Perception of perfection

Thoughts have turned to interviews, as I have an interview on Tuesday. No, no, not for the 224 character application I put in. Won’t hear anything about that for at least a month *shakes head*

I can actually count on two hands the number of interviews I’ve been to since I left school at 15. Seriously, 26 years and 7 interviews, that is if I’m remembering them all. Today I remembered my very first interview, one I blocked out all these years… as a check-out chick in a supermarket. About to open for business, they were taking on junior casuals. Actually, if you were a junior, decently presented and good at maths, you were in.

I didn’t get in.

I was well presented, well spoken and an A grade maths student… and I didn’t get in. It’s funny to understand my perceptions back then. Back then I was devastated because of that whole supposed perfectionist thing I had going on. You see, I didn’t actually hear what the manager was telling me when he said I should be applying for office junior positions. All I heard was I wasn’t good enough, while now I understand he was trying to tell me I was better than the position I was applying for.

That is something I’ve done most of my life… identify myself from outside with the opinions of others. Ms Mari Fit-In-At-All-Costs. It’s one of the reasons my perfectionism was unattainable. How do you meet the standards everyone else has of you? Simple. You can’t. At least not if you want to remain sane. The only standards you can meet are your own.

The big questions with standards are… Are they your own? How high is high enough? We’re human, we don’t actually need to be perfect. Thinking we do is just our own perception.

Repeat after me… I am enough.

Now, off to the hairdresser I go. No reason I can’t give myself a little extra boost in the confidence department 😀

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Sadness and love… my son

Balloons
Rambling warning! Nothing of interest! You’ve been warned!

I made a commitment to post everyday as part of postaday2011, mostly to make sure I didn’t drift into silence, which is something I’ve always been prone to do. Here we are in March and I’ve managed to post every day. Often times I’ve had posts scheduled up to 4 days ahead, sometimes like the last few days there’s nothing until I hit publish.

I’m feeling that way again today. My drafts mean nothing to me, my mind is off in other directions.

There’s sadness and love…

There’s sadness with my son leaving and how he left, but since I ‘switched‘ the inner voice I listen to… there’s love, so much love and it’s reflected back at me with everything happening around me… except my son. Especially as I’ve begun packing the things he wants delivered to him. Yes, he left with little more than the clothes he was wearing.

I miss him. Terribly. The boy he used to be, the man he was set to become… caring and compassionate. I don’t know this person he’s become. I find myself daily wishing happiness for him, that the path he’s taken is the fastest path for him to reach inner happiness. I’m almost afraid to hope that one day he’ll come back. The problem with the thought is that I want my son back, not this other person.

Packing his things brings back memories. Of course, lol…

My son used to play Australian Rules when he was young. He was the smallest on the team, he was always smaller than other boys his age. One weekend the club took part in McHappy Day, which is when McDonalds here raises money for Ronald McDonald House, a great charity that helps families stay closer together when a sick child is undertaking treatment in hospital.

Anyway, the club took part and I remember taking a group of boys across to the shopping centre with the clown to hand out balloons. The clown… am I the only one who finds Ronald McDonald creepy? All the boys decided to hold on to one balloon each, a single balloon that they would leave the centre with. I watched my son as he watched a young girl crying. Her father was trying to calm her, but the girl kept looking up at the roof and continued crying. I looked up to see what had her teary interest. A balloon floating against the roof. Oh.

Just as we were about to leave my son ran across to her and gave her his last balloon, the balloon he was going to keep, as all the boys were going to. The girl’s eyes lit up, her tears stopped, her father’s eyes filled with surprise. V walked back to the group looking like he was the tallest person in the mall.

This is the boy I remember, the son I want to come back.

Sadness and love. Dual moods today.

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Image: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A wake up

Wake up!
I lost my temper last night. And I mean I lost it! I even slammed my bedroom door at 2am I was so angry. I was so ashamed of myself afterwards.

So what if he can’t make the connection that “no YouTubing!” also means no web-camming with his girlfriend? So what if the second data pack I’ve had to purchase to top up my internet plan was half gone in 12 hours?

None of it matters in the scheme of things. He messed up the internet. Again. For the third time in a week. So what?

And so what if he doesn’t thank me for anything I do? And so what if he agrees with his girlfriend that I never do anything for him?

