Sunday, January 15, 2012

All or Nothing

I've thought about FHK (this blog) on and off for some time now.  I've realized the days and weeks had been ticking by with no posts.  It's not like I didn't have anything to write about; the holidays provide plenty of content pertaining to my healing journey.  And, at the center of this healing journey I speak of is my writing, assigning words to my pain and sharing them.  Writing is therapeutic for me, helps me to put my pain in perspective, helps me to be content in where I am now, today.  So, if writing is a large part of my healing, and contributes to my healing, what was stopping me?

In order to write a blog post, I feel I have to use quotes and references of books I've read, include examples of how said quotes and references relate to my story, and share feelings and memories I experienced while reading different articles or passages.  If I'm not going to do all that, then what's the point?  It seems as if I can't just sit down and write freely, and be satisfied with that.

This all-or-nothing mentality extends into every corner of my life.  Working out:  unless I go to the gym and complete 60 minutes of cardio or run 4+ miles through a hilly park, I feel like I didn't do enough.  The mere thought of doing all that exercise wears me out as it is, so I begin dreading an impending workout and end up not working out for any number of minutes.  High school and college:  I was either a 4.0 student or barely scraping by with C's and D's.  If I didn't devote every free moment to studying and going above and beyond, by meeting with my teachers after class, by completing their countless suggested exercises, I thought, "what's the point?"  Housekeeping: I've got to deep clean every crevice, organize every piece of paperwork, and color code my closet or my place will remain a total mess.  Relationships:  you either love me and think I'm the greatest person ever, or you don't want me in your life in any capacity.  There's no middle.  There's no room for error for those around me or for myself.  I either give 200% or I give nothing at all.

I've got a theory about this all-or-nothing curse.   I am so afraid of failing, so afraid of disappointing myself and others, that I set these unobtainable, high expectations that fit my mold of success and goodness.  This mold of success and goodness is so far from where I see myself, that I mentally beat myself up, tell myself I can't do X activity with all of X expectations, and therefore, do nothing.  Why try if I'm only going to fail?  Why try if I will never measure up?  If I have begun X activity with all of its required vigor and detail and greatness, I feel like a good person...for a little while.  Then, I'm faced with a challenge, begin doubting my own goodness, and I find myself back at the beginning of this paragraph.  Since I was a young child, anything good and happy and loving never lasted long.  It was always taken away.  I'm accustomed to failing, unhappiness, not being like everyone else.  Why try, when the result I work so hard for won't last anyways?

The world isn't black and white; there's a whole ocean of gray matter that doesn't involve extreme highs and lows, that doesn't define me as a success or a failure, lovable or unloveable, good or bad, holy or unholy.  My common sense and my counselor tell me all of this.  Actually, everyone tells me this.  But I don't believe it.  I don't own it and live it.  Yes, it's quite possible that color coding my closet won't make me lovable just as running 5 miles uphill won't put me in the favor of God.  Apparently, that stuff already exists in my soul. Apparently.

I want to move away from apparently.  I want to move away from 200% or 0%.  I'm a Christian, right?  I have all of these wonderful, inherent qualities, most of which I'm not enjoying or experiencing, and most of which I don't even really believe I have.  I want.  But am I ready to work?  And when it comes to the work, what must I do?  I'm back to square one, creating a laundry list of items I must complete in order to experience and own my own inherent goodness.  

Whether it's all or nothing, it's confusing and exhausting.

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