On doing things badly

I really struggle with allowing myself to do things badly. I don’t know if this older child syndrome, or a product of emotionally immature parenting, or if it’s just a stew of infractions on the part of my parents, teachers and community, but my Inner Critic wins out more often than not when it comes to sitting down and doing…anything. I write and delete or hoard in secret (depending on my mood), I avoid drawing, I hide myself and make myself small at every opportunity given to me. I’ve been doing this for a long, long time. I have a lot of practice at this.

It’s gotten better. A little. In the past three years I’ve allowed myself to fake it until I make it, which has led to several seasonal positions working as a teaching assistant, volunteering to coach a robotics club for elementary kids, and now substituting as a classroom assistant. I’ve also been doing this writing challenge, committing myself to writing for 100 days (ah! AH!). These all scare me. I am haunted by imposter syndrome. I’m not trying to ignore it, per se. Rather, I treat it like a friendly ghost. I’m having tea with my ghosts. Let’s talk. Early grey or green? Honey or sugar? Why are you scared? What do you think will happen if you post that blog? Commit to a new painting? What’s the worst that could happen? The best? Look at where we’ve already gotten, little ghost! We’re on the precipice of getting a dream job, where we get to be dirty and creative and watch little humans grow and develop; we may never have to sit in a fluorescent cubicle, or be forced to stare at a glowing rectangle for eight hours, or be micromanaged. We will get to make little friends, and take our kid to work with us every day. It’s so close. We can taste it, and it’s because we tried, as wrong as it felt. And look, we’ve already written over 300 words (and our minimum was only 100!) Now we’re going to post, and we’re going to cringe, but we can close the laptop and go do something else, and pretend this never happened. If we do this every day, for a year, what will we end up with then?

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