I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘perfectionism’

Second Friday: Adverse Side Effects

Did you know that eating right can be a moral hazard? Like it can make you loose in other parts of your life? 

I’ve noted that as I’ve completed 25% of the challenge, I have not been doing quite so well in other areas of my life. It’s as though I have a problem with doing so much good; that good decision making is some sort of zero-sum game. “I’m eating well and taking care of my body so that means I can be less disciplined with my finances” or whatever else. It’s weird, but not really. If you ever have used food as a reward and you are not using it any longer, it makes sense that you would replace it with something else. 

I wrote earlier about how I am a sucker for extrinsic rewards. This isn’t quite the same, but simply another indicator of how I’m just a baby in a 30 year old’s body. Apparently, I deserve some sort of reward for doing something I should be doing anyhow. Shouldn’t thinking of my pristine future bloodwork results be enough? But is this really so bad? To spend some money spontaneously when I’ve met all my obligations? Why can’t I just do perfectly all around, though?

In short – I suppose that the emotional weight we put on ourselves is heavier than any physical mass we are working to take off.  

 

Warning: Triathlon can make it go soft.

Your heart, that is. What else would I be talking about?

All right, kids. It’s been a week since I registered for this madness, and I am quickly realizing that my life is very different than it was just a year ago.

“But Lady J,” you retort. “You were sexy as hell last October, even before you did your first triathlon. What are you talking about?” Well. Who am I to fight an argument like that? *blushes* I’ve got to tell y’all, though – the eyes through which I admire myself in the mirror see life in a new way.

Life can be more than a bit torturous for an introverted perfectionist. Already, my tendency is to share myself fairly selectively. Add to that my feeling that the more people know me the less they’ll want to do with me – quite frankly, it’s a wonder that I open up to anyone. Probably because all humans need connection with one another. Whatevs.

Since triathlon has come into my life, I am finding that I resent that need less and less. What is training but dealing with imperfection? Race day is simply imperfection management. I have learned that excellence and imperfection are not mutually exclusive. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that because my definition of success is changing, I am slowly becoming more comfortable sharing with others.

As I think of just how intense my training will have to be as I approach my first Ironman, I find myself looking forward not to race day itself but to the path that will take me there. I am excited to dig deep and see more of what I am made. The real shocking part is that I am also excited to get to know people who are currently in my life even better. Not only that, it doesn’t scare me to ask for help as it once did. I know I am going to meet a lot of new people and it doesn’t even make me roll my eyes to think about it. What’s that about?!

I think my favorite part of my mellowing is what I see happening in my professional life. I find that a kinder, gentler Lady J is more sensitive to the needs of my students. It is easier for me to see the good in their efforts to make music, even when it sounds absolutely horrific. The words that it takes to convince someone to try something new are coming more naturally to me. My babies are becoming less tense because I am starting to recognize that it is normal for them not to understand something right away, to stumble, and then get it if they keep showing up.

“Lady J,” you say in disbelief. “You teach music. Shouldn’t you know better than anyone that practice is needed to become proficient at anything?” Dammit. You’re right again. And I have always maintained with my students that I don’t expect them to be perfect – only to try their best. I am realizing I have secretly been hoping that they would get it right on the first try because their imperfection is a reflection of my imperfection. The more they play imperfectly, the more I have to deal with my own inadequacies as musician and teacher. Twisted, I know. Now, I am able to celebrate their progress with much more than a sigh of relief. “Thank God I don’t completely suck,” I would think. No, no, NO! “Thank God you stuck with it and can reap the rewards of your hard work.”

So, um, yeah. Lord willing, becoming an Ironman is gonna be pretty sweet. The road and relationships I build along the way are going to be even sweeter. Hugs for everyone!

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Sweet Relief

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If I met a man who could do to me what Andre Watts’ playing does for me, I wouldn’t be single. TRUTH. I’ve had the opportunity to hear him play more than once and every time it was nothing less than spectacular. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. I even got to meet him once while in college and OMG HE TOUCHED MY LEFT SHOULDER. If it weren’t for triathlon, I would never have washed it. Mr. Watts, God forbid anything ever happen to your lovely wife (Joan) but never fear, you’ve got another (Joan) ready to step in.

I have a VHS copy of his performance at Lincoln Center from 1985 that I watch whenever I am in need of musical inspiration. He never fails me. I watched it again fairly recently, and for the first time I made a note. A note of his missed notes. OMG he missed notes! But you know what? It did not matter. At. All. It did not take away from the music one bit. He was freely playing and expressing and sharing and WORKING. My God, he can work that instrument. Ooooooh, that lucky Joan!

Focus, Joan.

What a relief it is to know that I can be imperfect and yet still effective. I can miss notes and still make music. I can be slow as molasses and still cross finish lines. I can confuse kids’ names and not catch all the billion sunshine state standards and still be an effective teacher. I practice, train, and study no longer to be perfect, but to maximize my effectiveness. I recognize that I’ve been blessed with the gift of good health and must work to share what it is that I have to give in order to honor God.

How sweet.

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