It's hard to believe October's already over. It has been a month since I got this new website up and running. And I committed to writing a blog a day in celebration of our wild and sacred journey. And I got 10 done.
There will always be the voices in my head that want to count that as a failure - that want to say I broke my promise and make that mean all kinds of bad things about who I am. But those voices are unnecessarily over-dramatic and I try to not really listen to them. Perfectionism, like many of our thoughts and stories, serves a purpose - it encourages us to step to new heights and to always try our best. But left unchecked, it will keep us from ever trying anything at all.
And now November's here. And instead of throwing in the towel, I'm switching up my blog post challenge. For this month, in honor of Thanksgiving, I will post as least three things per day I am grateful for. Day 1:
- The chance to begin again
- Creative endeavors and the sparks they bring to my life
- The soothing sounds of church bells on the crisp air
I'll end with what I wrote during my creative writing experience in response to the prompt asking me to write a dialogue in which I break up with Perfectionism:
(K, an adult in their 30s, stands on the edge of a chasm, pausing for a moment but without fear, flexing new wings and looking thoughtful. P, a child of about 10, can be seen sneaking into sight behind her. Eventually P moves fully into sight, looking terrified)
P: I don’t want to scare you… but I wouldn’t do that, if I were you!
K: (turning to face P) And why not, P?
P: I don’t know! I just know that something bad might happen! What if your wings don’t work? You’ve never done this before! You could fall and die… or worse. You could survive and get laughed at! Or… what if they do work? What happens if you could then roam the whole earth. I might never see you again here! We’ve never been apart… Everything you feel, I feel. You’re my whole world! And I would miss you…
K: (going to P and taking P in their arms) Oh, dear P. Listen to you. Always worrying, always afraid. Remember that time I wanted to play soccer with those kids and couldn’t let myself do it - couldn’t relax because I knew how afraid you were of being laughed at? Remember what that felt like to be split in two - part of me doing and part of me working so hard to hold up shields of toughness. It ended up turning play into work, P. We didn’t get laughed at, but we didn’t have fun either.
P: Yes, but… no one laughed at us! I mean that’s always how this has been… you want to do and me, I just want us to make sure we don’t get hurt. To make sure we’re liked. Being alone and unlike and hurt would be the worst thing in the world. So we’ve got to do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn’t happen! I’m not saying we shouldn’t do things… just that we should know how to do them first. We have to be the best. Otherwise we’re weak and not good enough.
K: I know, P, I know. And I used to agree with you. But remember that time that every part of me wanted to lean in for a kiss… and I froze… and those walls came back up and I listened to your fear and didn’t do it? Remember just how cold and alone we felt then? I regret that, P. What would our lives be like today if I had just thrown caution to the winds and gone for it?
P: It wouldn’t have worked out anyway! Can’t you see that now? Looking back we can both see that it wouldn’t have worked, so I was actually right to hold you back and keep us from getting hurt. I think we should just wait for the right person to come along so we can skip all the messiness. You’ve heard all the others talking about love. It’s all messiness. Why can’t we just skip that and go straight to the happily ever after?
K: (sighing) P. You’re getting a little old to believe so much in fairy tales.
P: (muttering) …says the person with wings who’s about to try and fly off a cliff.
K: That’s different! Magic exists. It’s fairy tales where everything is black and white and people are either good or bad, in love or not, happy or sad… that’s what seems increasingly unrealistic. I don’t think happily ever after exists in the form that you think it does. I think even there it’s still messy at times. There’s a whole world of gray out there and that’s where what makes life interesting happens. Don’t you want to experience that some day for yourself, little P?
P: No. I don’t think I could handle that. I like to know where I stand…. and that? That sounds complicated and confusing.
K: It does right now. I understand. I used to feel that way, too. But someday, little P, you’ll grow up, too. And then you’ll realize that you’re stronger than you thought and you’ll realize that all the things you were afraid of won’t hurt you as much as you think they will. And you’ll realize that to hide behind walls is really only half a life. By the time you get your own wings, P, you’ll realize that the exhilaration of flying outweighs the risks….(pause) That’s why I have to go. I have to try. I am afraid, and I will always have your little voice in my head warning me to proceed with caution into the unknown and that’s a good thing! I’m grateful for all the things you’ve taught me and all the ways that listening to you has brought me to a higher level of achievement and focus. Acting for the both of us has taught me many lessons… but I think the time has come for us to stand on our own feet. I am in a different place now and while I will always take a little part of you with me, I need to grow bigger, not stay small with you, little P. And if I grow bigger, maybe you will be able to, too.
(P stand looking very sad and K moves to give P a hug. Then K stands back and turns back to the cliff. This time without pausing, K takes a running leap and disappears down, away from view. P screams and rushes to the edge, when all of a sudden, K soars back into view, a little wobbly but aloft. K is laughing)
K: (calling back to the cliff where P stands) Definitely not perfect, little P! But so worth it! And I’m getting better already! (throwing a wink/wave/blowing a kiss, K flies off and P, realizing it’s possible and their fears have not come to pass, stands a little taller)