I’ve always held to the idea that anything worth doing is worth doing well.
Well, that is until recently.
I’m not advocating for laziness or half-passing (…ahem) a duty or project, I’m speaking about the idea that plagues me most days. “James, if you can’t do this perfectly and please everyone who will ever witness it, then just don’t do it.”
This is absolute nonsense.
I have recently learned some things about myself that are not pleasant discoveries. And yet, I am glad to have learned them at 49 rather than 94, but even then would be OK.
I sit upon a stack of imaginative creations, superb ideas, amazing stories, beautiful songs, magnificent art, deep and heady plots, and life-changing epiphanies that have never seen the light of day. Most of them are in pieces, unfinished statues of something bold and good that will never be placed in the lives of others. Why? Because I am a perfectionist… among other things.
Truly though, I loathe rejection. I have an extreme/hyper-empathy disorder. It causes my nervous system to go into emotional overcharge around people and absorb their baseline motions, affect, facial expressions, body language, and general mood. Any change in these things triggers an unconscious state of vigilance making me responsible for their emotions. The primary cause of this is trauma sometime in my childhood, most likely before I can remember. Yet, here we are, nearly half a century later, and the effects of trauma are binding and often repeated.
This is also true when I encounter any criticism at all. At the core, I have never thought that anyone was truly ill-meaning or menacing. I have always felt deeply that there was more to the story when people do bad things. Mostly, I feel they are being misunderstood and always, to a fault, given the benefit of the doubt.
While this sounds nice, it isn’t. Over the last two years, I have encountered high levels of stress that have damaged my body and my mind. The levels of cortisol flowing through me have created permanent physiological changes that have altered the course of my life in general. On top of this, I have experienced the emotions of fear, anxiety, abandonment, and loneliness to a degree that I did not know existed. It is only in recent months that I have developed the tools to cope with these issues. Thankfully, by the Lord’s mercy, His word is a moderating influence in escaping the narratives that are scripted by my fears.
Fear has been the driving force behind my life and experiences for the last four years. And now, as I think about it and see the piles of fearful ashes I do not feel guilty, but glad.
I am not afraid to be hated. I am not afraid to be rejected. I am not afraid to be disliked. I am not afraid of what people think of what I am offering to those around me. What other people think and say of me is truly none of my concern. In a sense, I have decided to make it none of my business.
So, with that being said, it’s time to start dusting off the not-so-ready gifts for the world to see. As many of you saw last year before I became ill, I was writing about many things. Well, that will remain for now. But in the coming months, I am also going to be teaching some things that I am not known for. And that’s ok.
There are some of you that will stay with me. Others will find no interest. That’s ok. I’m writing to those who want to hear, I am not trying to write in a way that will entice those who are disinterested. I’m also going to share some creations and thoughts with you that some may find offensive. That’s OK. You’re welcome to engage and we can talk about it.
In the end, I am going to put things on display. Some will be good, others will be garbage, some will amaze and others will be a laughingstock. That’s OK too. I’m not perfect and neither are you. But I can tell you this, I’m going to shine a light on what the Lord has given me and I hope you’ll stick around.
Do something. Even if it isn’t perfect.
What fun, interesting, or creative thing do you enjoy that you haven’t shared with the world yet? I’d love to see it.
Rest well. Stay rested.