I was wrong about Ralph Nader.
I was wrong about diet soda and light cigarettes and high heeled shoes. I was wrong about the physical toll that waitressing could take on me and I was wrong to stay quiet when that doctor at Kaiser told me that, if I could touch my toes, there was no way I had sciatica.
I was wrong about what makes for a good friendship and whether cheap shoes make your feet stink and what constitutes real, actual, life-giving pleasure.
I was wrong about nihilism and maybe even Sartre, pains me though it does to say. I still love that play but no longer think that hell is other people. I know now that hell is me, bent on self destruction, refusing to be wrong.
I didn’t know rape culture was a thing until all those people could finally tell their stories about Harvey Weinstein and I was wrong to not categorize what happened to me as sexual assault.
I was wrong to leave my boyfriend unattended at a birthday party for my ex, was wrong to immediately get embroiled in a drama with the ex on the roof of that building, wrong to then page my boyfriend 57 times and stew in my self-righteous rage that he had abandoned me. For that matter, I was wrong about my ex. He was right to feel wronged by me.
I was wrong about racism, sexism, transphobia, and thinking I was poor when I was really just broke. I was wrong when I thought that living in a warehouse in a terrible neighborhood made me some kind of hero instead of just another gentrifier.
I was wrong about my sister and why she was the way she was. I took her rejection of me as anything but what it was - her need to self-protect after far too many years of damage had been done to her.
I was wrong about my son stealing the Oreos and about my daughter being perfect. I was wrong about what kind of mother I would be and how much I would love it. I was wrong in thinking parents decide how their children will behave, wrong in my failure to manage anyone’s expectations, least of all my own.
I missed the mark about what was wrong when I told the baby-sitter I would have to pay her after my week-long vacation because I was running too late to make it to the bank. I didn’t appreciate what it meant to her to hear from a five year old that her means of employment was moving to another state. I was wrong to be so careless with my words.
I’ve been wrong about what looks good on me, what socialism is, and my limits as a cook. I was wrong to think that everyone but me needed to change, wronger still that I could change other people.
Wrong about so many things yet here I am. Not yet smote by g*d, not yet damned to hell. Still wearing sweatpants, still drinking seltzer, hair still in a bun, still doing laundry, still on my way.
I am also scared. Scared of everything, including being wrong. My fear of being wrong has been so consuming that I can barely ever release my shoulders. My terror about making mistakes has paralyzed me so much that I have been scared to be myself, scared to exist at all.
I’m afraid it’s too late. I’m afraid I’m too old. I’m afraid there’s nothing in me I’m afraid it’s all beyond my control I’m afraid I’m doing it wrong. I’m afraid I’m doing it right. I’m afraid people will judge me. I’m afraid people won’t notice me. I’m afraid I’m a terrible mother. I’m afraid I don’t love them enough and I’m afraid I love them too much and I’m too identified with them to guide them. I’m afraid they don’t love me. I’m afraid they know some thing about me but I don’t know about myself. I’m afraid of mirrors. I’m afraid of rejection. I’m afraid of acceptance. I’m afraid of myself. I’m afraid that I put too much into it things I’m working on and then I’ll be disappointed when nothing comes of them. I’m afraid that I missed the boat on seismic changes in representation. I’m afraid I don’t have enough energy. I’m afraid it won’t last. I’m afraid my husband will die. I’m afraid my children will leave and I’m afraid that they won’t. I’m afraid of facing my fears. I’m afraid of looking inside. I’m afraid of what I find. I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m not afraid of spiders. I’m afraid of my neighbors. I’m afraid of what they think of me at school when I come to back to school night in the same clothes I wore all day when it’s obvious that everybody else dressed up. I’m afraid I’m stupid and fooling myself that I’m smart. I’m afraid that I’m too damaged by my family to ever be anything better than what everybody probably thought I would be the day I was born. I’m afraid my daughter will have my same fears I’m afraid my sons already do. I’m afraid of the world and the constant terrible tragedy contained within it. I’m afraid of people who aren’t afraid of anything and who have no capacity for empathy. I’m afraid I’m making a terrible impression. I’m afraid I’m making no impression at all. I’m afraid of effort and I’m afraid of inertia. I’m afraid I won’t sleep tonight. I’m afraid I don’t eat enough vegetables. I’m afraid of my family history. I’m afraid there are so many questions I’ll never get the answers to. I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing and I’m afraid when I say some thing that feels too right. I’m afraid it’s too late to really change and I’m afraid that I won’t be able to change enough before it’s too late and my kids are all grown and I failed them miserably. I’m afraid of what they’ll tell me at the doctor and I’m afraid i’m afraid of talking on the phone and I’m afraid of not getting shit done.
Phew. That was a lot. Thanks for listening. I feel better.
Recently, I've decided to change up my boring inner monologue of insults and panic-making. I'm making room for a new thought here. Underneath my Fear and Wrongdoing I am also Curious, Grateful, Content, Striving, Generous, Compassionate, Loved, and Loving.
I was wrong about my inadequacies. I am enough. I am scared to slide backwards but if I'm being genuine, know I won't.
I am enough.
You are enough.
We are surviving.
Let’s keep going.