Back Roads

They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.

– Wilt Chamberlain

I’m left-handed.

I always liked it, the one thing I had that I felt made me a little unique. But the older I get, the more I realize how much of a pain it is.

I was 8 before I learned how to read an analog clock, and even now it takes me a long time – the arms go the wrong way. When I was 10 and my grandfather was helping me with algebra homework, he asked me if the number 50 was even or odd; I blurted out “odd” because of the 5. It took me several solid seconds before I realized my error.

Learning how to drive – and driving to this day – was and is one of my greatest challenges. “Left” and “right” just don’t mean much to me; I really have to stop and think about which is which.

I’m sure this isn’t the case with all lefties, of course, but it is for me. And these issues may seem petty and small, but when they get in my way, I feel like an elephant trying to waltz.

My mom got me a massage appointment for my birthday on Saturday. I only had my first massage two years ago, and, well, as I’m sure you know – they are pretty awesome. I was quite excited to spruce up my 22nd December 3rd with such a relaxing & luxurious event.

One of the ways I get around my driving issue is by seeking out routes and back roads that avoid highways. It’s easier for me to focus when I don’t have to worry about merging or exiting or not getting hit/hitting others. I’m a really safe driver – I just also have near-crippling driving anxiety. So after spending about 45 minutes studying Google Maps, writing down 2 different routes for getting there and getting back and feeling sufficiently confident, I was off.

It was all fine until I was literally minutes away from my masseuse’s house…and was completely lost. I recognized street signs as I passed them as those on my directions for getting home, but I couldn’t figure out how to drive them backwards to get to her house. I was in total panic mode – but really, I was furious with myself for not being able to understand something as simple and “left” and “right.” Even though the route I ended up finding was actually much easier than the route I tried to take first, I was still irritated and tense as hell that I couldn’t get past my directionally-challenged brain.

It wasn’t any goal of mine to turn 22 and be able to check off “get rid of all flaws” of some to-do-by-22 checklist. I’m young, but I’m not stupid.

Nevertheless, I found myself thinking about my many flaws a lot lately. Why can’t I just be happy? Why can’t I be thrilled to live at home and not worry about rent or water bills or loans? Why can’t I motivate myself to do stupidly simple things, like organizing my own room or folding my damn laundry?

Would you believe me if I said I feel a bit like I’m watching myself from outside myself? Probably not. I wouldn’t blame you – it doesn’t exactly sound coherent or sane. For whatever reason, that seems to be the best way of describing it. I just want to grab my own shoulders and shout “HEY. You have a lot to be thankful for. Shut up and put up. WHAT is wrong with you??’’

But all that seems to do is bring me down more.

There are a lot of things I’ve done right so far. And you know, now that I have a teeny bit more distance, I actually think all this interning is really cool and interesting, and I’m glad it’s what I ended up doing.

And there are a lot of things I’m grateful for. I consider myself pretty lucky to have the kind of love and support I have from so many different directions. Call me cheesy, sappy, or whatever you want – I call it honest, and that’s what it is.

I actively hate not being perfect. I obsess about what I do wrong & what I could have done differently. I analyze every single word that comes out of my mouth. I go into a tailspin of self-doubt and loathing when those close to me get mad at me. I am what I am and I feel what I feel, but it hurts when others completely reject that.

From what I can gather, your twenties aren’t so much about ridding yourself of flaws as they are about learning how to accept them.

So I will keep seeking out back roads instead of highways. And I will probably get lost, and panic, and hate myself for doing both. I will probably – no, definitely –  do that a lot. But I always get where I need to be, and often discover an even better route on the way there.

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