In Recovery

I am a recovering perfectionist.

(I write of this often.)

One of the most helpful tools I have learned to use to work with this -ism is the following mantra:

“Done is better than perfect.”

― Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Boy, has this helped me make great strides.

Before this quote found its way into my psyche, I would procrastinate out the wazoo, or sit on and spin out over a project, desperate for it to be “complete” enough to put in the public eye.

Problem was, nothing was ever “good enough” to be complete.

It was hard at first, but by now, I am much better at just getting it done and out there. Through practice, I am learning the value of getting it done and letting it go.

I can always make changes and improve later.

Better done than perfect. Because perfect never comes.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: perfection

Rebel Without a Cause

Confession: I often poo-poo fads or things that get really popular really fast without even trying them firsthand.

I won't go see a movie that everyone is talking about, for example. Like The Revenant. Wouldn't go see it in the theatre.

It is an annoying habit. A strange, stubborn character trait that I both wear like a badge and admit is pretty ridiculous at the same time.

It's like I just have to go the opposite way because everyone else is all-over a thing.

Like when electric toothbrushes came out.

I had so much judgement around them!

I prided myself on staying old school. I harshly judged those who bought them as "Suckers fallen prey to marketing schemes of money-hungry dentists!"

I mean, come on! Does anybody really need a frigging electric toothbrush? Jeez! Lazy much?

And then, one day, years after they'd been out, I tried one.

And I finally discovered what all the fuss is about.

And now, it is one of my must-have items.

I still haven't passed over into the truly high-end versions.

I love a particular brand, the Colgate Optic White Battery Powered toothbrush. (Full disclosure: a big plus is that it matches my bathroom wall color, a detail that greatly influenced my choice.)

And so just as was the case with jalapeños, Diet Sierra Mist, Tab and QuestBars, I became a convert once I actually tried it for myself.

Sometimes, a fad is just a fad. (I finally did see The Revenant and still think it was way overrated and was not happy when Leo Di Caprio won the Oscar that year for it.)

But sometimes, a fad is a fad for good reason.

And sometimes, I eventually "get it," despite myself.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: toothbrush

Triggers and Pink Pussycats

I have been hard-pressed to write a blog since before Inauguration Day.

Like many, I am still processing significant losses that were, for many, contained in the recent election: the loss of President Obama, the loss of the America I thought I knew: the loss of the America of my own personal dis-illusion.

It took until two days after the Women’s March for me to realize how triggering the Inauguration and ensuing Presidency have been and are for me. I think I was operating in a kind of denial until then. While at the march, after first feeling incredibly hopeful, I began to feel uneasy. And after seeing that the march seemed to have had such little effect on the administration, it hit me.

I was triggered. Feelings of powerlessness were flooding my system. I was feeling overwhelmed with the sense that my truth, my voice was falling on deaf ears and was of totally no consequence. That things happening were not of my choice, and I had seemingly no recourse to stop them. Reality mirroring crucial traumatic events from my past blasted open the floodgates of remembered trauma.

I know I am not alone. Anyone who has been violated at some point in their life may be triggered again and again in the next four years.

So what can we do about it? How do we survive the daily onslaught of confirmations and executive orders and hard-won laws being threatened from powers-that-be?

Thankfully, I have found some very helpful posts that address this very issue. And if I cannot bring myself to write about usual things right now, I can write about why and I can share what I am doing to address the problem.

One of the best I have read is “How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind
Self-Care Lessons for the Resistance” by Mirah Curzer. Some great things to consider as we move forward, together.

Another article has been very helpful to me. N Ziehl’s “Coping with Chaos in the White House”. The author shares their experience of living with a person having narcissistic personality disorder (NPD.) I am not diagnosing anyone here. But this article spoke to me. It made a great deal of sense and gave me some helpful insights.

What I have been feeling are awful feelings to re-experience. But it was a relief to recognize that they are happening: to know that though there is a present reality that is indeed traumatic to me, there are many other layers happening that are from wounds from the past. Knowing this, I can let the current situation be “right-sized,” and then process the past triggered pain so that I can take good care of myself today. From this place of awareness, I can then take actions to do what I can in order to stay empowered and able to persevere the next four years.

I am finding for me, in addition to practicing the best self-care I can, taking actions each day that help me stay informed and connected to the lawmakers that I voted for, as well as those I did not, is crucial. These actions – calls, emails, letters, non-violent protests and marches, donating to re-election campaigns and organizations that I believe in – they keep me sane.

I am careful as I digest the information that pours forth on social media. I check in with my body, a lot, especially after getting shockingly bad news, such as the “alternative facts,” the travel ban, the recent confirmations, the silencing of Elizabeth Warren. I never know when something new will spark a trigger. I take deep breaths and ask my body what is going on, and I listen closely.

And I lean on my communities. I stay connected to like-minded people who are also active, because it is too easy to begin to feel hopeless as all of this unfolds. We can remind each other that there is power in love and that our actions and our voices do matter. They can remind me of the headway that is being made in our causes when I am feeling low. Together we can persist.

My artist friend Laura Baran created the “We are One” illustration at the heading of this post the weekend of the Women’s March. I keep her beautiful image near to remind me to keep love at the center of all I do.

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I also reach for my “Don’t Sass the Cat” tee created by another friend, a clothing designer named Jacquie of jqlovesu. It reminds me to keep a sense of humor and to remember the power of love and of people who love people. I run and I sweat and I cry and I sleep and I work to stay hopeful no matter what by taking action.

I am a Lover of Humanity. I am an American. And I want to be a part of the solution. It will be work. But I have never been one to shy away from a challenge.

#neverthelessshepersisted #pussyhat #dontsassthecat #weareone #beapartofthesolution #loveaboveallelse