I had a sobering thought on the road into work this morning.
I am not worthy of being loved.
As soon as the thought came into my mind, I rejected it on the surface. On an intellectual level, it's a ridiculous statement, and I know that.
Yet it came into my thoughts, relatively unbidden. It was catalyzed by some things that I heard on the radio sort of mixing with some other stuff from last night, but it crawled into my brain like a worm, and that means that there is some part of me that has this running around in there loose.
The biggest part of it is my weight. That I am nearly in the category of a Jerry Springer Rescue show is not lost on me, and it is at the forefront of pretty much everything I do. It's not something I can ignore, or put in the back of my mind. Combine that with the intense social pressure to conform to body types and it rapidly becomes more important than anything else.
Secondary to that is the fact that I live in a house that is pretty much a disaster area. It is through my own making (or unmaking as it were) primarily; I did have some help for over a decade, but the last couple of years have been just me and a couple of critters. I can make excuses all day, but in the end, the result is the same.
Then there's the porch. That particular project started while I was still living in The Gulag, and has lingered for nearly three years now. There is progress, but crap in a hat, I should have been done by now, right?
It's like being in debt, the worthless feeling that you get when creditors are calling you wanting money and making you feel like crap for being a deadbeat. I've managed to get out of all of my consumer debt, which is a tremendous thing that you can't imagine until you've lived the difference. So now I'm in a sort of psychological debt, and feeling worthless because I'm not "living up to my obligations".
So how do I get out of my psychological debt?
1.) Finishing the porch will be huge. It's been a project that's gone way beyond what it was ever meant to (remember, this all started out with a leaky roof) and has given me a whole bunch of knowledge and experience that I never expected to need. There's still a ton and a half of work to do (in the literal sense, probably several tons), and it's overwhelming when I consider it all at once, so I'm trying to take it in small pieces. I'm trying to not only manage the project, I'm also doing the significant amount of the work, mostly because I can't really afford to pay somebody else to do it. There are some exceptions for things that I just can't do by myself, but they are rare.
2.) Getting past the porch will free me up to take on the management of the inside of the house better. That in and of itself is a daunting task, and if you've seen the inside of the box, you'd understand. It's far more dynamic than you'd believe, primarily due to the construction activity, and once that's done I can settle the tools and such into their proper places. Thing is, this also takes a form of management and discipline that I'm not incredibly good at.
3.) Losing weight into a more "normal" place. This is probably the hardest of all, and the one with the most potential for effect. I do have a plan in place for this, but the details are remaining silent for now.
There are some other issues with the house. As I'm looking to refinance next year, I have to have the in-process projects completed before the loan will be underwritten. That means the dining room ceiling and the kitchen wall have to be fixed for sure, but it makes me wonder about the other stuff because the appraisal of the house determines the maximum value for which I can refinance, and there are a number of issues that are sort of quasi-cosmetic that could really bump the value of the house up in an appraisal.
So I have to balance the downside of taking on some additional projects with the potential upside of raising the potential equity, the possibility of a depressed housing market lowering the potential value, and with the cost of a new garage/studio. It's a complex arrangement involving partial derivatives and quantum field theory.
It also brings me back full circle to the worthy of being loved thing. If I'm attaching part of my self-worth to getting the house in shape as well as myself, will I ever be done? Will I ever be worthy in my own eyes?
Yes, I know that attaching self-worth to things is a bad idea, but recognize the difference in that I'm not attaching it to things, I'm attaching it to my ability to get things done and follow through on responsibilities. That is something that I think is a valuable commodity for the self, and one with which I have some issues.
Progress. I am making progress. It's real, it's tangible, and it is worth something. But I have a long history of self-loathing issues, and a deep pit to dig out from.
Okay, plan: finish the porch, fix the ceiling, fix the kitchen wall. Clean. Paint and touch up. Then reassess with the credit union on the appraisal. Caveat that the north sidewalk may have to be killed in the process.