Here I am, with the deadline of February 1 looming over my head. I’ve known this deadline was coming since the beginning of January. But yet, here I am. Scrambling, scratching my head over what my first post is going to be about. I question, Should my first post be funny? Serious? Should my purpose be to educate? Inform? Or should my focus be a personal story?
You can see the dilemma here. I waited and waited to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, because I thought I just hadn’t narrowed it down. I was waiting because I thought a brilliant idea would just come to me. But yet, here I am. With less than a week to the deadline. And I have nothing. No draft, no words to speak of. No brilliant idea. Is it too late to back out? Is it too late to say, “Joke’s on you, I didn’t really mean to apply and commit to this”? To say, “Haha, oh wait never mind, I’m out”?
And then I do almost the worst thing imaginable. I go to Des Moines Moms Blog website to get some inspiration. WORSE THING EVER. Why? Because I do what I always do. Compare. I look at the posts, and I think I am way out of my league here. Who am I kidding? I don’t belong here. These women have far more important things to say, and they say it in more of an eloquent way than you ever could. Those are the thoughts going on in my head, people. It’s not pretty.
Finally, I’d had enough of my self-pity. I texted two of my good friends and asked them for a kick in the hiney. Literally. And thank goodness I did. Now armed with encouraging, yet kick-in-the-pants feedback, I decided to bring you ME. Simple as that. Just me. Honest, relatable (hopefully!), and real. I mean, let’s face it — the hats that we wear each and every day call for a space where we can all be who we are with no excuses and no judgments.
There are a few common themes that are running through this story that you may be wondering why I am telling you. Those are fear, comparison, and perfectionism.
Fear slowly creeps in and settles in to stay. It can paralyze us, causing us to be unable to make decisions, unable to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard. Procrastinating writing my first post was more than just trying to find a good topic. It was fear that I will not be good enough. Fear that no one will like what I have to say. Fear that I will be judged. Fears that once I hit submit, this will be out there; I will be out there. For you all to read. It will be more than just my friends or husband (Hi, Will) who are reading, and that is scary, y’all! I know, I know, what do I think I signed up for?! But seriously, guys! I don’t have a magic answer on how to overcome fear except that I now know the things I fear most are what I need to do. It tells me I’m on the right track. So, I try to embrace it, hug it, and ride through it.
Comparison is just the worst! I compare myself to the other writers. Thinking I don’t measure up. Wondering how I even got chosen. Maybe someone else couldn’t do it? But mostly, comparing myself to other moms in general. She does more crafts with her kids; I’m not crafty! Or, she makes homemade, organic food for her kids every night; my kids are lucky to get a cracker tossed their way. Okay — that was an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
We all know the quote that comparison is the thief of joy. But yet. We still do it. We see another mom’s post on Facebook or Instagram and there it goes — the instant comparison reel that goes on in our heads. It’s been a process for me, letting go of comparison. Slowly but surely, it’s gotten easier. Mostly it comes with acceptance and peace that I am doing the best for my family and myself, and I have to know that’s all that matters and keep that in the forefront of my mind, always.
Oh, Perfectionism — you’ve got me again. This is the toughest one to let go of for me. My futile attempts at being perfect — from keeping a perfect home and making sure my kid’s hair and clothes are perfect to maintaining the facade that I had it all together. Because that was easy. It was easy driving myself mad trying to maintain this crazy, unattainable “perfection” than to let any cracks show.
Perfectionism for me was just a basic instinct of fear. Fear that if I let people see the real me, they wouldn’t like what they saw. But then, I started to realize that I wasn’t bringing my most authentic, real self forward. And that the only way to begin to break the cycle of fear, comparison, and perfectionism is to let the cracks show. Because when we are vulnerable in sharing our stories, it can only bring us together. Being vulnerable brings out compassion, empathy, and most of all, connection.