In Those Moments of Less Than

WordPress Daily Prompt – Substandard

Actual blog post time!

I hate to actually get a little bit personal in a bloggy way but I’ve been wanting to let this load off my shoulders and this prompt is just perfect for it.

Substandard, shoddy, third-rate, below rate, sub-par, crummy, lousy ….

I’m going to go ahead and put a confession out there: I’m insanely and unnecessarily hard on myself.

I’ve gotten better as the years have gone by but there was a point when it was all or nothing and I frequently just opted for nothing as I figured I would never even dream of achieving “all”.

Even now, when I’ve learned to accept compliments and recognize the things I’ve achieved I have moments where I feel like a complete and total failure.

Last night was a complete and total failure night. I ended up sitting on my bed in tears repeating to myself that I was not a failure.

But I felt like one.

I’m a single mom and my daughter is a preteen with an attitude bigger than life. I’m behind in school work. I don’t understand the homework. My house isn’t clean enough. My younger dog seems to have forgotten his training. My older dog is having none of it and is letting everybody know. My load at work has doubled and my stress has tripled (which has snowballed and led to some of the other things).

By the end of Sunday night it was all I could do to simply hold it together and in the end I couldn’t accomplish that either.

I felt completely substandard.

I think it’s easy, especially these days when we have social media to egg on these perfect images of life, to feel that way.

It’s important to remember that everyone struggles, we all have our moments where we feel less than. It’s how we handle them that counts.

Allowing those moments to take over and consume us will only lead down a path of more doubt, more confusion, more self loathing.

Take it from someone who has been there and done that. It’s not fun.

It sounds ridiculous, I thought so at first too, but when I’m having a moment where I feel like a failure I talk myself up. People laugh, “Oh you talk to yourself! Har har!” Damn straight I do. And you know what? It works.

I repeat some of the things I’ve achieved.

Sometimes they’re the simplest of things: I cooked dinner. We have a place to live and food. I have a job.

But sometimes those simple achievements are the ones I really need to appreciate.

It Comes with the Territory

WordPress Daily Prompt – Territory

Today I’m breaking the mold. I’m writing an actual blog.

Creative writing is my territory, I’ve been doing it for as long as I’ve been able to write I guess. While other kids were playing barbies and trolls (child of the 80’s/90’s folks) my mom was hauling home boxes of recycled copy paper for me to scrawl little stories across.

After a while I got really savvy and started stapling them into legit little copy paper books. I’m pretty sure my mom still has them.

I remember in one of them a family went on vacation. The two little girls in the back kept asking that dreaded four word question, “are we there yet?” In fact, they asked so much that when they tried to get the parents attention to inform them of an actual issue like, ya know, luggage falling off the top of the car, the parents ignored them.

They finally arrive at their destination to find a trail of spilled suitcases in their wake. Classic. I even drew little pictures. The people were stick figures but come on, I had just penned a masterpiece, the pictures were not my concern.

I did this for years, I wrote stories any time I figured I was about to fail a class. Inevitably the teacher would say I had great talent and pass me. This may explain why I have no firm grounding in math yet am half way through a master’s degree in economics (with a 3.7 thank ya very much).

I never took any formal creative writing classes until my senior year of high school.

Imagine my shock when I barely passed.

How could that be?! I was good at writing! It was the only thing I considered myself to be good at!

I was good at writing but absolute junk at editing. In fact I don’t think I had ever consciously edited anything I wrote. And grammar, commas, semi-colons … oh my. Let’s not discuss those.

The point to all of this is something that has been on my mind pretty heavy lately. That is living with passion. Passion for who you are, for what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

There is nothing more attractive than that passion for life, for music or art or whatever your poison of choice is.

Everyday we make a conscious choice. We decide, over and over, how we’re going to live; what path we’re going to walk. That choice affects everything, not only ourselves but the things we interact with.

Call me a hippie, I’ll own it, but we’re connected in every way to each other and to the universe around us. We may not fully understand it yet, we may live our entire lives wondering just how exactly it works but there’s no denying that we are.

So my call to action today is this. Own your territory. Find it, love it, embrace it and be passionate about it. Use it for the better, use it for others but most of all, use it for yourself. If you find that one thing, one person, one moment that can light your world on fire, grab it and do not let go.