I had planned to get home from work, walk downtown, and marvel in the madness that is SXSW Music. I had planned to carry my cameras and take lots of photos. I had planned to attend at least three film screenings tonight.
But when I got home, I realized I was dead tired. I felt all these “shoulds,” but I finally decided that I had to take care of myself and listen to my body. So I ate dinner and went to sleep. I feel much better, but I’m still tired, so I’ll probably go to bed soon. I excel at napping, but sleeping at night just isn’t easy for me. I often have different forms of insomnia, and every now and then it catches up with me and wears me down.
Anyway, what is it with shoulds? Who is keeping track of my life so closely that I feel the need to follow a certain plan? Does anyone in the world really mind that I didn’t participate in SXSW events tonight? No! So why the guilt?
I often have to remind myself that there is no one watching and critiquing the movie that is my life. The people who do watch me with interest will love me no matter what I choose to do, eat, wear, think, or be. I am always wondering who it is I’m trying to impress… and I think it’s really myself. I have this silly little woman sitting inside my brain saying, “You should be perfect! You should be good! You should be wonderful and make it look effortless!” Where in the heck did she come from? She’s been there as long as I can remember… even in kindergarten. I’m working on SHUTTING HER UP, but it’s not easy. She’s loud.
I’m taking an online course right now called Unravelling. It’s centered around photography and writing, though it teaches you to do neither of those things. It just uses them as tools to “unravel” yourself, and figure things out. I’m LOVING it.
I wrote this little fairy tale for myself for one of the writing exercises:
Once upon a time, there was a girl who was the best at everything. She had really high expectations of herself… to get the best grades, have the best job, the most friends, the best blog, the coolest clothes, the most gourmet/sustainable/homemade diet, the best body, and the coolest life.
One day she realized that no one cared about these things but her, and that if she let go of the need for being perfect, of being “the best,” the rest of the world would open up to her. Her life would broaden, she would smile more, and people would still love her.
I’m trying to remind myself of this every day.