Friday, June 24, 2011

Kara's Adventures in Unadventureland

I came to the conclusion a while back ago that I am a strange sort of perfectionist. Not that I do anything perfectly (at all!) but that I often expect perfection out of myself, and even sometimes out of others as well. I won't go into how unrealistic and unfair that is of me... this time. No, today I am thinking about my strange perfectionism, and how I allow it to cripple me. So often I want to make changes in my life, but I am petrified of messing up or not having the desired outcome, so I fear to make that first step.

When I used to work my Dream Job, I would often counsel with students who were struggling beginning to write a paper. So often over the years I heard, "I just don't know where to start!" Perhaps somewhere along their life journeys they heard the absolutely wretched advice to "begin at the beginning... and go on till you come to the end: then stop"  (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland). My go-to counsel for such a frustration was simply this: Start anywhere! Start in the middle, or even at the end! You can always go back and build around wherever you start. Sometimes it would take a lot of coaxing to get a student to relax enough to start writing a paper in the middle. Wasn't that cheating or somehow not following the rules? In one of my finer moments in teaching (tongue in cheek) I told my students that freewriting was like Outback Steakhouse. No rules. Just write (/tongue in cheek). I saw many students go from frustrated and bound with tight ropes by writer's block to writing fabulous papers.

*Ahem* I give others such very good advice... Why don't I follow it? I allow fear of failure to dictate how much of my life I am really living. I allow fear of getting in over my head to keep me from actually trying to accomplish my goals and desires.

I decided I'm going to try to break free from these constraints and start accomplishing the goals I set years ago. I'm trying not to be petrified of falling on my face in dirty old mud and risk looking like an imbecile in front of family, friends, and perfect strangers. I decided a good place to start was in the middle -- my blog... and writing, which has been a life-long goal -- and I can always go back and build around my small successes. I don't want to be afraid of taking that first step, or fifth step, or 100th step anymore.

1 comment:

Funky Mama said...

It's never too late to accomplish those goals, even if set years back. My divorce has caused me to start all over, and thankfully that means I can redefine who I am, and how I want to live my life.