Hello, my name is Lisa Jakub and I used to be an actor

This is a weird thing for me to write about. You see, I’ve been spending the last 10 years running from my past. A friend said that I’m so dodgy about my old life, that I behave like someone who killed her entire family and moved out of state.

I’m that elusive about it.

But I didn’t kill anyone.

I was just an actor. Continue reading

Happy freaking holidays: a guide to surviving December

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This is a stressful time of year.

Sure, it’s joyous and whatever too, but let’s not candy-cane-coat this. Many people are feeling a time crunch, family pressures and money stress. Those of us who struggle with anxiety and/or depression tend to have a hard time, thanks to ridiculous holiday expectations.

But we can do this.

Here are some things that help me this time of year.

Leave

Walking (especially with the dog) is sacred time for me. Even a few minutes of fresh air helps clear my head, get me grounded, reconnected to the natural world, and focused on what really matters. And anything that makes Grace happy, makes me happy.

Give

I always feel better when I am able to stop obsessing about my own life and help someone else. Volunteering or just doing something for others (baking cookies for the mail carrier or simply telling someone how important they are to me) brings an abrupt end to my pity party.

Downdog

I am a yoga fanatic; I think the benefits are endless for mind, body and spirit. I love that it can be done at home without fancy equipment and is accessible to everyone, even those with a severe lack of physical grace, like myself. I start my day with some simple Sun Salutations (which are great for beginners) and tend to unroll my mat whenever I’m feeling stressed.

Write

Writing is my outlet. I have written angry diatribes, compete with outlandish accusations and the inventive usage of profanity. Once I write it out, I usually realize how silly it was to begin with and can let it go. And watching all that that drama go through the shredder is immensely satisfying.

“No”

Setting boundaries is integral to maintaing sanity any time of year. I have social anxiety, and parties tend to be really difficult for me. When my husband is with me, it’s a little easier, but there are events that I need to attend without him. Even though carpooling with friends might be more efficient, I almost always drive myself so I don’t feel trapped and I can leave if I start to feel a panic attack coming on. Knowing that I have an immediate out allows me to relax and actually have some fun. But even with those accommodations, there are times I need to decline an invitation and stay home with the couch and a book. And that’s okay, too.

Sit

Meditation has been an incredibly effective way of dealing with my anxiety. Like everyone else, I always thought that my mind was just too busy to meditate — but something significant changes when you take a few moments to breathe, slow down the incessant thinking, and become aware of the present moment. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it.  If you are interested in trying mindfulness, just sit in a quiet place, set a timer (start with just three minutes and work up to more) and count each inhale up to ten, and then back down to one again. Your mind will wander – constantly – but don’t get frustrated. Simply come back to focus on the breath, no matter how many times you start thinking about that witty comeback you didn’t say.

Here are some of my favorite books on meditation:

10% Happier – Dan Harris (For the meditation skeptic)

Wherever You Go There You Are – Jon Kabat-Zinn (For simple directions on mindful living)

Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program – Sharon Salzberg (For those looking for audio guided meditation)

You can also check out the rest of my favorite books on Goodreads.

Most of all, don’t get caught up in silly holiday propaganda and think that everyone else is perfectly merry with their perfect families and perfect homemade hot cocoa you are the only one getting stressed out.

Remember the profound words of Ellen Griswold –

 

So, let’s just take a deep breath and we’ll all make it through this joyous season in one piece. Happy holidays, everyone.

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Moving on: usefulness, beauty and a lot of cardboard boxes

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“Have nothing in your home which you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

~ William Morris

We’re moving.

They say that moving is one of those highly stressful life events that ranks up there with divorce or death of a family member.

I love moving.

I know. It’s weird.

We moved a lot when I was a kid, and I’ve continued that into my adulthood. I love any reason to get introspective and over-think things, and moving offers a plethora of opportunities for life evaluation.

When I was growing up and working on movies, l spent the majority of my time traveling on location and living out of a suitcase for three months at a time. I lived in Holiday Inns and corporate housing. I lived in other people’s houses and unfurnished apartments where Mom and I used banker’s boxes as tables. Life was very transient, and “stuff” never had much importance to me.

So, I love to purge and get rid of anything that is weighing me down. I give it all away. It lightens my load, simplifies my life and gives back to someone in need. Win/win/win.

Moving offers me a moment to really assess the things in my life. When it comes down to this reality – do I really want to carry this thing down two flights of stairs in this old house and then up two flights of stairs in my new house – it shines a whole new light. Does this thing really have meaning to me? Or do I have it just because I have it?

