Pathetic (adj.) -- (1) causing or evoking pity, sympathetic sadness, sorrow, etc; pitiful; pitiable; (2) affecting or moving the feelings; (3) pertaining to or caused by the feelings; (4) miserably or contemptibly inadequate
I use self deprecating humor a lot. I put myself down more than I should and I find ways to use myself as the butt of a joke or humorous story that I am telling to others. I'm not really sure why I do that, but I do. At least once a day, I state to whomever I'm talking to "Well, I'm fairly pathetic", and then continue with the story I'm telling. I say that all the time actually, that I'm pathetic. Deep down that's how I feel about myself, I guess that's a horrible thing to admit but I've been suffering from self-esteem issues most of my life, so there you go.
Looking at the definition, I'm kind of thinking my patheticness (not sure if that's a word) falls into #3 or #4. Hm, definitely #4 now that I get to thinking about it. Feelings of miserable inadequacy = pathetic. Okay, I just changed around the #4 part of the definition, but still that works. I do feel fairly inadequate, and I know that is caused by feeling like I am not doing anything with my life. It's that feeling of not doing what one was born to do. I, personally, have no idea what I was born to do. When I was younger, elementary school age, I wanted to be a teacher or a ballerina or an astronaut. By the time I got to high school, I had settled on lawyer. In college, I wanted to change from pre-law to education, but for one significant reason (different story for a different time), I did not change and remained pre-law but didn't go to law school. So, maybe I'm meant to teach. I volunteer with youth at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver and have been doing that since Fall 2007. I really enjoy it and always look forward to the beginning of the new school year because then I can return to the Club.
I feel pathetic cause I feel like I am living a purposeless life. There, I said it. Out loud even. Of course, now I feel even more pathetic, so there you go.
I rarely read memoirs, mainly because I am not interested in what that person has to say about his or her life. Now, there are a handful of memoirs that I thoroughly enjoyed and was glad that I read. I LOVED The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan! Part of the reason I loved it was because her particular story was something I could relate to, partially. She was fighting cancer and her father was also fighting cancer. I am not a cancer survivor, but my own father fought cancer 3 times. I could relate to her stories about her relationship with her own father when she was a child, as well as how she related to him as an adult. I enjoyed Pretty is What Changes by Jessica Queller because I found her very brave to face the BRCA2 gene in the manner she did and thought she was really level-headed with all of the decisions she made. She was very personable, I thought, and I really liked her. Then there are memoirs that I do not like, and I think the first word that comes to my mind in regards to those memoirs is PATHETIC.
I was watching a movie today, that was made from a memoir (there are numerous, I know). It was Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep (whom I love) and Amy Adams (whom I also love). I read both Julie & Julia by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child before the movie came out but never made it to the theater to see the actual movie. I found Julie Powell both pathetic and intriguing. I thought she was intriguing because she strove to make every one of Julia Child's recipes in one year, which is pretty freaking ambitious. I am developing my cooking skills and I am not at all that ambitious, so I tip my hat to Julie Powell for doing all those recipes. I found her pathetic because she expresses her own inadequacies and feelings of patheticness in the beginning of her book. I will say she grew by the end of the book, but there was still part of me that just thought she was a pathetic person.
Which brings me to the movie. I was, sporadically, watching the movie this morning and thought Amy Adams did a remarkable job of showing Julie's pathetic and inadequate side as well as showing how much she grew by the end of her journey cooking Julia Child's recipes. Then, I had an epiphany (well, that might be an exaggeration, more like an "aha" moment). It occurred to me that I was also a bit jealous of Julie Powell: as pathetic as she was, she put herself out there with a goal and she accomplished that goal and ended up growing as a person and people loved her. People loved reading her blog everyday and seeing how each recipe came out. People sent her things and supported her and cheered for her as she worked her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. So, here was a woman who felt pathetic and inadequate when she heard about the successes of some of her other friends and ended up becoming a much loved blogger who achieved a great feat -- she mastered the art of French cooking.
So...who's the pathetic person now? Well, that would still be me. So, what am I going to do to not be so pathetic? Hm, that's a damn good question. The phrase "put on your big girl panties and deal with it" comes to mind. Well, I honestly don't know how to combat feelings of inadequacy within my own life. It doesn't matter how much education I pursue, I don't think I'll be any less pathetic with a second Master's or a PhD. It doesn't matter how many groups, clubs or organizations I join, either. Those just keep me busy but ultimately, I still end the day feeling unfulfilled and inadequate, pathetic and lowly. I'll continue to use self deprecating humor because it seems to make other people laugh and makes me appear to be more humble than I really am. Self deprecating humor is a great way to disguise a lot of things about myself, and I'm pretty damn good at it.
Julie Powell is my hero! Cheers to you, Ms. Powell, wherever you are. And I apologize, if you ever read this blog. I originally found you pathetic, but actually I think you're pretty fabulous. You felt you were sinking and you saved yourself through a passion you didn't know you had. I admire that! I'm sinking, but maybe one day, I too, will find my passion and rise to the surface a better person.