Oh Well. That’s How Things Go.

Artist's rendering of Georgiana

Self-Care Tip#146 – Hold your wonderfuls and your non-wonderfuls together.

Oh well.  That’s how things go.

Today the kids were needing “parenting.”  Go figure.  I was trying.  About mid-day I heard,

Oh well.  That’s how things go.

At first glance you may not see its brilliance.  You may not see its hue of acceptance and texture of presence.  If you turn away too fast, you might miss the tension taking the back door out.  See?  The perfectionism is dissolving into the scum on my drinking glass that it is.  So look.  The room is crowded and for such a small statement to be noticed you have to really look hard.

Oh well.  That’s how things go.

Bits of us panic, thinking that sort of low-religion only leads to mediocrity, or worse.  But it’s not an either-or.  We can strive for excellence and still be present with what we don’t think is so wonderful.  We can include the non-wonderful in our consciousness and definition of self.  When the non-wonderfuls come around, wave, chat, take in the weather and carry-on.  There’s no crisis here.  I can see security waving excellence on.  No rubbernecking.  Things are ok.

Oh well.  That’s how things go.

I am reminded of the “The Birthmark,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  The gorgeous, lovable Georgiana, has a little hand print on her cheek.  A birthmark.  Her husband Aylmer, begins to detest the birthmark intensely and progressively.  It is so distracting to him that he stops seeing “her.”  In the end, it comes down to either be perfect or die.  Great story, and yes Aylmer, read my blog.

Question:  How have you made your peace with perfectionism?  How has it affected you?  Please tell me your story.

If you’d like to read another post with related information, see, “Adequate.”

23 thoughts on “Oh Well. That’s How Things Go.

  1. This is a topic that is near and dear, so to speak. I will always be a recovering perfectionist and will always struggle with it. Perfectionism at some of its extremes, from my experience, is really debilitating. Perfectionism is different from ambition and different from wanting to do one’s best; I’ve had to realize that perfectionism is actually a form of hubris and that only imperfection can arise from trying to be “perfect.” For me, perfectionism first centered around school. By my senior year in high school, my perfectionism was so bad that I could not eat before school because I was too anxious about messing up in some way that day—if I ate, my stomach would expel it. It also took the form of spending hours and hours on homework (some of which was legitimate studying) to do things like erase a line of my Spanish homework and reprint it because the penmanship wasn’t, in my mind, good enough and (I feared) would displease the teacher. I would sit all day in my classes with my insides in knots. I had fantasies about getting up on my desk and screaming out in the middle of class—and then what would happen to me, I wondered? On days of tests, I was a mess. I was terrified of even missing a single answer, terrified I would be forever hated by the teachers I respected. The thing about having straight A’s is that you always have to them…I thought. And if I didn’t earn them, I felt EVERYONE would be disappointed in me and that NO ONE (not even my parents) would love me or be proud of me anymore. It seems irrational now, but that’s how it was. Who I was in school was my identity. The pressure was enormous.

    Then in college, I earned my first B+. And then there was once a C. Hallelujah!!!! The freedom that came from that was tremendous. I was actually very happy about it. I was still…well, still me. I realized that it was absurd and self-aggrandizing to presume that I should be good at everything. Earning A’s in my major was good enough. True perfectionism really has some major ego behind it, I think, maybe even narcissism. And since no one aspires to be an egotistical narcissist, I was starting to have an epiphany…

    However, that expectation that I can be perfect (which is really laughable—why should *I* of all people get to be the one who is perfect????) still unfortunately creeps up at random times. I have thought about keeping a log to figure out my triggers. Anxiety always follows, and “bits of panic.” Parenting is stressful that way…always thinking I am going to mess up my kids if I do one thing wrong, and then forever making mistakes and knowing it. Also, there is perfectionism as a wife…perfectionism as a daughter. I could go on and on.

    There are some tools that help me do battle. I realize that I am just a human being, for one. That there is a great Love, and that Love works through us if we let go of our pride and step out of the way. That there is joy and glory even in the non-wonderfuls. That I have to remember to laugh at myself. That I need to focus on what is going right in life, not the things over which I have little to no control. And that making mistakes is how we experience growth, and growing as a person is a reason to be alive. I do not want to miss out on my journey because I am too busy worrying to death about making an error.