What else in my life have I been carrying for too long? What else is worth putting down and getting rid of? What pain, what shame, what anxiety? Because even four flights of stairs is nothing compared with holding on to something for forty years that is neither useful nor beautiful.

And maybe that emotional baggage was never even really mine to begin with. Maybe it’s like that box of CDs that an ex-boyfriend left behind, or that wobbly coffee table that I inherited from my parents.

I feel like a snake shedding its skin. I get to make decisions about priorities and how I want my family to live. I get to paint my dining room orange. I get to start over and throw out all my assumptions about how things should be. Throwing my life into chaos reminds me that each day, I get to decide how to live. It doesn’t have to be based on momentum and habit. I’m allowed to change and grow and leave that old, useless shit behind, like a pile of broken-down Ikea dressers from my 20s.

So, even though we are staying right here in Virginia, it feels like a whole new start – where only things useful or beautiful are allowed to stay.

Luckily, our dog is both.

Gracie stays.

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Do I have to burn my diploma? An open letter to the University of Virginia

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—————– UPDATE —————–

When Rolling Stone published the article about rape culture at UVA, I talked to several faculty, administrators and alumni. While reactions varied from sadness, anger and helplessness – one thing was consistent – no one was shocked.

Everyone I spoke with felt that UVA had been sweeping the issue of sexual violence under the rug for years. Policies were in place to protect the school’s reputation over the safety of the students. The culture of “misogyny and entitlement,” as one former faculty member phrased it, had been deeply engrained in the school’s culture.

And the culture of many other colleges all over the country.

The fact that Rolling Stone didn’t practice due diligence and “backed off” the article is appalling. I fear that it trivializes the claims of other rape victims, and discourages them from coming forward. While Jackie’s story got the headline, there were many other accounts of sexual violence outlined in the article. Many more women were brave enough to speak out about their assaults after reading the piece. 1 in 4 women on college campuses are victims of sexual violence, and many universities are not set up to support them and prevent further violations. That is what advocates like myself are asking for.

In Teresa Sullivan’s response to the Rolling Stone apology, the UVA President said,

Over the past two weeks, our community has been more focused than ever on one of the most difficult and critical issues facing higher education today: sexual violence on college campuses. Today’s news must not alter this focus.

I could not agree more.

We don’t know the exact details of Jackie’s story. But if you think that questions about the specifics of that one night, that one woman, change anything — you are not paying attention.

—————————————————-

Dear UVA,

I love you.

Half of my wardrobe is orange and blue. My car is covered in your stickers and my dog often sports a UVA collar.

I started undergrad at UVA at the age of 28. I was a high school drop out with a GED, no life experience outside of acting in movies, and a deep desire to learn. The day I graduated, in 2010 at the age of 32, was the proudest day of my life. You accepted me, you gave me a nurturing, safe place to spend four years.

At least, for me it was safe.

For many other women, it is not.

The recent Rolling Stone article, A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA, has made some things very clear. Some horrible things. About the prevalence of misogyny and entitlement, of rape and abuse, of victims being silenced, of administrators sweeping accusations under the rug.

It must stop. Now.

I had never been proud of anything in my life before I went to UVA. I never felt proud of my film career or that I bought a house when I was 15 years old. But I was immensely proud to be part of a community that valued honor and learning. I was proud to wear my orange and blue. I wrote a memoir, which will be published next summer, and it ends as a love letter to you, UVA.

But I’m ashamed of my association with you now. I’m ashamed that this culture has been allowed to fester. I’m ashamed that the response to the assaults and rapes has been tepid.

But you can change this. Now.

April Wimberley has written a Change.org petition that outlines administrative changes that need to be made, as a first step to combat this culture of rape. Obviously, this is not simply an administrative issue, but the college needs to make it clear that these actions will not be tolerated. Suspending fraternities for the holidays won’t cut it.

The blame lies primarily with the perpetrators, but you have the power to stand up and say that this will be brought to light. We are not the only college that faces this issue – but we can be the one that faces it the best.

So, here’s the deal. If there is not significant administrative response to this issue, along the lines of the demands outlined on Change.org in place by the time the students return from winter break on January 12th – I will burn my diploma.

Anyone else who feels compelled to join me is welcome.

I know that as an institution, you are freaked out right now. But you need to lead us. You need to give us a reason to be proud of UVA again. You need to give us a reason to not want to burn our diplomas.

