March 21st, 1998, Saturday
I’ve been trying to think about what it would be like to do everything for my own approval instead of the approval of someone else. I also think about what exactly I would have to do to make myself feel truly guilty and worthless. Not the guilty and worthless feelings I get from hearing other people tell me what I should be doing, but a guilty feeling entirely fabricated by me. Usually my feelings of guilt come from having other people tell me I should feel guilty for one reason or another. It’s very hard for me to exist right now because my whole entire existence has been based on the approval and judgement of other people. There is not one single thought or action I have that is for me only. I was outside in the living room doing my Tai Chi and in the middle of the exercises I had thoughts of how cool everyone will think I am if I do all the exercises and go through this whole videotape. Then I understood that I base most of my actions on other people’s emotions, judgements and problems. (Their problems, with me or anything else.) My opinions change way too much. I am afraid of judgement from other people, especially negative judgement, and so I make myself as appealing to the crowd as I possibly can. I have very few opinions to call my own. I know basically what makes me think other people are cool, but I have a hard time applying all of that to myself. I sort of have this involuntary brain fart the moment I think that I am cool. It’s as if I’ve been programmed to not ever think of myself as special or cool or hot because it means somehow that I am stuck up or selfish and bratty.
I decorated this diary the way I did because I still want people to read it and think that I’m awesome. It has little to do with me thinking it’s awesome. That’s why I only write about certain things in here, because I don’t want it to be boring to someone else. Someone else! I mean, how ridiculous is that? I picked out the stickers on this page because I didn’t want to pick out a particularly girlish thing like animals or clouds and rainbows. I didn’t want to be a typical (I should say “stereotypical”) female. Never mind that I probably would have been happiest with the skull and eyeball and bony-handed 3-D stickers. I also saw some scratch-n-sniff Strawberry Shortcake doll stickers and I really wanted those because I wanted to scent this diary (even though the scent fades over time) and I wanted to remind myself of a better part of my childhood. Smelling the old, familiar strawberry scent reminded me of a lot; I was amazed. But I didn’t get them. You know why? Because Scab was with me and I didn’t want him scorning me for my sticker choice. Isn’t that stupid? I didn’t want to attract negative attention from him. Why should I really care what he thinks about my sticker preferences? A lot of times Scab gives me a judgement or an “opinion” that I didn’t ask for. And do you know what really burns me up the most in all of this? The thing that makes me feel the worst is that I’ve spent all of my energy trying to get Scab to think I’m cool. I took this job I’m at right now so that Scab would think I was amazing for finding a job the very day after he told me I had to get one. I kept up with my exercising because I wanted him to love my body. I hear what he appreciates in other women and then I find myself wanting to be like those other women so that he can appreciate me in the same way. And the reason why I started weights was so that my body would look better to him. But I kept telling myself and everyone else it was because I wanted to be stronger. I was trying to fool myself and maybe everyone else. I’ve done all of these things to change myself to make Scab like me better and to make him think about how fabulous I am and maybe make him treat me better. I have gotten nowhere because he still thinks I am worthless. There’s nothing left for me to do except to really believe in my heart that I really am worth something and to really (truly, this time) not worry about what he and his whole family think of me. So far it has been really hard for me to do. The reason for that is every thought I have is for someone else and not myself. If I think for myself, it’s unfamiliar. My dreams at night get unpleasant. It feels awkward, like when I first started exercising and my body was changing shape and balance. And yes, it’s uncomfortable. I’m not used to thinking for myself, asking myself, “What do I want?”
For some reason it makes me sad to think about all of this. Or maybe a better description whould be “numb.” I don’t know why I would be sad about having freedom and responsibility. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty about what I’m doing for myself. I guess it’s just me, having to rearrange my whole structure of thinking; maybe I’m sad because I think I’m losing something in the process. But what? When I started thinking about how I spent time trying to make myself appealing to Scab and realizing I’m still not appealing to him and I might never be, I stopped feeling the same way about him. It’s hard to describe, but since I’m only having to really describe this to myself I guess it doesn’t matter how jumbled and strange everything sounds. Just as long as I understand it, that’s what matters. I stopped idolizing Scab. I’ve stopped making goo-goo, lovesick eyes for him. I’ve stopped the puppy love, the loyalty and patheticness that goes along with it. I’ve stopped following him around with my head down, staring at his shoes in front of me. I’ve stopped trying to keep up with his angered pace. I’ve stopped going wherever he goes. That’s a first. Usually wherever Scab is, that’s where I want to be, no matter how uncomfortable or miserable a place might be for me. I’ve opened my half-closed, lovesick eyes and I’ve taken a good look at what Scab really is. He isn’t choosing to be in control of himself, not like I thought he was. He’s not as intelligent as I make him out to be. He’s not cool to me, and what I mean by that is that he doesn’t act awesome toward me or treat me like I’m something special and that’s not cool. It was my fault for exalting him to demi-god status, for making him something he wasn’t, in my imagination. I’ve done what I swore I’d never do, which is make him into a romance book hero. What was I thinking and why did I do it?
You know, I actually got an idea to go see The Sphere by myself today. I think I might do that either today or tomorrow. Probably tomorrow because I want to go in the mid-afternoon. I don’t even have to tell Scab about my plans. At the beginning of this year I read all my old journal entries and I saw how much I had changed. I think I still have some growing up and changing I need to do. The next time I re-read all of my old journal entries, I’m keeping things to myself. I caught myself wanting to read all the entries to everyone around. I caught myself reading things to Scab. I don’t want to do that next time. I guess I thought he would like me if I did share it all with him. But I am changing now from a lifetime of thought patterns, the basis for all of my thoughts, into new patterns. One thing I’ve noticed from developing my own opinions is that I haven’t been quick to judge other people and other things, not like I used to. I feel like I have denied myself, and I have denied to the people I love something that is very beautiful.
I guess this means I’m allowed to write what makes me sore as well. Scab said he was fed up at his current job, and fed up with his own brother because of where his brother worked. He said, “I’m so much better than that. My brother is so much better than that. We deserve better than that.” It occurred to me that Scab has not said that about me. He hasn’t said to me, “You’re so much better than that.” He has told me instead that I couldn’t hope to do much better or make much more money than doing the job I have now, the job that he believes is a dead end. I’m letting myself smolder about that.