Friday, June 22, 2007

Greater Than and Less Than

One of my struggles in recovery is trying to be 'right sized'. When I moved out of my safety zone and into the suburbs, my insecurity escalated and I noticed I was comparing myself to others (with a fully skewed perspective) and assigning rank. This behavior is very sick, self-centered, and dangerous. I end up being arrogant or feeling worthless and both extremes will lead me to a drink if I don't keep my thinking in check.

The people who send me into the worst spiral with this behavior are wealthy people. I am intimidated and terrified of them. When I am with them, I monitor their behavior closely. This is partially due to my need to imitate them so I don't do anything improper. But, I also keep a mental list of any character defects I can detect. I guess I feel this list somehow brings them closer to my level. Very sick. Yes, I know. I am working on it. My rational mind knows that there are lots of very decent people who happen to have comfortable incomes. They genuinely care about others and will not call the police just because an unfamiliar, low income person is in their neighborhood. However, my rational mind is often drowned out by fear when I am stuck in a real life situation.

Saturday night we were invited to the very nice home of my husband's sponsor and he is quite well off. I prepped like I was getting ready for a date. I dyed my hair, plucked my eyebrows, waxed, shaved, primped, and tried on 3 outfits. I also forced Manther into a little summer dress and had fits about whether or not she would behave. My husband will never admit it, but he was nervous, too. He was anxious about us being late and took inventory and commented on how nice Manther and I looked. I think the last time he commented on my looks was our wedding day. We arrived and managed to visit and converse pretty well, but I constantly felt like I was talking too much and I second guessed everything that came out of my mouth. We ate ice cream on the deck and then walked over to the golf course (yes, his home is on a golf course) to watch a firework display. It was a nice evening and I enjoyed the company and Manther enjoyed his daughters. But, the next day I was so exhausted from the stress of what should have been a simple evening with friends.

Today, I have to go to a series of presentations with a bunch of doctors. I am totally stressed out. I have worked with a few of them and they really have all been nice to me. Why do I let this stuff freak me out so much? I feel like I am walking on eggshells when I am around fancy folks. I have been sober a while, but I still cuss too much and talk too much and I am not exactly classy. I like classy. I have seen women who wear it well and I admire them. I think I have to be sober and working steps another decade before I can naturally be one of them.


A.J.Reams said...

I get stressed out when I have to talk to a teacher or write them a note. I'm always afraid I'm going to say something in the wrong context or use poor punctuation.

Tab said...

The behaviours you describe have been around since the begining of time Sarah.Eventaully will find a comfortable balance with in you to feel at ease is variuos situations I am sure ??
I am curious though..what are you presenting to the doctors?I am working on little sleep so I may have overlooked it in your post.

Doc's Girl said...

I must confess that even though I am dating a doc, I feel extremely out of place. His parents are quite well off...and my parents were barely middle class. He's an MD with a grand education...and I've got two DUIs under my belt. :-P However...I am not prim and proper...I cuss and talk a lot, too... I feel so out of place every time we go to a dinner or MD function.

But, I try my best to be a genuine person... I try to do the right thing and try to be as humble as I can...and there aren't very many people like that out there. People can spot a fool a mile away...!

Good luck on your presentation! You're going to do just fine. :)

Doc's Girl said...

By the way, just to clarify with the DUI comment--I've been sober for a year and a half. :)

Christine said...

its college professors and those political up theres that get to me most

Its tough to see myself and others without those distorted lenses I wear

I am sorry yu got so stressed when I and others find you so easy to love

vicariousrising said...

Good god, money doesn't make people classy. Haven't you seen Paris Hilton? Yuck.

Anyone who thinks less of someone else because of their income or because they don't know what fork to use is not classy. They're superficial.

I can't imagine you being less than a wonderful guest in anyone's home. Cussing and all. I'll joing you.

lushgurl said...

Oh my! A part of me is snickering a little at you being so self conscious, and another part knows exactly how that feels! I used to always compare myself to others, and for me, it caused endless pain. One of the best things was when I worked in a Deli meeting all of my bosses friends. There were lawyers, an award winning author, a Grey Cup ring holder, a major business owner amoung others. Ya know what I found? They are all only human, just like me and you!
For what it's worth, I think you are a wonderful person, how could anyone NOT love you?

Lisa said...

I know what you mean. I grew up working class and my parents were often dwelling on the "rich" people. Course to us, those "rich" people had a pool or maybe the kids wore polo shirts instead of used clothes like we did. And we thought they were all better than we were.

In working in PR I met alot of executives -- some were born into a comfortable lifestyle. BUt most worked their butt off for what they have. I do have friends who are pretty well off. But I've learned that with most of them, they've worked their asses off to get what they have. And they've never forgotten it. They've sacraficed much. And they don't judge anyone for having more or less.

So take heart. Those doctors will be concentrating on the information you present more so than the way its presented or what you're wearing.

P.S. I had a boss (VP in a large company) who swore too. She was awesome. THe swearing -- not that big of a deal...

Tab said...

hey chickie boom..time for a new post! z z z z


just bugging when you can ..I hope you are doing well.