“Put your toes in the water; Let it wash your fears away; Put a bow on a perfect day”
Lyrics by StarkRavenMadman Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGUihZQXbiU
My 2015 New Years Resolution is to be present and live life with MY intention. Damn, its about time! I have spent the last month racking my brain trying to figure out what has been holding me back during the last two decades of my fifty-two years of life! Why do I fill my life with a plethora of tasks with only short amounts of joy associated with the completion of each task? Most of my friends and colleagues would probably not believe that these thoughts are mine. I am very well-connected, accomplished and have many areas in which I excel. Ironically, the action of blogging has presented the blocks that I have been trying so hard to find. Finally, it all has become so very clear to me!
My internal voices automatically defaulted to questioning my value:
- Who would want to listen to my voice?
- Do I have anything important to say?
- Why would anything I say be something worth someone’s time and energy?
- Who is out there just reading random writings? Who has that kind of time?
A lifetime of negative voices resurface and start telling me that I am not:
- smart enough
- pretty enough
- fast enough
- strong enough
(Please plug in any words that your internal drive might have been wired to believe)
All of the sudden words from the movie, The Help, sarcastically rattle in my psyche and I hear with a tongue-in-cheek delivery: “Maria, you are smart, you are beautiful, you are important”…. I’ve always known those words but really haven’t believed them because in my head those words are always followed with a “but”. After all, Mom always said to me, “Maria, you’re so pretty if only you weren’t so heavy”. Dad always saying, “So, you finished you’re doctorate, now what are you going to do?”. No circumstances or accomplishment has ever been good enough or something that I could feel happy about. And then came my choice to become a professor-a job that has no completion dates. Embedded within cycles of teaching, grading and service, is the constant pressure to publish. The last two decades have been a chase toward perfection, or at least, a sense of completion. I found myself having to quit a particular goal because there is no end to the pursuit of knowledge nor can perfection ever be accomplished. It has been a lifetime of circular logic that has played a chorus of monkey noises in my mind. So close but……
Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future.
While the examples I mentioned above reference my parents and profession, the fear of not being good enough surrounds everything that I do. I heard that message throughout my childhood and worry about everything that might go wrong in my future. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking through every scenario that could go wrong so that I am prepared for everything that might go wrong. The dysfunctional result of my perfectionist thinking manifests itself in the present by overeating, unreachable goals, growing anxieties, and social isolation. I have tried to protect myself from increasing disappointment by insulating myself from the very public and often cruel court of public opinion. The blogosphere has always seemed to be a particularly vulnerable place to reside because I know myself well enough to know that criticism has always been an immediate stake to my heart.
I write this first blog entry to share my fears with others in hopes that they may not wait 50 years before they recognize what is holding them back from dreaming their dreams and stepping out of their comfort levels. Writing is a process that has always helped me come to a place of clarity and focus. This blog will be filled with my random thoughts about education, diversity and my spirit. I have a lifetime of research and experience that I have not published. It is MY intention to dip my toes in the water of public opinion and fear no more.
Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.