Category Archives: type A personality: check

.i’m okay, you’re okay.

Well, hello.  Long time no see.

About a year ago, I was talking to my mom about what I had been like as a child.  What did she remember about me?  Did she think I was generally a good kid?  Was I tough to parent?  She thought for a few seconds, and then said, “What I remember about you is that you were always much harder on yourself than we ever were on you.  That’s the kind of kid you were – you’d get a B on a test, and when we’d congratulate you, you’d burst into tears because you weren’t satisfied with a B.  With you, it always had to be an A.”

Here’s the thing about having a blog – when I ignore it for a while, I feel guilty.  I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I do.  And then blogging becomes this thing that I should be doing, a chore, instead of something that I do simply because I want to.  This, of course, leads me to… ignore it even more.  All of which is ridiculous, I know, because it’s not like I have all that many readers in the first place, and the ones I have are mostly friends who couldn’t care less whether or not I’m regularly updating my blog.  But it doesn’t matter.  I started this blog to keep a record of what was going on in my life, because I have a terrible memory and I’d like to be able to look back and see what was going on at various times.  So I’m not satisfied unless I’m doing it often, because I set a goal for myself, dammit, and I’d like to see it through.

This tendency to have high expectations for myself isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  For instance, it pushes me to work hard and distinguish myself at work.  It motivates me to write and re-write and revise and write some more, even on days when I don’t feel like writing.  This characteristic is why I get shit done, and I can recognize that that’s a good thing.

The problem is, I’ve been wielding this aspect of my character like a mallet, when it’s really best handled with laser precision.  I’ve been demanding perfection from myself in everything, even things that don’t matter very much (such as, yes, whether or not I post regularly on my blog).  But it’s not just that.  I’ve been beating myself up recently over the fact that I don’t have more hobbies, don’t have more friends, don’t have a cleaner house, don’t have my debt paid down.  That I’m not more successful, more motivated.  That I haven’t published a book or learned Spanish.  That I don’t network.  That I haven’t done, well, anything of note in my life.  That I’m not the best at anything.  That I haven’t distinguished myself at anything that matters.

I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test a few months ago and came up an INFJ, which could not be more right-on.  (For those of you whose Myers-Briggs-speak is a bit rusty, INFJ stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging).  Here’s a pretty relevant part of the description of your average INFJ: “INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments.”

Huh.  Y’don’t say.

So.  In light of the guilt, and my recognition that it’s so often unnecessary… I’m going to try something new.  I’m going to try and use my own high expectations for myself like a laser instead of a mallet.  I’m going to give myself the freedom to be imperfect.

I’m going to give myself permission to be tired and overwhelmed sometimes.  I’m going to let myself sleep in on a Saturday without tempering my enjoyment with guilt.  I’m going to cut myself some slack on the hobbies, the friends, the debt – or at least from feeling like I need to address them all at once.  I can try and work on a few things at a time.  Everything does not have to be running at 100% for me to be okay, be accomplished, be a worthwhile human being.

I’m going to try and use my perfectionism to my benefit, instead of letting it guilt me into inaction.  Turn it on a few things that really matter and motivate myself to work hard and well at some things, rather than shining a giant, judgmental spotlight onto my whole life and berating myself for coming up short.

So yeah, I haven’t blogged in a while.  It hasn’t been a priority.  And that’s okay.  I’ll try and write more often, because I really would like to have a record of what I’m doing.  But if I don’t, I don’t.  AND THAT’S OKAY.

So, with the navel-gazing portion of this post over – on to the actual what-when-where that I intended in the first place.

Not that I need an excuse after everything I just said, but part of the reason I haven’t blogged in a while is that things have been so effing busy!  Mostly in a good way.  I’ve been working late basically every night for the last couple of months, banking credit hours which I can then use to take days off when we have guests.  And oh, have we had guests.

First, Finn’s parents came into town for a week at the end of April.  (I had just purchased a new camera, so brace yourselves for an illustrated post.)

We hitched Ophelia onto her leash and let her out onto the porch to play.  Finn’s parents were a bit dubious of her at first, but she really grew on them.

Ophelia, checking out birds in the rafters of our porch

The weather was gorgeous while they were here, so we went on lots of walks.  Before they left we threw them a big party so they could meet some of our friends, including Finn’s midwifery partner, her husband, and their FOUR BOYS under the age of NINE.  (Great, great, wonderful, adorable kids, and absolutely insane.)

View from the porch, where most of the party happened – photo by one of the 4boysunder9, all of whom wanted a turn with the camera

This is the table at the party, loaded down with food.  Please note that when I say we threw a party, I mean that Finn’s dad, who is an AMAZING cook, cooked us a ton of food, which we promptly snarfed.

