I decided before 2018 even ended that I was going to spend this new year trying to make myself less of a monster. For a few years now, since I left Mississippi and moved in with Reed, I’ve just been acting however I want. If I’m mad, I get really mad. All the time. If I’m inconvenienced, I let people know it. I bark at people for not meeting my weird high expectations, I’m controlling, I until fairly recently greedily ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I mostly concern myself with my own interests and wants and desires. It’s like I handed the keys to my id and let it take control. And Reed never calls me out on anything, never holds me responsible for my behavior (not that I’m blaming him). But some people did recently.
Caspar came with us to book club last month, and went with me to Safeway to pick up a bottle of Tequila for Reed because that’s what he wanted for Christmas. We were also going to stop at the Starbucks in the Safeway for drinks before book club. I decided to just buy the tequila at the Starbucks as I knew from past experience you can make your Safeway purchases at the Starbucks. However, I did not know until the unsuspecting barista told me, that you can buy anything there expect for liquor. For that, you still had to go through a check-out line (incidentally, there is a long, rant-filled story about Washington State passing a law to sell liquor in grocery stores instead of in state-run liquor stores that explains why I was buying tequila at Safeway in the first place, but that’s a tale for another day).
I was greatly inconvenienced and unhappy with this news. And while I felt like I hadn’t been directing my frustration at the barista, neither Caspar or the barista understood that and both were a little alarmed by grumpy reaction. Caspar discussed this with me afterward and my immediate natural response was to become extremely defensive. I did listen, though, and assured Caspar that despite how grumpy I always am I am actually a nice person. But am I? Caspar had already commented before on my ‘aggression’ at times during DnD, and how often I will become angry/frustrated with our DM Sean. Also, my coworkers either are new and afraid of me/think I don’t like them (to be fair, I mostly don’t), or think its hilarious that I am so grumpy and bitchy, particularly when interacting with customers. They actually all started talking about it recently in the breakroom, defining it as one of the things they greatly enjoy about me. But the customers don’t enjoy it, and I bet my boss wouldn’t enjoy it. I had to start wondering what the hell I had allowed myself to become, and whether this was who I really wanted to be.
So begins my newest and most important project: My 2019 Demonsterification. It has been difficult so far, and it’s a project that doesn’t provide much in the way of measurable results. I just have to keep trying every day and hoping that with repetition and practice, being a nice and considerate person will follow. I’m back to working on my weight loss as being my healthiest will help my self-confidence and overall demeanor. Also, I have to stop being so greedy and eating huge amounts of everything I want. Every day I have to practice being nice and considerate to Reed, doing my share of things around the house, and not letting him pay for everything. Work is where things get more difficult, as I have to try and be friendly, helpful, and sincere to all my customers regardless of who they are or what I think about them. I have to try and be less snarky and sarcastic. On Saturday, my coworker Ava kept going on and on about how hilarious my customer interactions are and how ill-suited for retail I am and how my only recourse would be to open my own book store and post bitchy signs up everywhere so everyone would leave me alone. And while I deserved this and Ava didn’t really mean anything by it, I found it profoundly demoralizing realizing that not only do I have to change everything, but I also have to work against the awful reputation I’ve already built for myself.
I’ve been working on several aspects of mental health, daily affirmations, mindfulness, and meditation from several self-help book sources and I plan to read more self-help books on my particular issues. Every day I struggle to be aware of my thoughts and my behavior, to be calm and kind, and to continue to practice being the person I want to be instead of the monster I’ve become. I started before the end of the year and I’ve been consistently working on it every day. Some days are harder than others. The day I was being hammered by Ava I actually went home early from work. I was so demoralized I was working against myself and knew I would upset customers. I also have seasonal depression to watch out for, making sure that even when I get demoralized I don’t give in to the constant tendency toward winter depression and carbs. And grumpiness.
I wanted somewhere to at least record my progress, so I thought OD would be as good a place as any. Wish me luck!