September 19, 1997


Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.
-- Psalm 1

Blessed is she who does not sit in the seat of mockers. It's always easier to mock than to do, easier to kabitz than to play, easier to critique than to create while being critiqued. Far easier to sit on the couch and armchair quarterback than go out on a field and get roughed up. Safer, too. There's little risk in telling other people what they did wrong. It's much harder to get up and do it right. To put yourself in the way of making a mistake.

It's always easier to let somene else do the work, the meditation on the Law and blindly follow what others have said it means. But what's the delight of that?

Having been raised a perfectionist, I know how easy it is to be critiqued, to always be told and to always think that I haven't done well enough, that there is some flaw, some problem, something that I haven't thought of. Easy to just stop doing, to sin by missing the mark of what I could accomplish by hobbling about on the excuse that it's not worth doing if I can't do it perfectly. To lose faith. Faith in my gifts, faith in my worth, and faith in my place in all that is, which is certainly damaging of my ability to do what I was given the gifts to do.

People are good at telling me what I can't do. Or, perhaps, I'm good at listening for what I can't do from other people's mouths and words. It does happen both ways. Yesterday, John talked me out of buying the crackle white glazed pot without ever knowing he did it, just by saying that $90 was a lot of money. I'd broached the subject, half hoping he'd help me justify the expenditure, but when he said that, I thought he meant that that was a lot of money that I probably shouldn't spend. Instead, he'd meant to reflect what he thought he heard from me back to me, and on hearing the doubt in my voice, he'd echo'ed it back.

Problem is that I start doubtful. I start on the ground that I don't really deserve anything nice, so it's a self-defeating cycle. It happened a lot more often, before, and John would talk me out of all kinds of things I wanted without him ever really knowing he'd done that, mostly because he just magnified and pinpointed my own doubts. It was never really his intention to talk me out of it, rather, he thought of it as getting me to think it through and do what I really felt I ought to do. His own personality is built so that he does deserve things, and so doesn't even question my basis of anything. But intensional or not, his actions keep me from doing what I desire, and the resentment has built and still builds everytime he does that.

He's gotten better about that with food. I have, too. Yesterday, I was so tired, I just wanted to get something quick to cook, so we wandered into QFC and bought crabcake blobs. Each about a third of a pound of crab meat mixed with bread crumbs, a bit of mayo, Old Bay Seasoning, onions, and other spices, in neat wax paper wrappers to enable shaping. So we each had four crisp, tender, flavorful crabcakes, with corn bread and salad on the side. No discussion, no doubt.

What's silly is that I make so much money, but I still flail at decisions that involve more than $40. Far too good at listening to that internal voice that mocks my desires as unnecessary.

Problem with the resentment is that it often breaks out in buying sprees that John just never notices, and the hurt just gets deeper. Or I try to explain it to him, and he just retorts, "I never did that!" Which makes me doubt myself, eventhough he meant it as a denial of intent on wanting to argue me out of anything. So it just spirals. The way I learned from my family was that those were the kinds of things that were then given as presents, but the Rostyki tradition has always been to be frugal over presents, which sets up all kinds of other problems. I know that in some ways my family's way of doing things is broken, in that the richness or cost or amount or care in a gift given is often equated to how much someone actually cares about you. So I fight, every year, the disappointed feeling from Christmas or my birthday when the Rostyki give what they've always given freely, which is of their love.

Heh. Which all goes back to my telling myself how much I'm broken and stupid.

In the easy chair of mockers...

Hey, it's even easier to mock myself than to do what's good for me. Eaiser to complain than figure out a solution. So I think I'll stop that.

Okay. So I pull myself out of my armchair and the actions I take are to talk with John about all this, and make sure I really do want the teapot, or save it for something special that I am going to do. A reward, then I'll feel I'll have earned it or something, no more mockery of my desires. Make it positive. I have two interviews set up, one for the 25th, one for the 29th. If I survive them, or if there's good news at the end of this tunnel, that will be my concrete reward for lasting through.

How's that for getting off my butt?

©1997 by Liralen Li

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