Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the many woes...

I’ve decided that so much of the stress I’m dealing with lately comes from me being so horribly, negatively critical of myself. I’m so quick to point out where I’ve “failed” in life, instead of where I’ve done an okay job in getting by. (I can’t even type “where I’ve succeeded.”)

I’ve also decided that I need to begin to treat myself more kindly. I’m very much a believer of “treat others as you wish to be treated” (organized religions and I are not totally at odds) and I try to practice this in every interaction I have with others. I, however, do not extend the same courtesy to myself. Why is this?

Maybe I just can’t shake this perfectionist identity (although she has been shaken more and more often, the longer I stay in my current field). Maybe I’m too much a product of commercialism/capitalism. We are constantly shown that we are deficient in oh-so-many ways. We’re not young enough, pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, engaging enough, sexy enough, strong enough, ecc, and there’s a product for everything. Just about. However, I have yet to purchase anything that has boosted my confidence and I don’t believe that anything I ever buy will ever help me achieve this end.

I’ve simply decided to make a conscious effort to be less harshly judging of myself. Executing this decision might not be so simple, but I’ll try to stick with it. I’ll try to look at the offensive thoughts I lob my own way and let them pass. I know that this will be incredibly difficult and will require years of shifting my mental processes, but I hope that, eventually, I will be more accepting of and more kind to my very own self. I hope you all will also treat yourselves in kind.

Now that that bit of catharsis has been enacted, on to other non-news.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m reading Gates of Fire for a class. (I have Tides of War to look forward to when I finish Gates of Fire.) I don’t know how I’m going to get through this book. I understand that war happens. I don’t like it or agree with it, but I also don’t know how to stop it. I have a hard time looking at war on a larger level. I tend to obsess about the individuals who are out fighting and killing other individuals. I constantly think about those who are not soldiers but who are direclty affected by war just the same. People who have families who may never see them again. And, often, when soldiers do make it home from war, they aren’t the same people they were when they left. I have to admit that I’m not speaking from first-hand experience. I am fortunate in that I have never had to go to war before. If I were ever forced to go to war, I have no idea what I would do. I can’t put into words how grateful I am that others are taking positions I wouldn’t. (I don’t know that these people always, or even very often, know what they are really getting into, how their lives will be different, how they will be different.) I am mainly a coward. I don’t know that I could kill another person, that I could bring death to many others, even if I didn’t see the results of my actions. There is so much I’m ignorant about on the subject (obviously), but I could continue to ramble on and on with these half-formed thoughts. I won’t.

I’ve never been a fan of war-media (books, movies, ecc) and now I’m diving into two novels on the subject. This leads me to another point: what I’m reading are novels. This doesn’t make the reading experience any easier for me. I’m barely into Gates of Fire and I’ve already read scenes that include gang-rape and torture. The gang-rape scene made me physically ill. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this book. Or the other one, which, I’m guessing, will have more of the same.

Okay, so, sorry about these two pieces of rambling. I’m off to continue reading…because I have to. (I wonder what our class discussion will be like the first day back?)