  2. Great… another way to express a sentiment that I frequently have. I have a short version and a long version of “Oh well. That’s how things go.” and many versions in between depending on the situation and the company.

    The Long:
    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

    The Short:
    F… It

      • XC,
        I hope that it is alright that I call you that. I really like your blog and think you do a lot of good by sharing your experience and recovery with others. I would comment on there but someone ^^^^^ needs a little extra help attracting readers while caring for her oh so incorrigible children (no offense intended to the Quijada children. They will all be doctors some day and based on the current direction of health care… I need connections), enduring husband, the only basement in California, on very little sleep, while driving around in her oh so pimped Mini-Van on her way back and forth to “Clinic”. Am I the only one here that does not know what “Clinic” is. Am I to gather that she takes a break from mending minds and developing intellect to do a few hours giving flu shots? WTF!? (That means What The Freud, for those of you new to my blog).

        Sorry, XC. Back to you. I think that one of the most effective things that you do on your self-sufficient blog is give readers real life practical solutions for coping with your issues that can be applied to any issue. They are good and practical, from the list of people to contact when things get out of control to the activities such as X-Box and Face Book. Speaking of FB, I have sent you a friend request. I really am not interested in your Bejeweled score, however, I would love for you to check out the pictures of my son and I in Alaska several months ago. This is one of th best trips I have ever been on with him. He has asked over and over about when we can go back and if we can move there. I love taking him new and interesting places to get his perspective. You live in an incredible place and so do I. I admire your attitude and the fact that you are so willing to share with others. When things kid hard for me and I really start to miss him, I look at the pics of all the things we have done together.

        On another note, if you have any reasonably attractive female friends who are not practicing alcoholics and/or married, I think they should meet my new friend Kevin. I think that Alaska would be a great opportunity for him. He is young, British, and seems to have fairly decent teeth. Kevin, chicks in Alaska are hot! Don’t know what it is about the cold air, but, they all seem to be nicely built and real friendly. If you don’t meet someone right away, don’t worry. You can go work on the North Slope or on the Deadliest Crab Boat and when you see a woman again… she will look good. This, my friends, is a concept called “Bros b4 Hos”. (Don’t really even know who to apologize to for that one… In the spirit of affirmative action I will apologize to frogs). Thanks for reading, be a friend to yourself, and do not eat yellow snow.

        • oh my word! (gasp!) i’m going to call the bouncer. (laughing too hard to speak!) people, u just give the word. (I wish i read this before i ate that.) Rick u r incorrigible which is only encouraging to u unfortunately. keep on.

  3. In dealing with my GAD/Depression and a 21 month old I have learned to “Not sweat the small stuff” and “to choose my battles”.
    This post made me laugh at myself because I was always the one at home, at work, at the store etc making sure everything was perfect…the reports, dinner, cans on the shelf….WOW how I would “stress” out over this stuff.
    Now I tell myself “I will make mistakes. I am NOT a robot!” There are other people in the office to double check reports not just me, who cares if dinner burns sometimes? and the stock clerks are the ones that get paid to straighten the shelves.
    It has made life a little better for me to think this way and I have found more joy in life all around!

  4. Good insight. The first step is admitting you are not a robot… great job. So….. would you like to tell our audience about GAC and exactly what it is? It will mean so much more coming from you as opposed to me going into a lengthy explanation filled with medical terminology and jargon.

    • Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
      Difficulty concentrating
      Difficulty controlling worry
      Excess anxiety and worry about things
      Shortness of breath
      Stomach problems
      Fatigue
      Irritability
      Shakiness
      Headaches
      Restlessness
      Sleep problems
      Depression

      LOL Now I sound ike a robot….Bascialy as my husband has decribed me…being “The Incredible Hulk”
      Being happy go lucky one moment and then a raving…ummm well…”female dog” 🙂 the next.
      I would have all of the above mentioned at any given time. Now with my new insight, medication, and realizing I was not losing my mind I can control it better.
      I still have flare ups but not as often as before and for that I am grateful and I knw my family is too!

