I always thought of blogs as being narcissistic, business related, or as my sister's, a way of keeping in touch or memorializing.

But, by necessity, I am learning a lot about myself. I find I need to get my thoughts out, and it helps me to know that someone else will read them. So I have created this little space for myself, to express the things I have trouble saying (be it emotional or physical trouble), to share what I'm going through, and what I'm learning through it.

I absolutely welcome comments. It's nice to know how people relate to what I'm saying.
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Monday, 21 November 2011

Volunteering - second day, better results

Last time I wrote about being in the process of changing my all-or-nothing, perfectionist approach to life. It is a slow, baby-steps process, and that's why I think it's actually working. Previously, I had written about my anxieties regarding going back to the school on a volunteer basis. Putting the two together today was fan-frikkin-tastic, and I am super proud of me.

This time, instead of realizing I was being a perfectionist an hour into my time, I walked into the school with two intents: one, to let my work be good enough and not aim for perfection; two, to see how that would affect me. The result: the work is almost as good, and the differences are such that nobody but me will ever know. I feel great about doing what I did, and how I protected myself from myself.

I am putting photographs on the cover of each report card. I only made changes that needed to be made. I only looked for alternate photos when the one in question really was absolutely unacceptable (and there were only 3, of about 50 I looked at) because the facial expression looked in one case like the child was constipated and in another like he was a court jester. But the rest, the ones where the face was a little hidden or the background was a little too busy, or the lighting was a little off - those I left as is. I did not crop a single photo, I did not adjust the contrast or saturation, and I did not look for alternates. I had to remind myself a couple of times to let things go, but I did it. And I am very pleased with myself. Did I say that already? Maybe I should say it again. I'm really pleased with myself.

Here's the other thing that's new: I actually stuck to my schedule. I set my alarm, and I left when it went off. None of that "oh just one more little thing" crap. I finished the document I was working on, picked up my things, and left. Last time, I stayed past my hour and a half, and that contributed to my crankiness following.

The reason this is all such a big deal is that it represents a huge change in my attitude, and it shows me that the changes I'm trying to make in my life are actually taking hold in a deep way. If I can keep myself from over-working at the school, with all that history and old patterns it holds, then maybe I can do this volunteering thing after all. If I can leave it behind, and not bring it home with me, if I can let my work be imperfect, and I can see the school for what it is - a school, and not an extension of myself, my mother, or my son - then maybe I can continue to contribute my time, in a way that is constructive for both the school and my own healing. How awesome is that?

So what if I came home a little tired. I did not much of anything else today. I even took a nap. I did manage to empty half the dishwasher and throw some rice on the stove. Made my boy some tea (he's got a sore tummy), and did a little knitting. I think that's ok. I am happy with that. My priorities are still in place, and I'm still using my time and energy in a way that makes sense to me.

I am at this point, planning on returning on Wednesday to finish the job. This is of course, assuming that I am not affected by either my son's sore tummy or a period of compensation following today's efforts. From there, I will hopefully be able to better judge whether this volunteer experience is good for me, or delaying my overall recovery. In the meantime, baby steps in my head, and baby steps in the world. Here's hoping!


  1. Andy I am so proud of you!!! I am so NOT there yet and inspired by your baby steps..gotta learn them b/c I push and push and push and then pay hard!!! Hugs to your success!!!! GREAT JOB!

  2. Observe thyself as thy greatest enemy would do, so shalt thou be thy greatest friend.
    ~~~J. Taylor~~~

    BRAVOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO for baby steps!!!!!