Anne Lamott’s Facebook post from May 12, 2014
There’s a whole chapter on perfectionism in Bird by Bird, because it is the great enemy of the writer, and of life, our sweet messy beautiful screwed up human lives. It is the voice of the oppressor. It will keep you very scared and restless your entire life if you do not awaken, and fight back, and if you’re an artist, it will destroy you.
My pastor said last Sunday that if you don’t change directions, you are going to end up where you are headed. Is that okay with you, to end up still desperately trying to achieve more, and to get the world to validate your parking ticket, and to get your possibly dead parents to see how amazing you always were?
This is not going to happen. They are either so dead, like mine are, or they are insatiable, or so relieved that you did not end up divorced–or if you did, then heavily into drugs, like the Woodson girl, or more out of shape than you are, like Esther’s son. It’s hopeless, and this is the good news.
Putting those tiny pesky parental voices aside, what about, oh, say, the entire rest of the world?
(G) Oh how I love the writing of Anne Lamott. She swoops in at just the time you need her and thanks to Facebook she was able to do it at a moment’s notice. No publisher or book store needed. Lowi and I have been in this push/pull state for a while of moving forward toward our dreams, getting stuck in neutral, and for me, at times, getting stuck in reverse.
Earlier this week, a friend shared Lamott’s post from Facebook. It was a game-changer for me. I am having a blast with our blog since we began in December but at times it can be scary to put yourself out there, open yourself and your life experiences up to criticism. At time, especially in the beginning, I could feel myself hold back a little here and there. Or say to myself, “No way can I share that!”
Over the weeks and months, with our great reader support and, I suppose, desensitization about sharing it’s gotten easier. By extension, the happy result of that is that my blogs have become more real, raw and relatable. That, among other things, was always our goal.
But the fear of criticism, of not being liked or accepted still hangs in the background whether it’s in relationship to our blog, to our private lives, professional lives or so on. After reading this Facebook post this week I have taken some bolder steps (we’ll tell you more about that later). I am realizing for good or bad there will always be haters out there lurking in the corners of the internet waiting to pounce on something somebody says, does or shares. Is that really enough to keep me in a box? Am I really going to let that kind of cowardice keep me from sharing here or in my life? Clearly, the answer is no.
That, however, does not mean that there aren’t still going to be scary times. Moments when clicking the Publish button at 6 am some mornings isn’t the hardest thing I do all day. But I don’t want to be heartbroken, as Lamott predicts, at 65 or 75 or even 45 thinking about things I didn’t do out of fear. I, instead, want to live a juicy, big, bold and amazingly cool life that has lots of spills, stains and damage around the edges. That way I will know, for sure, I was here. And if all of that isn’t enough to get me, and you, moving forward with our dreams ask yourself: Who f%$^ing cares?
(L) While my sentiments are the same as G’s, I love Anne Lamott’s work and her post this week was well-timed, I haven’t always had a love affair with her.
My first encounter with Lamott’s work was Traveling Mercies. To say I didn’t like it would be doing her a disservice, it was me who really didn’t understand. I can remember being in my early 20s and thinking that she was not only irreverent, but I could not fathom her reluctance to see God in her life. It’s not that my life was perfect, it’s just that I had not had enough experiences to appreciate where she was coming from.
It didn’t take long to figure it out.
I remember going back and reading her work again and falling in love with her. I appreciated her acknowledgment of us all having Crooked Little Hearts, but still getting up and trying again. I love her continual quest to be a better person, to care for others and seemingly never concerning herself with what others think.
So, what did I get out of her most recent post? Well, she knows the struggle of not being enough and I appreciate her raw honesty. I too am tired of letting negativity seep in, stick to my heart and clog my arteries. I am ready to live with a little more abandon. Oh, and I also ordered 3 more of her books!
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G