One of my favorite activities a few years ago was to sit down with a glass of wine and start plugging away at my keyboard. I type over 100 words a minute and would just get lost in the stream of consciousness as I felt my perceived drunken brilliance fly out onto the page. I’d wake up in the morning to a mess of words, read through and try to figure out what I was trying to accomplish, and every once in a while, I’d have an editable piece of work. At that point, I’d slap it up on my website and call it ‘done’. Like throwing darts at a dartboard while blind-folded, occasionally I’d hit home with someone and they’d tell me they made a difference in their life. To me, that was success. If I could get whatever message out to one person, then I was getting what I needed from posting my inner most thoughts on the web.
When I started this “Flaws” challenge; I was simply trying to be silly. Much like everything I do, I just throw things out to the world willy-nilly with no real goals – thinking that if I just try to do the right thing; it’ll be okay in the end. Throwing darts.
Unexpectedly, the truth came out… my biggest flaw is that I’m my own worst enemy, and everything that I see in myself that are perceived criticisms are actually just characteristics that shape who I am. “The courage to change” is often touted, but what about the courage to be “me”. Sure, I still sit single, a little lonely and a lot sad sometimes, but this challenge has changed me in a way that I never anticipated.
I’m trying to be less hard on myself. Many people sent me private messages confessing that they too felt that way about themselves and found it refreshing to know that they’re not alone. The truth? Imperfection is beautiful.
Since I stopped drinking a few years ago, I’ve had the opposite effect that I would’ve expect. With the extra time that I should have had to do the creative things that I always wanted to do; I simply couldn’t bring myself to put pen to paper. The emotional criticism of whatever would come out was just too much to deal with. My ideas were littered with the fear of judgment from people that I cared (and didn’t care) about. It wasn’t worth it to share with anyone unless they were close friends where I knew I was “safe”. I couldn’t write without the liquid courage of that first sip of wine. I didn’t know how to protect myself without the ability to check out of the world of judgment and still write down the words that float around in my imagination.
The relief that I’ve felt from publicizing some of the things that litter my own mind into the “loving hands” of the Facebook friends around me has been a truly growing experience. (Even to the friend that told me, “She hates it… it’s too self-deprecating.”) That critiques come with art, and great art comes from risk and often vulnerability. Feeling uncomfortable when criticized comes with producing any kind of art. And sitting in that discomfort is greatest way to grow.
Thank you for paying attention to my 30 days of flaws and helping me let my inner voice out into the world again without a glass of wine.
So here I am, writing again. Flaws and all.