Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: perfectionism

Chicken Scratch

I don’t know if I’m following my intention or escaping but I did a bunch of doodling today. It really does help me relax – I hit flow and lose track of time… and the dog… and dinner. Oops.

My day wasn’t fantastic. I don’t know how to write about it without beating myself up for beating myself up. I recognize the feeling now. I’m subconsciously picking on myself somehow, like a bully who constantly flicks balls of paper at your head but never gets caught.

My day wasn’t fantastic b/c I wasn’t fantastic. I could blame it on a lack of sleep, soda with dinner, hormones, lack of exercise, guilt, boredom or anything else. Who the f-knows? I’ve always focused on the cause, some semblance of control… I’m sure the cause matters, but I want to take a different approach. Now that I can name this feeling, what can I do to ride it out or change it?

The worst part of this is that my mind goes blank on options. I forget what makes me happy, my lack of oomph keeps me from experimenting, and I basically sit and stare at nothing while my inner self stands before a firing squad. All day. I force myself to stay away from wallowing completely (read: go back to bed) but I seem to expect Super Productive Self to swoop in and save the day.

She doesn’t.

I think, “Yesterday was so so good. I had energy, I got a ton done and I felt happy.” And then I start whining, “Why can’t I feel like that everyday!?!?” AKA “What is wrong with me?”.

I’m beginning to realize that this is ME. Just in the way the world isn’t black and white, I can not expect to have every day be negative free. I can’t expect my emotions to be smooth and easy. It’s silly to place that expectation on it. Very hard for a perfectionist to accept. I am trying so hard to do everything perfectly to avoid the very emotional state I end up in.

It’s exhausting. But, as always, awareness is the first step. Now it’s on to changing behavior and thought patterns, to find better ways to love myself in these instances. Today I made butternut squash soup, called someone who cares, doodled and journaled, but it’s all too shallow. There’s more down below…

Well I looked at the granite markers / Those tribute to finality – eternity / And then I looked at myself here / Chicken scratching for my immortality. ~Joni Mitchell

Butter-side Up

Today the toast landed butter-side up… on the floor.

I was making my absolute favorite meal. I’ve been making this for weeks now, having consumed a dozen-and-a-half eggs in the process. It’s two pieces of chewy bread, toasted with butter, two sunny-side up eggs (yolks runny as possible) and fresh spinach nuked with some cheese on top. We’re in need of groceries, so today didn’t include the spinach. Just eggs + toast. Oh, and tea. Lipton black with soy milk and enough sugar to make your grandmother faint.

There I was, buttering the toast, trying to ignore the oddness of my day, the stains on the counter, my dog longingly begging for either a bite or a trip to the park, and somehow the pressure on the plate shifted and the whole thing started to tip off the counter. I caught the plate against the counter’s edge, pinning one slice of toast between my hand and the plate. The other, though, hit the floor.

There are so many ways this story can go: The dog eats the toast. The dog eats the toast and then pukes it up later. The eggs burn while saving the toast. In trying to save the toast, the plate smashes into pieces. The plate smashes into pieces and my elbow also clips the mug of tea, sending that to its linoleum floor demise.

None of that happened. Today, my delicious slice of chewy toast landed butter-side up. To add to my luck, my dog comprehended “Leave it!” and didn’t make a dynamic lunge for the morsel.

But why share this with you? 

Well, I could feel a surge of frustration course through me as I realized that my perfect meal may be ruined. I was mad at myself for placing everything precariously on the counter, for not making enough space, for being distracted… for whatever… who knows? Being angry at myself for not being perfect.

It made me think, this is some type of analogy. Something went wrong, something was not perfect, my high expectations were not reached, but in the end I had a delicious meal, the toast was saved and everything was fine. This is life.

I seem to forget that life is like that – up & down, messy, not perfect – and more importantly, I beat myself up for not being able to “roll with it”. I’m too busy trying to live perfectly to avoid this discomfort. But if I expect the punches, the peaks and valleys, and I’m not so caught off guard by them, then I can adapt that much quicker. I can And I can enjoy myself in the process.

