Embracing Imperfection

Rock Sculpture Enclosed in Wire with watermark.2Writing the post on Letting Go Of Being A Perfectionist has boomeranged on me. I seem to be plagued with the idea of writing perfectly. What do people want to read? Word choice? Too long? Research or not? Original ideas? Comparison! On and on. So much for letting go. Maybe there is more to it. Maybe I need to learn to embrace my imperfections.

The shortest definition of imperfection is a “flaw”. I do have a few of those. The question is how can I embrace them? I do not know how effective this might be, but here are some things I will tell myself:

  • Do not take yourself so seriously. Lighten up.
  • Replace negative thinking with affirmations.
  • Stop comparing. This applies to everything.
  • Be true to yourself. Don’t conform to what you think others expect or what you think you should be.
  • Don’t use words like “should have” or “what if”. Be mindful and stay present.
  • Have an attitude of gratitude. It changes your perspective.
  • Accept that mistakes happen. They are not failure. Learn from them.
  • Take deep breaths. Good advice anyway.
  • Laugh. Often. It feels good.

If I am to look at this objectively, we are all imperfect. It is part of the human condition. And I am human.

Vibrant

Orchid Buds Watermark

It feels like it has been a very long time since I last posted. That post was about giving up being a perfectionist. And I changed overnight. POOF! Ahh…if it was so easy. But, I am working on it.

Boston Fern Green Watermark

When it comes to writing – BLOCK! So, I decided to participate in The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge – Vibrant! “This week, share a photo of something vibrant. Let’s wash the web with a rainbow of colors to keep the winter gloom at bay.”

Christmas Cactus Bud Pink Watermark

Outside of my home, there is at least three feet of white snow and dirty snow. Talk about winter gloom. During the blizzard and in the aftermath, I thought I might go crazy, as we were literally trapped inside for days. During that time, I started taking photos from my windows of what it looked like outside. While the camera was out, I took a few photos inside, as well. I decided to post a few of them here.

Cactus Orange Watermark

Check out the The Daily Post for Photo and Writing Challenges.

Letting Go of Being A Perfectionist

Being perfect is an impossible objective, but it is something that I always felt I needed to be. Knowing that I could not be perfect, I often conceded defeat before I even tried. Who is flawless or without mistakes? Not me, that is a fact.

Perfection Quote - Salvador Dali

What do you think of when you think about perfection? According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, it means:

1 : having no mistakes or flaws

2 : completely correct or accurate

3 : having all the qualities you want in that kind of person, situation, etc.

One of the definitions for perfectionism is : a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable.

It follows that if one is a perfectionist, they aspire to do things perfectly. They are reaching for some higher standard, whether it is morally, physically, mentally, or anything else you might want to fill in the blank ________. Anything less than perfect is unacceptable, as per the definition. Who am I to argue with the dictionary? Especially, when I am proof that it is absolutely correct.

I am a perfectionist.

I follow rules. I am a (sick and tired) people-pleaser. I feel your acceptance of me is based on how well I perform. It affects my self-worth.

Being perfect is an impossible objective, but it is something that I always felt I needed to be. Knowing that I could not be perfect, I often conceded defeat before I even tried. Who is flawless or without mistakes? Not me, that is a fact.

The reasons I feel I need to be perfect can range from something that is innate and/or it is something that I learned. I needed to look perfect, behave perfectly, speak perfectly and say the perfect thing, be the perfect student and get perfect grades, clean house perfectly, be the perfect employee, the perfect friend, the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect grandmother, etc., ad infinitum. Sometimes, I did these things well, and other times I did not. I have never done them perfectly.

Writing a blog was supposed to be fun. I even feel like I must somehow be the perfect writer, blogger, and poet. And I let that stand in the way of expressing myself creatively. And, if this blog is going to be about my real life, well, I am going to start getting real.

Don’t get me wrong. I have done and accomplished many things I am proud of. But, there are dreams that never became goals, and were never realized. I can’t change the past, so there is no reason to wallow in regret. I can change today and maybe tomorrow.

I guess it gets down to what I wanted everyone to see on the outside compared to how I was really feeling on the inside.

I usually steer away from self-help books. However, recently, I have been reading: The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, by Brene Brown. Finally, I understand how I can be a perfectionist, who quits before I get started, who fails so miserably at so many things for fear of trying.

Brown distinguishes healthy striving, which is self-focused: How can I improve? – to perfectionism, which is other-focused: What will they think? (p. 56) She goes on to say the following:

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis. Life-paralysis refers to all of the opportunities we miss because we’re too afraid to put anything out in the world that could be imperfect. It’s also all of the dreams that we don’t follow because of our deep fear of failing, making mistakes, and disappointing others. It’s terrifying to risk when you’re a perfectionist; your self-worth is on the line.” (p. 56-7)

Wow! Summed up in that paragraph is my life; a life lived in fear of what others think about me. I recently shared that I am letting go of that. And, now I am getting ready to accept that I do not have to be a perfectionist. Logically, I have no other choice, or I will continue to tie my self-worth to what other people think about me.

