Bite-Sized Pieces of Imperfection
I’m writing to you from a spiral-bound notebook. It is a few years old, has ventured through both snow and sand, and the cover boasts “LIVE IN THE MOMENT in bold, floral lettering. With an introduction like that, you would expect it to be tattered and bursting. Yet, for some reason it is still crisp, with blank pages of stories left untold.
Over the last two years, my notebooks have taken a backseat to my keyboard. Since writing editorials, blog posts, and executing client work has become the norm, I have found that clicking away on my keyboard is one step closer to that finished draft. In an effort to be efficient, I ditched the lined paper.
If my journals had the good fortune of leaving the darkness of a drawer, they witnessed a beach, a brightly lit patio, or a remote tent. Though mostly, they sat dormant. Where there was Wi-Fi or a laptop, there were no notebooks.
But today, I am writing pen to paper – because my unconscious obsession with perfection has been getting the best of me. This same quirk has made it hard to show up elsewhere: on my mat, on my blog, and in my yoga videos.
The finished product, whether an hour-long home practice, a final draft, or even a polished yoga tutorial that I can re-watch without squirming or cringing, looms over me before I even begin. I feel like I’m about to swim across the San Francisco Bay, only to look down and see that, instead of a wetsuit, flippers, and goggles, I have on only pink, polka-dot water wings. (Hey, at least they’re cute.)
These endeavors loom. They make scary faces. So I look the other way, pretending not to see.
I take a painful amount of time clicking away on my keyboard. (Sentence. Delete. Sentence. Thesaurus...) Or, I ignore the things I love because I don’t have time to do the full-banana. (The entire hiking loop, the complete shebang at the gym, that hour-long yoga practice, etc.) And ignoring my passions makes me feel like an empty shell. I’m suddenly a hollowed out Klondike bar – and I love chocolate, but if you’re going to give me some, make it a thick bar or add some damn ice cream. Do not give me a flimsy shell.
Thus, the notebook.
I’m trying bite-sized pieces of imperfection. I’m putting scribbled words on recycled paper. (The backspace button is my nemesis.) And I’m doing ten minutes on my yoga mat. Or five. Or two. (I always have time for two.) I’m also hitting publish while my inner editor sits in the corner, making snarky quips about my filmed sequences. Anytime she pipes up I stick another metaphorical marshmallow into her mouth and keep her mute. (Those of you who grew up playing “chubby bunny” know what I’m talking about.)
Yes. Little, bite-sized pieces of messiness. An Anne Lamott quote comes to mind:
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.”
I hate it when people are having fun without me. (It’s always those darn “C students”. I’m lamenting my nerdy straight A’s…)
If this resonates with you, and you haven’t been showing up (or, you’ve been taking a painfully long time accomplishing that one to-do), let’s indulge in the bite-size, fun-size version – even if we are used to that big 'ol Butterfinger.
This month, let’s show up before we’re ready. Let’s move forward without looking at that backspace button. Let’s get our magic into the world before our inner-editor caps our wand. Let’s do pieces of the things that bring us joy and know that these little pieces – these tiny fragments of us – are enough. And, finally, let’s go party with those darn “C students”.
I'll see you there.
Author's Note: This was re-typed for easy post-ability. (With minimal edits, I should add. Please excuse any typos and grammatical errors.)