Friends – it is only Tuesday, but this week has already felt about two weeks long. I had an amazingly fun weekend – the most recent in a string of fun weekends – but it left me exhausted. If you’ll forgive the cliche, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for a few weeks at social outings and my job, which has recently ramped up, and while I’ve loved all these experiences, I’m so tired that I can barely keep a coherent thought in my head.
You know that feeling when you walk into a room and can’t remember why you’re there? I sort of feel like that all the time right now. (When I said this to my mom, she dryly replied, “welcome to my world.”)
While this is all fine, and I’ll rest up at Christmas, I don’t do well without time to work out, cook healthy food, and generally decompress. I get impatient with others and mean to myself, and I’ve been doing that terrible (and terribly female) thing where you berate yourself for every imaginary stupid thing you said while hanging out with your friends, who were likely too busy having fun to micro-analyze anything you said, stupid or otherwise. I’ve been angry with myself for not having a perfectly clean apartment, perfectly toned biceps, and a perfectly organized handbag.
And then this morning, during breakfast, I read a chapter from one of my all-time favorite books, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. Here’s an excerpt from that very chapter:
Perfectionism is one way our muscles cramp. In some cases we don’t even know that the wounds and the cramping are there, but both limit us. They keep us moving and writing in tight, worried ways. They keep us standing back or backing away from life, keep us from experiencing life in a naked and immediate way…Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow (inadvertently, I’m sure) forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here…
My apartment may be a little messy right now, it’s my own little haven, filled with little baskets and statues from my travels to Africa and India, artwork made by my friends, and kitchen supplies from my Grandma. My body may not be perfect, but it’s whole and moves me around this earth – sometimes with strength, and in rare and special moments, with grace. My purse may be cluttered, but it’s filled with receipts from getting dinner with friends.
So here’s to being kind to ourselves, and to making a beautiful, honest mess out of life.