I’m going to be real with you. Lately, every time I sit down to write, this huge wave of anxiety rises up from out of the floor and threatens to engulf me. It tells me I’m not good enough and will never be able to top my last post. It tells me that I shouldn’t even bother trying because I don’t have the status – nay, the RIGHT – to say anything about anything. It tells me that I’m not a finisher and the proof is in all of the half-written blog posts that are living in my drafts section. It tells me that I don’t deserve to want this to be something more than it is.
Matt compares my perfectionistic and rotten inner voice to a corporate world analogy. We have a friend who worked for Dick’s Sporting goods and spoke about the delicate balance of sales numbers. He explained that in sales, you’re always trying to top last year’s numbers. So each month, you want to do good, but not too good, because you’ll have to beat that number this time next year. It’s a balancing act.
So it is with my writing. Or anything in life, really. I’m in this constant state of competition with myself. Always wanting to be better, to do better, to learn and grow. But not too much, because then I won’t be able to ever measure up again and I’ll be in a vortex of discouragement. That’s how I’ve felt lately. Which is funny, because it’s not like I’ve been wildly successful with any of my writing. But it feels raw and real and vulnerable. It’s tough to keep coming back and be vulnerable. It’s tough to top last month’s vulnerability. It’s tough to be real and tell you life’s ah-hah moments, but realize that I still haven’t mastered the wisdom that I’m sharing yet. That’s when the voice peeps in to say, “Who do you think you are giving advice when your life looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa? It’s no wonder you haven’t toppled over yet.”
And you know what? It is a wonder I haven’t toppled over yet. That is thanks, in part, to my husband, who keeps me grounded. Coffee, that keeps me pleasant in the morning. The sweet puppy curled up next to me, who never fails to be my daily dose of Xanax. But, truly, the fact that I haven’t toppled over yet is nothing short of the grace of God, who has chosen to take my leaning tower and call it “art”. He takes the messiest parts of me and turns it into something people admire.
So tonight, when I started writing this whole piece down in my journal, that still, small voice (very different from the rotten inner voice) peeped up and told me, “Why don’t you blog about it?” So here I am. Airing my dirty laundry. Letting you know about the insecurity that comes with sharing in this space. But also letting you know that we don’t have to let that inner, rotten voice be the boss of us. We can shut that voice down and do the complete opposite of what it’s telling us to do. We can write or dance or sing (or whatever it’s telling you not to do) and all the while, we’re declaring, “I am good enough! I do have a right! And, I am a finisher!” We can tell that voice to shove it and relish in our small victories.
This place. This post. These words. It may not look like much, but this is my victory.
What will yours be?