I cannot bear to look at my diploma from an institution that chooses to protect its reputation over its students. I will sacrifice what is precious to me, in an attempt to bring about a greater social good.

I will burn the only thing I’ve ever been proud of.

I love you, UVA. But my love, though deep, is not unconditional.

Yours,

Lisa Jakub

UVA alumna, class of 2010.

—— If you want to help, please share this post and use #BurnMyDiploma —–

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Hey, wake up – this is your dream

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Lisa Jakub – author. Age 8.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting by a pond with my friend, T. It was a warm fall day and the pond looked as if it had been ripped out of Idyllic Ponds Monthly Magazine. There were gently rustling reeds, lazy koi fish kissing the surface of the water and a heron, arrogantly surveying it all from the shoreline.

T is a writer and an English professor and we were talking about writerly things, like muses, death and Scotch. We talked about my book being published and he told me about the novel he was working on. We were perched on a wobbly stone bench and T stood up to stretch his legs and smoke a cigarette far enough away that I wouldn’t complain about it too much. He exhaled pensively for a moment and looked back at me:

“So, I have to ask you this, what’s it like to be living your dream?”

I laughed at him because the question seemed absurd. It feels strange to think of your own life like that. Most of us are more likely to tally up all the things we’ve not done, and focus on them.

When I look at my incredibly talented writer friend, I see his MFA that I’m envious of and his job in the academic surroundings that I admire. He’s a creative soul whose apartment is filled with Escher prints and typewriters and masks that he made in college. But he’ll downplay it all, even the things he’s published, waving them away like the cigarette smoke that still manages to get in my eyes. And all the while, I’ll feel inferior because I don’t have advanced degrees and I don’t even know how to make a mask — and I’ll wave away the beautiful moments in my own life.

Why are we compelled to move on to the next thing and discard our accomplishments? I’ve always felt that if just one person enjoyed my work, I’d die happy. But now Facebook is telling me that I need to keep tabs on pages that are similar to mine so I can “keep up.” Suddenly, I’m in a world where 8,000 Facebook fans doesn’t feel like enough.

Why do we change the rules on ourselves?

If we really were living our dream — would we even notice?

When I get still for just a moment, I realize how astounding it all is. I’m a writer. That’s the dream I’ve had since I was eight and compiled the Collected Works of Lisa Jakub. I’m also healthy and I have friends and family and a place to live. That’s a dream, too.

So, my answer to T was rather dualistic:

Living my dream is wonderful.
And it’s exactly the same as life before I got a book deal.

I think most of us assume that if we are living our dream, then everything must be all shiny and effortless. Therefore, if it’s not perfect, we can’t be there, yet. I still have maintenance issues with my car that require me to spend three hours waiting at the repair place. My dog is still half blind and has seasonal allergies. I used to get frustrated and cry because no one wanted to publish my book, I still get frustrated and cry because I have meetings with my publisher and I worry about disappointing them.

People have said that it must have been easy for me to get my book published because of “who I used to be.” I won’t detail the mountain of rejections from agents and publishers, the endless emails saying that no one is interested in a Hollywood story from a no-longer-famous person that doesn’t involve orgies and rehab – but I’ll just say, getting published was not easy.

But this is what we do, as humans. We tend to assume that everyone has it easier and better than us. They have connections or innate talent or more money or prettier hair. But none of that means that they don’t have troubles and stress and heartbreak. It’s just in different packaging.

Knowing those concerns are universal makes them feel so much more manageable. This is simply what it means to be alive. We might as well find some joy and gratitude in there, because life is never going to be perfect. For any of us. No book deal/MFA/sweet car will cure the essential human condition of uncertainty and unease.

But maybe being alive, being truly awake in your life, is the real dream.  Maybe the rest of it is just icing.

The ducks in the pond paddled towards us, looking up expectedly with their cutest begging duck faces. Since I only had bottled water and T only had gum, neither seemed to be appropriate offerings. The ducks got tired of watching us wax philosophical and glided away, muttering what I’m sure were disappointed profanities.

T and I left the pond to wander through the fallen leaves that were mostly obscuring the pathway. Kicking the leaves aside, we made our own path.

Back to our lives.

Back to our dreams.

————–
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Sticks and stones and broken bones: an anniversary

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When I was 11 years old, I broke my back running into a burning building to save a puppy.

Sorry.

That’s a lie.

