What are your three worst personality traits?
It's an interesting exercise. It forces you to face the worst of you. Because, as they say, self-knowledge is the most important prerequisite to self-improvement. Hey, if nobody's said that before, I should copyright that - that's friggin catchy.
I can tell you three of my worst right off the top of my head: First and foremost, I'm intellectually arrogant. I'm convinced I'm the smartest person in the room. I have to force myself to not correct people's grammar. I ridicule people who don't know words that I should think everyone should know - "quorum" comes immediately to mind, ha ha ha (inside joke). I make assumptions about people's intelligence based on their ability to manipulate the written word. It really is my single worst trait.
For another, I'm a quitter. I've never really finished anything big I've started, either because I'm too lazy to put in the work or I'm afraid that I might actually succeed at something, and THEN where would I be?
And the third thing, the reason for this post, is this: I cannot handle loss. And that is a gigantic flaw, one that has dragged me down to dark places that I wish I'd never gone. One that threatens ever to drag me down further still; down, down, down.
It eats at me. It gnaws at my free will. It destroys my desire to expand my life beyond these four walls.
Here's a couple of examples, one of which you know well: a month from today it will have been four years since my dad's passing, this after an eight-year illness. I still cannot discuss my father for any length of time without choking up. I pay lip-service to the concept of time healing wounds, but it hasn't, at least not yet, not for me. I have learned the trick of forgetting, for a little while, a little while. But it's closer to the surface than it has any right to be four years after the fact. Because I just cannot handle loss.
Here's another example: I have this friend, who for many reasons I call "Other Dave." Other Dave worked with me for years. We were 2/3 of a running crew, along with the coolest chick I ever knew, Shmisty B.
Dave and I were tight. We were like Turk and J. D. from Scrubs. Like Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen in The 40 Year Old Virgin. I was his wingman for the girl that he'd eventually marry. I woke up early to drive him to the airport, for fuck's sake.
I was having dinner with him when my mother called to tell me that Dad had died. The next day he had to drive to Portland, ME, for some company function. When he found out when the funeral was, he arranged for someone to take his place, drove from Portland to Sharon, MA, no small drive, just to stand up next to me - then he drove all the way back.
But Dave and I don't see each other any more. He's got a family now, two beautiful children one of which I've never even seen. Life progressed. That should be ok, but it's not. It bothers me. It hurts me. Not because I feel any horrendous sense of betrayal, but just because I can't stand loss.
I fucking hate it. I know that rational, thinking human beings can overcome loss; eventually of course we lose everything we have or are. But somehow I was just made without that particular trait, and until the old man passed especially, I had no idea to what extent that would rule my life.
Right now, today, it's even bigger than it's been lately. Today it's a fucking Giant. And I swear to god it's just eating me up.
Not a good day for the Kid.