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Monday, Apr. 26, 2004 - 10:31 p.m.

What I remember when my self esteem is low:

  • The time in concert choir when I snapped at a girl next to me for politely correcting a note I was singing wrong Ė I told her everyone else was wrong, not me.
  • Timothy, the mouse my cat brought into my room when I was ten -- I secretly nursed him back to health and was going to set him free but decided to keep him for one more day and so hid him in a box on the back porch and came home to find him dead.
  • My undergraduate honors thesis defense, at which my committee told me I looked unprofessional and hadnít done much research.
  • The time I convinced my brother to train for a backpacking trip and made him put on a backpack full of rocks and run until he cried.
  • The week my best friend was released from a mental institution for the third time and I didnít answer her phone calls. I moved to Alaska the next week.
  • The first day of eighth grade, when I stepped off the bus in front of Bell Junior High and walked past my friend Mandy without answering her greeting because I had decided she didnít fit in with my plans to be cool that year.
  • The three months following a road trip with C when I stopped talking to him because Iíd been freaked out by being so close to him.
  • That I havenít called Mary but donít feel like calling anybody.

L asks ďWhy are you sad? Why donít you like yourself today?Ē But itís not like that. Thereís no reason, or thereís every reason. Itís rainingÖI was feeling shy yesterday but we played a show and so I had to talk to a bunch of peopleÖa friend very innocently mentioned that Iíd been off-key on a few of the backing vocal partsÖI drank too much SaturdayÖI will be unemployed in a week and a half. But those things donít cause the ickiness. The ickiness just descends. It feeds on whatever it can find, but it is caused by nothing outside of me. Itís not cured externally, either: hearing nice things about myself or accomplishing something good never makes it go away. It just stays for a while and then dries up.

If itís depression, itís a very mild and specific form: apart from some physical dejection it ever only manifests itself as bad self esteem. I just donít like myself for a while, and then I do again.

So that showed up today and murgled around all through a productive day at work, a walk in the rain, a really good quesadilla, an Edward Gorey book, and the ingenious system I rigged up to direct the water from my leaky ceiling into the kitchen sink. See? Whatever brain chemicals are responsible here have no idea whatís going on in the real world.

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