This March writing challenge has taken me way out of my comfort zone. Up until this challenge, I have never shared my writing publicly. I’m not entirely sure how this experience has changed me, but I think it has.
To give myself some credit, I will acknowledge that I am very proud of sticking with it and not missing a day since I started. That being said, I am not proud of the writing that I have posted.
I can liken this experience to the stress I feel when I have new acquaintances over to my house for the first time. I always exhaust myself beforehand by making sure things are in perfect order before I let people in. By the time the guests arrive, I end up flopping into a chair with a big glass of wine to calm down my nerves. I find it exhausting to keep up the charade that I actually think clean houses and made-from-scratch food is that important.
My neurotic obsession for perfection really started after I got married, bought a house, and had children. I figured that I was officially an adult and needed to have it all together. Gone were the days of carefree bohemian apartments with milk crate furniture and casual, comfortable last minute get-togethers with close friends. As I’ve got older it seems like I should have it all together. The problem is that I don’t have it all together and probably never will, so there was always a lot of stress trying to get it together. It’s only in the last year or two that I’ve given myself permission to not make food from scratch and to leave furniture undusted. People like Brene Brown have helped me give myself permission to be imperfect.
This writing challenge has really tested the boundaries of how far I’ve come in accepting my own imperfection. There were so many days over the past few weeks when I was trying to squeeze in writing before I fell asleep so I ended up submitting “shitty first drafts.” I’ve had to ignore the nerves and the shame from letting people into the messy rooms of my mind and heart. I’ve opened myself up and shown people just how much of a work in progress I am. I understand that imperfections are gifts and that by sharing my “shitty first drafts” I make room for others to share their messy stories. At the moment though, I think I’m tired of sharing my own imperfections and feel like it will be nice to take a break and focus on something else. I may feel totally different on April 1st. This may just be the same feeling I get in the last mile of a long race. I’m looking forward to the finish line.