If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always had.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Elusive demons

Tambo gave us a little glimpse into her psyche Saturday and I spent the weekend mulling it over. She gets angry when complimented; I get embarrassed and brush it off as quickly as possible. Even though I react differently, I still totally understand.

I was born a people pleaser with a heavy dose of mother hen. My motto was "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." I felt like I lived under a microscope, and the world was watching and judging every move. I was a wallflower in high school; in fact, I was Walter Mitty: dreaming of glory, romance and success while actively fading into the background. After all, if I reached for the gold ring, I might miss and everyone would laugh at me. I fought that demon by laughing at myself first. I thought I was over that years ago. I thought I had changed my motto to, "Better luck next time!"

Until this summer.

Remember those shirts I put off making, necessitating the pre-Rendezvous sewing blitz? It occurred to me that I was afraid of showing up with less-than-perfect shirts. I was finally able to dig in and get sewing when I realized that my first attempt would either be a shirt or a pile of unbleached muslin scraps. I ended up with plenty of scraps in various fabrics, but I had shirts, too, and some funny stories to tell.

I fought the demon and won again. What I learned during that battle is that the demon is still with me, still sitting on my shoulder saying, "Don't write that. No one will like it. Don't try that recipe; it has black beans and you're the only one who likes them. Don't wear that; people will point and snicker behind your back. Your so-called friends will be calling each other to talk about your bad fashion sense."

Some battles are fought daily and the war is never won. I'm still Walter Mitty, but I'm trying to break out of the inertia. The sooner we identify our elusive, perpetual demons, the sooner we can get on with the business of really living.



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