My favorites so far are: Brene Brown, Jen Hatmaker, and of course Oprah Winfrey. Some of it, even I think is a little far fetched or I know it already (eye roll...of course, I do...of course). This is one of the reasons counselling for me, in the past, has been unhelpful. I know it already. I keep waiting for this epiphany when I go to counselling, like their questions will help me realize something about myself that I don't already know or that I haven't already thought of. But I am soooooo introspective (read: worrier) I've already thought about that. For about 15 hours. Usually at about midnight, and I can only assume midnight is when I do my best thinking, seeing as that's when I'm wide awake. And it's quiet. And everyone else is sleeping.
But I keep hoping that if I keep listening to the strong, amazing, successful women something will stick. Here's the thing, these women aren't talking about how to be amazing or successful, they're talking just about how to be. Just how to be.
For years I've defined myself by my ability to be perfect and my ability to do things well. Really, really well. Good grades, acing tests, meeting targets, exceeding targets - it's what I do. Type A, perfectionism, they are my best and my worst qualities. Imperfection is failure, and I cannot fail. I love breaking the glass ceiling. I love being the only girl at the boys table. But also as a person who has diagnosed depression and anxiety, being able to control my environment has become a coping mechanism. Or maybe something to hide behind. I don't know if there's a difference.
Lately being perfect has taken it's toll on me. It's exhausting. It's making me physically sick (either that or I have a brain tumour - which is entirely possible...even if my doctor says it's not...)
Because - brace yourselves - perfectionism - it's an impossible target. I know this. I know it on an intellectual level. But on a personal, soul searching, heart wrenching level I find it so hard to accept. If I'm not perfect or at least trying to attain some version of perfectionism, who am I? What am I?
I'm at a crossroads.
Brene Brown asks what makes you brave?
For me, I've always followed the rules. I'm really good at following rules. They make me feel safe. I mean, that's kind of what rules are there for - keeping everyone safe. I'd make a great traffic cop. I would break every record for traffic tickets - you could single-handedly replace every bridge in the lower mainland with the revenue I would create. Because frankly, people get away with too much - rolling stops, driving slow in the fast lane, singles driving in the carpool lane, not wearing seat belts, and the list goes on and on. I can feel my blood pressure going up just thinking about all the violations.
I've tried to follow life rules as well as I can too. Get a good, stable job. One that offers a pension and benefits. Some of that isn't just because I like rules. Some of it is just practical because I have a child and I'm responsible for putting a roof over his head, feeding him, clothing him. Following the rules is helpful. He grows so fast these days that I literally would have to rob H&M in order to clothe him if I didn't follow the rules.
So if I were to be brave - I would break a few rules. Life rules. Rules I've made up for me and my life.
Brene Brown talks about being vulnerable (which by the way, is very difficult to do and be when
you're perfect). She says:
Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.*
Another very wise woman - my momma - says that being imperfect gives you the opportunity to experience grace in a way you can't otherwise. Grace fills in the spots where imperfections leave cracks.
The more you strive for perfection, the more imperfect you become.
I don't know how this story ends yet. It doesn't end in one blog post, though, I know that.
My good friend Jen...Jen Hatmaker, she says -
Simply speaking truth out loud is healing in and of itself. When people courageously voice a true, hard thing, they've already stolen some of it's dark power before we offer one word to fix it***brenebrown.com
**For the Love - Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards Jen Hatmaker