But it sounds so much better than the truth.

When I was 11 years old, I broke my back falling out of a chair.

I was siting in one of those office chairs with wheels on them. I pushed back to get up, the wheels caught on the carpet, l fell backwards, hit a wall, crushed three vertebrae between my shoulder blades and got severe whiplash in my lower back.

It’s not a good story. In any way.

I spent about five days in the hospital, then they sent me home, wearing a metal back brace and drugged up on liquid codeine. My mother put glittery, puffy stickers on the brace to cheer me up – but the little dolphins and angelfish dotting the icy metal contraption just seemed pathetic. Depressing. Like those velvet paintings of big-eyed children. They’re supposed to be sweet and youthful but instead they stab your heart with a deep and hollow melancholy.

Months passed with me on the couch, counting the flowers on the wallpaper. I needed a wheelchair to go more than a few steps. I couldn’t lift my arms up to read, so I rigged up a cookbook holder that connected to my brace so I could read Sylvia Plath endlessly. I watched Doctor Zhivago and wondered what my recovery would look like. I wondered if I would ever be able to ride horses again (yes) or walk in high heels (no, but I doubt that’s really about the broken back). Mostly, I wondered when the pain would stop.

This Saturday will be the 24th anniversary of my injury. It is always a time of great introspection for me. I have very few lingering signs of the accident. The nerve damage has dissipated in the last 5 years (thank you, yoga) but my left leg still drags a little, zombie-like, when I’m tired. My right hip sits significantly higher than the left. But since my ability to ever walk again was once in question, it seems silly to mention such minutia.

The most notable result of my broken back is this profound sense of the tenuous nature of life. It became clear that one moment, one movement, one chance encounter, one turn to the left when you intended to go right – can change everything.

It can catapult you into triumph or catastrophe.

I know what it is to have my body betray me. To have my arms not be able to lift, my legs give out, and my back shiver with pain. And at a certain point, there is nothing to do but surrender to the tides. To know deeply that you’ll be okay, whatever happens.

So this Saturday, I’ll pay homage to my spine.

Because in many ways, I’m just learning how to use that beautifully strong backbone of mine.

————–
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On letting go: growing pains and book publishing

I’m getting to the point with my book where I need to submit the final draft of my manuscript to the publishers. Because then, copyeditors and proofreaders can do their work and try to make some logical sense of the random places where I chose to put commas. Then, it will go off to the designers and on to the presses and off the presses and into cardboard boxes to go off to bookstores.

It’s entirely exciting.

And incredibly painful.

Because for the last several years, I’ve been watching this book grow from a crazy idea, into the 275 page manuscript that sits before me. I’ve been getting up in the middle of the night with this book. I’ve been startled awake by the persistent, restless whimpering of a thought or a memory or a funnier word choice – I get out of bed and rush to this computer. I sit in the glow and nurse my book to better health.

And that time is almost over. That part of my job is done.

Now, I have to send this book out into the world.

To be adored or criticized or ignored.

Not to be too dramatic or anthropomorphize too much (who am I kidding, I’m a writer/former actor and my car is named Gwen) but I feel like I’m sending my book off to college to live her own life and I’m not sure if I’ve done enough to prepare her. I’m not sure if she’s strong enough to make it in the real world. I’m worried about where she’s going to sit in the cafeteria.

Why is it that humans have such a hard time letting go? We live in a transient world, full of constant change. Births and deaths and seasons and uncontrollable events. And yet, we always assume that some things, if we hang on tight enough, will last forever.

But let’s face it, that desperate clinging never feels good.

There is such beauty in change. In growth. We see that all around us right now. It’s fall and the trees are turning magenta in preparation to let go of their leaves. It’s the essential nature of life.

One of my favorite Buddhist stories is about a monk and a glass of water. He says, “I love this glass. It holds the water admirably. When the sun shines on it, it reflects the light beautifully. When I tap it, it has a lovely ring. Yet for me, this glass is already broken. When the wind knocks it over or my elbow knocks it off the shelf and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ But when I understand that this glass is already broken, every minute with it is precious.” *

I love this idea. This understanding that everything is impermanent, so why not embrace the present moment, with all its joy and discomfort and transformation — right now? Why not surrender to the realities of this world and just choose to be happy in the face of it? It’s all temporary. Even you. So have a blast and love wholeheartedly, before it’s gone.

And then let it go with grace.

