Fuck You, Stuart Smalley


I’m good enough. I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people LIKE me.

Man, I loved that SNL character. He also made me uncomfortably sad.

I always heard desperation in that mantra. The desperation overshadowed the humor for me.

One thing the child of a narcissist NEVER is, is good enough. Unless you’re the golden child…which I was most definitely not. Although, in my family, there was no true golden child. Not one of us ‘did no wrong’. I’m sure my dad bragged about our accomplishments to others (while explaining how it was HIM who gave us our super powers), but that’s not something we heard ourselves.

When I was 8 years old, my dad decided I was going to play softball. HE played softball for his work team. He was a mean player, but still he was pretty good.

My dad really wished I was a boy. I know this because he would told me all the time. He’d get this far away, sad look on his face and say “Michelle, my FIRST child was supposed to be a son”. There was always an accusation in that. Like it was my fault I didn’t grow a penis in the womb.

Maybe, if I HAD been a boy, my dad would have tossed a ball around with me or something, but he didn’t. He didn’t teach me ANYTHING about playing softball, but I was going to fucking PLAY softball and I was going to LIKE it.

I didn’t like it.

I sucked. I was small for my age, I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t even sure how to run the bases.

HAHAHAH, like THAT mattered. I didn’t get on to base one time. I didn’t make a single catch. It’s quite possible that I was the worst player on the team. Maybe, the league.

I hated going to the games and practices. I knew I was going to piss him off. Or worse, I would EMBARRASS him.

I would go to his games. He always made it a point to call me over. He’d drape his arm across my shoulders and brag about my softball skills to his team mates. I was the best one on the TEAM! I got not ONE, but TWO home runs at my last game. Then, there’d be an amusing anecdote about how the second one was only due to the other team’s comical errors. Errors I would NEVER make. Which was technically true, as I’m not sure I had any contact with the ball even once.

I would smile, laugh, and nod my head at the right places. I couldn’t play softball, but I knew my part in my dad’s play.

I don’t remember that hurting back then. I don’t think it did. I think at the time, I was so grateful for the affection from my father, even though it was an act, that I didn’t mind.

But you pay for that shit later. You learn that you are NOT good enough and you are NOT smart enough and more than likely, most people don’t like you.

I don’t know how to end this blog post. I WANT to end it with a few lines saying how I figured that shit out and I feel better about myself. Maybe that’s somewhat true, I am better than I’ve ever been. I”m also pretty sure that feeling of inadequacy is still playing a major role in my play.


About the author


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Damn. At least my mom bragged about real stuff. Stuff she hated when no one else was around, but stuff we actually did anyway.

    And holy hell the inadequacy. I hope it goes away some day…sigh.

  • You know, it is funny. Not in a HAHA way, though.
    My parents bragged on me to other people, even to relatives. To my face, it was anything but. When i heard ( or asked) my parents about the nice things they said to other people about me, i was told some variation of “those are things we say to people outside the family. It isn’t true, but we must always make the family look good to outsiders.”

    It didn’t make sense in 1965, it doesn’t make sense now.

    I was a failure and a disappoint because my report card did not have A+ s. It WAS straight As, and my school did not give A + s, but that didn’t save me from getting a lecture every 6 weeks.

    • I am amazed by this. I had no idea so many people lived the same (kind of) life I did. I am so sorry that this was your experience, but it’s so nice to know that there are other people out there in the world who really understand what it’s like.

By Michelle


RSIH in your inbox