Posts Tagged ‘photography’

A Pact Against Perfectionism

In Mindfulness on December 21, 2014 at 4:03 am

“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there is still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” – Dita Von Teese

me and tima

My sister, Fatimih (left), and I

While G-chatting with my sister (she’s in New Zealand, I’m in California), we each confess that we are stuck creatively – stalled and not producing up to our own expectations. She says her obsession with being organized is hindering her creativity while I do too many things at once without fully finishing any of them. Even while chatting with her, I am writing a blog post, making soup and taking photographs of the process all the while drinking wine and eating chocolate.

stack of books

My multi-tasking disease extends to reading for pleasure

I suspect she is also an avid multitasker. This used to be a badge of honor for me when my children were toddlers. I now see the falseness and futility of multi-tasking and, yet, I still do it. Multi-tasking makes me feel busy (not the same as productivity) which I learned at a young age is what adults do – they keep busy. Constant busyness keeps us from facing the fear and self-doubt that is universal for everyone. Some of us are just better at carrying on in the face of it.

The paralyzing combination of control (from our mother) and perfectionism (from our father) that we’ve each inherited has kept us both from leading the creative lives that we so desire. She’s a brilliant photographer and graphic designer (logos for Salmonberry and Yuwei) and curator of all things visually beautiful and she deserves to be seen.

So we made a pact:

We will simultaneously post each week – photographs for her, blogs for me – no matter what. It’s about creating content and momentum and not about whether it is perfect or important or anything else other than an exercise in doing what we say we are going to do and moving past self-consciousness.

It’s like a support group for sisters paralyzed by perfectionism. This is my first post of the project and here is Fatimih’s first contribution.

mary oliver poem

From Mary Oliver’s “The Mockingbird”

Intellectually, I realize that the only one judging me so harshly is myself and yet I still fear derision by this imaginary “audience”. I am not always like this. I’ve had long stretches of productivity and creativity with barely a thought of what people might think. It feels amazing and beautiful and I want that freedom again. But this sense of flow seems to sneak up on me and, while I am in it, I rarely recognize it’s inherent beauty. Only in experiencing the sudden contrast of paralyzing self-consciousness do I grasp the specialness of that time. I’m seeking to be more conscious of the flow. To revel in it and foster it.

Anyway, I miss my sister. She is so far away and this is a way for us to be connected and perhaps tell a story as well. We aren’t sure where this will take us or how it will evolve but…welcome to the experiment!