Tag Archives: Perfectionist

Just a test

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I’m going to write again. It’s been exactly 5 months. I have the jitters. How do you write after so long and what do you say? Even more, what do you NOT say? After such time has passed, doesn’t this next post, the “therefore,” need to stand out? Be compelling? Sound intelligent to some degree?


Well I just did it. And it was none of those things. So there was my simple test, just to get my fingers dancing across the keyboard long enough to feel tiny butterflies floating around my body with an awkward half-smile plastered on my face because it’s true – a passion for writing doesn’t go away. It’s like riding a bike. And if you finally get the courage to hop on again, you’ll remember how to ride.


See you soon.

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Thanks Captain America, for a little superhero power. We can only shield ourselves from so much in this crazy life, and sometimes, we just need to share.

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just as i am

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just as i am

As we ring in 2016, there are no pressure-fused resolutions and unrealistic goals this year. The ability to dream, aspire, and live a life full of possibilities and opportunity is not only extraordinary, but something we often take for granted in our Western culture and specifically America.


So just because I’m avoiding the pressure that comes with my own personal resolutions doesn’t mean you should stop dreaming or believing.


Journey is in your head now, right?


Anyway, I found the words of one of my faves, Glennon Doyle, quite refreshing yesterday.


“I don’t want a new, better life in 2016. I just want new eyes to see that my life is already staggeringly beautiful.

I don’t want to be a better mom in 2016. I just want new eyes to see that the miracle is not good better best — the miracle is that these people are mine and I am theirs. Full stop.

And I don’t want to be a BETTER ME in 2016. Screw that. I don’t want to chase after some imaginary more fabulous version of myself. I AM what the people I love need. I already AM. And when we are always BECOMING we have no room to BE. So I’m done striving. I’m fine, thanks. I’m showing up to love my people and you and the world this year JUST AS I AM.

Don’t try to be better. Just notice that it’s all good enough already.”


Thanks lil G. Yes, yes and YES. I love it. This piece flows nicely in cadence with the last post, “Just Breathe.”


Just as I am is a hard idea. Won’t be easy. My first attempt at this will be in 2 weeks when I run my first (and probably last!) half-marathon. Rather than focusing on competition, time and perfection, my hope is to just breathe at MY pace, refusing to feel shame for its slow but steady characteristics (perhaps more slow than steady), and just BE at the race.


I’ll remember why I signed up in the first place – to accomplish something I never thought possible. I’ll run side by side with my dad – a mentor, incredible father, and friend – and create a memory that will last forever, finishing the race arm-in-arm, whatever time it may be, embracing the walking breaks and moving forward, one step at a time, just as I am.


Just breathe. Just as I am. A couple mantras for 2016.


Remind me, will ya?

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Happy New Year!

here’s a perfect post you will like and connect with so I can feel accepted and loved

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I haven’t written in a while.

 

I think the smidgen of perfectionism in me yearns for each post to have a purpose and meaning. I want it to make you laugh and think, connect and empathize. Laugh at the highs and lows of motherhood and family dynamics in general, think about the more important things in life, connect in a way where you know you’re not the only one (in whatever capacity that means for you), and empathize with the people who walk around every day happy yet struggling on the inside because of an invisible sickness.

 

The sickness that by the way if you needed a reminder people say isn’t even really a sickness. The — c’mon can’t you just get over it already / there’s people with real problems / work out / go outside / stop complaining / pray more / tough it out / aren’t you being a little selfish / omigaw seriously dude it’s not like you have cancer / get it together — and the list goes on…

 

Now if you are struggling mentally and refuse to get help, I can’t relate to you. I could at some point but I’ve covered that bridge and I’m on a new highway. Call me out and say what you will, but in my mind, if you have emotional or chemical imbalances and decline help, you’re not only hurting yourself, but you’re hurting others, too.

 

I don’t live in a vacuum, in an empty space that affects me and only me. Neither do you, or your siblings, or your friends. So I’ll go out on a limb and say if you’re not willing to get help, perhaps you can actually take one of the hurtful statements above to heart; maybe you are being a little selfish.

 

That was a side rant. I didn’t mean for it to happen, but if I had to take a guess it’s probably because I’m working my butt off right now. As a team, my psych and therapist and I are going through a lot of digging and talking and learning so I can be healthier. And it is EXHAUSTING. But you know what? It’s important. Because golly gee I’m not cribbin’ it in some Dyson or Hoover. I have a family. I have people. Even if I feel alone, and even when I actually want to be alone, the truth is I’m not.

 

Therefore, I gotta work to be healthy for myself and the people around me.

