Pathetic: it has two main meanings.
Firstly, “In a way that arouses pity, especially by displaying vulnerability or sadness.” And, secondly, “In a miserably inadequate or ridiculous way.”
It’s the second one. That’s the one – miserably inadequate. That’s the one I know. You see at night time, as I’m lying in bed ready to sleep, memories have started coming back to me. It’s a strange thing because when these memories arrive they are so clear that I can’t believe I had ever forgotten them. When these memories arrive I want to do something with them – but what? I fall asleep and when I wake in the morning the memory has faded again. It’s still there. I know it’s a memory, a thing that happened, but the clarity of my recall isn’t what it was the night before. That frustrates me because I figure in the day I could choose to do something with the memory. File it or face it or something… YARGH!!!!
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Slurred at me. One eye closed, too drunk to work both eyes. A drunken lop sided smile on her face. Or perhaps venom, anger at me, spat at me “pathetic!” Silently and internally I would acknowledge that she was right. I was pathetic. No point arguing.
As you know I have the regular merry-go-round of self criticism in my head: worthless! useless! stupid! idiot! pathetic! But ‘pathetic’ is the big guns. That’s when my head is really trying to take me down. Sometimes, as a teacher, a student would snarl at me that I was pathetic. This would cause a huge physical reaction in my body. The anger was so intense that I would shake. Every cell tingling with rage, wanting to explode and scream and throw things and prove just how mighty I could be. Of course I didn’t! No, instead everything would kind of go slo-mo. I’d breathe deeply and slowly, trying to engage the rational adult educated bit of my brain to deal with said student. Right, what is the way forward here and I’d try very, very hard to calmly and authoritatively deal with the kid whilst the class looked on. Kids can sense all that stuff though, they know. Depending on the group there would be a stunned silence as they realise that someone has delivered a blow as devastating as a slap to Miss’s face. Too far, heads down, let’s just answer these questions. Or, a difficult group, may delight. Yippee!!!! Achilles heel. We’ve got her on the ropes now! And, sensing the anger, they’d push and push trying to cause an explosion or absolute devastation. Whichever, I’d still have all the anger, choking me. Trying to hide my shaking hands. Trying to breathe. Just don’t react Kate, just don’t.
The end of a day like that would bring exhaustion. Where does all that energy go? Well, it caused problems. Too exhausted at home to be the Mum I want to be; ranting about my day to my husband; irritated about everything; a wine bottle; self loathing; depression. All because of a word?
Now that I remember I wonder how could I forget that? It’s in my head now though. I’m hoping to do a little speed work run later. I’m not even out of bed and my head is telling me there’s no point, I am pathetic. I am so crap at running that trying to even improve makes me look ridiculous and deluded. It tells me that people humour me whilst thinking I’m pathetic. Inside my body I feel the physical reactions of anger and sadness. Which, more than anything, signals that I need to run – and I will.
I am not pathetic. Not today.