Monday, April 14, 2014

Getting Dealt 15's

So, I'm feeling sorry for myself tonight. I'll spare you the details because the details rarely matter since in the telling we always skew them to justify our current brand of self-pity. Suffice it to say, my reasons are sound enough for the moment and my sense of entitlement feels entitled. Funny thing is 100% unproductive, accomplishes nothing and yet it is an emotional casino that is often hard to resist. Like casinos, I find it is useful to give myself a limit as to how much I will spend on this amusement, and once I have hit that limit, I walk away. I don't play one more hand, I don't pull one more slot machine, I don't roll one more set of dice.

So my first hand of self-pity is usually fueled by anger and righteous indignation at the obvious wrong that has been committed against my person. This anger is often disproportionate to the situation and yet it fills me with a magnanimous sense of invincibility which lead to emails and text messages to allies who I know will embrace the injustice of the situation and confirm my right to be outraged. That's right I got a ten and a King on the first deal, this is going to be a good night. At this point I begin to put my winnings in my pocket.

So, I've won a few hands, my narcissistic indulgences have been validated by supporters, it's time to double down. That's right ladies and gentlemen it's time to eat poorly and identify with Idina Menzel signature songs like Defying Gravity and Let it Go. It is time to envision a future where I am free from the shackles that confine my true spirit. It is time to widen my scope and realize the world has survived far too long without the full benefits of my awesomeness. (I'd say brilliance, but I'm too bound by the practicality that has me putting my winnings in my pocket so that I don't actually lose any money). This is a tricky moment, when doubt first rears it's annoying sweaty little head. Because is this sense of freedom true? Is it one that could truly lead to a risk that will open up my world? Or is it one not unlike a drunken confession that leads losing a boyfriend, getting fired or waking up in jail with a tattoo and someone else's shoes. And the thing about doubt is, once it sits at the table with you, you start getting dealt 15's. And when you start getting dealt 15's, suddenly what was fun becomes not fun.

So, now self-pity turns dark and dangerous. It turns from a confident gesture of "hit me" or "hold" into a wavering finger dance of uncertainty, and the dealer and everyone else at the table begins to get annoyed with me and secretly and not so secretly wishes I would leave the table and hit the $5 buffet and get fat like I was always meant to be. Now self-pity has turned into self-doubt. Maybe it's all true. Maybe I do suck. Maybe I do deserve to lose. Maybe I should play with the winnings burning a whole in my pocket and let go of the last shred of dignity I possess. And suddenly I'm seriously considering that pipe dream I had after reading Barbara Kingsolver's Bean Trees and chucking it all to move out to New Mexico and live above the diner I work at in the hopes of a simpler life where no one knows me and I am free to become someone more interesting.

So, when I reach this point ladies and gentlemen, I have hit my limit. I have a decision to make, stay at the table or heed Kenny Rogers and walk away. This is usually the time in self-pity roulette when I remember what I read on the front page this morning and begin to feel guilty. But I'm still pissed off, so my guilt is a bit of an act because I'm not ready to let go of the belief that the world really does owe me a break. And sometimes I am right and sometimes I am ridiculous.

Yes, sometimes self-pity is in fact justified and the universe does owe you a break because sometimes we all go through it(and by it, I mean shit). But most of the time, the universe doesn't owe you a damn thing and you need to get over your teenagery self and leave the casino and breathe some fresh air. Self-pity is definitely entertaining in moderation, like some sit-coms, and it can get you through some rough times, but just like I would never want to live in a casino, I have no desire to wallow in self-pity. There are bigger fish to fry and you can usually find those at the all-you-can-eat-buffets.

So, I give myself this night to feel sorry for myself, but come tomorrow I will walk away from the table with my initial investment in my pocket and live to gamble on the next something that is coming down the pike. I will remember that the world is bigger than I have made it, the possibilities are more numerous than I had originally counted, and Idina Menzel always sings the truth.


  1. I'll say it since you won't: You're brilliant!

  2. I'm going to save this and read it whenever I sit down to "gamble"