Lorrie Moore wrote this great book called Self Help in the 80s. It is a collection of short stories, some of which were told in second person, and I spent about 2 years in college emulating the hell out of them.
Writing in second person is, to me, like writing to myself. Plus, I love the punchy cadence that comes of it. Giving yourself a pep talk makes you sweat. See?
So I’ve had a pretty shitty day or two (with some major high points in there, like my interviews with people for the Wildcat Comic Con), and I’m going to write some things I hate about myself in second person. This should be entertaining for you, as I tend to get funny when I’m sad/angry, and if you know me well, get ready for a long nod. If you don’t know me at all, you will know me better henceforth.
Obligatory Heading to Provide Visual Interruption
1. You exhaust yourself. You think of ways to make your own life harder. You spin around and around and around and you light a torch at both ends. Mostly, you find this to be exhilirating. But when it gets you down, it gets you way down.
2. You are HORRIBLE with confrontation. You hate to tell people with words how much they’ve hurt your feelings. You write letters instead, but you never send them because you hate that. You want to confront. You try, but find yourself, too often, holding your breath and “taking the high road” which, in your life, is euphemistic for “hanging out under people’s heavy, muddy boots.”
3. You are good at focus, but sometimes you are so good at focus that you ignore important things like your child and your partner. Your child is developing her own distractable inner life, and you wonder all the time if this is a good or a bad thing, and if you could halt it a bit by being more consistently engaged. You realize that, like any addiction, workaholism is unhealthy and damaging, but your rootedly protestant soul has a hard time being upset with itself for your addiction to productivity.
4. You are too chubby. You hate that you’ve let it get so out of hand. You are working on it. But you wish that you hadn’t fallen in love with a man who loves food as much as you do, and you wish that you could be one of those indifferent people who just eat celery and boiled chicken breast meat, because why eat anything else, because food is just a distraction, and who cares anyway?
5. You are not very good at history or geography. You find this to be embarrassing, but you fail to do anything about it. You have easy access to several books which could assuage this at least partially, but you continue to read literary fiction and graphic novels and occassionally try out some sci fi or some HP Lovecraft so as to have something to discuss with your lover, who finds your literary realism more distasteful than you find his HP Lovecraft. You are fond of the Victorians, after all.
6. You suck at money. You always manage to scrounge enough up for things, eventually, but being bad at money causes you more trouble than it should, since you know–rationally–how not to be bad with money. You are far too comfortable with financial chaos.
7. You are not very good at math, but you have put forth some serious college efforts, and feel like you could get it if you really needed to have it, and somehow that is enough for you. You wish it wasn’t. You wish you could force yourself to study math the same way you wish you could become so neurotic about your weight that you get so skinny and strong you stop menstruating.
8. You find most documentaries to be horrible wastes of resources, and you wish you had the time and resources to study the hell out of something deeply interesting, write a few books, and then make a documentary that is actually revelatory, instead of some half-baked theorizing by people who just want to talk to a camera and/or are touting some filmmaker’s agenda.
9. You feel guilty about ridiculous things. You feel guilty about being white, about having a great kid, about being a single mom, about living with a guy who’s not your kid’s dad, even though he’s great to your kid. You feel guilty about not believing the same things your family does, and about the worry it causes them. You feel guilty about driving too fast, or driving too slow, but you do not feel guilty about working too much or being moody.
10. You have incorrigible optimism and wild drive, but it does not come naturally. It is something that you heap on top of a natural fear and self-loathing and cynicism and doubt the way Paula Deen slathers things with butter and mayonnaise. You view the strength here as the drive to pile the optimism on top of the depressive tendencies, and this is the precise thing that exhausts you about yourself. Sometimes, you just want to give up and swim to the bottom of a bottle of tequila. Most of the time, you are grateful for your own intensity, even though it is exhausting.
Whew. Your turn.