I am imperfect! And I am okay with that! In fact, it is a relief.

Eye Spy

My Eye on Black and White Watermark 2.1

Eye color is not as simple as I thought. I thought it was all about genetics. Not entirely. The color of our eyes are determined in part by melanin, the pigment in the iris. The more melanin pigment in your eyes, the darker they will be, such as brown. Conversely, less melanin means your eyes will be lighter, such as green, hazel, or blue. The color is also affected by light absorption, scattering and reflecting. Most people in the world have brown eyes.

We are born with very little melanin, but it increases until we are about three-years-old, revealing the true color of our eyes.

My eyes are hazel. That is my eye in the photo, pulled from a very bad selfie – I haven’t mastered the art of the selfie. The center of my eye is brown, surrounded by green, and then outlined in a darker grayish color.

I didn’t know this until I started to do a little research, but there are some superstitions related to eye color. I thought that might be fun to include here. According to the VSP website:

Blue-eyed people have rich imaginations.
Those with green eyes have sharp minds.
Hazel eyes indicate passionate souls.
People with brown eyes are calm, but have underlying passion.

Eye Spy Photo ChallengeThe Daily Post

I edited the photo using Paint.net.

It’s All About Me – Wk #48

Cape May People Sitting on the Beach WatermarkWondering about what makes me tick? Cee’s Share Your World provides the questions to find out random information about me. It has been a long while since I participated in Cee’s Share Your World, which I love, because I received negative feedback from a relative. However, I am learning not to care so much about what other people think of me. There is freedom in that. Now for the questions:

Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?

Truly, I have always been a non-hugger. However, as I have practiced hugging, I rather like it, and now I have been transformed into a hugger.

Physical touch like a hug has a way of creating connection. I remember some psychology guru from the 1970’s that said people needed to be hugged about seven times a day. Virginia Satir, a family therapist, says that we need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance and twelve hugs a day for growth. That is a good reason to hug friends and family.

Hugging builds trust and helps us to have open and honest communication. It can boost our oxytocin levels, which helps heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger. It can elevate serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness. Hugging boosts self-esteem. It also encourages empathy and understanding.

Some other benefits from hugging include strengthening our immune system, relaxing our muscles, and balancing out the nervous system.

Hugs teach us to give and receive, and that love flows both ways. They are like meditation and laughter, and teach us to be present in the moment. Hugging is an investment in the relationship between two people.

Hugging Resource: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5756/10-Reasons-Why-We-Need-at-Least-8-Hugs-a-Day.html

What are your favorite toppings on pizza?

Banana peppers and spicy Italian sausage. I like heat. I also like a pizza made with fresh diced tomatoes rather than sauce. Red pepper flakes to top it off and it is perfect, unless there is some Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Sometimes, I like to grate one of those on the pizza, too.

If you were the original designer of one existing corporate logo, which one would you select?

Tough question! Immediately, I thought of iRobot, but maybe that is because I want one. I think I would also like to have designed NASA’s logo (I love space exploration), VW’s logo (my first car – a Super Beetle), and Coca Cola (my favorite soda – not that I drink it very often).

Complete this sentence: Where I can seek my solace is:

sitting by the ocean, listening to the waves, or curled up in my bed just for the pleasure of relaxing – because let’s face it – I am land locked. That is sad for a girl who grew up near the Jersey shore. I do have an app on my phone and I often listen to the waves while I sit in bed and read (currently reading The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown), or color. If you haven’t discovered adult coloring books, they are like meditating with colors. It can help relieve stress and anxiety. It can help you focus. It might also bring out a little bit of your creative side. Google it if you want to learn more about it.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week, I was grateful to go to the movies with my husband. I had a lovely Thanksgiving day with family and my son called. I was grateful for the support of good friends when I needed them, after I received sad news from someone I cared for very much. I’m grateful my car passed inspection and the leaking tire was a nail puncture that was easily patched up. This week, I am looking forward to a break in the rain and a few sunny days, because I heard winter is heading this way.

share-your-world2

Water’s Edge – Careful

In rivers, the water that you touch
is the last of what has passed
and the first of that which comes;
so with present time.
– Leonardo da Vinci

Grandson Reservoir Watermark

Water is the driving force of all nature.
– Leonardo da Vinci

Grandson Reservoir Watermark Close Up

Relishing the time spent near the water’s edge with my grandson on a warm summer day. I used to waste a lot of time thinking about my past and what I might have done differently, and an equal amount of time thinking worrying about the future, instead of enjoying life in the present moment. Thankfully, I don’t live in my head anymore. That allows me the freedom to experience life as it unfolds before me, to be grateful for what I have, and to be content where I am. If I visit the past, it is with fond memories, and I hold future plans lightly. That is happiness.

Other than re-sizing and marking the photos, I left them untouched. I was very tempted to change the brightness and contrast of the first photo, but decided to leave it in it’s natural state.

The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Careful – a photo taken with care, a person being careful, or a task or detail requiring care.

