All of my life, I have struggled with my own failings.
I know that I am not the ideal person. I’m too short to be lithe and capable but not short enough to be cute and petite. My teeth never got braces and stick out of my mouth this way and that. Due to childhood medication, I have no pearly whites. My hair grows wild on my head. My stomach pooches even when I’m wafer-thin. I got high Bs but not many As. I didn’t make Law Review until a full semester after others in my class. I graduated from law school with honors but not with any of the capitalized acknowledgments — not Suma Cum This or That, nor Order of Whatever.
The jobs which I’ve gotten had no competition. I got them by default or feeble connection, by which I mean, connections strong enough for a mild recommendation but not much more. I handle my cases fairly well and most of my clients get what they want, but not without a rash of fumbling and near-catastrophes.
I know that I’m mediocre at most things.
Why then, I ask myself, do I find it so hard to tolerate the same condition in others?
The one lingering category in which I find it hardest to abandon complaint involves other people doing their jobs. I still pace around the house wailing about those on whom I depend for the domino effect — you do your job, I can do mine. You follow through, what I need happens. Conversely: You do not do your job, I am royally screwed. You would scream and holler if I failed you . Why then, do you stare at me blankly when I gasp at your remissions? Why do you insist that I am a bitch if I want you to honor your commitments capably, completely, and carefully?
I’m going to go breathe now. I have faith that everything will be all right in the end, despite the mediocrity of myself and those around me. And even that statement would make Dr. Rosenberg spin in his grave, with its judgmental overtones. Maybe I need to incise the word “mediocre” from my vocabulary. And I will — right after my house sale closes, as scheduled, this Friday. I’ll toddle off to California and sit by the ocean, letting forgiveness wash over me. I’ll laugh. I’ll cry. I’ll tell myself that the glory justifies the grief. I’ll remind myself that even mediocrity can suffice.
The truth of that cannot be denied. Just look at me.
It’s the fifth day of the forty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.