I want this book to go out in the world. Because I want you to read it. And because I want to sit up at 4 AM in the glow of my computer screen, and nurture another book into existence.

So, now you know where I’m going be the next few nights, until I have to turn my manuscript into an email attachment and push Send. I’ll be sitting right here, enjoying my little baby…while she’s still just mine.

And then I’ll let it all go, and get ready for whatever comes next.

——–

* This version of the quote is from a wonderful PBS documentary called The Buddha. It’s a great introduction to the concepts of Buddhism and it has “Keep Until I Delete” status on my TiVo. Even though “Keep Until I Delete” reflects an amount of permanence and control that is clearly not very Buddhist…

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Upcoming event at Bowers Writers House at Elizabeth College

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I am super thrilled to be speaking at Bowers Writers House at Elizabethtown College in PA!

In two weeks, I’ll be discussing inspiration, the creative process and I’ll be reading a chapter from my book. I’ll also try to stay calm and not just squeal with excitement about getting to talk writing all weekend.

I’ve done talks at high schools and conventions before but this will be my first time at a college. I still get nervous about the whole try-not-to-look-stupid-in-front-of-people thing…but I really love the connection and energy that come from engaging in person.

And I suppose it’s good for me to get out of my house and put on real pants once in a while.

If your school/organization is interested in having me come talk – about writing/living authenticity/my life growing up – contact me at LisaJakub108@gmail.com.

And many thanks to Bowers Writers House for having me!

 

Emma Watson, feminism and thoughts from my college advisor

“All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing.”

~Emma Watson, quoting Edmund Burke at the United Nations

I recently watched Emma Watson’s speech to the UN about feminism. I had shivers the whole time. She got me thinking about digging up this post I wrote a while ago, but was too timid to publish, because for some reason “feminism” has recently become a hot-button issue.

Then I read about all the horrible threats she is getting as a result of her speech and shamefully, my first thought was “how terrifying – well, I can’t write about feminism now.”

And that is exactly why I’m posting this.

I am a feminist. An outspoken, virulent feminist.

This means I believe that women deserve political, economic and social equality to men.

This does not mean I hate men. That is not feminism.

That is sexism.

Here are some things about me:

  • I prepare my husband’s lunch every day and cook dinner most evenings
  • I knit
  • I like flippy floral skirts

I am still a feminist.

  • I do the DYI fix-it projects in our home
  • I like bugs and dirt
  • I don’t know how to apply make up

I am still a feminist.

A few years ago when I was graduating from college, my advisor asked me what my plans were. I talked about writing, about some non-profit work I wanted to continue doing in Southern Africa, about traveling with my husband and rescuing a shelter dog.

She looked at me and said “But what about a baby? You have to start planning for that before it’s too late and all that other stuff is just going to get in the way. You must want to have a baby, it’s the most important thing a woman can do.”

After I found my voice, I explained that having a baby was not, and never had been part of my plan. She scoffed at me and said that I would change my mind and that I needed to have a baby because only then would I be a “real woman.”

That’s why I’m a feminist.

Because no one should be allowed to dictate what a “real woman” does or does not do.

Because no graduating male would have been told that his professional aspirations needed to be put on hold to procreate.

My gender should not dictate the dreams I’m allowed to have for myself.

There is nothing wrong with having children, or not having children, it’s a personal choice. There is more than one way to live, and I’m not saying that having children is wrong any more than I am saying that parasailing is wrong just because I don’t choose to do it.

It’s easy for many of us to look around and think that women have it pretty good right now, but the struggle for equality is not over. Women still only make 77 cents for each dollar a man makes, and that number goes drops even further for black and Latina women. And let’s not get into rape and domestic abuse stats.

I see a lot of young women rejecting feminism, and I’m not saying everyone has to be a feminist. But I think feminism has a branding problem. Like Emma Watson says it’s not anti-man. It’s about equality. And I think it’s becoming too common to write off what feminists of the past have done for women and take for granted the rights that women currently have in this country.

To the men: please understand that feminism is not a threat to you. Feminists are not trying to hate you or replace you or undermine you. Feminism is open to you, as well, and it’s an invitation for you to defend human rights and enable your wives, sisters, mothers and friends the freedom to be their authentic selves. In breaking down gender stereotypes, you become freer as well. You are not required to be the breadwinner, you can cry at the movies and walk through the door first if you want to.

And to the women: You don’t have to say you are a feminist. But if you like being able to wear jeans – you should thank one.

