Friday, February 29, 2008

I Haven't Fallen Off the Mountain

Hello all! That is, if anyone still checks this, because I know I haven't posted in a while. I'm on break now so I finally have a bit more time and mental energy to process. I've been doing a lot of thinking about who I am and how to live out of my whole self. Not that I think that I've been highly confused about my identity before now, but that I'm taking this time to go deeper. Jasie and I have been working through some things in hopes of tapping into my ability to communicate from my emotions. I think I have rather deep emotions, but I rarely talk about them, or more on point, I rarely talk to others from an emotional place. Not until I can talk about something rationally do I feel comfortable. Thinking as opposed to emoting comes much more naturally to me; it always will, and there are a lot of good things about that. But it's also safe. I don't have to be vulnerable, and that is what I am trying to develop.

Something else I've been thinking about as I try to understand what it means to be a person is (don't be too surprised) my perfectionistic tendencies. For example, I think that in order to say, "I'm a writer," I also have to be able to say, "I'm a good writer." However, I'm beginning to see that this just isn't true. I could replace the self-concept with lots of other things: sports, any job I have, teaching, sketching, even something like reading out loud.

I find that I'm good at something and I put pressure on myself to be good all the time. As if this one piece of bad writing means I'm not a good writer at all. And therefore not a writer at all. I'm terrified I'll write something awful and someone will read it and say, "This person considers herself a writer?" and I'll be exposed. Certainly I will be exposed, but as what? A normal human being who occasionally, if not frequently writes stuff that should only ever be used as kindling?

Or the cultural message of Professionalism whispers in my ear, " You're not a writer. You're not published." And I think, "What if I never am published? I've put all this energy into writing. This whole time I thought I was a writer; I guess not. I can't be; I'm not good enough. Or worse, I never found something I was passionate enough to write about -- I mean something that takes real dedication, beyond essays and blogs, articles and reviews... you know, a book." And if one day I do write a book, where does it stop? "Oh, that book was just a fluke." Or, "It was published but never sold many copies." I am a writer. And I'm allowed to be in process.


Anonymous said...

Whoa. You totally hit on what I've been thinking about lately. I touched really briefly on the confines of perfectionism in my last blog entry, too. I love writing but it rarely goes beyond the pages of my personal journal or my blog. My pastor asked me to write an article this week for the youth group newsletter and I started panicking about not being good enough and not knowing what to write, etc.,'s always the same story. As a rule, I never play the piano in front of crowds even though I've been playing since I was 3, just because I'm afraid of messing up. Gah! It's amazing how much of life we can miss out on when we're worried about being perfect.

Anonymous said...

Sorry...perfectionism runs in the family :)
glad you are doing well...enjoy your break from the studies and work...good to know that you are going deeper...the more we understand ourselves in the Lord, the more available we can be to others...keep on looking in as long as you are looking up and looking out. Love, Mom

John said...

Tight. Real tight post here Renea. I've been reading and working through "Perfecting Ourselves To Death" since I've been here in Ireland. I know exactly what you mean by the perfectionistic tendencies. Something I'm working on as well.

Candace said...

renea! i only have a sec, but i wanted to say HELLO! i miss ya and can't wait to get together and catch up! come home soon! i will write again when i have a bit longer. LOVE YOU!

Lori, Landon and Logan said...

Hey Renea! Miss ya! Great to read this, although I am far from a perfectionist but it's good to look into the head of my hubs who is.

Anonymous said...

First off, great pic of the old guys playing chess... It is like chess for the visually-impaired. That would be an excellent chess set for "Knightmare Chess"! It is great to hear what God is showing you. I can't say that I know what you mean as I am far from a perfectionist but I can imagine the conflict that arises as a perfectionist draws closer to Christ and sees in bold vivid colors all of their imperfections. I, on the other hand, suffer from not hating my imperfections enough.

Gulliver said...

Thank you, Renea. This is one of your most moving entries. I hope to start a blog soon-- I've set it all up but haven't written anything yet. :)


emily rose said...

love the entry! thanks for your thoughts- it's great to hear what you are thinking!