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Posts Tagged ‘confessions’

Warning: ranty material ahead.

I love Corey from Simple Marriage. You know that. I keep linking to his site and raving about all the wisdom he offers. I adore his blog and feel he has given me so much.

But recently he wrote a post entitled A Good Marriage is the Enemy of a Great Marriage.

It’s a good post, don’t get me wrong. But in truth, this kind of post is the kind of thing that destroys me.

And I’m seeing it everywhere: “Be excellent.” “Be better than you are.” “Excel at all you do, plus more.” These are the messages I get everywhere I turn, especially from the blogosphere. Everyone is offering to teach me how I can become better. Because apparently, I’m not good enough.

All the other marriage blogs want you to have “stupendous” and “extraordinary” marriages. The people who write them are wonderful, brilliant, ambitious people, and I admire them. And their philosophy probably works wonders for certain people.

But for people like me, it’s unspeakably taxing.

I was born a die-hard perfectionist. My Mom tells me that when I was two I refused to say aloud any word I couldn’t perfectly pronounce. On the second day of kindergarten I cried because I couldn’t read yet. In first grade I cried because I couldn’t draw my favourite cartoon character. Ever since I can remember, I have striven for distinction in all I do, and have demanded nothing less than perfection from myself. In the last nineteen years of my life I have constantly pressured myself to be an exceptional student. In my adult life I have striven to be an extraordinary cook, and impeccable housekeeper, a successful writer, an accomplished artist, and a perfect wife.

It’s killing me, man. I can’t do it. I’ve never been able to do it. I’m not extraordinary.

I can’t even remember what if feels like to not be under constant pressure – pressure to achieve more, to impress more, to produce more. I live in constant despair over not being good enough.

This is a taste of what goes through my mind every single day:

“You are not achieving enough.”

“It’s your fault you’re not successful.”

“You don’t work hard enough. You’ll never succeed at this rate.”

Honestly, the last thing I need to hear is that my marriage isn’t good enough!

I would give anything to hear just one voice say, “Your marriage is good enough. You’re achieving plenty. Sometimes satisfactory is good enough. Kathleen, sometimes you need to be happy with ‘pretty OK.’”

Since no one is telling me this, I guess it’s up to me to step up and tell myself:

You’re doing fine. You don’t need to conquer the world. You don’t need to be extraordinary. Just be happy for once.

God doesn’t care if you never publish a book or get a thousand pageviews on your blog. He doesn’t care if you never become a public figure or tour the country giving important talks. He doesn’t care if you never get your PhD. All he wants is for you to love him.

And your marriage is fine. You’re still together and you care for each other, right? And you’re committed to stay that way, right? Good enough.

Chill.

At this point, I just want to be able to make it through each week without killing myself. I often have to tell myself at the beginning of each morning, “If I make it through this day alive I will have succeeded. I will have accomplished my goal.”

I wish sometimes that other people would affirm this as a legitimate goal.

Sometimes I wonder if we don’t need to be taught to just be content – to settle a little bit. Sometimes I wonder if our culture puts too much pressure on us to be extraordinary, sensational, magnificent  . . . more than human.

But “pretty OK” isn’t good enough for most people. We’re told we can “do anything.” Maybe I’m drifting off topic here, but sometimes I also wonder if it wouldn’t be healthier to be told you aren’t actually capable of absolutely anything: some things are just out of your control. I sometimes think all this “You can do anything” stuff breeds a lot of self-loathing when we don’t succeed.

Since I’m told that I can do anything, I blame myself when I can’t.

I blame myself for being unable to conceive a child.

I blame myself for having acne.

I blame myself for not being a famous writer/blogger.

Since I’m told I should be able to do anything, I understand the above shortcomings as personal failures. But maybe it’s not my fault. Maybe these things really are out of my control.

So last night at 2 a.m., as I rocked myself to sleep, I decided that I am going to do an experiment. For the next week, whenever I start thinking my usual bad thoughts, I am going to repeat these things:

Kathleen, you are good enough.

You do not have to be famous. You can die without ever landing a book deal and you will be just fine.

You can perfectly happy with “OK.”

Even if no one else likes you, God does. And he’s the only one who really matters. He never said you had to be extraordinary.

Oh, and your marriage is pretty downright a-ok. In fact, it’s peachy.

