It’s 11PM on a Monday night and I’m one glass into a bottle of red, fresh off an unexpected panic attack. The day? Productive. My clients? Wonderful – always. Meetings? Great. Friends? Treasured. And yet around 10PM tonight I expected something to happen, it didn’t happen and here I am at 11-fucking-o-clock (an official measure of time in Fuckedville) starting glass number two of red and wishing I weren’t so goddamned human.
So this Bitch Slap is for me – a discourse on being human.
I’m not a nut job or some other whiny twit who lacks direction and bitches about her status quo. In fact, you could likely look up “Shit Howdy” in the thesaurus and it would read, “See also: Erika’s life.” The panic attacks are new (thank you, 2010) and a gift life’s given me after Jason died, but without fail and at every moment, they remind me that I’m human. And they remind me how often I seem to forget, take for granted or gloss over this simple fact.
As humans, we don’t cut ourselves a lot of slack, do we? We awake each morning with a set of preconceived notions that we’re supposed to adhere to throughout our day and the damnedest things is…the universe never got the fucking memo. So we sit and wonder why we’re not living up to our own expectations and then simultaneously wonder the same of others in our life, and all the while, the universe is giving some bullshit dog ate my homework excuse. You’re supposed to be that way/do that/have that/make that/be loved by that/earn that/give that? Whodathunk? We spend minutes, hours, weeks and years blaming what to us is a very irresponsible universe when what we should be doing is letting out the slack on the rope with which we’ve decided to hang ourselves.
Business, relationships, life in general – none of them have a direct line to the universe. We’re the only ones who have that. And no, this isn’t some The Secret/Celestine Prophecy metaphysical spew. If ever I believed in something, it’s the universe. What we put out, we get back. Karma perhaps. Shit out, shit in. Brilliance out, brilliance in. I think it really is that simple. But sometimes that payback – it ain’t immediate. We have to be patient (and dear Christ on a skateboard, if there is one thing I suck at, it’s patience). So we become impatient and we wonder why the fucking universe didn’t get the memo that assholes should get their comeuppance and brilliance should be summarily rewarded. We forget to breathe and feel entitled. And while I feel all would be right with the world if Donald Trump and Sarah Palin were revealed to be having a torrid affair (their children would look like this), retired to the South Pole and were devoured by sea lions during an icy tryst, a (now) glass and a half of wine can’t hide the fact that I am, unmistakably, human.
And there’s nothing right about that.
But you wanna know the funny part? So are you.
Yeah, you. The ones thinking I’m nuts or half in the bag, even though I’m not even remotely tipsy on account of the adrenaline coursing through my veins counteracting any perceptible buzz I might have (shit).
You’re human, too.
How many times have you beaten yourself up because of everything you should, could or would have done? How many evenings have you spent on your sofa – alone – thinking life didn’t turn out how you planned?
*pauses to issue herself a little boo-fucking-hoo*
Lost count, eh? Yeah. Me, too.
So why do we do it? We’re human. Completely fallible. There is no cyclist who cannot crash, no writer who doesn’t hit writer’s block and no fisherman who never comes up with a empty hook. So why do we hold ourselves to a standard that no other human can achieve (much less ourselves)?
Maybe it’s for the illusion of control (of which we have little in many cases). Perhaps it’s because we’re operating under a set of edicts engrained upon us after a lifetime of other people’s bullshit. Whatever the reason, maybe you and I need to square some things away, life ASAP.
In 29 minutes, I’ve pounded out 700+ words – all the result of a sneaky little panic attack and my personal hated of any admission I’m human. And as if to reinforce the fact that life doesn’t turn out how I planned, Cat #2 just puked on the brand new rug I bought today. Maybe the universe did get my memo and it’s just issuing me a perfunctory fuck you. Goddamned cat.
Back to the words. There’s a better use for my words this evening and it’s this:
Erika, you’re human. You need to cut yourself some slack. You’re gonna get curve balls and rabid sea lions are never going to eat Palin and Trump, so it’s time to own up to a few things:
- Shit you’ve done: You can’t change it, but you can do your best to make sure you find new shit to do (instead of the same stupid shit).
- Shit you thought would happen: It didn’t. Get over it. It doesn’t mean it won’t eventually, but if you build your life around shit that didn’t happen, you’ll never appreciate the shit that does.
- Shit that happened: As with the two examples above, shit happens. And I mean real shit. There’s no one that goes through their term on this mortal coil without running into some serious shit. And while it’s passed, it’ll sneak up on you from time to time (cue panic attack). So fucking breathe already. You’re not special because of your shit. Everyone has shit – the difference is in how it smells and whether you choose to wallow in it or step in it every goddamned day.
- Shit you can do: Yeah, you can do this stuff (even without a cabana boy, though I am accepting applications – purely a 1099 position, however). Excuses are for assholes who want to continue to deny that they’re human. Human beings cop to what they own, what they’ve got and what they can do – and to hell with anyone who gets in the way.
- PS – You’re still human: No matter how many times you fall, you get up once more. You cry, you wail, you hide in a blanket cave and then you cowgirl the fuck back up and deal. And guess what? The likelihood that your neighbor is doing the same damn thing? Astronomical.
So tonight, I slap myself. I’ve had nearly 2 glasses of wine, cleaned up cat puke on a brand new rug, borderline hyperventilated and written a 1000+ word blog post. Love it or hate it, it’s what I’ve got today. I can only hope that when I wake up tomorrow, I’ll decide to be a bit kinder to myself and cut myself some slack for the fact that I was born human. Meant to feel and fuck up equally – that’s my destiny. And the best I can do along the way is acknowledge my fuck ups, hug ’em like a big, fat puppy dog and love the shit out of them. If I can’t love my fuck ups, there’s no chance of reminding myself that I really love the me I’m becoming and that I’ve got a lifetime left to figure out what I can do with this me that’s capable of more than I’m generally willing to admit.
So the slap? Yeah. This week, it’s on me.