FAR FROM PERFECT
I’m going to warn you right now: I know how absurd this post sounds.
One of the major reasons I didn’t graduate high school was because I failed to turn in my assignments. Assignments I had actually done but didn’t meet my own standards (usually if it was an essay or writing assignment) so I chose not to turn them in.
I PREFERRED TO GET AN F ON MY ASSIGNMENTS
THAN TURN IN SOMETHING I WAS NOT PROUD OF.
Assignments wouldn’t feel “perfect” enough for many reasons. Sometimes I felt stupid, like I didn’t understand parts of what I had read and didn’t want to be the only student who didn’t get it and wrote something totally off key. Once in a while my mental health wasn’t in the best shape (thanks bullies!) and it was hard to focus and write something that didn’t sound robotic. I’d often compare a messy new project to what I thought was my best work on my best day and assume there was no hope for it. Occasionally I’d procrastinate (ok, not occasionally, but I often do my best work when it’s crunch time) and then be overwhelmed if I felt like I was struggling with the assignment, especially if I didn’t struggle the last time I put something off until the last minute.
I could continue but I think you get the idea.
Fast forward to today, the time in my life where I to pretend I don’t have those same perfectionist issues.
But, truth is, I do. It's just easier to pretend I don't because I am not seeing a report card.
I still look at drafts of my work and feel stupid, as if some asshole is going to read what I wrote and assume I’ve never read a book in my life because I clearly don’t know what I’m doing. I’m kinder to myself about my mental health, but it’s almost impossible to not feel like taking breaks are “putting me behind” wherever I feel I’m supposed to be. I still look at work I’m most proud of and feel like it’s impossible to ever feel that way about my writing again. I have stories that just fly out of my brain with almost no effort and I assume it will happen that way every time, and when it doesn’t, I assume the struggle is a sign that I’m doing something wrong or that any talent I may have had is gone.
I don’t really know where I was headed with this blog post. I’m posting it because, once again, my blog is nearly empty because I rarely consider a blog post worthy of actually posting, so I told myself I’d put this out there regardless of how it sounded or where it ended up going.
I know I want to see my stories in the world, and I am getting better at finishing, polishing, and submitting things. But, I do find myself falling back into old habits on a regular basis.
Because I didn’t know how to end this post, I decided to let some oracle cards do it for me:
Which turned out to be hilarious and SO on brand with this random post. Some points from the Wandering Soul Oracle guidebook:
Symmetry: The scales within your life have lost their alignment, the balance you once achieved has been disrupted. What are you doing to fix it? Work on what disrupted your peace, this may require inner child work or spending time with your inner teen.
Mortality: You are experiencing a death…akin to a spiritual awakening as previously held beliefs are no longer just being questioned, they are now being dismissed altogether. These beliefs have been a lifeline for you in previous times, keeping you afloat when the universe was unable to make sense to you. But due to your recent growth/development/maturity/insight, these beliefs NO LONGER SUSTAIN WHO YOU ARE AND DO NOT MESH WITH WHO YOU ARE BECOMING.
That symmetry card imagery is a representation of things being perfect and orderly, so getting the mortality card right after made a lot of sense because I think what it’s really saying is that tending to myself will naturally show up in the work. That the balance it's talking about won't come from fussing about perfection in my work. Beating myself up about my writing destroys me internally, which creates a vicious, unnecessary, and unproductive cycle. Mortality is saying to put an end to that cycle, that my habits have had their season and it’s time to commit to a change.
This is timely considering I've been working on a mission statement for myself as a writer (thanks to Wendy N. Wagner for the idea) with help from my dear friend Shelley Lavigne, so maybe that'll help. I'll share it when I finish it.
Because I WILL finish it.