  5. GAD is short for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. There are several symptoms fo GAD:
    Hard time concentrating
    Trouble controlling worry
    Excess anxiety and worry over things
    Heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and stomach problems
    Fatigue
    Irritability
    Muscle tension, shakiness, headaches
    Trouble staying put
    Sleep disturbance problems
    Depression

    Oh my… now I sound like a Robot…LOL
    Basicaly people with GAD go from Happy go Lucky one moment and turn into the Incredible Hulk (as my husband has described me) in a split second.
    There is no control over it. I have experienced all of the above symptoms. Now with realization I am not totaly losing my mind and with the help of medication and my I am not a robot attitude I have fewer episodes.
    I hope this is what you were looking for Rick 🙂

    • not to worry. i wouldn’t have included them both except they are slightly different from each other and i like them so i thought heck! who says something that good can’t b said twice!? if u want me to though, just tell me which one to lay aside and i will. 🙂

  6. Lisa,
    Very well said and thoroughly explained. As for the ever present Dr. Sana (I just said it wrong because I like to) Johnson-Quijada, ten years of medical school and we get “nice, lisa. Keep on!” and “Seconding” Wow! Outstanding! Such insight. Lisa, don’t worry about your Bad GAD and the fact that the fine Dr. did not bother to capitalize your name, she was not trying to hurt anybodies feeling. In fact, just look how often she does not capitalize her own name……………………………………OK never mind… I’m with you and I will support you. There will be no capitalization in my name until everyone gets them. We must stand together against oppression and intimidation.

    On that note, I may seem a bit bitter today. How the heck would you feel if you poured your heart out in an environment that you assumed was safe and then got threatened with some “Psychiatric Bouncer”? Just what I need at this point in my life, a little overwhelming fear that I will get pummeled every time I type. Hmmmmm… fear of being pummeled by imaginary bouncers… we have the perfect med for that… nice. On the subject of security, your bouncer does not scare me. Perhaps you should save him for yourself . Great job going on and on about your basement woes. After a litlle research (stalking…. whatever) I have discovered that there are exactly two houses in Southern California with basements…. one appears to be a well armed militia with with a 50 ft Jack Daniels bottle on the roof and the other a well kept house with a couple of rocket launchers on the corners. Hmmm… very nice…… I give it a week before your awakend to the sound of “scuse me doctor! I’m out of meds! My friend needs some too” Good job…. Oh yeah, I really do go out of my way not to cross any boundaries or make too many insensitive remarks. Perhaps you think the fact that dq is half Lebonese (I can spell it my way) and the fact that I made reference to rocket launchers on her presumed abode is a wee bit insensitive. She is sure to point this out and do the whole victim thing. Not possible! If you will all peruse the blogs back for a week of so, in one sentence you will find the words, Lebanese, vaginal canal, and nose. How can you possibly cross a line that that little parlay of words didn’t already completely obliterate? That is not even a fetish on any website that I have heard of but not looked at. Uhh…. be a good friend to yourself and those who get bullied by non capitalizing doctors! Whoooooo Lynard Skynard… the other basement guys really no how to party if your looking for a good time.

  7. I haven’t. I had this bizarre all or nothing approach. If I can’t do it all and do it all right, like a supermom, it’s just not worth even trying sometimes…I couldn’t possibly do it all. I have to do things to really motivate myself to do something as simple as clean my kitchen or cook dinner – like listen to a radio or television program that gets me wound up and focused on something else, like politics. lol

  8. Jennifer,
    dq may be a bit late tonight… she’s a woman… it’s a safe bet…..(FREE SPEECH… leave it there). I was really looking forward to checking out your blog and went to it… the only thing on the page was a zero… i’m kind of depressed now… does it do that for everybody or just me? On another note… this would be a great opportunity for everyone to go over to that wonderful blog written by her sister “Creating Brains”. Her sister, who has five children and complains far less if ever, welcomes the challenges of each day, and feel blessed to be a strong Lebanese woman…. would love and appreciate each and ever comment and additional reader that came her way. Before any crazy rumors get started, this is absolutely not said sister taking on the persona of the village idiot to steal blog readers. Not what it is at all…. though if it was… certainly would be creative! This technique is called “Stiring the Pot” BLOG WAR!

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