I Feel Stupid at Night. Also Other Times.

Oct 29 2015

I feel stupid at night.

Also, sometimes in the morning.

Also-also, when driving in the car, especially alone.

And sitting on the potty.

And standing in line at the supermarket sans kids.

Pretty much every time I have a chance to stop and think, I feel stupid, and I replay my every fault, real or imagined, on repeat.

“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” I say to me, and, “I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU SAID THAT.” Or DID that. Or WORE that. Or ARE that.

If my brain was a friend of mine — in a separate body and not, you know, in charge of my bodily functions and keeping me semi-upright throughout the day — I’ve have ditched her a while ago as generally toxic and, well, mean. Not to mention the fact that she requires a truly ridiculous amount of caffeine and sometimes makes questionable decisions like spending lots of money on fancy cheese. Unfortunately, my brain sits inside me and so we must navigate these cruelties together and work toward what my father calls a better way, which was infuriating when he was teaching me to load the dishwasher, but is important when considering my relationship with my brain.

The problem with my brain, really, is that she can’t make up her mind. She’s wishy-washy and relentlessly inconsistent.

I feel stupid at night, for example.

But I feel smart during the day.

At least sometimes.

Smart and strong.

Smart and strong and like I CAN CONQUER THE WORLD. Smart and strong like I CAN OVERCOME. Smart and strong like IT DOES NOT EVEN MATTER that I dropped pineapple down my shirt or my dress flew open or I pooped my closet or I, once again, chose that particular granny-panties/slim-skirt combo that cuts my tummy fluff in half exactly so I display two wholly separate tummies on the front of me because two tummies is better than one, friends, and put your best tummy forward. No; sometimes, I feel smart and strong, as though pineapple-scented breasts and public nudity and tummy fluff are irrelevant and don’t define my worth as a person. THAT smart and strong, you guys. THAT smart and strong. And like it’s OK to be me, which is the same thing as being free.

My friend, Webb, wrote me this week in response to an epic missive on my part. I was vacation planning ahead of his wife’s birthday next week and was maybe a tiny bit detailed and a touch leadershippy (as opposed to “bossy” which I totally wasn’t), and a tad overwhelming with the sheer volume of information my brain unleased. Webb wrote back only, “I love the way your mind works: sometimes it’s like a precision-crafted, jewel-movement Swiss watch, and other times it’s like a dumpster fire,” and I thought, “YES. Oh my gosh — YES. Yes, this EXACTLY. This is how I feel about my brain, too!”

So in case, friends, you have a brain that makes you feel stupid, and smart and strong, and also stupid in such rapid succession you can’t quite keep up with its shenanigans — in case, well, your mind is like a precision-crafted, jewel-movement Swiss watch, and other times it’s all, “DUMPSTER FIRE!” and “WHO BROUGHT THE LIGHTER FLUID?” — I want you to know you’re not alone. You’re not alone. And you’re not stupid. And you’re not alone.

Sending love,

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