Particularly in the summer in my region, yard work needs to be done. And indeed, I actually enjoy weeding, tending to flowers, and raking leaves. Unfortunately, with gardens come spiders; and what’s worse, spiders are beneficial to the garden and should thus not be driven away. I am learning to coexist with them through the systematic desensitization of working side-by-side with them, but most of the time I just lie to myself.
“There are no spiders here.”I lie to myself so that I can cope with the fear and discomfort of what lurks behind every shrub. I lie to myself so that I can function well enough to complete the work that needs to be done. I lie often enough so that I can behave as if I really believe it.
“That was not a spider web that I just walked through. And if it was, there is no spider dangling from me.”
“There are no spiders here.”
I keep repeating it.
I see a spider. “Well, that was the only one, and he has run away. There are no more spiders here.”
So when I recently heard the infamous “Bitch and Backpedal” it’s-all-worth-it speech yet again, it struck me at a much deeper level than it had before… is this self-talk the exact same coping mechanism I am using in my garden? Merely a lie so that one can endure the task at hand?
That idea is nothing new to me or to anyone else. Years ago, Wanda Sykes did a hilarious stand-up routine about it (watch here). Even I have blogged about related issues and potential regret in the past. What was new to me, I suppose, was an ability to empathize. Though I have always been puzzled and skeptical about “it’s all worth it” (because I never felt the need to justify anything in my own life in that way), I have only recently realized that I was doing essentially the same thing when it came to coping with my fear in the garden.
I think I finally understand.