A few days after her parents left, Finn’s friend Gina and her 2 year old Chester came for the weekend.  I won’t put pics of them up, because that seems weird, but we had a good time.  I re-discovered that toddlers love me.

The weekend after Gina left, Olive came into town for a few days.  She was doing her final pre-ordination meetings and vote before she becomes ordained as a minister in the UCC church.  It all went well, and so she’s getting ordained in 2 weeks! I’m so thrilled for her.

The day after Olive left, Finn’s brother and sister-in-law and our niece came to visit from Hawaii.  They were here for about 7 days, and I was able to use up 3 days worth of the credit hours I’d been saving up at work to hang out and play with them in the middle of the week.  We went on lots of walks, visited the Children’s Museum, went window-shopping on the main street in our lil neighborhood, hung out at the pond near our house, and spent quite a bit of time at the playground down the street.

Learning about tools at the Children’s Museum

Finn’s brother and the kiddo at the pond

This weekend, we have no guests and no responsibilities.  We’re probably going to the beach tomorrow, and then out to dinner with some friends.  Oh, and later this week we’re going to a baseball game, which is pretty rad.

Next weekend I’m off to a funeral for my aunt, who died suddenly and unexpectedly last week.  I’m still not really ready to talk about that.  The weekend after that, Olive is getting ordained, and she and her sig other, KC, are staying with us for the week.  Then the weekend after THAT, my brother and his girlfriend are coming into town for a week.  Annnnnd that gets us til the end of June!  Phew.


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Filed under anticipation, anxiety, crazy cat lady: ur doin it rite, eagle death roll, Finn, love, navel-gazing, new leaf, Olive, pictures, The Fam, type A personality: check, vacation all i ever wanted

.we interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for a freak out.

Tomorrow is my last day of work.

Two days after that we’re moving.

I found out yesterday that I didn’t get a job for which I was incredibly well-qualified.

I also found out yesterday that a guy I went to middle and high school with died very unexpectedly.

In sum, I don’t like change and there has been a lot of change, upheaval, disappointment, and facing of my own mortality and that of the people I love, all within the span of about a week.  Oh, also the cats are panicked and peeing all over everything.

I try hard not to wish away my days, even the bad ones, because every moment is so precious.  I try hard not to feel like a failure when I don’t get the things that I want and work hard for.  I try not to waste time worrying – obsessing? – about whether and when and how the people I dearly love will pass away.  I try not to want to kill my sweetly tyrannous baby kittens.

And yet.  I am ready for this week to be over, I am ready to be moved in, I am ready to have said my goodbyes at work and shut the door on that period of my life, pleasant though it was.  I am ready to stop being anxious so I won’t fall prey to my mega-anxiety-producing-triggers (unexpected deaths being a major, major trigger for me).

I’m ready to let go and let myself be happy again.  I’m ready to take responsibility for my own joy.

When I was in high school, one of my best friends and I both kept small notebooks with us at all time.  We called them our Happy Books.  They were filled with an ongoing list of things that made us happy – pictures, inside jokes, people, events, memories… I’m sure half of it wouldn’t make sense to me now, but I’m not sure I’ve ever been as content with my life as when I kept a Happy Book.  Seems like it might be time to start that back up again.  So for tonight…

10 Things That Make Me Happy Right Now

1. My shiny new apartment

2. Numbered, color-coded moving boxes

3. The fact that my haircat loves me so much that she hates that I’m typing this right now, because she really wants to be sitting ON ME

4. Brunch with Rev

5. Victory over The Man: Comcast gave me an amazing deal on cable when I called to tell them I had to go to basic because I’d been laid off.  Everything I have now for half the price.  Ahmazing.

6. Finn’s freckles

7. Air conditioning

8. The story that has been floating around in my mind, waiting to get out

9. Living one train stop away from Cali beginning Saturday

10. The possibilities that await me now that I’ve got free time again…

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Filed under anticipation, anxiety, Cali, crazy cat lady: ur doin it rite, Finn, memories, new leaf, Rev, type A personality: check

.worthwhile, remotely.

Maybe Twitter is eating my brain, but I’ve felt utterly unable to come up with anything even remotely worthwhile to post here lately.  (Could be Twitter… could be SWINE FLU AHHHHH!!!!!!!!)  I make no promises that this will be “remotely worthwhile” but I promise there will be some words.  And maybe a picture.

