The best way to get over the fear of doing something, is doing that thing.
In Which The Stoner Mom Falls Short.
I owe you an apology. I have promised you regular content and have delivered far short of that promise. I won’t bore you with excuses. Obviously you all know I’m busy, and stoned a lot. I don’t apologize for those things. What I am apologizing for, is for being afraid.
Perfectionism is not always a good thing. I learned this in therapy during my early ‘midlife crisis’. The fear of being imperfect holds me back. In big ways, but subtly too. Examples; I won’t begin a project for fear of being unable to meet the desired result- a standard that exists only in my mind. I will put tasks off, telling myself, I’ll do this when there is time to do it properly. But the time never comes and so there it will sit. Forgotten and piled upon. My therapist explained the link between fear, perfectionism, and hoarding behavior and it became so clear. Suddenly I understood the people I had seen on Hoarders. I saw my perfectionism as a disease, leaving me blind to the real priorities of life.
The longer I go between posts, the more I dread coming back here to write. Because it has to be perfect you see. The excuses are ‘oh I don’t have the right image to publish that yet,’ or ‘oh, i’ll wait until the perfect day to photograph that!’ or ‘oh I’ll wait until this zit goes away before I make that video’. As if I am waiting for some magical being to just plop these things into my lap. Time, perfect weather, for someone to give me permission. Whatever. When the truth is that I am the one makes the time, I know I don’t need the perfect day to photograph anything, and if it’s not one zit it’ll be something, so really what is the point of putting all of this off?
The worst part is knowing these things intellectually but still being too chicken to give in and just try. Fear of rejection, fear of imperfection, fear of not achieving what I so desperately want. Fear keeping me mute. Fear keeping me stiff. Fear keeping me unable to lift my chin or raise my eyes.
So, I’m not perfect. But over time I have figured out ways to deal. To handle the anxiety and dread and fear.
Positive thinking doesn’t come naturally for everyone, so using short positive phrases that you respond to (can’t be some corny print from the office that makes you want to stab people in the eye: there’s no I in Team.). I occasionally come across a phrase or quote that resonates and seems to fit nicely into an empty spot in my head. It can be something as simple as remembering “Done is better than perfect” that allows me to breathe a sigh of relief and get the project done. It’s all about brain training, and when you take the time to do it, it really can work.
Some mantras or quotes acknowledge the fear itself, and I find those especially inspiring. Few things are more terrifying than the thought of divorce and so that whole time of my life was particularly terrifying. I must have understood subliminally that I was going to need a lot of reminding on the power of positive phrases to get through my divorce because I did something I have told myself that I would never do. I mean really, never, ever do.
I got a tattoo.
Never once did I consider putting a tattoo anywhere on my body. Until one day, a few days after I asked my husband for a divorce, I went to a tattoo place with BFF and we both got one. She got two actually. What did I get? On the wrist of my left arm, in black cursive, the word ‘leap’.
I don’t know why, but on some random Pinterest coma I found these words and loved them. I loved them and somehow I knew they were going to be right. I was going to leap, and I was going to be caught. I was going to make the jump and we were all going to be okay. And guess what? I did leap. We divorced amicably and now are both remarried. I truly hope that their happiness together is as awesome as mine with my husband. The point is, we’re happy. We got through it, and life is better for everyone when you’re with the right person.
People help too.
The mantras help quell the voice of perfectionism, but another tool I use to get through crippling fear, is my husband. Or more specifically, my husband’s undying support of me. Real support that I have quite honestly, never experienced in my life. Not from family. Not from partners. Not until him, Husband #2. It takes a very special person who can handle a chick like me, and I am so relieved to have found him.
He supports me by not pushing me to speak, by patiently waiting for me to open up on my own. He supports me by not just listening to my ideas- which are terribly long and always include tons of irrelevant backstory- but by getting super excited about them. He picks them up and runs with them, gives them strength and depth. When I was finally confident enough to tell him about my hopes for thestonermom.com, he rewarded that confidence with enthusiastic support. I don’t mean “reward” like, in some subservient way but more like, a teach-people-how-to-treat-you kinda way. He shows me its safe to talk to him when he responds positively to my talking and that part of the foundation of our relationship is formed.
Being supported by someone, anyone, is crucial for someone experiencing sad, self-defeating emotions and fear.
The point of this is.
I’m sorry I was gone for a while. I’m here now, and no longer afraid.