Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Leaping (aka The Problem with Perfection)

Today, as I continue my wrestling match with the question: How do I stay grounded while also expanding into the fullness of who I am; I am noticing some, you know, issues.

There is the tendency to get so excited as things are about to "become" or to begin, that I leap before looking - resulting in situations that frighten or, more often, embarrass, me.

This happens in every area of my life but it happens most often in those places where I am not quite sure I measure up.

So, work - where I do things like...
. . . mailing off a proposal to the president of a major publishing house (after he has been kind enough to extend me that incredible privilege) without completely checking the manuscript
. . . writing and releasing a major piece of work without getting it approved first
. . . announcing, "Oh, whoopee. My book will be available on January 1st when I am still not completely sure whether this chapter comes before or after that one."

There is the tendency, when this happens, to roll up into a tight, tiny ball of anxiety and shame... for a long, long time. And to avoid anyone or anything--including the project itself--that might remind me what a fool I have been and make me... you know, feel bad.

There is the tendency, when THAT happens, to sink into spasms of self-recrimination and a great deal of flailing about and breaking into perfectly decent, often quite lovely paragraphs and ripping them to shreds. Which makes me feel bad.

And the tendency, when THAT happens to cry.

I'm working on this. Working less on keeping myself from leaping - more on letting it be okay if I make a mistake. Letting it be okay if I get excited about something. Letting it be okay to not get the thing I want but to ask for it anyway. Tiny goals on a great big field. Huge payoff.

And so, without any further ado, I am going to leap right before your eyes. I am going to publish this blog post without being absolutely certain that it's perfect... willing to come back and fix it later, if need be.


Anonymous said...

You totally rock Amy .. God bless you for the post ... as I needed this today!

You do great work and always make things feel better when I read your words.


Elissa Stein said...

You put words to a feeling I know so well. Let go honey. We're here to catch you.

Shelly Kramer said...

It is absolutely perfect. Just like you. Don't change a thing. Mistakes, you can even call them "leaps" if you'd like, are what make life worth living. If we all never leapt until we were assured of perfection well, my friend, we would rarely leap. And leaping, in my humble opinion, and at the risk of overstating, is what makes life so very much worth living. So don't you ever stop, dammit!

Rebecca Elia said...

The good news is, as we get older, we care less and less about this...one of the advantages of becoming wise women. (I say this after I checked and rechecked a letter to an agent...and after I found an omitted word in my newsletter--that I had already sent out!)