And does it matter if he didn’t apologise for messing up? Does it make a difference to anything that he posts all his thoughts on his Facebook instead of talking to me?

The low point of my tantrumWhat’s wrong??!! Read about it on Facebook!! Nothing there?? Then nothing’s wrong!!

No. None of it actually matters.

And yes, I feel that today, that none of it matters… but last night? Yeah, last night it all mattered.

It’s a reminder I still have a way to go and what I need to work on next. And led to what has moved to the top of my list…

This morning I was thinking about what I’d like to do today and caught myself in the thought… I should take V out to Lunch. Ouch. Nah, you wouldn’t get why that thought was a slap in the face. You see, there’s lunch *smile* and there’s Lunch *guilt*

I remember things being really tight when he was little. The rent was paid, the bills were paid, there was food in the kitchen… it was just the basics and we were happy anyway. Then there was almost two months that my mother brought us bounty from heaven… groceries.

Lots. Of. Groceries.

All those yummy treat type things I couldn’t buy.

I remember telling my friend N about it at the time, that the trolley must have been overflowing in the supermarket and a trail of fallen groceries leading to her car. N’s response… Wow!! What’s she feeling guilty about?? Must have been big!! It’s a thought I’d already had when the first groceries arrived, but hadn’t spoken. Yes, my mother used to spend money on me when she felt guilty. I thanked her profusely every time, but by the end I was jumping at my own shadow and heaved a huge sigh of relief when the grocery bounty ended.

And today I caught myself thinking I should take my son out to Lunch. It’s not about spending some quality time with my son. It’s not about doing something fun. At the heart of it, it’s about thinking… I did wrong and I’m not enough.

I am enough. So instead, I’ll schedule this post, walk away from the computer and head out for some me time. Spend some time reminding myself that I am enough. Then maybe I’ll have lunch with my son tomorrow, that is if he’d like to do something fun with his mother. Not sure how In that is for an 18 year old.

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Image: nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Instafriend! Just add smoke and mirrors

Ilo and I at the apple farmT, from the Deafening post, was a year older than me and the youngest child of an apple growing family. I think I was still 13 when we met.

My first horse had been a drought foal and it was suggested sending her out to grass for a year or two, so she could catch up on the growth she’d missed as a youngster. Somewhere with good feed, the vet said. In other words… no drought!

We sent her to a friend of a friend in apple country. While Canberra and the surrounding areas floundered in drought, Batlow and surrounds thrived, grass to the knees and green in every direction you looked. It was a stunning sight to someone who grew up in Canberra, which would turn green for just a few months of the year.

Okay, thinking back on the Shh… posts, I was in my drinking spiral from 13 to 14. I was pretty screwed up. For the month before we delivered Ilo to the apple farm, my mother would tell me over and over… she’s a good girl from a good family, behave while you’re there. Blah, Blah, Blah. Don’t cause trouble. Blah. Really, the only thing of importance that registered was that I was going to Hate Her.

We walked down the long drive and out the gate with Ilo. Two sets of parents watched T and I walk away. We swapped maybe half a dozen words on that walk. I found her… sullen. Oh Great. This was going to be fun. My own sullenness mirrored hers.

I turned and looked back as we passed out the gate and with not a parent in sight pulled out a cigarette and lit it. Oh yes, I thought, that look of shock on the snotty girl’s face as I lit up was worth every cross word I’d be getting for the next 6 months.

Then she said… Can I have a drag?

My subsequent look of shock must have mirrored hers.

We stood there staring at each other for a long moment as it dawned on us what had just happened. We both burst out laughing and were talking over each other as we told each other almost the exact same story of the last month! She’s a good girl from a good family! Both sets of parents were hoping for the same miracle from this friendship.

Insight junkie?

Take it easy!
Insight Junkies get high on that Ah-ha! moment when they unlock yet another mystery from deep within the murky depths of their own minds, then they beg to look for Just! One! More! The one typing this is sadly an Insight Junkie. Recovering! Definitely a recovering Insight Junkie!

And don’t give me the But, but the quest for understanding has to be good for us! routine. That routine can take a flying leap as far as I’m concerned and I’ve one thing to say… Shut up and Chill out!