The past couple of weeks have been pretty busy.  I actually wish I had taken the time to write some of it down, because I can’t really remember what it is I’ve been up to.  Lots of running around in the sunshine (!!!) and spending time with lovely people last weekend.  Finn and I spent the first half of Saturday with her good friend (and co-midwife) and her husband and their 4 (FOUR) sons, all under the age of eight (FOUR UNDER EIGHT!).  I admire them so much – they are some of the most relaxed and laid back parents I’ve ever seen.  (My future children should envy that, because I get the feeling I am going to be a little more uptight than that in my parenting… ah well, something to aspire to.)  And the boys are incredibly adorable and kind and all around wonderful.  It was so much fun to just sit in their kitchen and nibble on food and talk while a whirwind of children ebbed and flowed around us.  Reminded me of how insane my house was when I was growing up, actually.  An example of their adorable kindness: they were outside playing truth or dare for a while, and all the dares involved things like coming up to one of us and saying, “You look really nice today,” or, “Daddy, I love you so much.”  Warmed my heart, I tell ya.

Finn and I spent the rest of the day in Plymouth, seeing sights and walking along the waterfront and just generally enjoying the beautiful weather.  I bought a huge set of iron keys on a ring from an antique store that was going out of business.  I’m not sure why or what I’m going to do with them, but I have a soft spot for keys without locks…

Work has been insane lately, lots of deadlines and hearings and appeals.  Still going through the “I can’t believe this is my life, why did I ever choose to become an attorney” thing about once every three days.  I just feel so young and inexperienced to be trusted with these very real problems that have very real consequences in my client’s lives.  I’m going to say the thing that no one around me seems to be saying, though I can’t be the only one thinking it: this amount of responsibility is overwhelming, and many days I am scared shitless.  Granted, none of my clients are going to end up in jail (see i.e. Cali’s job as a public defender) but if I screw up or drop the ball or don’t advocate as zealously as I possibly can, they may end up homeless, or hungry, &etc.  And sure, sometimes that happens even when I do everything right and work as hard as I can.  But I don’t feel okay about it even then.  I just never ever ever want to let any of them down, so I have to be on top of things all the time.  And since there’s only one of me and 40-50 of them at any given moment… well, it feels like a lot.  Anyone else feel occasionally (or often) terrified of their job and willing to admit it?  It’d make me feel a lot better… ha.

Okay, complaining about my job was not my intention when I started writing this post.  I’ve just been feeling overwhelmed lately and haven’t had much time to process that.  Oooookay, gotta shake it off and get into a better mental place:

That one never fails to get a giggle out of me.

Okay, so it was a long week.  But!  This weekend!:


Invited to dinner and a concert, totally ditching to stay home alone and relax.  Hermit FTW!


Wake Up The Earth festival in JP

Saturday Seder @samfeasor’s


Finn/Pom lazy morning (most likely will include bacon)

Dinner with one of my best friends from law school who I hardly ever get to see any more (super excited)

…can we postpone Monday?

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Filed under @samfeasor, anxiety, Finn, ohmygod i'm a lawyer, type A personality: check


On any given day, and on this day especially, I may choose to release what no longer blesses me, what no longer serves the highest and best of my intentions.

I have been trying to live by these words lately.  Letting go of those things that weigh heavily, keeping and accepting and calling to myself those things that make me better, that bring me good.

Today, however, I am feeling the weight of those things that no longer bless me, and I am struggling to release them.  Right now, it’s a feeling of seeping fear, about the economy, about my future, a feeling of having somehow failed.   There is the very real possibility – more of an eventuality, at this point – that unless something in our economy dramatically changes, I will be laid off in a few months.  I know I am not utterly without a safety net – thank god I have had so many advantages, thank god I know how to advocate for myself – but when I think about unemployment my chest tightens and my stomach turns.  It’s not so much that I worry I won’t be able to survive in the day to day; I know that I will get by, I have resources, education, friends and family.  It’s not a fear of any immediate privation that scares me – it’s the fear that I will have failed, that I will continue to fail, that I’ll fail to find a new job, I’ll fail to be able to pay my own bills, I’ll lose that independence, and while other people continue to move forward, I will be falling behind.   I’ll have to ask for help, and I’ll have to accept it when it’s offered, and I won’t live up to my own expectations for myself.  And I finally understand why so many of my clients who are eligible for food stamps or welfare get upset when I recommend they apply.  I quietly questioned them for letting their pride get in the way of their well-being; I thought they were foolish to turn down help on mere principle.  But I am discovering for the first time that there is a fierce joy in being self-reliant.  In that way, pride is an important thing; I am already wincing in anticipation of mine being bruised.   So it is time to write that out and let it go…

On any given day, and on this day especially, I may choose to release what no longer blesses me, what no longer serves the highest and best of my intentions.


