• Endria Richardson

Inadequacy

Have you ever felt inadequate? I spend a lot of my time thinking about inadequacy: the types of people who feel inadequate, why people feel inadequate, how people can feel less inadequate. I also think about my own feelings of inadequacy, and whether or not I think about the question of adequacy too much.

I think about this question mainly when I’m at work. As you may have noticed, my posting frequency has increased in the past couple of weeks. This is because I have almost nothing to do at work. I know some of you will scoff at this remark, remembering an addage an elder in your life told you about never saying you have nothing to do. Although I will rebuff you vocally, saying that there is only so many hours I can fill finding things to do, you will notice an absence of a thirty minutes or so while I alternately brood and fiddle around trying to find something to do before I come back.

The reality is that there probably are things I could be doing, but I am not doing them. These things could include organizing my desk, planning a hiking trip, and conversing with teenagers outside of my office. Here are reasons for not doing the above mentioned things: 1. my desk looks and feels fine; also, if I organize it now I will not be able to do so in the future when I am really at a loss for what to do 2. planning the trip will take at most 20 minutes, and will probably be veto-ed in the end (my natural cynicism has been reinforced at this current job), and 3. I like to alternate socializing with the teenagers with “working” at my desk, thereby earning myself some respect for being a “working” adult that my size, stature and generally young demeanor negate immediately upon I enter their company. 4. I will be here until 8pm, so there is plenty of time to accomplish all three of those tasks, and then some.

Even so, you have successfully stirred up feelings of inadequacy in this young blogger. I oftentimes feel I am not living up to my purpose, talent or education. Does this mean I have an overblown sense of those things, does it mean I am bored and disatisfied with my current situation, or does it mean that I am a young failure? Yes, yes and yes. You should know by now that I am a frail thing, prone to bouts of low self-worth alternated by bouts of self-aggrandizement. I believe that this means I have an overall average level of self-assesment in the long run, but with more peaks and valleys than I would like.

But it is the bent of people like me not to stand their suffering alone. In other wordss, misery loves company as long as its company is uglier, dumber and weighs more than it. For instance, I have been known to prefer the idea that even the very happy are more pitiful than I because I, in my misery, have leant more of Life than they.

Let us all pause and consider the weight of those words. Studies (you know which ones, so I won’t bother linking them) have shown that depressives are more likely to be wiser, better artists and overall just awesomer people to have as grandmas (ok, it was Martin Seligman who wrote that in his book Learned Optimism, but I bet he based it off some dope studies since he is a legit psychologist, albeit a positive psychologist, so he was saying that all with a grain of sand, ie they may be better artists, but they’re also better at being depressed). But does this pressure to be “wise” ultimately lead to feelings of inadequacy?

It is the follow-up question to what Harry Burns put best in the perennial classic When Harry Met Sally, in the following dialogue:

Sally Albright: Amanda mentioned you had a dark side. Harry Burns: Thats what drew her to me. Sally Albright: Your dark side? Harry Burns: Sure. Why? Dont you have a dark side? I know, youre probably one of those cheerful people who dot their “is” with little hearts. Sally Albright: I have just as much of a dark side as the next person. Harry Burns: Oh, really? When I buy a new book, I read the last page first. That way, in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends. That, my friend, is a dark side. Sally Albright: That doesn’t mean youre deep or anything. I mean, yes, basically I’m a happy person and I don’t see there’s anything wrong with that. Harry Burns: Of course not. You’re too busy being happy. You ever think about death? Sally Albright: Yes. Harry Burns: Sure you do. A fleeting thought that floats in and out of the transom of your mind. I spend hours, I spend days. Sally Albright: And you think this makes you a better person? Harry Burns: No. But when the shit comes down, I’m going to be prepared and you’re not, that’s all I’m saying.

You can see the dialogue here, beginning at 5:25:

In short, what I’m saying is that depressives crave some solid compensation for their worries, fears, anxieties and neuroses: wisdom, depth, grit. Your sageness should increase exponentially to your misery, right? Do all depressives suffer, more or less, from this delusion of grandeur? If so, do we not deserve some compassion for our miserable trials? It is a dark and lonely path we walk to be sure. At least throw us a bone here and there along the way!

As we all know, I am a fan of the Russians, most notably Dostoevsky, and though I am often aghast at the denouements (see my previous post for reference), in which are featured deaths, madnesses, imprisonments and the such, I am mostly satisfied that my depths have been plumbed. If there is a great sadness to be felt, let me feel it. If Prince Myshkin is to be resigned to idiocy his whole life, then let it be! Do not give me a sugar coated ending of marital bliss between the Prince and Aglaya, do not above all do that. Why? Because there is a catharsis in tragedy, to be sure. A collective exhale as we all release the tension there exists in all of us as we wait for the worst to happen. And there is the endurance we gain. The preparedness, as Harry puts it.

Anyways, you must admit to yourself once or twice that it is only misery that could have engendered such luminosity in Dostoevsky. Where is the logic behind that, you ask? I don’t have it, I reply. Just sheer intuition. But what good is a pessimists intuition, really. Which brings us to the whole point of the depression digression. I have ruminated enough to feel that I really have quite a lot of wisdom coming my way. But it has yet to arrive. What is it waiting for? Until it arrives, I am sure I will continue to feel, and ponder, the question of inadequacy.

#depression #WhenHarryMetSally #silliness #rumination #inadequacy #Dostoevsky

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