Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Theme and Variations, Permutations, Combinations

Did you  ever feel like you were working equally hard to belong and to be unique?  To blend in and stand out?  To be normal and special?  To be understood and enigmatic?

I think that some of my friends would be surprised to know that I struggle with these aspects of defining myself.  Some may think I wholeheartedly embraced my quirks; maybe others think I'm not that different, what's the worry?  I have been writing and rewriting my own story for a long time.  About a year ago, my most desperate need was to be authentic, and felt like life wasn't letting me.  As I became braver about sharing, surrounded by many very kind people struggling to be true to themselves, too, I discovered that I can tell my stories over and over in different ways.  Changing the delivery does not makes the story (me) less true.  Withholding certain details from certain people does not erase my reality.  Choosing to perform in certain situations does not make me a fraud. 

Some of that anxiety is still there.  Sometimes, when I want to connect with my friends on Facebook, I stare at that faint question: "What's on your mind?"  I try to catch the thoughts as them go by.  I try to pick one that is clever or amusing, or Important.  The perfectionist editor kicks in again, and won't let me post unless I find the best status.  I get to thinking that if I pick one thought to share all the other thoughts will be jealous.  Did you bring enough candy for everybody?  Then, sometimes, I say, forget it, I won't update my status, I'll just pick a friend to catch up with.  And the same thing happens.  I read some of this and some of that, I consider chatting but can't decide which of the people I love can have my attention at the moment.  Next thing I know, it's bedtime, and I haven't shared a smidgeon of myself.  The lessons here are:
  1. The indecision, perfectionism, and identity questions come from the same place:  FEAR
  2. I can choose, and choose again, and choose once again, who I am and what I share, and how I make myself matter.  I choose LOVE, not FEAR.
  3. A vital choice, time and time again, is to LET GO.  There are so many things I've wanted to do, but thought I couldn't do, because it had already been done.  When I let go of the need to make things happen a certain way, I get to emerge as a creative variation of the universe.
  4. If you happen to be one of my Facebook friends, chat me up when you see I'm online because I really need someone to snap me out of it!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Letting it out

I have composed many blog posts in my head since my first one.  I'm sure any number of them would have been better than this one will turn out.  However, I am practicing a skill of DOING IT ANYWAY.  Potential is abundant; when I fail to act because reality doesn't match the potential I imagine, I am not coming from a place of abundance.  Even though my dreams and hopes and plans are exciting, inspiring, and even POSSIBLE, my "scarcity mentality" keeps me from getting much closer, holds me back from Abundance.  Hold me back from my own power and the richness of life.

A few years ago, after coloring Easter eggs with my kids at my mother's house, I got all worked up when it was time to throw out the pretty water.  This happens every year; I don't want the fun to stop, I feel like I want to go on coloring forever.  That year the water was in clear glass tumblers, and I stacked them up in a rainbow and looked at the light streaming through them from an outside window, and I took some photographs.  I whined a little about having to stop (remember, I'm the adult here-- my kids were off doing something else by now) and was agitated, and my mom, an artist, said, "Emily!  You need a creative outlet!"  I laughed and said, I do, I really do.

Every year I get kind of the same way about Easter eggs.  One year, I splashed the color into the snow.  Another year, I dyed the sidewalk.  This year, I rinsed my hair with the egg dye.  No one remarked that the color was different (I couldn't tell) or that I smelled like vinegar, but my hair rinsed magenta for the next three days.  So, it's a little quirky. 

I keep stopping and starting.  I have hundreds of ideas of "outlets" and I keep telling myself no.  I have ideas for going into business, by myself, or with my mother or a friend, and I keep dragging my feet when others do not embrace my crazy ideas.  This blog is my new outlet.  It is the beginning of a network of outlets.  I have spend years reading, absorbing, processing in therapy, twiddling my thumbs, and now I need to let it out!  Express myself!  I have many ways of expressing myself, but this is one that I need now.  Even if I go weeks between posts, even if I ramble, even if I write masterful prose that never moves from the space between my ears to cyberspace, I am letting it out.  I'll call it starting and starting.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

First Step

I have stayed up way too late messing with this, and I'm finally doing the best thing and writing a quick post to get started, and then putting myself to bed. It is an apt introduction to me, I suppose, for me to share that I spent nearly 2 hours fiddling with the design and haven't had anything to say yet. My perfectionism can be powerfully crippling. I live in a world of potential, and my inner editor did not want me to start my blog until I knew how everything would turn out. Until it was perfect.

So, I do have to laugh at myself, for being myself, I guess. I intend for this blog to be about redefining perfection, or at least the way I stumble along through reality, now that I am letting go of fears. The time it took to get to the first word of my first post (on the day I said, that's it! I've been waiting for years to write this blog! I'm starting tonight!) was a prime example of exactly why I'm challenging myself to do this. I am chipping away at my shell, poking my beak out, and embracing reality. I am filled with love and enthusiasm, and I can't wait any longer to share it with you, and with this vaguely vulnerable, public version of myself. And at this moment, I am loving myself enough gently tell myself to turn off the computer and to tuck myself into bed.