Why You’ll Never Have Your Sh*t Together

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.

 

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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.

  • Rebecca Ann

    I’m not 100% the person I aspire to be, but I am getting there, and I still feel like I’ve got my shit together. And I’m also fairly (like, a lot) insecure. I think you may just have a procrastination problem. Stop putting everything off for *~*reasons*~* and just do something. Anything to just get things started. That will help immensely, I promise.

  • Great post! 1) I find that every post I click on while I browse through bloglovin is from The Everygirl so – thank you, you get me.. and 2) This seems to be the problem these days thanks to social media. It’s a struggle that so many millennials face- comparison of ourselves to others. What makes it so daunting – with that list of things to do- is that we forget that everyone started somewhere. Not everyone started out with a seamless Vlog, or maybe it takes a year or two to finally find your voice on a blog ..but the thing is we have to just keep posting and keep trying if this is truly what we love, or find fulfilling.

  • Whitney S

    Wow, you just described me exactly. This is definitely my problem too and you have articulated it so well! There are many types and manifestations of insecurities but this kind does seem to hold me back a lot which just perpetuates me feeling more insecure because I can’t be perfect. So know that you aren’t alone! We can be and do better we just don’t have to be perfect at it!

  • Mallory Marie

    Did you get into my brain and articulate so very well how I feel almost daily? Yes… yes you did!

  • I’ve acknowledged that I’m probably never going to have my shit together – and that’s fine. To struggle, to aspire to, to strive eternally for something….I think that’s just part of the human condition. I’ve decided I’m not going to let it stop me from enjoying the here and now where I can though.

  • Oh, this article is so me. I’m constantly thinking in terms of I should do or I’ll do that when…But that’s the kind of thinking that keeps me stuck. I fully appreciate the acceptance that you’ll never have your shit together, and I’m pretty sure I won’t either. But isn’t that life? Like, what fun would it be to never be challenged or learn something new or be a little bit lost? Wouldn’t life get a little boring if we had our shit together ALL the time?

  • Ladydoc

    Wow this really really hit home for me. Thanks for the reminder that others feel like this too!

  • Tiffany

    This is the story of my life. Do I want to change!?! hell yes! Thanks for this.

  • Lauren Nyczak

    Holy carp did you write this or did I?! PRAISE, I am not alone. I constantly have ideas and projects I want to start and create but there’s always something holding me back…either I “don’t have time” or I have to finish more important things first, or I’m scared I’ll fail because I’m “not ready”… Ya know. Anyways, it’s both nice and not nice to hear that I’ll never BE there or have my life together, haha. Hopefully, that will help my brain in thinking I AM READY because I will never be. Yeah? Haha, thank you and best of luck with this too. We’ll struggle together.

  • Ceilidh Seraphim

    I feel ya girl! The thing that has helped me the most is learning about my personality type (myers-brigg, insights, you name it!) and the book Mindset by Carol Dweck. Give it a read – it’s a short, easy read, and incredibly motivating 🙂

  • Charmaine Almasen

    You completely described who I am. Let this challenge begin! 🙂

  • Amanda Simplice

    this is EXACTLY what I needed! I’m in tears reading this because this is me…this was me and I’m ready for the change of my life!! thank you, thank you, thank YOU! xo

  • Nicole

    Thanks for literally materializing my issues into a beautifully written, funny and relatable piece. I’m 100000% with you!

  • Coco Clancy

    Yes. Yes. Yes. This couldn’t be more spot on. Thanks for sharing and pushing me to get my shit together too. (And go blue!)

  • Sequoia Williams

    Love this post and how light and relatable it was! Girrrl u ain’t the only one!

  • B The Fox

    This post was so amazing and so honest. I felt so well understood with this post and it isn’t even about me. But, really, you described me. Even creating a blog which I just recently started, took me forever to decide and “go for it”. Because I needed a better camera, or that my English needed improvement and the list goes on. But, I guess the most important thing is the cliché thing; To just do it! I loved this post, so much. Thanks for sharing. ♥

  • Victoria Marshall

    I am cut from the same cloth as my mother and the other day we were commiserating about being constantly late to things. We are both wildly unorganized and wildly ambitious, and very self critical. I finally said, “You know what, you’ve got to recognize what you’re good at and if you and I are good at being hot messes (even just within our own minds) then that’s ok!” Gotta know your strengths. In this world of social media, recognizing and figuring out what you want to do as opposed to what everyone else is doing is hard.

