rush hour, during any season. I’m that good.

Her exclamation obliterated my negative thoughts. “Thanks, sista,” I said, pumping my fist back at her.

I was so excited walking to the clinic that I had to call my husband.

Can you believe it? My parking is so good, it’s attracting attention!”

My husband paused. “Well, I don’t know if a compliment from a woman on your driving really counts.”

And so the list returns: I married a chauvinist.