As we discussed the idea of exploring my interests my counselor used the illustration of a painter being paralyzed by her blank canvas. Sometimes she literally needs to just throw some paint on there to get over the barrier that perfectionism causes. He knows I fancy myself a writer, so we used writer’s block to connect the idea. From what I’ve learned, from a blogger/author I trust, one of the writer’s versions of splattering paint onto a canvas is to practice Morning Pages. Morning Pages are a simple idea of three pages of unedited, unplanned, pressure-free writing. They are meant to shake out the cobwebs and free your mind of thoughts, worries, or ideas that might be lurking in the shadows, threatening your creativity.
Like a lot of you can relate to, I’m sure, I can think up a million reasons to not try something I’m slightly scared of doing. My goal of writing my memoir this year has never gotten off the ground because I put so.much.pressure on the idea. While I thought I intended to write out my story for the sole purpose of getting it out of me and getting it down on paper, in reality, I expected so much more.
First, I expected it to be easy. Despite the books I read, the blog posts I found, and my own pastor’s knowledge that it’s actually really hard work, I figured my inspiration would carry me through.
Second, I expected it to get published and make me famous. Of course I did. I expected to be discovered for the witty, clever, wise-beyond-her-years gal I’ve had like 4 people tell me I am. Move over, Jen Hatmaker, Keely Steger is on the scene. That’s a death sentence right out of the gate.
I can’t make art for the sake of art and beauty. My art has to be appreciated and applauded.
I can’t play sports because they’re fun and I enjoy them. Someone has to think I’m doing a great job.
I am addicted to approval. I have spent my entire life trying to please and that is a hard habit to break. Like so many kids, my mom was the center of my world. If she was proud of me, I could conquer the world. And for a multitude of reasons, performance meant a lot to her. So from a very early age, I learned to quantify my worth. Making mom proud took good grades, great stats, large numbers of books read, songs performed on pitch, words spelled correctly, laughs received, etc.
Let me just say this- if it sounds like I’m blaming my mom or beating up her memory, please know that it has taken quite a bit of counseling for me to understand that that just isn’t true. It is imperative to dig, uncover, and acknowledge the hurt and the broken messages from my past in order to find freedom and redemption. By design, moms have a crazy amount of influence and impact on their children. For better or worse. And I know that I can’t keep my kids out of the counselor’s chair, either.
Where am I going with all of this?
All of this is at play as I face the “simple” question of:
What do I want to do, explore, discover, create, enjoy?
So do you see why this question is so imperative for me to ask?