“Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert
“Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.”
~ Charles Bukowski
I make mistakes constantly. This should not shock you. You make mistakes constantly too.
The amazing thing is that I forgive you, at least most of you, utterly, for making mistakes. And most of you forgive me. But do we forgive ourselves? Oh I doubt it.
It starts with the voice that says “You can’t do that…” Listen to that and you may never try another new thing. If you push ahead bravely, the voice might change the words to “You aren’t good enough.” And then no matter what you make or do, no matter how much the fans of your life might ooh and ahh, and tell you you’re amazing, you’ll think in your heart that it’s not enough. That you’re not enough. And thus, tons of us are walking around with seriously messed up messages rolling through the MP3 players of our minds (I used to call it a tape, but you know, it’s 2014…).
If you’re like me, you may keep trying, but you likely won’t reach out quite as far, because you’re thinking about the falling instead of the sky. You have learned not to trust yourself fully. You may be sure that people will laugh at you for even trying. You may stop trying entirely. And if and when that happens, that’s the real tragedy of your life. It certainly was the tragedy of mine.
And because this is so common, I think we all need to become experts. Experts in what we love, sure, but mostly? Experts in starting over. Over my lifetime, I have kept viewing each restart in my life as the result of yet another failure, another series of mistakes. And I’ve cycled into depression sometimes, crippling frustration others. And oh yeah, the voice in my head starts all over again each time too with “You can’t do that.” So I’m going to start telling that asshole to shut up.
It doesn’t matter if I can do something perfectly, it doesn’t matter if I make more mistakes. I’m here, alive, glowing with the stuff of stars in my atoms! And until I die, I’ll be starting over and over. But it occurred to me today that this part doesn’t actually have to suck! I’m no Sisyphus! Maybe starting over is more like a ski trip or a visit to the amusement park than like some stupid boulder going up and down a hill. Maybe it’s part of the journey, part of the ride, part of the plan, and chance after chance to learn new things, to try new stuff, to look at the world with wonder all over again! And maybe it’s one more chance to take up painting.