I Screwed It Up, But I’ll Keep Trying

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Today started out as a good day. I woke up at 4:30, got a quick workout and stretch in, showered, and turned on my Pandora station curated around the music of The Cure. I had high hopes for today.

By the time 6:30 rolled around, I was just about ready to leave the house, looking forward to a few moments to myself in the office to get ahead and think creatively. But then it all went to shit–and I let it go that way. A few small things stopped me from leaving home when I wanted to and instantly, my attitude changed. I left twenty minutes later, but with an attitude that was not even a shadow of the hopeful one I had when I first woke.

My desire for perfection gets the best of me every time. Funny, I know, as I write a blog about the celebration of all things challenging, imperfect and full of courage. But I guess that’s partly why I write it. Those things that I admire, that excite me and motivate me, are also the same things I often struggle with the most.

I dislike the feeling of vulnerability (pretty sure I’m not alone in this) but I’ve done enough research and reflection to understand that vulnerability is as much a part of being human as is strength. I’m constantly seeking examples of strength in vulnerability in order to hopefully one day be more at peace with myself.

I am completely aware that I hold myself (and often everyone around me) accountable to really high standards. I believe that to be better today than I was yesterday, it’s necessary to keep reaching just beyond my capabilities. But when things don’t go as planned, it’s easy for me to forget the truths I know and get caught in that desperate need for perfection. The world starts spinning, I lose touch with the mindfulness and intent I started the day with and I am certainly no better today than I was yesterday, so I’ve lost in more ways than one.

There is a line at the end of a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks that says “Live not for battles won. / Live not for the-end-of-the-song. / Live in the along.” Perhaps one day I’ll learn to stop myself before I fall in to my very own perfection-trap. Until then, I’ll continue searching for the courageous and the imperfect and the beautiful which remind me to let go and experience more happiness.

 

 

Why Perfection Is Not Worth Waiting For

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Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65,

or 75, and you never got your MEMOIR or novel written; Or

you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those

years because your thighs were JIGGLY and you had a nice

big comfortable TUMMY; or you were just so strung out on

PERFECTIONISM and people-pleasing that you forgot to have

a BIG juicy creative life, of IMAGINATION and radical silliness

and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going

to break your heart. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN.

— Anne Lamott

Only In The Darkness Can You See The Stars -MLK Jr

martin luther king jrIt’s difficult to write about something as serious as injustice and inequality. I get angry at the general cruelty that people can display towards one another based on biases they carry that have nothing to do with that person at all and I’m often overwhelmed by the amount of discrimination that happens casually and simply every day. Still, I recognize that the ability to recognize how far we have to go to reach equality is a gift from the people who struggled and become a part of the past we now have the pain and privilege to reflect upon.

I’m not really certain I know what fights to fight to make a difference or how to incite change on a macro level. As hard as it is to write about these disparities, the conversations aloud can be even harder to have–leaving everyone involved feeling raw and exposed. But when I look closely at any change that’s ever happened, there’s a theme of small gestures, brief acts of courage,  people stepping up to challenge what is accepted but not right, one meager moment at a time.

So here’s what I tell myself and I hope it might mean something to you as well: When you go to bed tonight, when you wake in the morning, when you’re standing in line at the store, when you’re watching the news or when you’re tucking your kids in at bed, think to yourself, “Could I do one thing better?'”and then do that one thing.

 

 
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