Tag Archives: perfectionism

Recovery meets real life, or, Time to get back to work!

19 Jun

8:02 pm

It’s not that I don’t like being on this inner tube, fizzy water in hand, floating down the calm waters of a river with no end in sight, because I do.

For me, recovery has been about stopping what I was doing and just…stalling for a while. Breathing. Doing nothing but focusing on myself, and my recovery. Don’t get me wrong: getting sober WAS work, but I didn’t have the stress of going into an office every day doing a job I felt was meaningless (a large part of why I drank in the first place). I had good reason to not work (and here, I use the term in the sense of “real world” work): I was getting sober. I was healing. I was putting all my energy–for once, for ONCE!–into saving myself instead of the saving the world, as it were.

Until recently. Lately, I’ve been pushing myself to get back into the world of science writing. Truth be told, I’ve been scared SHITLESS of writing on a freelance basis, well, since I graduated from boot cam—err, my master’s program in journalism. I tried, here and there over the past several years, wrote a memoir that I shelved, started and stopped a few other personal writing projects; but, I simply haven’t pitched many story ideas–what if I was ignored or worse, brutally rejected?! YES, I worked in the field, but my standards were high: in order to be a “real” journalist, I needed to be pitching and writing as a contributing editor, a freelance writer; not being assigned stories and story ideas by an editor.

It’s hard to explain this pedantic notion of what it means to “be a writer” in my mind. Whatever it is, I wasn’t it. No way, no how. Even though I WAS, actually, writing quite complex pieces every month for a magazine (and doing it well, I might add). Somewhere along the way, I lost confidence in myself as a writer–in my creativity and in my writing.

That’s been the story of my life, though: a deep-seated lack of self-confidence. Part of it is genetic: I’m an introvert. Journalism isn’t necessarily a good occupation for a lot of us writers who, yes, prefer to be alone all day. However, we grow, we learn, we stretch outside our comfort zones; it gets easier, and it becomes a job that we can do. Part of it is experience: my graduate program was pretty brutal, and I guess I internalized that criticism a little too much. I’m always fearing the worst when it comes to negative feedback and/or criticism. I was–I am–in abject fear of failure. Finally, part of it is being from the Midwest: we don’t brag. Bragging is just not in our blood. We’re nice, we let others go first, we say we’re sorry a little too much. (In fact, I wonder how different my life would have gone if I had been born and raised in New York…)

I KNEW this day would come, and maybe I drew out my recovery–quitting, staying quit, conquering the cravings, dealing with some issues–so that I could put off getting back into the real world of work.

Yet, I’ve made some progress lately on the pitching and writing front. I’ve also started the process of getting back into reviewing and assimilating the science news (which is a hefty amount of information, to be done on a gradual basis).

I think, actually, that the so-called “miracle” is on its way. I’ve noticed my confidence increasing: I’ve suddenly seemed to have arrived at this point of, Hey, I can do this, and I WILL DO THIS. It’s no longer a matter of, I’m not good enough, or, I’m afraid. I need to get back in the game. I’m a (damn) good player, and I’ve been on the sidelines for too long.

Onward! 100 days in one week… Unicorns, CHARGE! 🙂 *glitter ball*

Do one new thing every day…

3 Jan

1:44 am

…is my New Year’s mantra! I’ve already broken a few resolutions, like, eat less cake and drink less Diet Coke, BUT… Resolutions are things to work on, not attain. When it comes to goals like these, it’s not all or nothing, it’s not black or white, and it’s not one-size-fits-all. Just like getting sober! (Not to mention, what does the Gregorian calendar have to do with my soda consumption? I’m sure the Pope wouldn’t really care if I didn’t eat less cake…)

I like the idea of having a year’s theme. In fact, I was reminded by Mished-Up’s awesome post just how productive declaring a “word of the year” can be! I did that for a few years back in my early 20s. One year it was something like Growth. Another year it was Change. A third was, This is the year of Creativity.