If this new kind of thinking causes me to be less “successful” – to achieve less, to sink even deeper into obscurity – that’s probably OK. I can’t possibly be any unhappier than I am right now, so you can bet that if I fall off the radar I am probably better off in my new universe of “pretty OK.”

I’ll let you know in a week what I discover.  Maybe.

And if it works, I’m going to introduce a new focus on achieving “the pretty OK in marriage.”

Does anyone else ever feel like this, too, or am I alone in this?

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I know you all just want to know who the winner of the confession contest is. But I’m going to make you read all this other stuff first.

New! Email Subscription.

Maybe you are not the kind of guy or gal who wants to bother with an RSS reader to manage your blog subscriptions. That’s cool – I didn’t until quite recently either. But maybe you are the kind of guy or gal who would still like to stay up-to-date with Project M without having to check back on the site all the time. Well guess what? Now you can, with my new email subscription option! WordPress, which hosts my blog, just offered this new feature, and I jumped at the chance to add it to my blog! Now, if you sign up, you can get my blog posts sent to your email as I publish them! Just click on the new button in my sidebar to the right to sign up. Let me know how it works out for you — is it a cool feature, or is it lame? Either way, thanks for reading!

Clarification on PDA’s.

I just want to be clear: in my last post, I’m not saying by any means that married people ought not to show affection, or go on dates with their spouses, or flirt on Facebook. I’m just saying I don’t particularly enjoy seeing it, so I wonder why people don’t do it more in private.* But this probably says more about my own neurosis or the blackness of my heart than it does about the value of affection and flirting. It’s an issue of personal preference, and I just thought I’d throw it out there, in case others felt the same.

*For example, Facebook has a perfectly good inbox system, which couples could use to send each other private love memos if they feel compelled to communicate digitally. I’m just sayin’ is all. But then, I don’t understand the whole “wall” thing to begin with, even between friends. Why do everyone’s private conversations have to be broadcasted to their whole social network all the time?

Thanks for the Nominations.

A number of you nominated my blog to be listed on the “Top Ten Marriage Blogs” list on the Marry Blogger. Thanks, guys! I really appreciate it! The really exciting thing is that it has already brought some new traffic to my blog, and has connected me with some other totally rad marriage bloggers.  You might be seeing some guest posts from some other bloggers soon, so stay tuned. So thanks again for making that happen! I wish I could send you each a digital high-five. (Not a hug, though, of course. Blech). And guess what? you can still vote for my blog (or another one, if you prefer) by clicking here. It’s not too late!

Contest Winner.

Oh my goodness. I really wish I had predetermined my criteria for this contest. Like, I wish I had decided ahead of time whether I would pick “whichever confession makes me laugh the hardest and longest” or “whichever confession seems the most courageous” or something to that effect. But I loved so many confessions for so many reasons. It is very hard to pick a favourite when given so much awesome stuff. What is a blogger to do?

Before I announce the winner, I just want to thank you all for your wonderful contributions. For the people whom I already know personally, I learned that you are all a lot weirder than I had realized; and for the people whom I didn’t previously know, I think we can probably be friends, now that I know your quirky little secrets.

This was a really hard decision, because everyone’s confessions were so good. But I finally decided that Annalea ought to be the first place winner. I appreciated her vulnerability, as she offered up deeply personal and touching confessions, especially after her confession, “I have a hard time making myself vulnerable.” Thanks for your graciousness, Annalea! However, you pointed out that Tim Card would be useless to you in California and suggested that the runner up could take the prize.  I guess I’ll have to take your suggestion. But if I make it over to Detroit in the next bit I will buy an American Starbucks card and send it your way! You deserve it!

So my runner-up, who will actually receive a Canadian Starbucks rather than a Tim Card gift card is . . . Ike! Ike offered up ten confessions, varying from the absurd/disturbing to the sensitive/heart-touching.  Plus he made me think of Nacho Libre, in his enthusiasm to win the championship . . . I mean confession contest. My only question is: why? Why the leg hairs first? Why in God’s green earth do the leg hairs need to be wet before you can wash the rest of your body??? No wait, I take that back; I don’t want to know. I just need to get your address to send it your way.

Honourable mention goes to Josh for making me continue to chuckle to myself hours after I read your confession. Oh my goodness Josh you have issues.

