Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pernicious Woman

It rained a few days ago here in Los Angeles. I let the skies clear a little and then decided to go on a hike to manage “the bad roommate in my head” as Anne Lamott would call her. This voice, this pernicious, nasty voice, was giving me the business regarding all my flaws. According to her, there are many. On this day, she was in rare form pointing out how it seems next to impossible for me to keep my house clean, prevent typos in my work, go to enough yoga classes etc…all these really important things. Sigh. As I climbed up Fryman Canyon, I was giving this voice too much airtime, and, wouldn’t you know it, but another voice squeezed in there. It said, “Laur, did you ever consider that the voice that insists on perfection in every aspect of your life is a dull bit**? Just be a mess sometimes. Who really cares?” Yes! Yes, I thought. Now that is some sanity. AND THEN I TRIPPED AND FELL FLAT ON MY FACE IN A WET PUDDLE OF MUD AND HAD TO FINISH MY HIKE LOOKING DASTARDLY. That is exactly what happened. And, you know what? Aside from a few people looking at me funny, nothing else happened. I was muddy. Yep. Muddy. Like all life is until it bursts forth from the soil and moves toward the sun.

Here’s a great reminder about the dangers of perfectionism from the ever-wise Anne Lamott:

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.”

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