Well, hello Wonderfuls! I was very much hoping our paths would cross again, so I brought some extra food for thought. And, if you have adventurous tastes, perhaps on some level you can appreciate my most recent butter-finger fragments.
Be–eff–effs, you’ll recall from my last/first sharing, are clumsily-grasped understandings (none of the elegance of “ah-ha moments”, but equally powerful).
Second, don’t worry: I’ll spare you the less savoury details. Suffice it to say I found myself intensely reluctant to tackle a recurring and highly-doable task. It was one of those—I can move mountains, yet stumble over molehills—conundrums that trip me up sometimes.
Increasingly stressed-out, and highly doubtful I’d ever unscrew the lid of this jar of pickles, I decided to take a rational approach. Perhaps you know it—it’s called the, Over-Night-Will-Make-It-Right…you retire to bed in hopes that, upon waking, what the elves did for the cobbler, fate has done for you…
Okay, hearing myself just now, I must admit that sometimes I’m given to obscure frames of reference.
This one stems from a delightful Grimm’s fairy tale, whereby, having given most of what he has to others, a poor shoemaker has only enough leather for one more pair of shoes. He makes the cut-outs (in my case, a metaphor for a collection of carefully-crafted forebodings and pinking-sheared/jagged anxieties), goes to bed and wakes to find that everything is magnificent as magic…his work has been done, and he prospers like a boss.
However, highly introspective and intimately familiar with my particular brand of…ahem…complexity, I was blind-sided when, in all its impossible glory, my well-heeled answer finally came sauntering into view—and boy was it rich!
Yes, Terrifics, in that moment, and without a debt, I knew just what kind of trouble I was borrowing. Despite the clanging protests that clogged up my spiralling thoughts, any initial confusion was over-ridden by the horribly-undeniable rightness of it all…
“Perfectionism?! What?! Me…me?! A perfectionist?!?! Perfectionism by definition implies the absurd notion that one could ever be perfect…which I know I’m most certainly not!”
Given hindsight, my overly-ambitious dismay should have been a huge clue that perfectionism is anything but rational. It’s born of self-recriminations, criticisms, and unrealistic expectations—and its pursuit becomes a deflection that steers us away from our authentic (imperfect) selves.
Thankfully, I can report another HOWEVER, because—once I picked my proverbial jaw up off the floor—I was able to reflect on childhood lessons that, at times, still come in to play.
And, so, the mysteries of my mind began to unravel.
Early warnings that the necessity of working twice as hard will result in getting half the credit (which, however well-meaning, leaves you feeling ten times as bad) was followed by a subsequent learning. Specifically, when this prediction fails, you just might become the target of those who see your over-achievements as some kind of threat.
Now, aside from the fact that I subscribe to the quote, “I’m not in competition with anyone: I want us all to win”, I’m spotlight ambivalent. That is to say, driven to succeed/to help others succeed, I’m drawn to the light—but can become really uncomfortable when others point out how brightly I shine. This is when I become most susceptible to self-deprecation and self-sabotage.
A parallel process is the moment when an earnest child finally learns to ride a bike, and her elated parents exclaim with delight. Suddenly self-conscious, she remembers to be insecure, gets all panicked, wobbly, and topples herself over before she gathers enough speed to hurt herself.
Thankfully, committed to freeing myself from destructive habits, my pursuit of greater understanding and courage inspires a spoonful-of-sugar creativity. For, seeing the lighter side of growth blunts the rough edges that make intimidation a shoe-in for my—get it all right, right now!—urgency. In this way, I can stay the course…and, because I know that the world is better for having you in it, I have a responsibility to encourage you to stay true to your course as well.
So, for what it’s worth. Here’s a hard-won lesson.
When traveling the path of least resistance (defined paradoxically as trying too hard, and not hard enough), my ensuing devolvement is an unflinching reminder that I’m beside myself because I won’t get out of my own way. The issue is, much like Gizmo, I can be terribly afraid of bright light…and this observation will only make sense if you’ve seen the (1984) movie, “Gremlins”; but stay with me if you will: from here on, the news gets much bett…
We interrupt the regularly scheduled musings to bring the latest news in a long series of scandalier take-downs. Dubbed the Chumbawamba Chumps, these scofflaws refuse to stay in their place and seek to put hitches and glitches in the Too-Big-For-Your-Britches legislation.
Consequently, we’ve changed the names of these repeat offenders to further isolate them as they “get knocked down, but get up again” because they refuse to fall in line.
Chief Offender will advise them of their transgressions.
“Show-Off McShowy, you have run afoul of the Grease Police, elite members of the Grease Keepers who patrol any number of slippery slopes—you have once again been caught acting shady while dimming your light. This misstep constitutes trespassing; and ignorance of Darwin’s (dog-eat-dog) law allows no ground for a heel.
In light of repeated protests, your attempted self-diminishments are evidence of evasive maneuvers; proof that—on some level—you suspect that you have value/are a threat to status quo. Therefore, you are being arrested for development…
Raise your hands in supplication, declare and surrender all gifts, and prepare yourself for a–strip you of your talent–search. If lucky, once judged, you will be released on your own recognizance—provided you report to, and applaud all who have, or will, give testimony against you.
Furthermore; all undeclared dreams are considered contraband. Your ball-and-chain ankle bracelet will alert the authorities should you dare beyond designated coloring lines; and you must report to your appropriation officer on a regularly-random basis.
Any violations of these conditions will put you at significant risk of never again being included in mainstream society; doomed to swim against the tide for the remainder of your days.
Do you understand these rights as the have been imposed upon you?”
Take-down complete, we now return you to whatever you were tuned in to (for some reason, we cannot decipher the strangely-coded messages that has been relayed). Over and out.
Humbly, Amazers, here’s the moral of my message:
Giving, while reserving plenty of what makes us joyful and peaceful, is challenging enough. We can’t be expected to give our best while putting undo pressure on ourselves to be more and less of what we are not designed for. Nor can we allow haters to intimidate us.
Please think of it this way.
In the same way we leave the lights on so that—thinking we are present, burglars won’t try to invade our homes and rob us of the valuables they don’t want to earn for themselves—we can shine our lights so brightly that thieves will not risk being seen for who they are…
Shine so brightly that our family, friends, and conscientious passers-by will automatically come to investigate if they see our lights are dimmed…and, will marshal their support-reserves if they suspect we are burning out.
And, in a show of grateful reciprocity, let’s show our world-wide neighbors much love by switching on to full effect.
Until next time, Dazzlers, God bless you and your loves.
P.S. I almost forget to explain that “The Dream Police” is a (1979) hit by (1973) band Cheap Trick; and Chumbawamba is a (1982) British band with an awesome celebratory song about resilience (1988, “Tubthumping”…lyrics include, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you are never gonna keep me down…”). Thanks for the dates, Wikipedia.