I have one of the worst-kept secrets in my family. Sometimes I tell a little lie or two …
Credit Image: Grand Park, Bordeaux, France on Flickr
Usually harmless, these little white lies keep me from feeling as though I’ve disappointed someone if I haven’t done something I’m supposed to have done. But lately I’ve come to the realization (with the help of a few family members) that my LWLs are counter-productive and keep me in a constant state of anxiety, in addition to being cowardly. My LWLs are mostly of one variety – “Have you done ___ yet?” – answer always "yes" – and aren’t based around secrets or people’s feelings. Yet, they’re an unattractive quality and one I’ve made it my New Year’s Resolution to be rid of. Bonus points – it deals with my most negative qualities – irresponsibility, procrastination and nerves – all at once.
I’ve always been a list-oriented person, but I’m the type who checks off the easy things first and leaves the tougher, take-a-long-time activities until the very end. You know what I mean? While things get done, it’s usually later than necessary. But why do I do this? It’s because I’m a perfectionist (and a Capricorn) through and through. I don’t want something to be completed unless I can put my name behind it, and when I have a lot of time, that means it will encompass my whole life. Instead, I wait until there is a prescribed amount of time to deal with a problem or situation so that I cannot possibly achieve perfection by my given deadline. AKA – I’m always disappointed in my work. The next part of the equation is making myself comfortable with the fact that other people might be disappointed in me if I haven’t done something yet that I said I would do. The idea of disappointing people usually sends me into a stress-induced panic attack, but I’ve started coming to terms with the fact that this is a part of life and I can’t claim to be in control of other people’s feelings.
I used to think of my procrastination as the trait of an artist – working toward perfection, an artist's work is never finished. Now that I’ve stopped lying, that’s bullshit. I’m not creating art, I’m completing pretty mundane tasks that will hurt just about no one if they are done imperfectly. So I’ve given up on protecting myself with a robe of lies. Clothes off.
I will disappoint people, I will. Partly because I live to make myself happy and not others. Partly because I may be selfish, but I don’t want to live a life based on anyone else’s goals and aspirations for me. It’s hard enough to make yourself happy without having to worry about the nonsense other people think you “should do.” They have their own lives they can “should” all over. I’m going to stop thinking in terms of doing things by the book. That’s what this blog is about. It’s about saying with my fingers crossed behind my back and my tongue in my cheek, “I’m so sorry if who I am offends you.” It will no longer be important to me to only do things that my grandmother could read on the front of a newspaper. And if I’m no longer telling lies, there are some things my family members have said or done that embarrass the hell out of me. And I still love them for it. They aren’t on this earth to make me happy, even though they consistently do.
I’m going to be as honest, and brave and screwed-up a version of myself as I can be. I want to make mistakes and live with no regrets all at once. And sometimes, I may slip up; I might act “badly” by your book. But I’m trying and that’s all you can ask of me. Truthfully, that’s all I’ll let you ask of me. And I must not tell a lie.
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