Haha, I KNOW. But the words resonated with specific things in my life at the time, and it seemed to work. If I had a word for this year, or a theme, it would be… ‘ME.’ Or, ‘BACK UP, BITCHES, AND MAKE SOME ROOM!’

ME, to me, translates to kicking ass. Starting. Getting to work. Making a bucket list and getting ON IT. Letting go of the past year and reaping some of the rewards of getting sober. So, I’ve decided that I’d like to try something new–something that’s probably been on my to-do list for years–every day. It doesn’t have to be exactly new, or even grandiose. It could be as simple as trying a new food, or trying to make a new kind of food. Ordering some crocheting tools online and starting my “plastic bag” project. Hiking a new trail. Visiting a new island. Pitching a story. Taking an online fiction class. Learning how to give a better massage. I mean, the list is ENDLESS!

I have the tendency to overthink things. I know, I know, it’s hard for some of you reading this blog to believe, but it’s true. 😉 Overthink and overplan. I’m trying to try something new this year, and to a certain extent, it’s out of necessity: I no longer have the energy to be a perfectionist, especially in the face of the work it takes to maintain my sobriety. The other day, after reading something (probably someone’s blog), I realized that most, if not all, of my recent choices and lack thereof have been based on my fear(s). Fear of doing stuff, fear of starting stuff. I’m a fearful perfectionist, and these two character traits have definitely prevented me from moving forward in my career, for example. They’ve also tied me to the wine bottle, as it’s easy to avoid confronting your fears–and your fear of your perfectionism getting the better of you in the creative process–when you CAN’T do anything because you’re either drunk or hung over. You can’t fail if you don’t try, right?

Anyway, it’s been a good new year so far. New Year’s Eve was fine, actually. Sure, I felt a few pangs, especially at midnight (though, the whiff of champagne I got from someone else’s glass made me feel almost sick–ah, the power of association), but I got over it quickly by remembering just how much I have. I guess, the whole “I do not want what I haven’t got” idea is hitting home these days because I really don’t want what other people “have” anymore. (The question is, what DO I want? Another day, another post.)

I felt good where I was at, no desire to be out and about, getting drunk. I was in bed by 2 (am, that is), and woke up to a bright, sunny day. And, what a great way to start off the new year–no hangover, no drama, nothing to hate myself for having done or say I’m sorry about for having said, no tracks to cover or mishaps to fix. My frustration(s) the other night have passed, and I’m “back on it,” as they say. I guess some days will be harder than others, but it was good to pinpoint my triggers (thoughts and then, feelings, that drive me into a tailspin) by actually observing them and not drinking them away.

And, one new thing a day? Well, my boyfriend and I hopped the 2 pm ferry over to [beautiful island] yesterday and hiked to a beach. We’ve been to that beach before so that wasn’t “new,” but we hiked around a resort and over a few trails that I had never been on, so that was! Today, I signed up for my first road race in like, years and years–8 Tuff Miles. It’s an 8-mile course up and over the hills of [beautiful island], so…it’ll give me a very good reason to stay sober past my 90-day goal. (Not to mention, my sciatic and leg pain have subsided to like, a 2 out of 10, so that’s a HUGE relief. I’ve been swimming to strengthen and now running to build muscle without overdoing it… The key for me is skipping yoga; basic stretches are OK, but anything else is counterproductive.)

Yes, the thought of drinking at 90 days has crossed my mind, but, WHY? I mean, what purpose would it serve? I like where I’m at now; I feel like I’m finally getting out from under some of my thought triggers. I want to work more, do more, and run at least every other day. HOW WOULD BEING HUNG OVER HELP ME? Not to mention, I have no “need” to drink: there is nothing that I want to run from, and I know that I have to face my issues and fears and goals and relationships, including the one with myself, sober if I’m going to move forward. Drinking just sets me back. How simple, but profound.

2013 and, well, life is the same–I’m still sober! Happy new year, indeed!

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