Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Sometimes I don't write because I think that I don't have enough to say. The rationale is: if I can't write a short novel about it, it's probably not worth saying.

I linger on the past-tense beliefs that anything worth vocalizing must be complete and correct and purposeful. While these things are good, I often find myself full of thoughts--good thoughts--yet end up writing/saying nothing at all because the fear of its insufficient value keeps me silent.

This concept holds true to most areas of my life: if I can't do it perfectly, then I don't want to do it at all.

It's a broken concept. Much like a flat tire or a squeaky joint. It doesn't truly make sense and yet I cling to it. I cling to it as if perfection is my only saving grace and achieving it will somehow put the pieces together that have long been lost.

The problem is life isn't that easy. Words don't always flow. Thoughts don't always make sense. People are not predictable and life doesn't take orders. The myth of perfection pervades us on a societal level and a personal level. Yet we act as though perfection is truth. And likely. Or at least worth spending our lives chasing after. Eventually, we've gotta stop running.

I've heard that "good" writers--writers who make their work a craft--write every day. Just as an athlete puts in several hours of drills and cross-training, so must the writer. I want to be a writer. When I think about the "ideal" life--a life I long for--I rarely think of being an English teacher. Usually, I think about writing or speaking or creating or serving.

Last week in my interpersonal communication class, a handwriting analysis expert came to basically play fortune teller. He explained that our handwriting is a map of our subconscious mind. We don't think real hard about the curve on the cross of our Ts or the width of our Os and yet these elements can say a lot about us.

Now before you go getting all weirded out: handwriting analysis is not flawless, but it is 85-90% accurate. We're not just talking personality traits, this guy has guessed 100% correct every time a pregnant woman has come to him asking the sex of her baby. Every time. He has also had to break the news to several people that they had cancer (before their doctors even knew it).

Here's what he said about me (gratefully, no cancer):
-carries herself with poise
-very particular about details, perfectionist in most areas
-doesn't like complicated things, good at simplification
-enjoys aesthetics, concerned with appearance
-could possibly master any instrument she chose
-very generous with time, enjoys helping people
-likes the outdoors, can be quite adventurous
-has been shy, bu has gained confidence
-doesn't like to be confined/told what to do
-could be feisty at times
-good imagination, could do well at creative writing
-could be a teacher
-very high degree of intuition, knows immediately when she likes or dislikes someone
-stomach trouble from trauma and unhappiness about herself
-knee injury

Yeah. Right?

I asked him if he could tell by someone's handwriting if they have an eating disorder. In short he said, "no," but that he could tell the issues around an eating disorder. Well, I think he got me: perfectionist, concerned with appearance, gaining confidence, stomach trouble from trauma and unhappiness with self. Oy.

This is a snap shot of me. Not awesome. Not perfect. But me.

This is where I'm at. It may be different next week. Next year. Or the next minute.

I need not know the end from the beginning, the correct answers, the magic formula. I think we're all just doing our best with what we've got.
These genes.
These tendencies.
These addictions.
These values.
This culture.
This time.
These circumstances.

The Universe keeps telling me--hard as I fight it--that the single most important thing I can do is simply...keep showing up.


Joelle said...

Since you posted on the Unite blog I have been coming to your page everyday. Thank you for your thoughts and your honesty. Sometimes I feel as if I am reading something I wrote. Would not be as eliquently written, but very similar thoughts.