Last night, my husband spoke the three most terrifying words in the English language.
"Take a break."
I was horrified. My blood ran cold.
"Let the dishes stack up. No laundry. And don't you dare touch that vacuum," he insisted.
"No buts about it. Take the day off. Why don't you have some fun?" he suggested, smiling.
I drew a blank. And that's when I knew I had a problem.
Did you do worksheets in elementary school? I must've done a thousand in first grade alone. Apparently, I did 'em well because they landed me on the A Honour Roll, or "A On-A-Roll" as I called it. Mom praised me and taped my papers to the 'fridge. Dad showed off his little Exhibit A (me) to the relatives.
From that day on, I was an addict. A big, red A+ on my schoolwork became my crack. By third grade, my self-esteem and GPA were hopelessly enmeshed. I was my grades; my grades were me.
Dad may have been chronically dissatisfied with who I was, but he heartily approved of my grades. I didn't give a rat's ass about knowledge. Grades. That's what mattered!
And I wasn't the only one. When I met my Waterloo on fractions, Dad corrected my math worksheets before I turned them in for grading. When I refused to cheat on my eight grade science project, he punched me in the face. While I struggled with my tenth grade science project, he flew into a rage and threw a bar stool the length of the basement. There, but for the grace of God, flies me!
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If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting himself or herself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is staffed by certified crisis response professionals.