If you expect nothing from anybody you are never disappointed.Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Frankly, 95% of this post does not paint me in a pretty light. It is, however, 100% TRUE and sometimes the truth is not pretty.
Being vulnerable has never been my forte.
But I can’t be angry at anybody else.
Not in good conscience anyway.
Because I broke my own rule, it’s my own fault.
Still — I don’t like being blindsided. Do you?
So, here on these spiral stairs, with a copy of The Bell Jar, I stay
Trying not to worry too much but feel worse than I did yesterday
Sit in silence, overthink, pout
When really, I should
Take the advice of Oasis and STOP Crying My Heart Out!!!
I’m an oven of a woman
There’s only a few things that set me to full on BROIL
But many an instance I got burned touching the red hot coil
Once or twice had to fan the flames — cough from the smoke
Order a pizza while trying not to choke
Yelling over the annoying BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!
Never needed a lot of time to preheat
I swear, I can make water boil in sideways sleet
Instead of the cool calm woman, I try and fail to be.
There’s TWO things I do manage
One: Respect what people feel and say
Then, to avoid serious irrevocable damage —
Two: Keep everybody an Emotional Arm’s Length away.
Those Two Parts + The Bell Jar Quote = The Plath Principle.
If you rewind back a decade, I was explaining this process and why I thought Plath’s quote was genius.
I think she was really onto something. ‘If you expect nothing from anybody you are never disappointed.’ Should’ve adopted that as a life motto…long — long ago.
That’s a terribly sad, miserable way to live a life, especially yours, Miss Lowe.
I laughed uncharacteristically, like a jerk. Really wish I could apologize for that and my snarky attitude.
Is it, Doc? Why? Seriously, especially mine? Memo to you, my life has already been terribly sad and miserable, that’s why I’m here. EVERY Thursday.
Thank you, I appreciate the compliments and encouragement but can we just skip the part where you say all the things you’re supposed to say?
What do you mean? That’s the truth.
Oh, you know what I mean. No, sir, that is NOT the truth. That’s professional strategy. The use of validation and positive reinforcement is designed to increase my self-esteem, which in turn will demonstrate the value of self-worth. So, if it’s all the same to you, let’s go ahead and eighty-six the fortune cookie bumper sticker speak. Please, that’d be great.
You know, not everyone has an ulterior motive? But I am very glad to know you’ve been listening and have learned so much from our sessions. You’re one of my most self-aware patients.
Gonna have to respectfully disagree on that!
That not everyone has an ulterior motive.
Ah, I see. Thus, The Plath Principle, right? Okay. There’s just a small problem with your equation.
Really?! Color me shocked! You know I’m not mathematically inclined.
How can anyone meet or possibly, even supersede your expectations, if you keep them at an Emotional Arm’s Length away ALL the time?
Um, I think you’re missing the point here, Doc.
Hmm, I don’t think I am. Give it some thought. I’ll see you next Thursday, Miss Lowe.
Sitting on my spiral staircase, I rehash that counseling session, then my mind shifts to a recurring thought. I wonder what Plath’s last words were? I don’t know. I’ll tell you something true, something I do know from experience, and without a shadow of a doubt:
Giving up, when things get hard — is a coward’s way out.
That’s all for today. The only piece of wisdom I have to impart.