I tear myself down quite a bit. This morning my therapist made me say out loud several accomplishments I should acknowledge. As a thirty-six year old man, I was embarrassed. I did struggle. Then I got into the rhythm and started firing out everything I’m currently doing right.
Four minutes later she put her hand up. ”Okay, that’s enough.”
I grew up being told I was special, smart, and talented. That’s a well-intentioned message, but also created the expectation within myself that I had to be perfect. Since I’m not, I was always disappointed with imperfection. A “B” could have been an “A” should I have studied harder, as I’m obviously smart enough to get those grades. That is still with me today.
One thing I have always done a good job of is paying the bills. I don’t have much money left over, mind you. But the bills get paid. Thank God. Obviously that could change in a heartbeat, but for today, I’m good.
I was in my doctor’s office (two in one day!) this evening who I see every six months. We just go over some stuff and I’m in and out in fifteen minutes.
Since I pay for my own health insurance, my benefits suck old-man nutsack. My doctor isn’t on the Aetna plan, so I have to pay that out-of-network whatever which is not fun. Not fun at all, I tells ya! (hopefully you inserted an old-timey 1920s voice there. If not, go back and read it again.)
Before we get started he says, “Oh, Rocio (his assistant) says you have a balance of $447 with us. Can you take care of that with her?”
Let’s back up a step. Six months ago I got a bill from them, as usual. It was for $300 or so. And I was thinking, “Oh my God, one appointment is $300? I can’t afford to keep seeing him! I’m going to have to break up and return the half a locket necklace!” In fact, I was going to tell him tonight it was just too expensive.
After he said the balance, I said:
Oh my gosh. I totally thought I paid that. That was for last meeting, yes?
No, these sessions are only $88. This has got to be a few years old.
I haven’t paid you in a few years? I am so embarrassed. I am sorry. I had no idea.
No problem, just work it out with her.
I wanted to slink down into the chair and disappear. Because deadbeats who don’t pay their bills react the same way. Except they feign shock, whereas mine was real. I found myself thinking, “I hope he buys that I’m sincere!”
So, while I always applauded myself for not being a deadbeat, at least to his office manager, I am one. Tomorrow I won’t be and they’ll clear the balance. But after I initially shamed myself, I sort of just went, “Oh, who cares? It’s a mistake. You’re human.” I’m learning how to be kinder to myself.
Oh, and if the hair salon I go to reads this post (some of them do), then I’d like to formally apologize for sealing the tip envelopes without any money in them. That was, ah, a mistake. Or it wasn’t. You’ll never know! (insert ghoulish laugh)