  • I’m definitely with you, Kelly. I share the same feeling. I thought it was only me, because, like you, I look around and there seem to be so many people with it all together. I think it definitely is about confidence. Thank you for a really insightful post.

  • I feel like I ghostwrote this. I totally put limits and guidelines on myself for when I can finally start enjoying my life, and I also totally have friends who are like “I TOLD YOU SO!!!” when I tell them about a new self-help book I’ve read. Thank you for reminding me I’m not alone in feeling this way, that helps a lot

  • Meagan

    Omg are we the same person? Thanks for the insight and inspiration!

  • I wrote down so many passages from your text. I’ve been waiting for someone to verbalize my own thoughts and feelings that accurately and you’ve completely done it. I’m always the girl waiting for the next week, month, trip or fall to do something about something. And I’m working towards becoming, not a better version of myself, but THE current and present version of me. Thank you so much for this! Xx

    http://www.i-life-u.com

  • This is so relatable, I felt I was reading my own thoughts! I am working really hard to try and change this (a burn-out and depression will force you to) and it is so much hard work. With everyone around us or on social media keeping up appearances doesn’t help either. Let’s all admit we do not have our shit together 100% (and never will have) and start doing instead of thinking <3!
    Thanks for this article, needed to read this today to kick myself into doing stuff!

  • Beth Gillette

    I totally understand everything in this piece! I’m the same way. I’ve been wanting to start a blog for years, and every time I go to set it up, I tell myself I need to do like 10 different things first. I know I need to accept that everything won’t always be perfect, but that is waaay easier said than done!!

  • Sarah Fehrenbach

    One of my favorite articles by The Every Girl!! So much truth. Thank you for sharing this!

  • I think about this topic a lot, to me it boils down to the perception of how something should feel versus how it actually feels achieving whatever the dream is, feels very different. For me there have been two things that help me with this. First, accepting that those dreams will never feel how I have perceived them feeling helps me not downplay the achievement. Also, I try to remember how many people hope and pray for so many things I take for granted. I hope I don’t sound like a downer here but these two things have really helped me!

  • Lo Payne

    what a beautiful article to read on a Monday morning. I’m currently feeling the same exact way and I love that you said this exactly as I say it in my head. hahah THANK YOU!

  • Renata Ruelas

    I’m with you! Loved this.

  • Christine Maclosky

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. Its like my life exactly lol. I am forever waiting to be perfect before I do anything. And the worst part is that I know i’m wasting precious time not doing anything because I am so caught up in my head about having to be perfect! Thank you so much Kelly for being brave enough to publish this. People like me really need to know we aren’t alone in this ridiculous thinking that being perfect is attainable. I love your quote “I am only myself and thats not going to change”. I think I need to start saying that to myself more and cutting the bullshit and live my life. 10lbs heavier and all 🙂

  • Christine Maclosky

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. Its like my life exactly lol. I am forever waiting to be perfect before I do anything. And the worst part is that I know i’m wasting precious time not doing anything because I am so caught up in my head about having to be perfect! Thank you so much Kelly for being brave enough to publish this. People like me really need to know we aren’t alone in this ridiculous thinking that being perfect is attainable. I love your quote “I am only myself and thats not going to change”. I think I need to start saying that to myself more and cutting the bullshit and live my life. 10lbs heavier and all 🙂

  • Briana Clara

    “Bust-a-nut exciting” LOL I cackled . I’ll have to find a way to use that more often.

    I feel your pain, and this “reality” is common to all of us. But you’re right: we have to just do what we can and focus on all of the positive things that are going on as opposed to what’s not and why and bleeeh. Still working on following my own advice.

    Thank you for being so candid, and I’m looking forward to more of your pieces!

  • Darcy Dionyves

    story.of.my.life

  • This is so me! I’m always waiting around for things to align and being so afraid to take the leap in case things aren’t ‘just right’. I’ve come to realize that there is not perfect time for anything!
    There’s not better time than the present (cliche but so true!).

    Jo | http://www.alittlebitofjo.com