Seeking perfection, settling for oatmeal

A friend of mine works with special needs kids, has children of her own, provides support for her similarly hard-working husband and also bakes cookies, organizes fundraisers and pitches in for whatever other volunteer demands the school asks of its parents. Like me, she wonders, Do I do enough? I think she’s crazy. Actually, I think she’s a saint and I often look to her for advice on how to handle life’s complex challenges with more grace than tantrum-throwing, but the fact that she imagines she’s somehow lacking in commitment shows how much we expect of ourselves. I see this with women I know more so than men, which makes sense given that women – at least those with children – have long been expected to do both the home thing and the career thing without compromising either.

I grew up thinking anything less than perfection was failure. It’s a hard mindset to shake. But I’m so imperfect – it’s either figure out how to accept these flaws or go lie down on the highway. So difficult. A friend of mine likes to quote, “Do one thing and do it well.” A nice idea, but doing “one” thing has never been an option. I want to do everything well.

So far this morning, the only thing I’ve done well is make oatmeal (2 parts apple juice, 1 part oats, cinnamon to taste, a pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla soymilk in the bowl). The 48-degree water temp and general exhaustion deterred me from surfing – WUSS – and these recent blog posts are certainly no indication of writing skills. I rather hate this sort of feelings-based confessional spewings. Or maybe I’m leery of sounding all Oprah-esque when what I really long to do is string together tight little adjective-free sentences so deep readers feel their own thoughts echoing along in understanding. Or at least interest.

Until then, as always, clearing the thoughts out of my head and onto the page (screen, whatev) lightens my mental load. Makes room for cheery optimism. Hey! This could be the day I get everything all figured out! Catching up on work aside, the weekend looms large with promise of sunshine, social awesomeness and even a baseball game. Soon, these shitty first-draft posts might evolve into something worth reading. Right now, paperwork to wrap up, weeds to pull. So it goes.

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1 Comment

  1. Jen, I wouldn’t be too down on yourself. I woke up late and saw that you’d gone out to see local music and written two blog posts all while I was still asleep! Granted I’m battling the Crud, but still. Now you’ve pumped out a third blog post and it’s even mostly adjective-free. Your ability to accomplish so much – writing, surfing, awesome-breakfast-cooking, and all on so little sleep, continually amazes me!

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