I have been feeling a lot of pressure to perform lately. Not only to perform but to perform well. Most of that pressure, comes from me. I am a perfectionist. I know that this blog would tell you otherwise. It would likely tell you that I am really great at letting go, laughing and botching every 1st attempt at a recipe. This would all be true. It would also be true that if did not allow myself to giggle at my own escapades, my perfectionism would drown me.
While I do not allow it to drown me, it does often paralyze me. If I think I am likely to get the answer wrong, I don’t answer. I don’t move. I stare at my shoes and wait for the opportunity to pass. I wait for the blog to write itself. I wait for the math class to become unnecessary. I gently slip under the rock until it is safe to come out.
Let me share with you what has me lifting the rock.
And this time, when I refer to a rock, I am not talking about my husband.
I am a writer. I suppose I always have been. This year I have opened my blog up for sponsors and I am committed to keeping the traffic up.
Here is the true story. I am a writer. I could care less about traffic. I want to write words that mean something to my readers. If I manage a sponsor this year, I would be elated. I also like money. If I manage nothing more than having a few dedicated readers who relate to my many stories than I am blessed.
“Oooh, you’re a math avoider.” These words came from an Academic Advisor at Lansing Community College after discovering I had taken all necessary core requirements except for math and I have about 29 credits. That is no small feat in avoidance. I am a champion. However, I have also decided to go back to school this year and grab a writing degree. This will help me advance in both my career choices.
I have a lot of children. I have a spouse too. Sometimes they like to hang out. Sometimes they even want a sit down dinner. I have made a conscious effort to carve out time, one on one, with my boys. Levi and I had a grilled cheese at the diner this week. Isaac and I went to a movie. Isaiah and I went to a Spartan basketball game. I even managed a date night with My Guy.
A is for A Team. I tried out last fall for the Lansing Derby Vixens A Team and made it. I instantly went from “WOO HOO!” to “OH Crap, I hope I make a roster!”. I could have decided to not try out. I had the opportunity to not be as competitive. I went to a couple of meetings and gave opinions that made certain that everything was as competitive as always. Now, I must be competitive and I feel myself waffling a bit.
All of these things take time. They take focus and planning. They all require an ability to prioritize. All of these great things make my inner perfectionist scream.
You didn’t cuddle with Isaac near enough when he asked. Great. Hot dogs. Yeah, that’s healthy. You are going to fail math. You are never going to make a roster.
I don’t even know this girl. Something has gone a wry. It’s like that joke about having a skinny girl inside you that you can shut up with a cupcake.
I have a perfectionist inside me that I can shut up with failure.
Not big failures. Not flunking out of college or bad menu planning for the year. Little fearless steps toward the potential failures are like tiptoeing across a fallen log about to drop. My eyes are focused on the solid ground on the other side and not the creaking at my feet.
It is scary to do. It is scary to make plans that will challenge you. The possibility of failure is pretty scary.
Do you know what’s more scary?
Living paralyzed by fear, under a rock. I am bearing my weak, negative underbelly because I know with New Year’s Resolutions bearing down on us, I cannot be the only one feeling this way. It is time to let yourself off the hook. This does not mean giving up but it may mean a rewriting of those goals.
One day, after sharing my stresses with my baby brother Tony, he had a question for me.
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
Get out that pen and write down the steps you need to take, no matter how small, to meet those goals most important to you.
Eat up ladies and gentlemen. It’s dinner time!
(Phew…I already feel better.)
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