 

Why are we currently working harder than normal? (Oh the word “normal” and all that it brings…)

 

1) I’m on meds – and I believe that for the most part if you’re on some type of behavioral meds you should be seeing someone at least every couple of months.

 

2) As I shared in my last post, I resigned from my teaching job. Instead of going back next year, I’ll be home taking care of the twintastics.

 

Notice I didn’t say I’ll be home raising the twins. I specifically opted out of that verb because I’m aware that working moms raise their kids as well. No reason to start a working mother vs. stay at home mother rant because a mother is a mother and a good one works hard regardless of the location, inside or outside the home. So yes, ladies, let’s Lean In and uphold equality but let’s also not be the first to throw stones and judge one another.

 

That all sounds good, right? Except for the fact that I’m judging myself, already feeling less competent, professional and important.

 

My mind tells me that it’s ludicrous. What is more important than keeping infants alive? Spending all day with children in their formative years, building their character? I mean, that is a pretty cool job. And I believe one day it will feel rewarding. But right now, there’s no doubt that I don’t feel as validated or rewarded as I did when I was in the classroom, which makes the resignation all the more frightening.

 

My first time in the anxiety program unearthed the fact that I find my worth and self-esteem in my job (or any type of progress and achievements), and I’m so thankful I started working through it then or I would be in a lot of trouble now. You don’t see much progress in the day-to-day of spit up and dirty diapers TIMES TWO.

 

So here I am, for the first time in my life (at least since preschool) I’m not headed back to school this fall. And I know it’s far away, but it scares me. Don’t worry, I’m going to enjoy the heck out of this spring and summer – warm weather cometh! Bring on the heat! But, we’re doing a little more work now to give the “fall” (in both aspects of the word) a little more cushion.

 

Speaking of cushion, my butt has been sitting on this one far too long because this post is too long and I’ll be surprised if anyone makes it to this point. If you did, congrats! Go eat some leftover Easter candy.

 

Apparently “I haven’t written in a while” comes with a lot of random, verbal vomit.

 

My original point – I want to write inspiring things; I want to be a voice you enjoy listening to, and because of that, sometimes I don’t write. I mean, it’s not like I have an invigorating story ready to burst each week from the Crazymaddeningworld. I don’t write because I don’t think it will be good enough or to a high enough standard (which I just spoke in an English accent, Downton Abbey style).

 

And I’m coming full circle to say that’s just crap; the idea of perfect words and stories, the thought that I’m subconsciously seeking acceptance through this blogging outlet? Appalling. I can’t control the thoughts, but I can bid them farewell when they arise.

 

Crazymaddeningworld started as a therapy assignment and it’s evolving, just like me. I fear that not working in a classroom next year will make me less useful to you and the rest of the world. And that there will be nothing left to say, no stories to tell.

 

Bahahahahaha. Who am I kidding? Once a talker, always a talker! So I’ll be back, sooner rather than later, if I can just get over the fact that I should be able to post whatever the heck I want whenever I want and who the heck cares who reads it.

 

If y’all don’t judge me, I’ll try not to judge myself.

 

I’ll end with words from the best Author of all.

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

 

Let’s not forget to be kind to ourselves, too.

 

Until next time,

Rachel

Rat Race – The Search for Satisfaction

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And here it is. The time has arrived. I’m ready to tell you what’s coming, what I’ve been looking forward to, what has pushed me through the long and cold Chicago winter.

 

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Wait for it…

 

Wait for it…

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So, I have some bad news, which is, that there is no news. At least, there ain’t nothing new coming from me. Were you hoping for a pregnancy? Did you think there was a different job? New location? I WON THE LOTTERY!!! Nope, nope and nope. Same ol, same ol in this crazyMADDENing world.

So why would I post a blog titled “Are you excited for what’s coming?!” Not fair, right? And yet, there is a method to my MADness. I hope you hear it, and really listen. It’s a message I have to remind myself of regularly, a lesson worth learning and relearning, and relearning…

I have been convicted. While sitting in bible study, Betsy Corning, writer of Entrusted with A Child’s Heart shared a segment on “Wishing life Away.”

In this case, the context was specific to motherhood. With the monotony and sometimes isolation of caring for babies fulltime, it’s easy to take for granted what you have right in front of you, easy to forget that each and every day is vital and important as God shapes those little blessings into the people they are and will be.

It’s incredibly tempting to fall into the trap of once this happens or this happens or this happens, something will be better, or perhaps easier.

 

When they can crawl…once they feed themselves…after they start walking…as they start playing together…etc, etc, etc.

Please don’t mistake my seemingly lack of gratitude. I know there are thousands of women out there right now who would do anything to get pregnant, and I know I am beyond blessed. But, I still catch myself wishing life away.

