I realized the other day that my desk at work is strangely symbolic of my psyche. It is for the most part, on the outside, neat and organized. The inside is another story completely. The top drawer of my desk is full of post it notes with important information jotted on them, mints and eye drops to address my chronically dry eyes and mouth, my phone, stickers with the hotline number on it (I hand those out like candy in my job...), paperclips, old pictures of my children that used to hang on my wall, my car keys...basically a modge podge of my life. The drawers to my desk are crammed with papers that I need, filed in neatly labelled compartments and easily accessible...but full to over flowing.
That is how my life is. Full to over flowing, but with things I need...work, my children, my health, my social life. All neatly organized on the outside, but a million different things going on at once.
There is somewhat of an illusion there. I guess I appear to have things together, but in reality there are always many different things on my mind that I worry about. This is the curse of the anxiety that I carry. No matter how much I am able to organize, how many lists and plans I make, it never feels like it is enough. There is always more I should be doing, ways that I am lacking, people I have failed.
If I were to look at my life as lived by another person, I would probably be pretty impressed. I was teenage mother. My child that I had at that age is a pretty fucking fantastic kid. I did not fall apart after I had her. I fought and worked and scrambled to get my education. I make a difference in people's lives on a daily basis. I own a house, and (mostly :p) pay my bills. I have a husband who loves me unconditionally, and two other children who are pretty neat as well. My kids have not killed anyone yet, and if they have they are smart enough to know how to not get caught. I have creative outlets that I enjoy regularly. I have taken many steps towards becoming a more healthy person, inside and out.
Why is it that I am so hard on myself? All of these things, when looked at in someone else, are pretty damn awesome. All I see when I look at myself is the mess that is inside the desk. I see all of the things that I feel I should be doing. All the info that I can't remember; all the reminders that I need to function.
I surely can't be the only woman who feels this way. Society judges me in myriad ways, despite all of the successes I have. My kids aren't learning Mandarin, my house is not spotless, my assessments at work aren't as polished as I would like. I must not be a good enough mother, wife, worker. I feel tremendous guilt when I drop one of the many balls I have going, and external forces that show others who appear to have it together more than I do certainly do not help. The external "desk" that we all have is deceiving.
I need to remember this. I am not the only one. Should, must, have to...words I need to eliminate from my desk, and from the desks of others. I am human. Not a desk that can be manipulated to suit someone else's needs.