Believe From Within

Breadline with watermark

This I accept

This I believe

Believe to be right

Believe to be true

True in heart

True in soul

Soul in life

Soul in death

Death of hate

Death of pain

Pain deep within

Pain deep release

Release to the wind

Release to be free

Free to create

Free to be me

Me and my logic

Me and my brain

Brain always reasoning

Brain always thinking

Thinking of writing

Thinking of words

Words full of power

Words full of hope

Hope for true virtue

Hope for sublime

Sublime inspiration

Sublime motivation

Motivation to do better

Motivation to kindness be

Be ready to do justice

Be ready to love

Love without prejudice

Love with effectiveness

Effectiveness in mercy

Effectiveness in charity

Charity in spirit

Charity in friendship

Friendship with neighbor

Friendship with stranger

Stranger than fiction

Stranger than truth

Truth found in nature

Truth found in light

Light from without

Light from within

Within the true self

Within the philosophical

Philosophical

Self

by Robin Tjernagel
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Photo taken by me of: Depression Breadline – Sculpture by George Segal @ Grounds for Sculpture

Monochromatic

Ship's Cabin - Penns Landing.1 Watermark

The Daily Post Photo Challenge this week is Monochromatic (resist using a single color range). The above photo is the USS Olympia, which is docked at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The ship is the oldest floating steel warship and the sole surviving naval ship that served in the Spanish-American War.

Below is the USS Atlantus, a concrete ship that sunk off of Sunset Beach at Cape May Point, New Jersey. Sunlight glistens on the water’s surface.

Ship Wreck Cape May Auto Level Watermark

This close-up of a rock jetty is another photo from Cape May Point, with bright sunlight hitting the tops of the rocks.

Cape May Rocks Watermark

Today Was A Good Day – Rainbows

Spotting Rainbows
Spotting Rainbows

Yesterday, as I was driving, I spotted this rainbow. I pulled over into a parking lot and pulled out my Samsung Galaxy S3. It is old and the camera isn’t that great, but I didn’t have my camera on hand (you think I would learn). It was also raining, so a few raindrops might have landed on the lens. If you look closely, you can see a double rainbow in one of the photos below.

Rainbow to Ground
The End of the Rainbow
Double Rainbow touching ground watermark
Double Rainbow

These images are rainbows from other days.

Window Series - Rainbow Watermark
Seen Through My Window
Rainbow in Fountain
Rainbow in Fountain
Rainbow Rooftops Ben Franklin Bridge Philadelphia Watermark
Rainbow and the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia – Taken from My Window

Today’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is: Today Was A Good Day. It was supposed to be a ‘mesh’ photo. It is too late for me to learn a new program, so I didn’t mesh my pictures.

I am hoping to find time to spend writing a bit. Until then, I hope you enjoy my photos of rainbows.

The Raven – Creepy

Poe Rented this House for a Year - Philly

When I lived in Philadelphia, I was within walking distance to a lot of the city’s history, including the Poe House. During his lifetime, Edgar Allan Poe rented this house in Philly for one year, which is now maintained by the National Park Service. It is a museum dedicated to him, although none of his manuscripts are kept here. Some of them are safely housed in the Free Library of Philadelphia.

While he lived here, it is believed that Poe penned Ligeia, The Black Cat, and The Tell Tale Heart. (That is information I gathered while touring the house; however, Wikipedia suggests different stories were written there.)

This week’s photo challenge at The Daily Post is: Creepy. Poe is famous for writing creepy stories, although he also wrote essays and poetry.

An Area of the Basement That Was Once Bricked Up - Poe House Philly

This area of the basement, which is creepy, was once bricked up. Do you think it might have been the inspiration for The Black Cat?

Ladder Poe House - Philly Black and White

This ladder leads outside. Fortunately, it wasn’t the only way out of the basement.

The Basement Stairs - Poe House Philly 2

You can see the ladder (from the previous photo) in its little nook hiding in the background of this photo.

The Raven - Poe House Philly

Outside is a statue, dedicated to Poe’s famous poem: The Raven, which may have also been written during Poe’s time in Philadelphia (1837-1844). If you are interested, you can read it below:

The Raven – by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“‘Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;
This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door—
Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
‘Tis the wind and nothing more.

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he,
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then the ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if its soul in that one word he did outpour
Nothing farther then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered: “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never—nevermore.'”

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Be that our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadows on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!

Project Gutenberg EBook of The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe

Black and White Photo Challenge – Flowers

This week Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge is: Flowers. All of the flowers in the first four photos are from a single bouquet. The orchid is a potted plant that sits on my kitchen table. All of these photos were originally color photos, which I edited using Paint.net.

Black and White Rose and Daisy 2 Watermark

The humble daisy is one of my favorite flowers.

Black And White Daisy Watermark

Fragrant and beautiful, flowers can brighten a room and my mood.
Black and White Rose 2 Watermark

While a daisy is humble, the rose might be considered a more noble, elegant flower.

Black and White Lily 2 Watermark

I love lilies, but they make me sneeze.

Orchid Buds Black and White Watermark

Orchids are another of my favorite flowers, and they are the only flower I try to grow.

Cee's Black and White Challenge