This is because “What’s coming next?” is always on my mind, looking ahead, preparing for the future, gearing up for what’s to come. What will be that next thing or event to drive me forward?

Of course this doesn’t just creep into the area of motherhood, but ALL areas of our lives.

When I get my driver’s license…when I turn 18…when I make more money…when I get married…when I get a new car…when I go on that vacation…when I lose 10 pounds…when I have children…when when when WHEN WHEN WHEN WHEN

It’s that moment, or event, or season, or thing and everything falls into place, right?

Wrong.

But it was supposed to! And maybe it does…for a second. But it’s only a temporary satisfaction that leaves us wanting more, asking ourselves, “Now what?”

In one of my favorite young adult novels, The Outsiders, Cherry Valance says it best:

 

‘”Rat race is a perfect name for it,” she said. “We’re always going and going and going, and never asking where. Did you ever hear of having more than what you wanted? So that you couldn’t want anything else and then started looking for something else to want? It seems like we’re always searching for something to satisfy us, and never finding it”’ (Hinton 38).

I want to see the array of cars and blocks and books and Tupperware – oh thank you Lord for Tupperware – all over my once-clean house and feel content.

I want to watch my kids giggle and play and allow myself to feel like I’m doing a decent job.

I want to leave the dirty dishes and messy kitchen to sit with my husband, enjoy the evening, and know it can wait.

I want to look at the bottle of pills on the counter and actually accept the fact that it doesn’t make me less of a person.

I want to glimpse in the mirror without makeup or combed hair and believe God made me in His image, and He made me beautiful.

I want to sit with today, experience it as it as, and feel satisfied. I want it all to be enough. It should be enough.

But like Cherry says, I’m on a constant search for satisfaction. It’s been a lifelong pursuit and struggle that swallows me up as I strive for order and predictability and sadly, control.

Go to school, get good grades, find a job, fall in love, throw a wedding, have a baby. Or two. 🙂 

Those are not bad things. In fact, those are wonderful things. But they’re not something you do because you’re looking for what’s next, ready to check something else off the list.

This continuous search for “having/feeling/being enough” traps me in the impossible realm of perfectionism, when in fact I know I am not perfect and will never be.

As a Christian, I want to think I hold my standards high to be more like Christ, and I hope sometimes that is the reason. But I know more often than not it’s to feel good and be “good.” Because if you do good, feel good and be good, that has to be the formula for satisfaction, right?

Wrong again.

Can you relate? Have you experienced the endless cycle of dissatisfaction? Through an eating disorder, various medications, hospitalization, and continuous anxiety and depression, I know firsthand you can have the most abundant and blessed life on paper, and still feel empty on the inside. I am fortunate to have faith in Christ where at least I know I can be made complete, that there’s wholeness, and a perfect love that exists. But for those without that hope, I am sad.

Yes, it is sad knowing there are so many people out there with this same problem, on a constant search for satisfaction. Then it’s truly devastating when you recognize what first world problems these really are, to have too much and yet still not have enough, when there are people hurting, starving, experiencing war and persecution daily.

I want to share this message with every young person out there so they can start learning now. Get rid of your imaginary checklist. There is no magic pill; there is no special formula. It doesn’t matter how many A’s you get, how much scholarship money you’re awarded, how “good” you do at ANYTHING if you can’t find the satisfaction and contentment somewhere in yourself, just as you are, as an incomplete and imperfect human being that can never fully be filled without something (or Someone) greater.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t look ahead. Puh-leeze. I’m the type-A planner, people! Of course I like to plan. And I’m not saying you can’t look forward to things either. There are wonderful things “coming next,” such as spring after the long winter, birthdays, wedding, babies, and this upcoming Easter.

I’m also not saying you shouldn’t strive to succeed, to work hard and excel in your endeavors. Hard work is important. Just don’t buy into the lie that once the “what’s coming next” actually happens– whatever it may be – that all will be well.

So I guess the message is this – DON’T BE SURPRISED IF YOU GET TO THE TOP AND YOU FIND IT’S NOT ENOUGH.

I’m currently running the rat race, but I’m ready to call it quits, man. Stop the endless search of what’s next or how can I do or be more to feel satisfied. It’s time to bask in some contentment, allow myself to feel that maybe life as is is enough. And maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll feel like I’m enough, worthy of who I was created to be.

 

Is anyone else going and going and going, running this endless rat race? If you are, or you know someone who is, share this post. Then stop and sit awhile with me. Let’s enjoy today, and at least for a short time, forget about what’s coming next.

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My name is Rachel and I’m a Recovering Perfectionist.

