Tuesday, January 24, 2012

help yourself.

It just keeps surprising me over and over: I have a wicked perfectionist streak. If you know me, you're like, "Duh." But to me, I guess it's the not streak that's so surprising; it's how it truly arrests me - how I'm held back from pursuing risky (and not-so-risky) ventures, and how it feeds a vicious struggle within me. How, yeah, it has so far stopped me from publishing any of the myriad blog posts I've started.

So now I'm doing the thing I'm afraid of most. Things, I guess, because I'm also an extremist, so there are lots of "things I'm afraid of most." It's scary to start publicly sharing myself via a medium that is, by nature, a living document. Were I to publish a memoir, I could craft it for months or years, edit and revise it, add a chapter in the middle and a proper epilogue to wrap things up. Blogs...are not so much like that. But I'm learning that if it's scary because it's challenging my perfectionism, then I ought to do it. Just for the sake of doing it.

2011 kinda blew, for lots of reasons. But at the end of December, during my week-long break from work, while I spent my days intermittently napping, reading, and eating a six-pound bag of candy (Christmas present, yo), I had a series of super awesome revelations. You know, along the lines of "...what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life" (Mary Oliver) and chasing dreams and figuring out what the hell my dreams even are. And for the first time in so, so long, it felt like something loosened in my chest. I returned to my "essential self," as Martha Beck would call it: the person I've always been, but who has diminished or dwindled in the face of social conventions and adult pressures. I came into adulthood in the last couple years, but did so kicking and screaming (mostly secretly, quietly, because for sure I had to present the facade of perfect transition), and now that I've reconnected with my essential self? It feels like the light has returned. Hence, returnoflight.blogspot.com (um, that's this page right here), with the header-reminder: Help Yourself.

In social work school, the mantra was repeated incessantly: You can't help someone until they're ready to be helped. Finally, after all this time, I'm ready to help myself. I've got the plans all set to go (what's up, Type A?), and I plan on documenting it all here. You might think I'm way over-sharing, that my social filter has completely dissolved. You might be right. But this one's for me, and you know what? I DO want to know about my journey into parenthood, from going off the birth control pill to losing my mucus plug to corralling my toddlers. I DO want to remember the steps I take to meet my MHealthy exercise goals so as not to disappoint my step aerobics classmates (Box the Sashay, baby). And I DO want to have a record of my home improvement projects, including a whole blog entry on the benefits and drawbacks of various cabinet pulls for the kitchen.

So here we go. Regular chronicles of me helping myself, focusing on certain topics: mental health (a.k.a. adventures in anxiety disorder), physical health (because it's inextricably intertwined with mental health, and given my mental state up until recently, it's no shock that there was not one day in 2011 when I wasn't physically ill or hurt in some way), the journey into parenthood (those birth control pills? Haven't taken them in almost a month [but dear god NO, I am not pregnant yet]), and definitely the most earth-shattering topic of all: interior design!

I've been my own worst enemy. Maybe if I can reach a state of frenemyship...that's at least a start. So rather than waiting for this blog to be the perfect record of how I crawled out of the dark and into the light, it's just here. Imperfections and all.

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