I’ve always been a stuck-in-the-details kind of human. I have the big ideas — write a YA novel!; start a new podcast!; go to grad school!; drop everything and travel the world! — but the execution part…
Couldn’t even finish that sentence, my follow-through is such a garbage fire. So lately I’ve been challenging myself to think about this in a different way — not omg-Kelly-please-for-the-love-of-Pete-do-something, but omg-Kelly-why-for-the-love-of-Pete-aren’t-you-doing-anything?
And I always come back to the same thing: I can’t make it perfect from the get-go, so I just… don’t do it at all.
I feel like I’ve been waiting to have my shit together for yearrrrrrrrrs. It seems teasingly out of reach — if only I can do x, or y, or z, then I’ll have done it. THEN MY SHIT WILL SHINE.
This impossible structure I’ve built for myself (hey at least I managed to do one thing) bleeds into every area of my life. I’ll lose 10 lbs then go on that Bumble date. I’ll set up my freelance website after I get the right headshots — and better lose 10 lbs for that too. I can’t buy that pillow until I have a fully cohesive moodboard for my entire apartment — and what the hell, might as well lose 10 lbs while I’m at it. Add it to the list.
So do I have a bustling dating life, poppin’ freelance site, and beautifully coordinated apartment? LOL OF COURSE I DON’T.
I’ve been realizing lately that I haven’t been actually living my life because I’m waiting for the pieces to fall into place. And when one piece does actually fall into place, I’ve created 8,000 more conditions and the cycle continues. I’m so focused on what I should be, I can’t appreciate what I am. I KNOW, I KNOW, IT SOUNDS SUPER CLICHE and I should be gagging writing this because I hate all that live your most inspired life! jargon.
BUT when my insecurities — and that’s what this all boils down to, insecurity — are stopping me from obtaining my goals or enjoying the ones I have attained… well, maybe it’s time for a little positive jargon. [Note: Anyone reading this who knows me is absolutely overflowing with I-told-you-so’s right now. WHATEVER YOU’RE NOT PERFECT EITHER.]
Last year, I landed the job of my dreams — don’t hate me, I’m still a mess — and in the moment it was bust-a-nut exciting. I called my mom and legit squee-d for two minutes straight. And now, it’s September, I’ve been working my dream job for seven months, and I’m right back in that you’re-not-good-enough place. Landing the job should have been validating — and it was in that perfect ephemeral moment — but then I moved on to my regularly scheduled programming of insecure and neurotic. Don’t I sound like a blast?
These days — lol, like I’m 90 — it feels like we’re all in the business of perfection. Even our “behind the gram” stories are snippets of a curated life. It’s isolating, because it seems so easy. And then I can’t make a f*cking flat lay work, and I have an existential crisis. Am I good enough?
Turns out, I’m not good enough. Because the version of myself that is “good enough” is just not attainable. The Kelly that always looks flawless — without man hands, my eternal curse — and has a thriving freelance business that never wanes or hits a roadblock. The girl that doesn’t eat McDonald’s hash browns with alarming frequency, crave soda, and fight an eternal struggle to lose 10 lbs. The girl that’s always in an outfit I would pin and volunteers in whatever spare time she has. The girl that’s read Anna Karenina twice and can quote Proust at the drop of a hat. The girl who doesn’t need her phone calculator to figure out the tip. The girl who has her shit together.
I am not that person — and I’ll never be. That’s the part that freaks. me. out. so. much. The details change, but there’s always something (or many, many, many somethings) I’m aspiring to be. And that wouldn’t be wrong… if I didn’t let it affect how I live right now.
If I ever encountered genie Robin Williams — RIP to a beautiful soul — I would ask for one thing and one thing only. To never feel insecure. Because then losing 10 lbs or worrying over my skills as a designer wouldn’t matter. I’ll do it when I have my shit together wouldn’t be the mantra of my life. So, because meeting a genie seems like slim odds, I’m on a quest to stop being so insecure. To stop idolizing “having your shit together” as the place I need to be if I ever want to achieve anything.
It’s not easy going, because there are literally people who look like they’ve got it all figured out EVERYWHERE I TURN. And even when I know they don’t… it still kind of seems like they do. What I have to learn — what I have to rewire my brain to realize — is that I am only myself, and that’s not going to change. I have to get out of my head and just do it — start the podcast, write the novel, travel the world — because the only thing that’s stopping me is my own skewed point of view. Who’s with me?
This article was originally posted on April 8, 2018.
Also published on Medium.