On a more positive note, this whole fear of being laid off issue has forced me to think more about what kind of life I want to create for myself.  I never thought I would be wealthy; I knew going into legal aid wasn’t exactly the way to make the big bucks, and I was prepared for it.  But I have surprised myself at how often I long for more – more money, more financial security, more… stuff.  This is I think in part because of the way I grew up – my father (who I admire endlessly) worked his ass off for years to get where he is today, in a very American-dream-esque kind of story.  We started out with virtually nothing (my mother told me recently that she used to wear her one “good” shirt – basically a cotton t-shirt with a collar and pocket – to every PTA meeting, every parent-teacher conference, everything, because she couldn’t afford to buy any nicer clothes.  She worried that it would get stained or ripped, so she wouldn’t eat in it and treated it with great care.  I get a little teary every time I think about that).  Over the years, my dad stayed late, traveled, worked hard, got promotions.  Today my family is fairly well off, but I remember when dinners were mac ‘n cheese or tuna sandwiches for weeks on end.  I suppose I just kind of took it for granted that that’s the course my life would take as well: poor, work hard, pulling bootstraps and whatnot, ending in some kind of middle-class stability. As I was talking it over with Finn (who grew up in a 3rd world country and whose parents were both teachers) we realized that I’m the only one of the two of us who has this assumption regarding the trajectory our life will take.  Not that she doesn’t want a house, financial stability, etc., but she doesn’t see it as inevitable (or necessary) in quite the way I do.  Needless to say, she is much less panicked about the turn the economy is taking.

It occurred to me today that everyone I know lives up to the edge of their means, no matter how much they’re making.  I wonder, if I made $20,000 more than I make today, would I continue to live the way I’m living now and save that $20,000?  Not likely.  That’s not the way most people have been taught to live.  We push and push and push ourselves to make more so that we can have more so that we can finally attain – whatever, the ease, the clothes, the house.  Wants turn into (what feel like) needs over time.  But… when I step back and take stock, I need to remember that I’m okay.  Would I like to make more money?  Well, sure.  But as long as my basic needs are met, and I’m not in crisis, it’s just a matter of the number and degree of things I can afford.  And I need to remember that it’s okay to not play that game.

I’ve realized that a lot of my anxiety stems from feeling as though I’m somehow falling behind my peers – that everyone is going to do “better” than I will, that they’re going to make more money and that they’re going to be happier and I’m still going to be in the same place 3, 5, 10 years from now.  But wow, that is a really fucked up way of looking at my own life.  When it comes down to it: I’m blessed.  I have family and friends and cats and Finn and a bright future and a lot to celebrate.  Dissatisfaction with my paycheck doesn’t change any of that, and I need to stop giving it the power to change the way I look at my own success and my own happiness.  All I would do with more money is spend it, likely on things I don’t even know I’m missing now.  And I sincerely doubt it would make me any happier.  So what am I so worried about?

So.  Thank you for bearing with me through what turned into a mini-processing sesh.  Anything you’d like to release, while we’re at it?

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Filed under anxiety, Finn, quotables, type A personality: check

.a day for sunshine.

I’m dreaming of sunshine today.  After shovelling the driveway (again – I better end up with some sexy arm muscles after all this hard labor!) I allowed myself to fall into the Worst of the New England Midwinter Fantasies: bright sunshine, blue skies, puffy clouds, freshly mown grass, cold beer, warm day.  It’s still January… too early to be wishing away the cold and snow, which will be here until at least April most likely.  But we’ve got a backyard here, and we didn’t get the chance to make use of it even once before it got chilly.  Ooh, barbeque!

Okay, must stop.

In other news, I spent this evening completely organizing my life.  Feel free to be impressed.  I get things into my head sometimes, and last night I decided that I had to get a filing cabinet and create some sort of system to keep up with the enormous amount of paperwork swallowing my life (and various parts of our house).  So I dragged Finn to Staples to help me pick out the necessaries (“You’re a nutball, but you’re MY nutball,” she says in regards to my single-mindedness about these sorts of things) and tonight I filed my heart out.  I discovered a few things, such as a student loan I managed to somehow completely block from memory, and the fact that I can fit most of the important and defining documents of my life into the contents of 1/4 of a filing cabinet.  What am I going to do with the rest of it, I wonder?  (The filing cabinet, not my life… though good question either way.)

Lastly, of course, I can’t let today go by without commenting on the inauguration.  They threw a pizza party at work and projected a live feed onto the wall of our large conference room so we could all wander in and out during the day.  Around 11:30 most of us gathered to watch the main event – we chewed on pizza and laughed and snarked at Bush and halfway through Obama’s speech I felt so overwhelmed with love for my colleagues and my country and the work that we are all doing and the work that’s left to be done that I teared up, and realized: this is what it’s like to take pride in your country.  This is what that feels like. And now I know.

Which means, I suppose, that Obama is a miracle worker after all.

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Filed under anticipation, Obama, politicking, type A personality: check