Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Loving Limitations- a how-not-to

“And if men come unto to me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” Ether 12:27

Bah, humbug. The message of the scripture above (from the Book of Mormon for anyone not familiar therewith {I got to use the word therewith :D}) is one that I have been at odds with since, well, forever. I have a ton of weaknesses. Most of them involve food like cheese and chocolate and caramel and . . . . *takes snack break*
Ok, what was I saying? Right, weaknesses. I find myself frustrated daily with the prospect of tackling even one of these little demons at a time, and I am super distractible, another failing. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a pity party post; I just feel like I have a grievance to air.
My faults don’t make me humble. They make me angry. Hulk. Smash. Angry. And according to a really great councilor I met once, anger is the physiological response to the belief that something is unfair. What I have intellectualized from this is that I think it is unfair that I have to have weaknesses. Probably because I don’t want them. More than that, I can’t accept them. I refuse to just acknowledge and move on from the fact of my mortality and therefore my imperfect nature. And despite this TED talk, this talk from the LDS General Conference this weekend, oh and this one, too, I can’t seem to get to a place of embracing my limited nature.
I often see people’s Facebook posts full of awesome accomplishment, and rather than feeling joy for their success, I want to punch myself in the face for not being equally excellent. Even as I am typing this my husband is gently explaining to my son that we don’t use the word stupid in our house, except that he learned that from me. So technically we do. I do. I shouldn’t. *forehead palm*
What this means for my writing is that I go into these places of complete lock down. I can’t write because every word is wrong. Every plot line is stupid, insipid, cliché. I find myself sitting at my computer with enough rage at my own ineptitude to melt the screen with my laser vision.
I have tried to tackle this particular issue a few times. And I manage to make a little progress. I can breathe through the mistakes, shake off the humiliation of one more, “Oops.” And then the cat-o-nine tails comes out and floggings begin anew. Maybe it’s because I care what people think of me (I want them to think good things, only good things), maybe it’s because I know I’m not quite living up to my potential, maybe I just need more chocolate.
I want to be humble. I want to face a place where I need some help or just more work and be able to say, “I know this isn’t my strong place, but I’m going to just try. And that’s enough for now because I am mortal and imperfect.” Yet every time I approach a failing with the intent to work on it I have an internal tantrum. “Why aren’t I better at this? Why is this taking so long? This makes no sense! Why can’t I just be perfect?”
I have no lesson here other than those given in the links above (You should watch them, really. They are fantastic.). So if any of you have been here, this place of epic frustration and wheel spinning over the stuff that isn’t right yet, please let me know. Let me know it’s not just me.
And in keeping with the theme, I signed up for this awesome write-a-thon and I missed the first two days. Check it out, I’m giving away a copy of the anthology I am in to someone who, you know, actually accomplishes stuff. 


  1. YOU'RE DEFINITELY NOT ALONE. And, yes, the all-caps was necessary. Sometimes I'm so distracted by my long list of weaknesses that I can't do anything at all. Then I feel even more pathetic because I'm just staring at my to-do list unable to complete it because I feel incapable of anything worth noting. It's a vicious cycle and writing (especially the novel I'm working on now) quite often starts it.

    If only perfection were possible...

    On another note, glad to have you a part of the write-a-thon!

  2. Um, no. It's definitely not just you. Sadly, I have no good advice.

    Actually, I do have one piece of advice (good or bad, I don't know), even if I don't do it myself as often as I ought. Here's what I do: I imagine that my daughters (now 6 and 3) are saying/thinking/feeling about themselves the things I'm saying/thinking/feeling. It is so sad imagining that--and it makes me realize how horrible I'm being to myself. And instead of feeling (even more) horrible about that, somehow it makes me want to be gentler on myself, kinder, because I would never want my kids to feel that way. Just one idea.

  3. Britney and jeanna, thank you! And as an update; While I still don't like my mortality, thanks to several wonderful responses, I think I want to.