Monday, April 4, 2011

Putting the "fun" in dysfunctional...

I've been thinking a lot about dysfunction lately. Mostly because it is so front-and-center in my own life, it's hard to ignore sometimes.

I'm not talking about bigtime dysfunction, but about the subtler variety that seems to rise up from the grass and swarm around us like a cloud of gnats. The kind of dysfunction that if we didn't have it, we wouldn't be normal. Make sense?

I have idiosyncrasies and habits that make me unique, and - truth be told - I'm okay with them. They're like family. The me, myself, and I of quirky behavior. The multiple personality disorder of being human in a world that often judges too harshly and forgives too infrequently.

Here's a snippet of my list:
  1. I'm a recovering people pleaser. This is often problematic for me because when I'm not walking a perfectly balanced line between doing what I think is right, being true to myself, and being confident in my decisions - I tend to oscillate between trying to convince myself that I don't give a damn what people think and overreacting to what people think. 
  2. I'm lazy. Often I wake up in the morning with goals that by 6pm are meaningless. Oh, I have the best of intentions as the sun climbs up the sky ladder, but somehow that changes mid-day and by afternoon I've already justified why I veered off in the opposite direction. Thank goodness my goals are not lofty.
  3. I'm an all-or-nothing girl. Remember a couple years ago when I lost a ton of weight? Do you think I did it slowly, carefully and with healthy precision? Hell no. I cut out every single thing that I thought would derail my progress, ate zero fat, and exercised like a maniac. The weight fell off in six months. And so did a lot of my hair. The hair grew back along with ten pounds which I continue to hack away at. Unfortunately, in order to get rid of those pesky ten, once and for all, I think I'm going to have to go all Karen Carpenter again. It's the only way I know how.
  4. I'm extremely sensitive. It's almost like a sixth sense to me. Reading between the lines is what I do best, and I know the very instant the wind shifts. I can smell when feelings change or anger starts bubbling up. I know immediately when something is stirring - and I'm generally not only right, but right on the money. This is a blessing and a curse. I used to hate being sensitive. Hated always wearing my heart on my sleeve. Hated crying on a dime. Hated being told I am too sensitive, like I have the ability to just flip a switch and suddenly not be. But then I discovered that being sensitive was also like having a great big window pane on the world and I had a cushy seat right in front. My sensitivity allows me to experience so much more of my world than insensitives do theirs. Again... a blessing and a curse.
  5. I'm fierce. As a general rule, I'm a very nice person, but don't cross me unless you want me to go all Medusa on you. And trust me... I've had more snakes grow out of my head than I can count. I'm not a provocateur, but push me too far and I have a response mechanism with no safety latch. I think it comes from growing up in an environment steeped in criticism and disapproval, which brings us full-circle (see #1 above).
I'm not making excuses for myself. For the most part, I understand who I am and am aware of most of my shortcomings. I do make an honest effort at improving myself, but I don't stress or worry over it too much. I accept myself. Kind of like a Zebra avoids wearing purple because it recognizes it looks best in black and white. But being introspective as I am, I also have the keen ability to recognize the dysfunction of others:
  1. Those who always have to be right.
  2. Those who always have to win.
  3. Those who always have to have the last word.
  4. Those whose self-loathing is manifested in their need to be superior over others.
  5. Those whose internal guilt meter directs their every move in life.
  6. Those who are the mouthpieces for causes or crusades because they believe doing so makes them appear smarter, better, wiser, hipper, more worldly, more attractive, fill in the ____.
  7. The know-it-alls.
  8. The manipulators.
  9. The punishers.
  10. The hypocrites.
  11. The users.
  12. The Obamas. (Ha! I was shooting for an even dozen.)
And for the most part, I'm cool with all of them too because I am them. And so are you. We are all the same. We're human. We have our ups and downs. We have our flaws. We are the sum of our experiences, our upbringings, our environments, our hurts, our triumphs, our mistakes. We are all born against our will and die against it too. In the meantime, we do our best. We try. We succeed. We fail. We drink our tiger blood and get on with it. We, each of us in our own way, are perfect. Perfectly dysfunctional - but in a really fun way. 


  1. What do I love about you? I'll say item 1-5 on your quirk list. Without these, you wouldn't be you. Simple. HUGS my friend!

  2. Sorry to say I see myself in all of those dysfunctions except #2. I don't care if I win, which was disappointing to my tennis doubles' partners. Oh well. We love you just the way you are, Medusa.

  3. @ Garret: Love you back, man. How many bullets on your quirk list I wonder. Can you top mine? Hmmm?

    @Li... I think you can cross a number of those off your list - especially #12!! Thanks for your comment. I love you!

  4. i love your list because most of them sound like me, and i love me.

    dysfunction junction.

  5. Ha! The Obamas-- You crack me up Alix.

    Loved this post (except the "going Karen Carpenter" part-- Hello, you looks fabulous!).

    xoxo jj

  6. Yeah, for real, don't go all Karen Carpenter. You're grand as is. And I love that you own your quirks. Work it out.

  7. I like you. Have you ever read "Women who run with the Wolves". Very introspective.


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