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Never enough: growing up airbrushed

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I’ve been going through old photos to use in my book and I just found this headshot from when I was 16 years old.

The blue pen marks indicate the parts of me that should be airbrushed.

That’s the world I grew up in.

Even at 16, I had to be fixed, airbrushed and prettied up. I was never quite good enough as I was.

Now, when I look back at that time, I see a girl who had glowing skin and the ability to exist solely on Doritos while still having a thigh gap.

At 35, that thigh gap is long gone, but you know what I do have now?

  • gray hair (because I’m lucky to get older and wiser and experience life)
  • crow’s feet (because I’m lucky to be able to laugh a lot)
  • a little puffy roll where my abs should be (because I was lucky to go to Italy last month and eat gelato every day)

I’m done listening to a world that tells me that I should dye my hair and wear concealer and lose three pounds because that’s the weight that Jennifer Aniston prefers to be.

The Blue Pen People have made us all insecure about those things, but for some reason we’ve accepted that. And now, ridiculously, we’ve picked up that blue pen and are scribbling all over ourselves and others, highlighting whatever physical attributes we deem to be “wrong.”

There is so much negativity already in the world, why are we contributing by hating ourselves?

So, women (and men) of the world — what would happen if we came together and collectively decided that we just don’t care about the thigh gap? Or laugh lines? Or inadequate lashes?

What if we stopped judging other women, and ourselves, by silly criteria that have nothing to do with health or happiness? What if we just ended it? What if we decided to focus that energy on important, productive things that actually mattered? Let’s stop cursing the darkness under our eyes, and let’s light a candle.

It’s easy to think that we have all the time in the world and that sometime tomorrow or next year we will learn to be kind and love our hips.

But life is precious — and we just don’t have time for this blue pen bullshit.

Enough is enough.

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The freedom to fail

I’ve been thinking about vulnerability lately.

I suspect that’s because this blog just passed one million views, I’m working with my editor on my book and recently did a reading of a chapter for an audience of about 100 people. All this is wonderful and I’m so grateful but it also kind of feels like standing naked in front of a football stadium.

Therefore, I’ve been thinking about what it means to put yourself out there, letting yourself be seen for the truth of who you are, and standing courageously to take whatever comes – praise, criticism or a sarcastic slow-clap of indifference.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds scary as hell to me.

I doubt I’m alone with this. I see people struggling with perfectionism and fear of failing all the time.

Not wanting to ask for the raise or promotion at work.

Not wanting to try a new yoga class because other people might be more flexible.

Not wanting to bring up the difficult conversation that needs to be discussed.

So, what do we do about it? It’s easy to look at someone else and tell them to go for it and no one at yoga cares what you look like and communication is important. But how do we do that for ourselves when we are terrified to fail at our jobs, fail with our friends, fail at being perfect?

I don’t know the answer, but I wonder if there isn’t peace and beauty to be found in the ordinary. In America, we are obsessed with the extraordinary. We think we need to be famous, or be in the top 1% of whatever, or do something that no one else has ever accomplished.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t tend to expect that from anyone other than ourselves. It is possible to let go and enjoy our imperfection. Because in our imperfection, we find our individuality, our spirit, our joy. The people I love and respect most are the ones who embrace their beautifully flawed human-ness.

I had this thought recently:

When I’d rather fail than quit, everything becomes possible.

I’ve been held back by being afraid to fail for too long.

What if people think I’m a terrible writer?

What if I really am as washed up and irrelevant as anonymous HuffPo commenters say?

What if I make spelling mistakes in my blog posts?

I’m tired of living in fear that I might fail or look stupid or fall on my face.

I might.

But on the other hand — I might not.

(Okay, when it comes to spelling in blog posts, I definitely will make mistakes, but luckily you readers are kind enough to gently point those out without too much ridicule.)

The point is that I might be able to reach people and connect and make some sort of a difference somehow – and that possibility is too valuable to give up just because I’m feeling like a scaredy cat. It seems that lots of people have an opinion about my life. I just need to remember that my opinion counts, too. In fact, it counts most.

So when I saw this sign while I was out for a walk, it totally stopped me in my tracks.

free

What would I do if I were free from worry and fear and self-doubt? What would I do if I stopped being so concerned about seeming perfect? What would I do if I had faith that I was fully capable of picking myself up even if I did fall on my face?

Who knows?

But it just might be fun.

(For more on perfectionism and vulnerability – check out the staggeringly insightful Brené Brown.)

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