In one area of my life, I have come to the point of burnout: I’m cynical, I have a lack of energy, and I’m simply not as interested as I once was. I was unaware of the warning signs as they were happening. Instinctively, though, I have been trying to recover by restructuring my priorities and doing what I love when I can.
I have never been an affirmation-type person. Affirmations usually make me feel inadequate. I end up thinking that there must be something wrong with me when I don’t get the immediate feel-good payoff from saying, “I’m a beautiful talented powerful superwoman. So, begone, Insecurity.” Words are words but in order for them to have meaning, I have to take a good look inside of me, otherwise my outlook will never change.
Comfort in My Skin
For some reason, I always thought that I look substantially worse in photos than I do in the mirror. However, the only difference between the two is the thought that someone viewing my picture has an opportunity to judge my appearance. Now, after all of these years, I can finally embrace what I look like and love me for who I am.
I have that power, and it is starting to stay with me as I go about my business during the day.
Going With the Flow
I also had to realize that perfection is not always the goal. For me, there have been many times when striving for perfection has served as an excuse not to do something. As a child I was shy, which for me was a fear of exposing myself as being uninteresting and/or not very smart. People I know have told me that they don’t see me as being shy, but I have worked hard on overcoming it.
I am still working on overcoming the fear of speaking in public, but last week, I’m happy to say, I took a huge step in that direction by participating in an open poetry reading. I mean, what was I afraid of? Reading in front of people is not like jumping off the edge of a cliff, the consequences are not as dire. Although I was well received, most of the satisfaction came from the opportunity to practice my craft. That was the perfect moment for me and I know I can only perform better in time.
The End/The Means
While producing a good poem is the ultimate pay-off, the creation of it–the imagining, the writing, the molding and tweaking–is the fun part and is equally rewarding.
The same is true in life, I think: the journey is as important as getting there. I have to remember that while writing poetry brings joy to my life, my life feeds the poetry. Unless I experience life in the real world, I will be limited in what I have to write about. I make sure to take breaks away from the business of writing (and away from the laptop!) to pursue different interests.
Some say you should fake it until you make it, but I say feel it, whatever it is, and if you don’t like what you feel, find healthy ways to make yourself feel better.
© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2010