Recently, when people have asked me how I am, I usually respond with, “fine.” And it’s true— things are not particularly good or bad, they’re just fine. It’s interesting to hear people’s responses to this. Most will retort back, “just fine? Everything okay?” And that’s where my real truth gets slightly more complicated.
Everything is okay, for the most part. My son is healthy and happy (most days), I have a job and am making decent money for once, and I’m married to a wonderful person who makes me feel supported (most days). But, I’ve never been one to settle for simply okay. I’m always driving for more. I want things to be great. I want to have exciting news to share. I hate reporting that everything is “status quo” because to me, “status quo” means I’m stagnant. And stagnant falls into the category of “not good.”
I don’t think I realized how much of my own self worth is tied into tangible accomplishments— specifically career accomplishments, which seems bonkers. I can still be talented, hard-working, and awesome even if I’m not where I want to be in my career. But my brain sees things in a very black and white way in this sense. Even though I’ve written countless material since I was a child, I still have a hard time identifying as a writer. Maybe it’s because I’m not getting paid to write, so I don’t want to appear as a fraud. As if someone is going to question me and my merits (again, bonkers).
It’s tough— I’m trying to separate the two things. The sense of accomplishment with my sense of self worth. But, it’s a struggle. I constantly worry that people see me as a loser because I’ve been trying to “make it” for so long, and then that worry that is probably unfounded makes me feel like a loser. It’s a status quo spiral.
I think at the end of the day, it’s about wanting to be seen. Really seen. And when you’ve been in the same position for five years, or things are just “fine,” you tend to blend in the background. It’s easy to be ignored or treated as though your opinions and merits don’t matter. And that triggers all sorts of emotions for me. I’m already small in stature; I hate feeling small emotionally. And that is how I’ve felt lately— small, sad, and stagnant. Not necessarily horrible, but also not… great. Fine. I’m just fine.