Art, Books I love, Motherhood, Thoughts on life, Writing

Start (Being Patient With Yourself)

Books I LoveI think it’s safe to say I am a bookworm. I generally read fiction…light fiction….ok, I mainly read chick-lit and Jane Austen. You won’t find very much non-fiction on my bookshelves unless you’re looking at Ty’s sections. But after I quit my my job when Big Brother was born I felt pretty lost. I had a baby and switched careers. I went from being a full-time public relations consultant to a full-time stay-at-home mom with a newborn who cried all the time and never slept. I expected motherhood to be a life-altering experience and it was.

At work, I was constantly in production of several projects. I would finish a project while halfway through another and while beginning still another project. Hardly anyone really knows what I did for a living, but I was still able to achieve some kind of personal satisfaction in my accomplishments…especially in finishing something.

The “project” I’m working on now won’t be “completed” for 18 years (ok, more than that but you get the idea).

A friend of mine suggested I check out Jon Acuff so I read his book Start and it’s now one of my favorites. I don’t read it every month or anything, but it helped adjust my thought process on so many things. He talks about the voices we listen to and how they stop us from achieving our dreams. I realized the two voices I hear and listen to most often say “You have no idea how to do that!” and “Whatever you do has to be perfect the first time.”

How ridiculous is that? It’s no wonder I can hardly start something. I’m like Marla Hooch on A League of Their Own who kept stepping in and out of the batting box. Listening to two, contradicting and crazy voices just keeps me from doing anything!

There’s no way I can run a half-marathon…but if I decide to do it I better be able run all 13.1 miles without stopping. There’s no way I can become an artist…but if I do, I better be able to have my art in the Orlando museum by next year. There’s no way my floors will ever be clean…but if I start, my whole house should sparkle in the 2 hours my kids are napping.

This is utter nonsense. Identifying that these two voices are at odds with each other have helped me get the gumption to start something. (See what I did there? Start something…? Ok, anyway.)

So, now I know I can start something, anything, the sky is the limit!

Oh, but right, I’ve already started something. Children. Somehow I can across an interview Jon did with where he spoke specifically to moms about achieving our dreams, passions and ambitions all while raising up our kids. He reminded moms that we don’t have to have it all right now. In fact, it’s rubbish to think that I could all of a sudden be an expert at anything even without kids. That takes time and practice.

And right now, my kids get my time first.

Case in point: they’re sleeping right now (Hallelujah!) I try not to write when they’re awake…which means I started writing this post two weeks ago. Sure, some days I sit down and spit out perfect prose with enough time to eat lunch before they wake up.

Other times it takes two weeks to write something. Those are the times I try to shut up those two voices and listen to the voice I created that says “you don’t have to finish it all right now and it doesn’t have to be perfect.”

I wasn’t a perfectionist as a kid and you wouldn’t know it now by looking at my house, but I hate when things aren’t perfect! It’s one of my biggest obstacles in painting. I want things to be exactly center, right in the lines and the perfect shade.

But I’m a beginner! Honestly, I’m a beginner at nearly everything I’m doing in life right now. I’ve been married five years, so I’m still kinda new at being a wife. My eldest son is 2, so I’m learning as I go there. My last art class was in high school which was…awhile ago. I wrote a book and started this blog, but I have so much more to learn and to perfect in my writing.

So, I try to cut myself a break. My contradicting voices are still alive and chatty in my head at times, but at least I recognize them and can tell them to shut it when I feel like it. And I’m still starting things. I’m still painting, writing (clearly) and cleaning (somewhat begrudgingly) but I’m also starting to be patient with myself.

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