Forgive Thee Thy Trespasses

nunWhen someone else makes a mistake, I always tell them, “Hey, no big deal. Perfect people are boring.”

When make a mistake, however, I summon up the Spanish Inquisition, a howling Greek chorus of condemnation, and the ghost of Sister Mary Gwendolyn from fourth grade.

And from what I hear, I’m not the only one.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Darned if I know.  All it does is make us feel worse than we already do, and it certainly doesn’t improve the situation. I could analyze the whiz-bang out of the whys and wherefores, but  I’d rather look at a few home truths that just might help:

To err is human.

It really, really is. And–guess what?  We are all plain old garden-variety humans, and we’re going to screw up.  To think otherwise is to foster the unrealistic expectation that we are  supposed to be superhuman, above and beyond mere ordinary mortals.  (Sounds kinda arrogant when it’s put that way, doesn’t it?)

A mistake is just something that happened.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because you make a mistake, you are a mistake.  I’ve been known to hop on board that particular mental crazy train, and in no time at all I convinced myself I was a complete, total, hopeless

loserDon’t go there, okay?  It’s not a fun trip, and it can be awfully hard to find your way home again.

Listen to Eleanor

It really sucks when you screw up in front of other people.  When it happens to me, I’m  always morally certain that everybody’s buzzing about it behind my back, texting about it  to their friends, and plastering it all over their Facebook pages until I remember one of my favorite quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt:

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”

It’s definitely humbling, but oh so very comforting.

So anyhow, folks, we are all flawed vessels, doing the best we can with what we’ve got.  So take it easy on yourselves, okay?

Your partner in imperfection,

Donna

 

Dust

Here’s another oldie-but-still goodie:

December 27, 2012


Right before I started this post, I caught myself worrying about dust.feather duster

Yes, dust.  The stuff I convince myself nobody else has in their house because they keep up with it.

Here I am, off work until the day after New Year’s, with tons of time to do all kinds of neat stuff, and I’m worrying about freakin’ dust.  That’s pathological.  No, worse than pathological, it’s pitiful.

I mean, what is wrong with me?

Dust didn’t bother me when I was scrambling to get ready for work last week. It didn’t permeate my thoughts while I shuffled paperwork and fielded phone calls.  It didn’t come with me to the grocery store, or settle on my shoulders like a fine gray mist while I was paying bills or falling into an exhausted sleep.

But now that I have unlimited hours to work on my book, play with my plants, rearrange my crystals, read, or just kick back and do nothing, something in me wants to worry about the dust on the bookshelves, between the knickknacks, on the stairs. If somebody came to my house, says this nit-picky little “something”, they’d get all smug and superior and think I’m a slob.

Let’s take that last sentence apart.

“Somebody”.  The only people who would ever be allowed to set foot in my house are people who were invited, by me.  In no universe would I invite smug and/or superior people to my house. Why am I worrying about something that ain’t never gonna happen?

“My house”.  Where I come to rejuvenate from time spent in The World Out There. The place where I pull up the drawbridge, drop the shields and let my inner happy little lunatic out to play.  My own precious sanctuary where things like bras, shoes, and what other people think of me do not exist.  In other words—my house, where I decide what’s important.

“Slob”.  I am a slob.  I live in a whirlwind of books-plants-notebooks-crystals-cats-pictures-CDs.  Coats tend to live on the backs of chairs.  Scarves roost on the frames of pictures and mirrors.  Multiple pairs of shoes reside under my computer desk, which is where I kick them off without thinking when I’m writing.  When the hoofware population becomes too dense, I cull out the non-seasonal ones.  (Example:  it’s late December;  today multiple pairs of summer sandals have finally been relegated to storage.) It’s how I roll, and it works for me.

Back to the dust:  I’ve decided the problem is all in my mind.

Effective immediately, I’m evicting those imaginary smug-and-superior types.

Instead, I’m going to imagine my character Rick (better known as Ricochet) has escaped from Old Wolves.  He’s a whirlwind of a young man with long white-blonde hair, outer-space eyes and a very impressive tattoo.  He’ll bound into the house like Tigger and hug everybody in sight.  If he sees dust on a table he’ll swoop down on it and exclaim, “Dude! Can we snort it?”  Then he’ll smile, draw a heart in the dust and write “I love you” inside it.

And he’ll really, really mean it.

photo credit: chickenscrawl via photopin cc