Ahh, is that silence? Much better. Now that you’re listening…

As part of my healing I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand why I behave in certain ways. I’ve also spent as much time wondering how much knowing, or trying to know helps. Okay, I know it can help, but there are times I think it all gets in the way of being, which is kind of the point of my healing. Isn’t it? Just being?

Insight helps. Knowing why helped with the whole sleep battle thing I have, when I’m exhausted and won’t go to bed. Once I could see it as a behaviour I could change, then I could choose to behave differently. Understanding why let me decide on the best way to talk myself into going to bed. I now remind myself that connection is better than disconnection and all that jazz.

Most of my behaviours are the same. Until a new way of behaving becomes natural, I talk myself into change. The ol’ inner dialogue can go over and over the same issues day after day.

Anyone who does this daily knows it gets tiring. Going out and doing something, or daydreaming, or grabbing whatever little tool from the magic tool box is going to distract me, help me feel better and then I can start listening to myself again. But seriously, sometimes the last thing I feel like doing is… doing something. I get tired of always feeling like I have to Do something. As soon as I feel like that I ask… What am I avoiding?! Why?!

In the 80s I belonged to a therapy group for agoraphobics and as I’ve said before Canberra gets cold when it rains. Real. Cold. All of us in the group would say the same thing to ourselves on cold days when we didn’t want to go out… Avoidance. Yep, it’s a cold, rainy, Winter day in Canberra, so we must be avoiding going out for the usual fear, not because it’s Freezing Cold! I really do believe that the only people out walking their dogs and trying to smile on those days were agoraphobics. We felt we HAD to. We questioned our thoughts… Yuck! Look at the weather! Do we want to stay home because it’s warm or safe?

I remember the therapist saying to me once… it’s okay to curl up under the blankets on a cold and rainy day if that’s what you feel like doing. It doesn’t have to mean anything more than it’s cold and rainy and you want to stay warm and dry.

Anyway, I’ve derailed my train of thought here. All the questioning that I do in my search for answers, questioning my thoughts and feelings, even questioning my questions has given me a new problem…

The Insight Junkie suffering an overdose.

I finally ask… Who the hell am I? Behind all the behaviours… Who is hiding there?

Fine, I want to know who I am, I’m sure we all do that at times, then I begin to think about the really life-changing stuff…

Do I like chocolate ice cream because my parents were strawberry and vanilla people? I’ve always liked chocolate ice cream, but maybe I’d really love Vanilla? Or Coffee? Macadamia?

Believe me when I say, that’s not far off from being an over exaggeration. Which brings us back to telling my mind to…

Shut up and chill out!

Just be. So says the Insight Junkie.

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Image: Boaz Yiftach / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Deafening, so many bikes

I find funny some of the memories that pop into my head at times. I was sitting outside on the balcony, in the cool breeze when I heard a biker down the road. Well, those things are so loud he could have been down near the highway for all I know. Anyways…

Two teenage girls stared out the window in shock as a stream of bikes slowly made their way towards the farm. As the first shock passed the elder girl pushed the younger towards the bedroom door… Hurry! I can’t see Tom’s car with them! We have to lock everything and turn off the lights. We have to hide! Tom said to hide if he wasn’t with them!

The younger girl went pale, even though understanding evaded her. She didn’t have to understand, she recognised panic and real fear in her friend.

The girls raced through the house, switching off lights, locking doors, closing and latching windows. Hearts pounding, they crouched down at the window facing the long drive and waited. They counted riders for a while and as the number of riders increased well into double digits their voices faded, leaving them with only one thought in their young minds… where’s Tom?

There it was. Finally. The dual lights of a car coming slowly up the drive… Tom was back. It would all be alright. Fear turned to relief in a blink of an eye. Even so, the elder girl didn’t get up and turn on the first light until she saw her brother step out of the car to greet his friends.

That’s a sound I thought I’d never forget, the sound of so many bikes turning up the drive. Deafening. So many bikes in the dark and two girls hiding in the house. I’d forgotten about that night, which happened while visiting a friend in apple country. At least now I understand why the roar of bikes has always sent my heart racing and  the thought… Hide! shouted in my mind.

