I Have A Compulsion … I Want To Stop!

This compulsion I have has a profound affect on my happiness … I’m a habitual Tryer.

I spend a lot of my time trying. Lately, I’ve been trying to get my daughters to school, soccer, Little League, piano, drama and to keep them off drugs and the stripper pole even though they’re only 9 and 11.

I’ve been trying to stay connected with my husband so we don’t “become strangers” like they did in Ordinary People (and not be such a Mary Tyler Moore be-otch) and end up divorced with broken crockery.

I’ve been trying to build an audience for my blog, which requires all kinds of social media thingamajigs that make my head spin and I can’t keep track of anybody.

Who are you?

I’ve been trying to sell a television show, which I think all of you would really like, because it’s wildly inappropriate and there’s water bondage involved.

I’ve been trying to find the right home for my books, like anywhere where they’ll pay me so my kids can go to college and I can get a neck lift when the time is right.

What I meant to say was, that all of my money will go to charity. But you already knew that.

I’ve been trying to maintain my figure, my face and my mind in case I need them for something.

Like if I have to become a sexy spy in order to infiltrate one of the axises of Evil to assassinate whichever war lord is most likely to fall into my feline trap.

I’ve been trying to nurture my relationships with friends and family, because no man is an island and I need my people.

I’d die in solitary.

And also, I want to be perfect at having relationships with people whom I deem “difficult” because then I can feel smug and superior.

I’ve been trying to read all of the right blogs and books, and to watch the latest batch of breakout shows so that I can hate the people who are successful for having those ideas before I did and to steal from them.

I’ve been trying to find new, stimulating things to write about besides myself, because there’s only so much of “writing what you know” you can do before, really, you just become a horse’s ass.

Or, perhaps more aptly, an asshat.

I’ve been trying to put on my 30th high school reunion. Yes, that’s right you Upland Highlanders, when are you going to buy your freaking tickets??

Oh sure, you alllll sayyyy you’re coming, but if I’m sitting at the name tag table alone, stuffed like a sausage into an over-priced Mermaid gown, there is going to be hell to pay!!

You’ll wake up in the dead of night with me standing over your bed, wearing a kilt, playing A Mass For The Dead on the fucking bagpipes!

I’ve been trying to prepare a workshop for a conference where I’ll teach fledgling bloggers:

“Five Practical Tools To Vanquish The Inner Voice That Tells You You’re Not Good Enough.”

I’m not quite sure what those five things are yet, because I don’t feel good enough to know!

This is a lot of trying.

I want to honor myself today for trying. It’s a noble endeavor. I want to honor you for trying.

Sometimes we don’t want other people to know exactly how much we’re trying. It makes us seem a little anxious, a little fearful, a little desperate.

And so we look around from our Trying Torture and think that everyone else does what they’re doing effortlessly.

That they’re more successful than we are and they’re not even trying! Those assholes.

But the truth, is we’re all trying.

It doesn’t always look the same. Some people are trying very hard to screw their lives up. To go down the rabbit hole as fast as they can.

While many of us are trying to scrabble our way out of the pit of self-doubt and worry about the future, so we can finally, permanently achieve the mountaintop where we can lord it over all the other Tryers.

It can get pretty exhausting.

So. I’m going to pull out my calendar and I’m going to mark out a day, I don’t know which day yet, and on that day I’m not going to try.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to take myself to a movie, or get my nails done, or sleep until Christmas, because doing those things actually depresses me a little.

I am just going to let go — for that one day — of being worried that I’ll never arrive where I think I should be. I’m going to try (there it is again) to just be where I am.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, I want to share a photo my friend Katy took of our children from eight years ago.

I look into the faces of my daughters and realize that in the moment that photo was taken, I was desperately trying:

  • To get them in and out of the bath.
  • So I could get them to bed at a decent hour.
  • So their brains and bodies could grow.
  • So they could someday become college graduates who creates their own app and becomes independently wealthy and lets me live in the bungalow on their estate in Zurich.
It’s so sweet to look at this moment again.

I can almost smell the scent of the Johnson & Johnson No More Tears Shampoo, and the musky musk of my little girl’s heads.

From this distance, I want to go back there and just revel in the sheer, rare, ephemeral pleasure of those round, sweet faces.

I especially love how grouchy Bridget looks in her diaper.

13 thoughts on “I Have A Compulsion … I Want To Stop!”

  1. I do this too, and I don’t know how to stop! It seems like when I get home from work, every minute until my almost-3-year-olds’ bedtime is just a race to the next minute. I want to enjoy my limited time with them, and I realize that the only reason it seems like a chore is because I make it that way. On the other hand, Mommy-time cannot begin soon enough. And that requires bedtime for toddlers.

  2. If you are done trying….you are dying….just different stages, different steps. We love those who try. 🙂

  3. Oh come on. You weren’t trying to get them in and out of the bath so you could get them to bed at a decent hour so that they’d grow- you know it was past cocktail hour. Shessssh

  4. We are all trying, but I sometimes wonder how well I’m doing it.

    The picture? That has happened to all of us, and now that my son will turn 21 I’m wishing I could be beamed back to that time and LINGER over him in his bath. Sigh.

  5. Helene Cohen Bludman

    You may be trying, but what you don’t have to try is to be funny. That comes naturally! I always enjoy your posts.

  6. AAHHHH Shannon…you don’t need to try…to the rest of us you are all ready on the mountain top!
    Love you,

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