I am now stroking my own arm, thank you Jamie Ginter

(just a note that I thought I hit publish on this last night! But on the post-every-day scoreboard, this counts for February 15.)

Jamie posted a little info graphic on self-compassion and why science says it’s good and, frankly, it’s alarming. In the test whether you need more self-compassion, I got five checks. Out of five. It says try stroking your arm.

Okay. I’ll try anything.

Uncertainty always does this to me. I like to have a mission, a team, someone to tell me I’m doing good job, or at least some products! I remember on my first campaign, when Jay Inslee was running for Congress in 1998, we had a dynamo who ran the get out the vote operation named Jon Owen. He used to walk around saying to everyone "You are doing a great job." He said it when you kicked ass and when you fucked up. He said it to everyone, all the time, and he was so funny and manic and ironic that we all started doing it, and it was astonishing the power of that little phrase, even when you totally didn't mean it and were just dishing out shit. Try it, you'll see. 

I'm trying to feel excited about my current "job." This morning I told my parents that the new fun thing in my life is a PT exercise and it’s the truth. I saw some wonderful pals last night, haven’t seen them in a couple weeks. Karaoke, baby. (New profile photo!) But I am running out of ways to answer “How are you?” without mentioning my back, which is a downer and a conversation ender. Sigh.

I wouldn’t be talking about it here either except it’s this or don’t post today, and I promised Brigid. And myself.

Also, it’s good to try out finishing things and not being perfect about it all. Perfectionism leads to fight or flight hormones, and too much whiskey, and, as Peter Segel put it on “Wait, Wait- Don’t Tell Me!” this morning, turning to television to cure my existential despair. Brené Brown says this is the source of shame for women- do it all, do it perfectly, never let them see you sweat. She researches vulnerability and shame and gives this amazing TED talk on how to live a more whole-hearted life and she too says perfectionism is the enemy. I do see this around a lot, women who are trying to keep the house and the kids and the job and the body perfect, holding it all so tight. I recognize it in them, in the mirror, in the images… OMG. I was getting my hair cut about a month ago and More magazine, which I usually like for it’s smart, feminist P.O.V. had a fifty page article on branding yourself. It wasn’t fifty pages. But it felt like it! I could actually feel my pits dampening as I read the recommendations that you create a personal elevator pitch, style guide and motto.

No, thank you. Stroking arm again…

This thing is, I need something to do while I’m in this part of the journey, the dark forest of uncertainty. I keep telling myself, “Andrews, you are rebuilding. This is scary. It’s okay to feel alone. It’s okay that it feels like it’s taking too long and “Aren’t we there, yet?” is on repeat. I’m breathing into it, doing my exercises, walking, posting imperfectly. Also, I’m trying a new kind of painting right now, in my quest to find things to do that involve standing and not holding still! Large blocks of color, lots of water and messy drips. I can’t hunch over and do the tiny detail work and to tell the truth, I never loved it. But I like this, at least I did this morning before I went crazy with dark blue. I think I finished it imperfectly! But that's okay. Feel free to tell me I'm doing a great job, anyway. You certainly are.