9 Jul 2019

I couldn't find the file; the one with the copies of my uncle's death certificates. Without those precious bits of paper, I could not transfer some shares; shares which should have been transferred on his death, six years ago.

I had turned the loft upside down; I had hunted in all the places it might be and several where it couldn't possibly be. I had lost that file and I wasn't fit to live in a world with decent people who could organise things and file things properly and who would never, ever lose such a valuable object. I was a worthless lump of dirt; worst than dirt: I was less than nothing.

I'm doing some therapy right now. I seem to have been "in therapy" on and off for the past thirty years – but, as I'm still here – I guess it must be working. This area is just the latest thing I am dealing with.

There have been a few times in the past couple of years when something has happened to spiral me down to a point of utter self-loathing, where I feel that I am literally unworthy to live.

The thing itself can be insignificant. This time it was losing (as I thought) my uncle's death certificate.

So, confession time (and this is where anyone who knows me will be rolling around with laughter): I'm not very good with admin. Dates move themselves round in my diary so I get double booked; my systems need to be not just belt-and-braces but must include a bit of string too. My brain has gaps the size of that black hole in the milky way, so that simple tasks like phoning the plumber get forgotten while I'm engaged in some creative project which seems frivolous to those around me.

Inevitably things go wrong and when they do I am filled with the deepest of shame.

My therapist has enabled me to see that, growing up, creativity was not valued in my puritanical grandfather's house. Being able to draw; paint; write; act; dance, was viewed as deeply suspicious and likely to lead to "immorality". I've always felt unworthy, because I am creative – which may be why I became an accountant; for fifteen miserable years!

So, my reaction to failures in logic, organisation and administration is out of proportion: I criticize myself so harshly, any other criticism from outside is unnoticeable. It's self-protection gone too far; so far it becomes destructive itself.

So, now I must catch myself doing it – and have pity on that little girl who loves to create beautiful things and to write wonderful words, and be kind to her.

I wonder what things make you feel worthless and if they might also have their roots in your childhood. Where do you need to have pity on yourself and be kind?

Oh, and that file? I asked my sister about it. She said, "Oh, don't you remember? The accountants still have it: they must have forgotten to give it back!"


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