Accepting Praise

I had an email newsletter before this blog. It got too big and I was wondering why I was hiding my writing to the world. From time to time, I’ll revisit those old pieces. Here’s one that I really like about my cats.

Every time I send off a piece of writing for publication, I feel nervous about what’s going to come back. This week I published a piece in The Bloomly’s Hindsight Series called “Why I Choose Not to Measure My Life By the Numbers.” You can check it out here. I’m also working on an article with the Lawyers’ Assistance Project on why I think therapy is good for lawyers. Especially anxious ones.

Today’s morning meditation was an interesting one, but I don’t know exactly why. I had a whole bunch of random thoughts come up which I watched like I always do. My cat CharleyI’m pretty sure is a manifestation of my ego because he sometimes wanders the rooms of my apartment meowing mournfully at nothing and then suddenly carries a piece of string across one end of the room to the other. If you call out to him he sometimes gets quiet but sometimes he screams more loudly. And a lot of times he’s hungry, and may or may not go to lengths to open up the motion-activated trash can and eat a piece of chicken bone that will be vomited out later in spectacular fashion. Oops.

If you squeeze Charley he gets really antsy and will do everything in his power to get away from your grip. Charley has been known to fit into the World’s Tightest Spots, including under the radiator, the very back two inches of a futon, and underneath a bathmat (how did you get there, Charley?).

I think the lesson here is that you don’t squeeze cats and that you don’t let them get into the trash. Someone will probably write back with a suggestion here about a new trash can, and I love it. Please do.

The most honest video I could make for an application to go to a Wyoming retreat is to say that I don’t want to go because I’m afraid the people at work are going to be unhappy. But that doesn’t seem like a fun video to make either. Whatever happens I’m going to start planning out what my application is going to be like and worry about whether I think work wants me there or not later. If it is meant to work out, it will. I’ve probably tanked my chances of getting in with Sam already but I don’t care; it feels right to say that my first response was not the “hell yes” she was looking for, and I love it.

Even if I’m afraid of it. Afraid of my thoughts and why I can’t seem to value myself in every instance, and then questioning if that is an accurate metric for myself at all. Wondering if I’m living life in pain still even if I feel better than ever before. Wondering if the nice ladies at the Lawyer’s Assistance Program are going to think my article is entirely insane or very well reasoned. I read it to David already and he reassured me it was good, but I need to believe it in myself.

I still have a very, very hard time accepting praise. I don’t know why but that’s part of the reason why the Unique Genius exercise that my coach Casey had me do was so difficult. Why I spent over a week just dancing around the issues and trying to avoid actually getting into the heart of why I thought I was good. There is a challenge that I notice I face, and I think many of my friends do, where we have the challenge of the Not Enough. Every time we get the courage or energy to do something, the Not Enough monster comes and takes away our motivation. Sometimes we can fight the Not Enough monster and it will go and sit politely in the corner and wait, but it will throw serious shade at every single move that you take. The Not Enough monster likes to come out and show you Instagram pictures of people who are more skinny, wealthy, or fabulous. Or have more followers.

I love the Not Enough monster but I think it’s time for a new mascot in town called the Ok Enough monster. Ok Enough monster says, Ok, thanks for all the great memories of being stressed out, but I’d like to take over now and do a good job. I’d like to remind you that owning your story is Ok Enough. That I don’t have to guard my email every day like I’m in a supermax prison and that it is Ok Enough to do whatever I want even if the end result or my expectations are screaming at me to put myself aside and to think of others first. Ok Enough tells all of the doubts in my mind to leave the room and don’t come back.

I’ll end with a poem:

In Transport

They always say from dust to dust,

But I wonder about the in between

What of the stories of great delight

And of the wonder yet unseen?

As the sparrow flies through the sun,

And settles in the dawn

Then the owl coos softly at the moon,

And greets me with a yawn.

That’s when I heard the caw of death

But I dared not respond with song

For I have died not once but twice

And been there all along.

Watch me in the still of night

When the ripple glows

Watch me in the will of might

As the moonlight grows

If hope is a thing made from feather

As a soul once said

The best question is not whether

But if you would instead.

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