I am the champion of overdoing things. I’m unembarrassed to say that I am likely the very best, or at least in the top ten. I pushed the limits in every aspect of my life, because I was so dissatisfied and unhappy. Overreaction was a defense against my sad state. If I was involved to the point of excess, I had less time to think about how my life was going.
I started overdoing as a child. I don’t remember any examples, but when I consider my childhood, excess is always present. If I called Mom, she could list hundreds of examples. I tried too hard when I was a child; I did too many things that drove my Mom crazy. And as I moved into high school, I was already lying to my friends about the experiences of my life, making it seem more interesting — strange, because my life really had been very interesting.
Starting when I was 18, I exceeded the boundaries of safety and common sense, by refusing to take my insulin for 10 months. I knew I was killing my body; but I was getting thinner, and being thin was by far the most important goal. I know many women among you will understand, and some men too. Disgust for my own body was reason enough for me to try such a senseless action, and success in making a newer, thinner body was enough to maintain it.
I overdid in school as an adult. I have spoken of this before: In my first year of graduate studies, I tried for a prize for the highest grade point average, but my schoolwork had to be done two weeks before the end of school. I stayed up late, I read a dozen books, I probably wrote 60 or 70 pages of final papers, twenty or so at a time. I worked like I ‘d never worked before. And I won the prize — $75. I couldn’t wait to tell my parents about my success; my Mom’s reaction was, “I hope you didn’t do that for us.” Of course I had done it for her. I’d been taught as a child and a teenager that less-than-perfect grades were unacceptable. Recently, Mom and I have had a good laugh about that contest.
In the 1980s, I overdid along with the fashion industry.
I did the big hair, (hairspray, brush, hairspray, brush, hairspray — on and on.) I did the clothes, and loved them, too. I lived far, far beyond my means financially; during that time, I accrued debts that I still owe. Everything was too much, too much, too much.
The 90s were more of the same, except that I married my beer-drinking, pot-smoking third husband, and I tried to keep up with him smoking dope. When I finally smartened up and left, I moved 1600 miles away to stop those excesses.
In the late 90s and the 00s, my body did most the overdoing, although my depression also had a large impact on my physical symptoms. Finally, though, by the end of that decade, I finally recognized my lack of boundaries. I began to set boundaries, but I never succeeded completely until last year, when I took an enormous step in the right direction.
I am far less prone to excess now, because I am happy. Except in the number of posts I publish every day — I think I’m still a little out-of-control about that — I am enjoying living a simpler life, with far fewer incidents of overstepping boundaries. And I am living in peace, for the first time in my life; I no longer need to hide from my fears.