Earlier in the week I wrote an article about the rejection and failure in my life and how that is paired with feelings of being overwhelmed by artistic impulses. But at the end of the article, I promised to follow it up with an analysis of the acceptance and success I am experiencing. Funny how that last article just rolled out of me, naturally, the way we writer’s like for a piece to roll out of us. Effortlessly. This follow-up, however, is the last thing I want to do right now. It’s been on my to-do list this weekend and is literally the last one I have left to address. I’ve either checked off or begun every other item on the list.
Maybe it’s hard to write about feeling accepted and being successful when, deep down, I really don’t feel like I am truly either of those things. Perhaps when I’m finished writing about it, I’ll have a greater sense of acceptance and success. One can hope.
I suppose these days I feel more accepted than I ever have in my life, except for maybe various periods of time during my childhood. There are friends. Actual girl friends with whom I text frequently and visit regularly. None of them seem to find me highly offensive nor do they seem to get their feathers ruffled easily when I’m not as socially appropriate as I mean to be. My husband has proclaimed that I’m allowed to wear my hair however I want and he no longer cares what I pierce. Still not sure if the key here is that he no longer cares or that he is trying to stretch himself into a more accepting person.
There was a time in my life when I didn’t crave the acceptance of others as much as I do now. You’d think that, in my (late) thirties, I’d be moving away from such a craving but, unfortunately for me, that’s not the case. I still couldn’t care less what society or people think of me. But folks who matter to me? Individuals I respect, care about, value, and love? I really want them to accept me for who I am. Now that I don’t have a mother in my life, it’s that much more important to me that my friends and immediate family accept me. Above all, I want to be viewed as good. Kind, worthy, righteous, smart, funny, generous, compassionate, thoughtful and talented. Those are the words I want others to use when they speak of me. What I fear is that they are more likely to describe me as weird, quirky, bitchy, unstable, crazy, emotional, histrionic, hypochondriac, neurotic, inflexible, and insecure. I suppose the truth is that the first list is just as true as the second list. It’s just that, so often, it appears that the people I’ve chosen to have in my life only see the qualities on the second list. And perhaps some of the problem is that the qualities in the second list are so LOUD that they cannot hear me being kind because it’s drowned out by my neuroses.
The more I accept myself and try to turn the volume down on some of my less attractive qualities, the more others will accept me. It’s just logical. While I’m working on that, I have a core group of amazing girls (and a couple awesome dudes) who’s patience, kindness, love and, yes, acceptance help get me through the day. I know I am loved and that’s pretty amazing.
It’s a little easier to see the success in my life, luckily.
Just making it through each homeschool year is a success, in my opinion. Because homeschooling is HARD WORK. Like way harder than I ever thought it could be. So every day that I don’t throw in the towel, say, “Screw this”, and sign them all up for school is a major accomplishment, since there are days when I’m so very tempted to do it.
My house is clean and tidy. Almost always. And for a homeschool family of five this is no small feat.
The homeschool co-op I started is still operating. I mean, no thanks to me. But I was smart enough to partner with a reliable person who took over the leadership when I couldn’t handle it, emotionally, anymore.
I’ve not been fired from most of the volunteer jobs I’ve had in the recent months.
For ten months I’ve exercised regularly, only skipping an occasional day or two during certain health issues, and taking a full week off to let my poison ivy clear up. Taking up a new habit like working out at such a late age wasn’t easy but now I couldn’t give it up if I tried.
I finished the Summer Reading Program. This is huge for me since I’m not much of a reader.
I’ve learned drawing and needle felting and walked out on a limb to purchase makeup. Forcing myself out of my comfort zone so that I can learn new things is such a wonderful step forward for me.
In March, I braved a meeting of a local writer’s group and I’ve been going as often as I can since. As a result, I’ve participated in a local storytelling show twice this year. The last piece I read was especially well-received and I was quite proud of it.
All of the little things that have been on the to-do list are being checked off. Except for a couple of kitchen items that I’ve had to skip because of kitchen repairs. They will get done though. I have faith in myself (to not rest until it’s all done… at which point I’ll make another list).
There now, I was able to come up with quite a few examples of acceptance and success in my life. I feel a bit more confident after forcing myself to do so as well.
The main thing I feel like I have missing from the success list is performance related. I never did try an open mic night for comedy. And I feel pretty terrible about that. It’s the one thing that I’ve been meaning to do that I flaked out on. So maybe it’s time for me to just do it.
My friend Caroline asked me how I would define success. This exercise indicates that I’d define it by accomplishing all of the things I listed… and then also trying comedy. At least once. I guess what I need to do is figure out what it is that is keeping me from doing it and address those things.
This has been helpful.
Why are you still reading?