The Lutheran Geek

The life and times of a WoW-playing, Java-programming dude in Chicago

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Loving myself?

A couple of my more observant friends have, in the past, made a rather frank assessment of me. Basically, they say, I hate myself. This, in turn, makes it difficult for them to be around me. Frankly, they’re right. While I’m not haunted with a constant depression and hatred of my being, it’s definitely there, under the surface. Lately, over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed this feeling become a lot closer to the surface. Ironically, it seems to come out most strongly when I’m around my friends. See, I’m blessed with witty, fun friends who love to talk and have fun. I enjoy the same, usually… at least when I’m at ease and relaxed. This really hasn’t been the case of late. I’ve felt like I needed to keep up and be sharp and perfect. Every mistake I make, every misstatement that slips out of my mouth is exaggerated to the point of being an unforgivable sin. As it stands, I tend to be a fairly passive personality, so when I feel like I’m stepping on toes, it’s my tendency to back off even further, cursing myself the whole time, telling myself how awful and stupid I am, and how everyone knows it. What’s funny is how this came up while role-playing: I didn’t realize that RPers tend to be very cagy in general, not willing to reveal much about themselves, saying things like “It’s nothing”. Of course, being the polite, respectful person I am, I hear that and think “OK, I guess they don’t want to talk about it” and let it be. Turns out that “It’s nothing” is an explicit invitation to ask more – I had it exactly backwards. I felt even worse about this, realizing I blew a good opportunity to talk more with my RPing friends, and instead assumed that they wanted nothing to do with me, true to my nature of assuming the worst about peoples’ attitudes towards me.

This continues on and on; eventually, I’m left with nothing but an empty feeling of utter worthlessness. It gets to the point where I wonder if anything I do matters. My job? Frankly, there are hundreds of programmers out there who could do what I do twice as well in half the time. So it would seem, anyway. Friends? Well, while I am unique, I tell myself I’m not that important to any one friend, and everyones’ life would go on without me present – witness how I have basically three friends left in the greater Chicago area, as most have moved away and gone on quite happily with their lives. The only thing I can’t disregard, even in my deepest depression, is my family. I am dear to my parents and the rest of my family and irreplaceable to them. That, at least, means I’m not 100% worthless in this world.

This is the crap I push through my head. It comes out so easily. Witness every time I make a mistake: “God Peter, you’re so stupid,” I say to myself. I MUST break this habit. I must learn to love myself. Dropping out of grad school made that hard – while I tell myself I learned a lot from the experience, a good part of me wonders if it wasn’t because of some fundamental failure on my part – laziness, hubris, somthing of that sort. How? Well, that’s why I’m in therapy. I will keep asking this question each week, and I’m hoping the answer will come to me eventually.

Till then, I keep on trying. And failing. But hopefully soon, succeeding.

posted by Peter at 9:18 am  

Monday, September 11, 2006

Boring, stormy day

Morning of 11 September. 5 years since I nearly drove my car off the Northwest Tollway on my way to work listening to what was going on in NYC and DC on WBBM. 99 times out of 100, I tire of WBBM’s rapid-fire, 500-WPM style of news delivery, but the style suited the fast-moving events of that day quite well. Strictly speaking, we were patched into a live feed of WCBS from NYC, but they have the same style. It was about 8:45 AM our time. The rumors were flying fast and furious. Was it a prop plane or a jet that had hit the WTC? How many planes were missing? Was there one heading for the White House?

Now we know the full extent of the truth. I was lucky enough not to know anyone who died that day, but two of my friends, Kris and Kat, did.  I cannot imagine what emotions they must be dealing with today. On top of that, it’s Kris’s birthday. Yeesh.

In any case, here we are. Besides the date, it’s actually a rather glum day. My co-worker is out of the office, so I’m pretty much by myself all day here. I’ll try to get some stuff accomplished, but it’s looking like a tiring, low-energy day. Eh.

In any case, just wanted to assure any of you reading this (all 0 of you, I’m sure :/) that I’m alive.

posted by Peter at 10:02 am  

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