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Image credit: © Juha Sompinmäki | Dreamstime.com

NE mails June 2005 earlier

Just to be confusing, these should have been before this one. He used to make me think about things… differently. I suspect it would make more sense if I left his replies in here. Maybe I’ll post some of them later, but I wanted to revisit my state of mind…

How are you? I’ve had an interesting day. I’m starting to find out just how often I do things without thinking about what I’m doing most of the time it seems). Started with the smoking, running advantages and disadvantages through my mind before I lit up; sometimes, I put the cigarette back in the packet, sometimes I lit up, sometimes I had to remind myself to not shorten the list of advantages and disadvantages, but most of the time I had lit up and started to smoke the cigarette before I even thought about thinking about it! Time is all that is needed I think.

A sucker for a long relationship?  I guess I am a sucker for a long relationship, but I have to admit that there is something comforting about knowing a relationship will be there for a long time.

Okay, nothing at face value, decide to accept on my own. The ratio makes sense to me; I think for knowledge to be lasting and to lead to understanding the learning needs to be slow. eg I could cram for an exam and yes have that knowledge on the day of the exam, but two weeks later, two months later, two years later, the knowledge would not be there and the understanding probably never was.

Aww, no more blue 😉

The difference in temperament between an adult and a child? Young children seem less concerned with what others think, they live in the now, they don’t live in the past or dwell on the future and they accept who and what is around them NOW.

Where was my mind focused when truly happy? My first thoughts give me memories, often on a sense of achievement, some form of success. Then, when I think about it again, memories are of camping with friends, sitting around a fire talking, fishing with other friends even if we caught nothing, watching the sunrise, playing in the water with a dog, more memories than I’ll list rise up. All seem almost silent, all seem peaceful and I was just there in the moment. Ohhh!

Where is a child’s focused?

On what is there right now.

No, the amount of possessions doesn’t make a person 10 or 100 times happier.

Are those who have all they want, always happy?

If the acquisitions make them happy and they have all they want, then they should be happy, right until something happens to the acquisitions that made them happy.

Why do we feel happy? Why for a short time?

Maybe we feel happy because we are focused on something pleasant,  maybe the excitement creates good feelings inside, maybe we think the acquiring leads to happiness, but it does only last a short time. Why? I suspect because it doesn’t provide a solution to feeling down in the first place. The ‘first blush’ of excitement fades quickly. Chemical maybe? But then if being happy is accepting being in the now, anytime we look outside of ourselves for happiness it would not last.

How to solve unhappiness?

That I wonder about. I can think of ways to improve my mood that don’t leave me feeling worse later, but to solve unhappiness I wonder if we can become like children again and accept being in the now all the time. Of course, by taking a course of action that doesn’t make me feel worse later does it’s own part in not creating extra unhappiness ater, as well as helping to clear the mind.

I admit I found tonight difficult, the subject of happy is more indepth than I could’ve imagined, or is my mind just playing tricks with me tonight, or maybe I was getting more tired. So, I will make a move towards sleep now and see how it looks in the morning.

All the best
Mari

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Big Great Dane!

Shall look forward to your reply. I am visiting a friend in a little country town called Colac about 2 ours outside Melbourne. Arrived last night after a very good drive, long but good. She has the biggest Great Dane that I have ever seen! She told me he was big, but I didn’t realise how big, he is gorgeous. Spent two nights in Canberra visiting another friend who I haven’t seen in a couple of years, which was great.

Haven’t really let myself get into holiday mode yet, although I keep telling myself “I am on holiday now, yes, really on holiday”, which I have found strange as usually I only have to travel a few hours south from home to feel I’m on holiday and how I’m about 1800km from home and still not quite believing that I’m on holiday 😀 I will go for a long walk today to finish clearing my head.

Last weekend I put into practice working out when down. Well, I wouldn’t say I was down, but was very stressed. Worked wonders.

I thought a lot about happiness over the last week and especially on the drive south. I think that solving happiness is a state of mind. You allow yourself to be happy or you don’t. Either you allow yourself to accept where you are or you don’t. Maybe too simple, but it is down to the bare bones of where my thoughts led me.

Anyway, as I said above, I look forward to your reply. For now, I will go outside and try not to get stepped on by the biggest Great Dane that I have ever seen, lol, still can’t quite get over the fact that I can hug him without bending over.

All the best
Mari

Subject: RE: No longer sleep deprived
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2005 12:46:53 +1000