I don’t live up to my own standards.

I constantly have people telling me to cut myself a break.  I find that, more often than not, the break-cutting is a conscious, forced effort.  My natural impulse is to crack my whip, kick my ass, slap me around a little bit and scream at me to shape the fuck up.

Work more.  Be smarter.  Learn more.  Do more.  Ride more.  Run more.  Lift more.  Eat less.  Sleep less.  Be more productive.  Increase efficiency.  Look cuter.  Plan better outfits.  Get the ironing done.  Brush more consistently.  Spend more time at home working on the house.  Spend more time at work.  Spend more time on my freelance projects.  Hang pictures.  Arrange the bookshelves.

More. Better. Faster. More. Bigger. Taller. Smarter. More Better. MoreMoreMore!

I’ll admit that, in the extreme, this is a big looming problem (indicitive maybe of my own implicit confusion around meaning in the world?)  But part of me likes it.  I love the parts of me that never want to settle.  To take a hard road where I can see an easier one.  Why coast when you can climb.

Josh once took a bike ride in San Francisco during which he played a game: at every intersection he went in the direction that turned uphill.  If there was no uphill turn he went straight. He ended up at the top of Twin Peaks, of course.  The view was astounding.  Worth it.

I don’t think it’s all bad to look for the biggest challenge, the strongest wind, and turn into it.  People do amazing things.  People swim across the English Channel, people have swum across the Bering Strait…  Lynne Cox swam to fucking Antarctica for chrissakes.  The shit I do is nothing, really.

The point is not to compare myself to others (there’s always someone better-faster-stronger) – but to recognize that there is so much room to grow, so many different ways to ask yourself to be surprising and amazing.

I’m so flawed and imperfect it’s insane.  I still love myself.  Even on the hard days.  Even when I want to squeeze my eyes shut tight and shake my head and make everything disappear.  Even when I can’t believe that anyone else could love me – look how many ways that I fall short?  Look how many expectations I failed to meet?  Unconditional love for oneself?  Harder than it sounds.

But worth the effort.

I’m exhausted today with analyzing myself.  I’m burdened with the weight of myself.  I’m mired in disappointments.  I’m buoyed by hope.  I’m uplifted by my own ability to move forward into unknowns with large, uneven steps.  I’m saddened by the constant reminders that I’ll never be everything I think that I could be – but happy at the fact that I love myself enough to ask for too much, to demand the impossible, to challenge myself and find new edges of myself to jump from, new walls to push on and push over and break through and leave behind.

I rode home late one night in the rain and Ant said, “Builds character.”

Something like that.

I’ll keep turning uphill at every intersection.  I may never reach the peak but I’m enjoying the view along the way.


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