Friday, September 14, 2012

Give Yourself Permission

The other day I was engaging in some self-indulgent whining on Twitter, which to be honest isn't that much of a rarity for yours truly. Specifically I was whining about the fact that despite trying to write short stories for like a fucking week now I'm somehow not Ray Bradbury yet. Lisa, who always has really awesome words of support and advice for me, gave me a little bit of advice that kind of proverbially slapped me in the face and made me think:

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"Giving myself permission" is quite simply something I've never done, which I'm sure most of you know because I've blogged about similar thoughts in the past.  I can feel myself doing it with writing just as I did it with drawing and frankly it's driving me crazy. When I've sat down to write stories in the last few weeks, I assume that however good or bad the story is when I first write it, that's as good or as bad that I'll ever write, ever.

I've never given myself permission to fail at something, or to not be great at it at first and work to get better.

I've never given myself permission to do something for the sake of doing it, rather than with the goal of excelling at it instantly.

I've never given myself permission to be human, or less than perfect.

I've never given myself permission to not judge myself based on how quickly I excel at a new task.

I've never given myself permission to treat myself with the same kindness and understanding with which I treat others.

If anything, I've apologized.  I've apologized for not meeting my own inhuman standards.

One thing that has always amazed me about Rob is that he really does excel at everything he tries.  In high school he didn't really put forth any effort because, simply put, he didn't want to.  He didn't advance past Algebra 2.  But when he went to college and decided to try, he fucking just took calculus and rocked it.  In contrast, I went as high as honors precalculus and I still feel uncomfortable trying to help a friend figure out whether a function is positive or negative.  Rob decided to fucking become a firefighter, something he'd never done or studied, and he's already done incredibly well and is admired by many of his crewmates. Italics.  He does so well at new things because he doesn't fucking apologize for being himself, or not knowing something, or taking time to learn it.  He just does his thing and does whatever he wants.  I know I'm biased, but I'm pretty sure he could become a neurosurgeon if he really wanted to.

It's a simple concept, really, though nearly impossible in execution it seems.  It's been something that I have struggled with constantly throughout my entire life, be it sports, writing, drawing, or anything that other people do well and that I can't grasp instantly.   I want to get better at just fucking doing something without finding a new and inventive way to destroy my self-esteem. I guess I'd never put this challenge into words, which is why Lisa's tweet totally stuck in my brain.

If you can't tell I totally gave myself fucking permission to not be coherent in this post, and it was awesome.  I am aching to grow, to change, to move on from my sometimes stagnant ways and learn new things fucking unapologetically.  Also I'm not apologizing for over-using the word "fucking."

I know it's silly to end your post with questions, but I'm eager as always to hear of your experiences.  Do you find difficulty in giving yourself permission to fail? Permission to learn? Please share with me your tips, because this is like learning a new language to me.

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