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For perfectionists, life is an endless report card on accomplishments or looks. A one-way ticket to unhappiness, perfectionism is typically accompanied by depression and eating disorders. What makes perfectionism so toxic is that while those in its grip desire success, they are most focused on avoiding failure, so theirs is a negative orientation. And love isn’t a refuge; in fact, it feels way too conditional on performance.

– Psychology Today

Please tell me this strikes a chord with one of you as well, that you come dangerously close to connecting to this quotation as much as me. Yikes.

This was a quote shared from our sermon on Sunday and it stopped me in my tracks.

If you’re in the south surburbs looking for a church home, I have to give a shout out to Amazing Love Lutheran Church. We just started a sermon series titled “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire,” and the first lie we uncovered was “I must be perfect.” This sermon hit me so hard I specifically told the pastor after church that bullying was wrong and I didn’t appreciate being profiled.

There was a short video before the sermon.  If you’re a fellow perfectionist (or in recovery), click here and at least watch the first 50 seconds. If it sounds like you, I recommend watching the entire video. FYI, it happened to be a guest speaker, but you can listen to some dynamic sermons from our Pastor Dustin Blumer here.

Thirty seconds into the promo video and I knew I was in trouble. I thought, “This is real. This is relevant. This is my on-going struggle.” Although my blog says I’m a “retired perfectionist,” like anything, it is a work in progress.

So the topic of the day told me paying attention was essential and notes may be required. And if I hadn’t recognized this fact on my own, it was clear as my husband Chris continued to jab me in the side, saying, “This is you! This is you!”

My body language towards him went from piercing eye stare, to “OK buddy, calm down,” to a surrendered sigh…the jig is up. He is right. Darn him.

Both of us had a child on our lap and he had to take Miles to the cry room. That left me with the choice to take notes or continue to hold Norah. I’d like to think it’s the teacher in me (although more likely it’s the obsessive compulsion), but I chose to throw Norah to the curb, or somewhat pay attention to her on the floor, while I ferociously took notes.

Before you judge me, remember that…

Norah has PT exercises because bless her 11-month old heart she doesn’t crawl and can’t go from sitting to laying down on her own.

The people around me were possibly judging but I ignored them, believing I was a true example of breaking free of the “ I must be a perfect” lie, specifically the “I must be a perfect mom.”

Speaking of Norah, quick change of topic. After only a couple weeks of exercises she is army crawling! I attempted to add a video here but my technological illiteracy prevailed. We’ll cheer anyway. Go Norah, Go Norah, GO! Go Norah, Go Norah, GO!

Back to the issue of perfectionism. We know human perfection isn’t real. We tell ourselves it doesn’t matter. But for those of us who are challenged in this area, we may accept those truths for others, but not for ourselves. For example, I don’t think Norah is any less of a person because she isn’t developmentally in the same place as Miles. Of course not; the thought doesn’t even cross my mind. And yet, a lie tells me I’m less of a mom for not nursing Miles for the entire year.

I’ve nursed the babies for 11 months now. As of yesterday Miles is officially off the breast and on formula. Norah is still nursing, but I was supposed to nurse both of them for the year. That was the perfect thing to do. So here I am, and rather than rejoicing in the success of nursing twins for 11 months, I see the failure of not making it to the year. It ties back into this part of Psychology Today’s quotation:

“What makes perfectionism so toxic is that while those in its grip desire success, they are most focused on avoiding failure, so theirs is a negative orientation. And love isn’t a refuge; in fact, it feels way too conditional on performance.”

Wow. You can’t even enjoy your successes because the fear of not measuring up takes over instead. It is all-consuming, paralyzing. And the funny thing is, who exactly is this measurer? What are we comparing ourselves to that qualifies “not measuring up?” For me, the pressure isn’t coming from my husband, or my parents, or my children. I put the pressure on myself because somehow being the best I can be at everything I do makes me…what?

Good? Better? I don’t even know. I’m preoccupied with living life perfectly because it somehow validates me as a person. It’s too easy to buy into the lie that striving for perfection means we’re hardworking and accomplished, people worthy of love and happiness.

Have your achievements ever taken precedent over what truly matters? For the perfectionists out there, it doesn’t mean you have to be okay with mediocrity. It doesn’t mean it’s time to lower your standards or become less passionate. In fact, we shouldn’t! But let’s intentionally choose not to measure our worth based on our performance and abilities.

For 2015, I’m done carrying a validating performance record around – one that affirms me because of my achievements or accomplishments. To the Christians out there, we know that this is all for nothing anyway. No matter how good we try to be on our own merits, it doesn’t change our need for God. If we could find perfection on our own, there would be no reason for Christ’s death and resurrection.

Romans 3:21-23 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

My name is Rachel and I’m a Recovering Perfectionist. Cheers to 2015 – a new year of perfect imperfection!