Forgive yourself for your faults and your mistakes and move on. -Les Brown
Why is it so hard to forgive myself? I find it much easier to forgive people their minor faults than to forgive myself. But, the big faults – the ones that cause me deep pain and hurt – those are harder to forgive. Maybe if I were able to forgive those who wounded me so I would be able to forgive myself.
Part of being unable to forgive myself is thinking I should have done a better job at whatever I did wrong. I should not have said that…I should have done this…I should never had…I should do…so forth and so on. There is a part of me that thinks she has to be perfect at everything she says and does, even though I know as a human I am imperfect and to strive for perfection is not only futile but devastating as well.
This perfectionist is very small but she is powerful. She holds sway over the realms of how I interact with people, whether it be relationships or acquaintances or even with strangers. She seems to think that if she is perfect then she will be loved. If she does everything right, she will be popular, get all the boys and her father won’t be so mean to her. She is an irrational teenager, her growth stunted because of her need to be perfect.
I’m currently reading a devotional that advocates a lot of visualization – things like “embracing the inner you will heal you.” I am not discounting that type of therapy but for me it doesn’t work so well. I’m not sure why, but I don’t like visualization techniques. Maybe it is because my own imagination is always set on overdrive and it is too easy to let the Other Me out and start living two lives side-by-side again. So I must try other things.
Writing things out helps me in surprising ways. I have said this before and have even quoted Flannery O’Connor (or was it Eugenia Price?) saying “I don’t know what I think until I write it.” That is so true for me. It isn’t until I am sitting at the keyboard typing all these letters into words and words into sentences that I realize I am struggling with various and sundry issues. Before I started this blog I had no idea that I had so many unresolved hurts and angers and grudges. But I do and thus the same subjects are being repeated over and over again until they are resolved.
So the thing for me to do is to write about the events that caused me injury as well as the events where I caused someone injury. Exorcising my ghosts as it were. Whether I do it in this venue is unknown. But write I must. It is how I survived; when I couldn’t write I collected stories.
As a preteen and teen I spent hours meticulously hunched over a portable Royal manual typewriter typing stories I found in magazines that were meaningful to me. I had a whole slew of them neatly categorized in a three ring binder. I don’t have them anymore – they were purged from my possessions many years ago; a part of me wishes I had kept them to see what interested me as a teen; another part is afraid of the memories that the stories would bring up. But it is a moot point – they are gone and I am not.
Visualization – out; writing – in; I accept this as a part of my process. Now if only I would do it.
I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas. They’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mine. – Emily Bronte
What kind of dreams stay with you and change you? If I were to spend a lot of time dreaming I was an award-winning actor and I never achieved the dream, how would that affect me? I know of the daughter of a friend of a friend who moved out to California 10 years or more ago. It was her dream to be a famous movie star. She has never achieved her dream and still works various odd jobs. She keeps the dream alive in her head and heart. Is she happy? Is she satisfied? Or is there an unknown longing deep inside of her that is never fulfilled?
I like to watch those hoarding shows on tv because they remind me that there but for the Grace of God go I. I’ve always felt I could go that way, filling the space around me with unnecessary objects as a way to fill the void in my heart and life. It also helps motivate me to clean out the flotsam and jetsam of day-to-day living. Anyway, the people who hoard have one thing in common – emptiness. They may have never fully grieved over the loss of a loved one or of a dream and that has left a hole in their lives they try to fill with stuff.
Dreams are fickle – if we dream too high we risk severe disappointment when we don’t achieve it. If we don’t dream high enough then is it really worth trying to achieve? How do we know if we have a dream worth dreaming? And what happens if we do all the right things, make all the right choices and say all the right things (including prayers for help) and we still don’t get our ‘dream come true’?
Dreams offer hope but if we hope in the wrong thing or person, we end up with disappointment and/or disillusionment. If we dream but stay rooted, or grounded, in Faith and trust that God will provide what we need, then the dream does a good work in our lives.
So, whether I achieve my dream or not, God is there with me, supporting me, loving me, teaching me. The one dream I know I will achieve is that one day I will be in His Presence again and none of this will matter.
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Artists! Writers! Doers of all things Creative! Let’s get out into the world and take the first step in making our dreams come true! Even if it’s a small step and doesn’t seem to make a difference, do it anyway. To all those of us who are introverts, we have to face reality – to get along in the world, to make financial go of it with our art – we have to become, or at least pretend to be, extroverts. Artists with quirky, out-going, fun and maybe even controversial personalities are probably way more successful more often than those of us who are inward, morose, and melancholy.
The public loves an odd duck—as long as he or she has some endearing qualities—and it is the public at large that we must put our work in front of if they are to buy it so we won’t starve. So, that brings me to wonder how do I stay true to myself in my art and yet palatable to the masses? Or do I even want to be acceptable to the average person (i.e. not just my mom)? Well, yes, if I want to have a roof over my head and food in my cat’s bellies. There must be a balance between public and personal art I am not seeing yet.
There are artists out there who create off-the-beam art and sell their works. How do I join their ranks? Do I have to be uneducated in art? (Too late, I’ve had art classes.) Do I have to live in the country with a limited (if any) income? (Limited income I have.) Do I have to be old like Grandma Moses? (I’m more than half-way there.) Do I have to be willing to let go my most private, most personal works? (Duh, that would be a yes.)
I’m still just trying to figure it out. Sure I could read a book or about one of the hundreds of blogs out there on the subject. But that’s not me. Never one to learn from another’s mistakes I like to make my own screw-ups, thank you very much. I’ll just keep on stumbling my way through with hits and misses until the epiphany I’m looking for arrives with all the subtly of a thunderstorm.