So, yes, the toast fell on the floor. I had a bit of a mess to clean up, but the toast landed butter-side up, meaning by my rules, it was still consumable and after a quick check for major issues, went right back on my plate. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan but that doesn’t mean the world is ending. I’m beginning to live with that.

Just a list of thoughts for now…

Tonight we’re eating spaghetti for the second night in a row. Mind you, it’s with homemade sauce, but this may be the first time since I moved out of my parents’ house and certainly since moving in with my fiance. Food, cooking, what I eat, when I eat it – I’ve never had an eating disorder but this is just another way I flex my “perfectionism” in a normal days work.

The past 6 weeks were a chaotic ride. All that Mercury Retrograde and space to recover. It’s only in the last 7 days that all has gone quiet again. With that quietness on the outside comes a rush of thinking on the inside. I tried writing a post a few nights ago, but it just didn’t come. So much in my head, even if my days are empty. In another effort to not let perfection be the enemy of the good, here is a list of what I’ve been turning over:

  • Dr. Brene Brown’s videos, blog and book, and subsequently
  • DreamLab – my need to devour every morsel of info from Brene Brown (who is creating the course) overode any lack of funds
  • Needing a lot of sleep and finding my dream symbolism shouting “Anxiety!”
  • Thinking “I have plenty of money” instead of focusing on said lack of funds
  • Triangulation
  • Self-compassion / parenting yourself
  • Perfectionism / shame
  • Running again – a shift in weather, some major stress and I found myself running 3milers again.
  • Wedding planning
  • People pleasing
  • Shift in employment
  • These amazing bloggers for inspiring me My Topography, Susannah Conway, and Jen Lee (thank u)

I’ll bring you more when I’m able.

Mondo Beyondo Dream Lab: play, practice, learn

Instead of Just Living

I’ll be honest, Monday holidays are tough for me. Today was exactly like other weekdays, except the relief that I didn’t need to check email. It comes with an alone-ness though. Most everyone else is working and I have absolutely no money to spend on a *fun* day. Instead I had a normal day – gym, write, eat, errand, petsit. Every day is a “normal” day – what changes is my level of panic. What’s interesting about today though is how I was able to combat the anxiety.

Panic came when I was told I had to convince someone else of my accomplishments. Panic came when I wasn’t sure I could fit it all in. Panic came when I wasn’t sure I purchased the right gift for my sister. Panic came when I worried I wasn’t doing enough.

But then…

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One Blog Post Away

I started posting hours ago and then my draft disappeared. Gone. (Stupid Mercury retrograde) It had something to do with the mental struggles of my day – how on paper my job looks like a precious gift that I keep trying to return. How I have co-dependent tendencies. How today I tried to disconnect from the pressure I put on myself to do something when there is nothing to be done. And I feel a whole lot better.

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Do It Yourself

While I’ve spent most of the day with the urge to blog in the back of my head, I just logged on and felt the actual act futile. Dramatic, I know, but really… who cares? I’m not promoting this, I’m not posting consistently, I have no goals. Advertisers are not flocking to my door. It feels pointless.

I hate pointless.

But the key here, I think, is that is exactly the reason why I should be blogging. Reading and writing are luscious acts that I don’t let myself indulge in enough. They’re about process. It’s about how you feel while you’re doing them. It’s about flow.

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Two helicopters, Two Lessons

Recently, I mentioned to a friend that I didn’t have to deal with LAPD helicopters keeping me up at night since I moved out of Los Feliz. So last night’s racket of two helicopters circling my neighborhood for upwards of 30min felt like a joke. Like, wtf? The noise was terrible, but the spotlight on a house a block over and the late hour (almost midnight) made the whole thing even more nerve-racking. I’ll admit I was actually scared.

I clicked on one light and let the dog out of his crate. I crept downstairs to make tea and diddle around on facebook to squelch my anxiety. It didn’t help much. Wide awake as I could possibly be, I got back into bed around 1AM and hoped for sleep.

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