Here’s where today brought me: I need to be gentle with myself.

I am, at heart, a merciless perfectionist.  But when I can’t be perfect, I cease to try.  All or nothing.  In with both feet, body and mind, or lazing around, refusing to even look at the issue.

Which brings me to the next part: I am horrifically and undeniably lazy.  Well…am I?  I’m lazy about the things I don’t like, or aren’t good at.  The things I enjoy and excel at, I’m actually pretty motivated about.  Mostly.  (Except when I’m not.)  So, is that really just another adjunct to being an unbending perfectionist?  The more I think about it, the more it probably is, actually.  If I can’t do a kick-ass job of it (probably in a totally unrealistic timeframe too, just to put the icing on the cake), why bother trying?  Wouldn’t it be better to sit and wallow in self-deprecation, drink in hand?

So, it puts an interesting spin on this whole 21.5.800 project for me.  If I can’t be perfect at it, which, given my physical situation, is a question answered before asked, should I even try?  Or should I just try to find an excuse to let myself off the hook and walk away, never looking back?  Well, of course I should try.  And I should try knowing with absolute certainty that I cannot be perfect at this.  I will not be perfect at this.  Perfection is not the goal.  (I have trouble with this concept.)  The goal is to participate.  To be present.  To honour myself with a little space, love, and time that’s all for me.  In the process, it will happen to help get my body moving, and area in which I desperately need an ass-kicking, and my creative juices flowing.

Where does this all spit me out?  In the land of You-Are-Going-To-Be-More-Gentle-With-Yourself-If-It-Kills-Me-Which-It-Just-Might.  It’s a lovely place, and one for which I’ve had travel plans for a very long time.  My therapist encouraged me for years to purchase an All Access Pass to this fine destination.  Many an abandoned self-help book has pointed my compass in this direction.  But I was apparently riding a particularly stubborn donkey ass, and I always forgot where I was going, instinctually finding my way back to the land of Berate-Yourself-For-Not-Doing-A-Good-Enough-Job-Even-Though-You-Have-Way-Too-Much-On-Your-Plate-And-Are-Incapable-Of-Saying-No.

So, as much as anything, this 21.5.800 project is about learning to be gentle with myself, and revelling in the process, not the perfection.  So you know what?  The fact that I did 20 minutes of yoga today before stopping because it hurt my back too much is OK.  The fact that I listened to my body and only went as deep as it would allow (which was laughably shallow, but hey – I’m deep in lots of other ways), and stopped when it told me to stop is fantastic.  The fact that I spent the rest of the day physically exhausted from the heightened level of pain that ensued was OK too – I listened to my body, I slept for a couple of hours, and I stayed present.  And I won’t let it stop me from doing it again tomorrow.

And no, I won’t manage to make the 800 word count today, because it’s 10:45 and I have to be up at 0400 for work in the morning.  But that’s also OK.  I sat down and I wrote about my process today.  And that’s a good thing.

I’ve also come to realize that this writing journey will focus on my struggles with my health – physical and mental – and how I navigate through them.  And I’m excited to go deeper into it and explore what’s in there.  Terrified.  And excited.

But for now it’s time to turn the computer off and lay my head down on my pillow.  I am bound and determined not to be 2 hours late for work again tomorrow….