My goal - my life goal, I guess, if you want to get all touchy feely - is to be o.k. with myself. To let myself relax and make mistakes and be o.k. with the mistakes. To not worry that I have done something wrong or could have done something better. To stop second guessing.
It's hard work. It's nearly impossible some days - I am a dweller, a rue-er of the highest order. I can nitpick the smallest mistakes I've made from 20 or even 30 years ago, and the pain of it is still ridiculously fresh.
Here is a mortifying moment from elementary school - and I am not joking when I tell you that I still cringe when I think about it. It pains me:
My mom gave me a week's worth of lunch money at once. I was supposed to keep it and not lose it. This was fine when I wore something with pockets, but the fashion gods are bastards and most girls' clothing did not come with pockets. So I kept the money wrapped in a napkin.
Well, at the end of lunch, we were supposed to line up at the door and wait to be dismissed for recess. On this particular day, I was first in line. And then I saw something that made my heart stop, that paralyzed me:
The lunch lady was going through the trays and there, on that red tray, was my folded napkin full of money. Which she tossed in the trash. I watched it fall in slow motion, I am not kidding you.
I didn't know what to do. My mind was racing, I felt myself flush. Should I leave the prime spot of being first in line and dig through the trash to get my money? Did I want people to see me go through the trash? What should I do?
I did nothing. I went outside and played and tried to forget about it.
Except I never told my parents that I lost the money. Instead, the next day and for some time thereafter I told the lunch lady that I got free lunch.
So I scammed the school for about a week or so, until they caught on and then I had to go to the principal's office and my MOM was there and I was ready to fucking die.
I still feel sick to my stomach when I think about it. Seriously. I'm embarrassed that I'm writing this and while I know it can be seen as funny, all I can think of is that I WAS A THIEF and I GOT IN TROUBLE and I MADE A HUGE MISTAKE. And I don't know which of those three things is worse in my book.
So, I got a talking to by the principal, and my mom repaid the lunch money. I can still see the principal's giant tie and white belt [because there was no way I was looking him in the eye] and I still feel like hell when I think about it.
I'm hoping that writing about it will make me feel better about it - sort of expiating my sins. Let's hope it works. I can't keep this up.