Thanks again, everyone, for making me laugh this past week! I appreciated all of your contributions! Have a fabulous weekend!

(By the way, if you haven’t read Ike’s confessions yourself, they are under my “Reminder” post, below, and not where they actually belong. *Still shaking head disapprovingly*)

UPDATE: I just looked into it, and it turns out Starbucks cards are useable internationally, so I’m actually going to send Annalea and Ike each a gift card!

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This post has nothing to do with marriage. But lots of other themed blogs that I read often include stuff that has nothing to do with their themes so I’m following suit. Plus, The Internet seems to prefer lists over stories, so for once I’m doing that here too.

After reading my friend Susie’s recent blog post on confessions, and after I commented up a storm saying that “confession” is one of the primary functions of a writer, I became inspired to write out a list of my own confessions.  I figured I ought to practice what I preach. (You can see the whole interchange here). My argument basically centers upon Anne Lamott’s claim that writers have a “moral obligation” to tell the truth, so that readers can be set free from the “terrible sense of isolation we all have.”

The items I’ve listed below are the things I am embarrassed of. They are some of the things that make me silly, or an idiot, or worse – evil.  Some things I’m less embarrassed of than others. The list could go on and on but I am told people don’t like to read long posts on the internet. *grimace*

Please don’t hate me for them. Maybe you’ll even see yourself in some of them a little bit and feel a little less weird or sinful yourself? Here’s hoping I don’t just humiliate myself by sharing them.

I’m also having a contest where you can win a $5 Tim card if you post a comment. See details below.

Here’s my confession list:

  • I’ve tried to read a book while driving a car before.
  • If I’m honest, the three things I want most in life are (a) clear skin (b) to be recognized as a writer (c) for people to think that I’m interesting. I would probably sacrifice my health, and, in my worst moments, several aspects of my character and some of my most valuable relationships for the sake of these things.
  • I routinely have witty, imaginary conversations with people when I’m sitting on the john. I’ve done this my whole life. And I almost always have a British accent.   My most frequent interlocutors are men on whom I have crushes, and without exception I demonstrate why I am too good for them.
  • My biggest fear in life is that I’ve never had an original thought or impulse in my life. In my most private moments, I have to face the reality that I am profoundly unremarkable.
  • The low traffic stats for this blog have brought me to tears.
  • Overall, I’m embarrassed of the person I am. But I don’t like to let on that I am embarrassed, so I hide it by using impressive Latinate language and by making fun of my friends – whom I love and cherish and couldn’t live without – behind their backs. It makes me feel better about myself.  It makes me feel cool. The fact that I had to use the word “Latinate” here bespeaks the depth of my arrogance.
  • I’ve had a crush on Matt Tiessen since 2001. The same year I met and fell in love with Ben. When we watch Relient K music videos together it takes all my willpower to keep from sighing wistfully breathing out “. . . I love you, Matt.”
  • I’ve been trying to have a baby for seven months. I’ve been so upset about my inability to get pregnant that I once spent a whole morning curled up on the stairs, crying. I then went on Facebook and hid every one of my “friends” who is either pregnant or a new mother so I couldn’t see their status updates any more. And now I don’t know how to un-hide them.
  • I sometimes think that if I just have autistic kids – which is quite possible considering Ben’s gene pool – maybe I would rather not have any kids at all.
  • I take immense pride in being the only person in my church to have an MA and to have been the first one to get a BA (outside of Bible college). I feel threatened by the fact that a number of very smart young people are now attending university, and I secretly hope they don’t surpass me in education. If they do, it better be in the sciences.
  • I have considered doing my PhD exclusively for the status.
  • I composed this entire list while driving a car.

Here’s the contest: post one of your own confessions in a comment. I’ll give you until the end of the week (that is, until Fri, Nov 27). You can leave it anonymously, so that the only person who will know your identity will be me (And how can you be embarrassed to let me see them after the mortifying confessions I’ve offered above?). At the end of the week I will pick my favourite, and since my readers seem to be almost exclusively Canadian, I will personally mail the winner a $5 gift card from Tim Horton’s. (If you are American? I’ll work something out. Starbucks?).

One last confession: this contest is primarily an attempt to get more comments out of you. I want to know who my readers are.

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