Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

Have you ever had your life get flipped, turned upside down?

No, really – I want to know. This isn’t just an excuse to quote the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. I want to know if you’ve had every shred of confidence swept away. I want to know if you’ve stood in the clearing, terrified of the emptiness around you.

And most of all, I want to know if you’ve come through stronger than you were before.

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One Question To Ask When the Going Gets Tough

On my first day of kindergarten, my mom gave me some advice.

She told me what her mother told her on the first day of school: when you walk through the doors, don’t worry about making friends. Just focus on finding the girl who looks even more upset about all this than you do. Go over to her and say hello. Smile. Then, you’ll have a friend.

My five-year-old-self was incredulous. Could it be that simple? With a little prompting, I gave it a shot. I walked up to a weeping girl and said, “Hi, I’m Caroline. What’s your name?”

With that, I made my first school friend. It was a serendipitous choice, since she was (is) an excellent visual artist. Back then, I could barely cut in a straight line — OK, that’s still true! — so she’d help me with arts and crafts. She didn’t like to write, so I’d help her with compositions. We saw each other through.

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Getting to Know You (& What You Didn’t Know About Me)

Dear readers,

I’d like to get to know you better. I’ve been posting here for nearly three years now (!), and I love writing to you. So I’d like to say thank you, and hear more about you. Would you leave a comment on this post, or send me an email? Just something simple. Your name, how you came to be here, why you read A Wish Come Clear.

If you want to go deeper: what’s going on in your life? What weighs on your heart? What do you dream about? What do you wish you could talk about, but feel too afraid to say aloud? 

I’m here. I’ll listen. And I’ll start by answering those questions myself.

In fact, answering these questions inspired me to start a 30-day Courage Challenge on our Facebook page. Every day, I’ll be facing down a specific fear and sharing the story with you. Of course, you’re welcome to join in — feel free to post stories and pictures of your own Courage Challenge moments!

Day 1 was yesterday, and I … drumroll … checked out the novels pictured from the library, though they’re not ‘dignified’ reading material, and I knew the friendly librarian would comment. It felt great!

I learned that once I am confident in my choices, it doesn’t matter if someone else comments on them. Rather than duck my head, I smiled. In fact, the librarian and I joked about the books. Revolutionary.

10 Things You May Not Know About Me

1. What weighs on my heart: the fact that I used to believe in a God of judgment. I was taught that some people were ‘in’ and some were ‘out,’ and I am so sorry for thinking that I had all the ‘right’ answers. Nowadays, I believe that, to paraphrase Martha Beck, one thing I know for sure is that I might be wrong. 

2. I am very good at forgetting that I’ve left the oven on. I also put (cooled) pans into the fridge rather than putting the food into another container. It’s just too much. I’d rather be reading.

My Mom believes it is important to not only put food into containers, but also to transfer food a second time if some is consumed and a smaller container is available. Remarkably, we love one another despite these differences.

3. My (INTP) husband once received this fortune: “Hugs are life’s rainbows.” I, an INFJ, received this: “Fortitude is the marshal of thought, the armor of the will, and the fort of reason.”

4. What I wish I could talk about, but feel too afraid to say aloud: I was raised in a cult called The Worldwide Church of God. I’m afraid to even call it a cult (though it was) because that word is so loaded, so misunderstood.

You see, I had a wonderful childhood. I have an amazing family. My experience was such that it took me years to consider that I was in a cult. (This post features an excellent definition of the term.)

Anyway. Growing up, I was taught to avoid things like Halloween costumes and Christmas trees. Christmas trees have ‘pagan’ origins, so we couldn’t have them. (The modern calendar has ‘pagan’ origins too, but we got to keep our calendars.) This year, I plan to dress up and deck the halls.

5. I went to summer camp in Scotland every year for 9 years. As such, I know the words to classics such as “Country Roads” and “Waltzing Matilda.” I remain loyal to Loch Lomond as the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. I used to want to live in a cottage there. Wait … I still do.

6. What I dream about: I dream of seeing our community grow, of sharing stories with more people.

7. My favorite movies are Strictly Ballroom, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Proof, and Good Will Hunting. I’m not sure why 2 out of 4 are about math geniuses, since being a math genius is not something I can relate to at all

8. I went through a Laura Ingalls Wilder phase that my childhood friends won’t let me forget. They weave it in to every other conversation: “Remember your sunbonnet?” And all I can say is, “Yup.” It’s tough being a literary geek sometimes.

9. I used to figure skate competitively. Whenever I mention this, people always nod, as if to say, That explains a lot.

Even so, it took me years to figure out that I am competitive, because I also love the idea that when one succeeds, we all succeed. The best description of these dichotomies I’ve seen was on a t-shirt that read: I will kick your ass at yoga. Namaste.

10. I am afraid of becoming someone who posts endless pictures of their significant others, babies, or pets. I pretend like I’m above that, but it takes a lot of effort for me NOT to put up tons of photos of my handsome husband and adorable cat. And some days, I fail. Like today.

Anyway, I’d better go … I just remembered that I left the oven on.

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Your turn – what’s going on with you? Join the conversation in the comments!

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From Me to You: A Valentine’s Video and Giveaway!

3 Trampolines, by Eileen Schofield

If you can’t watch the video, here’s a brief summary, and a photo of the artwork too!

Welcome to the (3rd-ever) A Wish Come Clear video message! A few quick updates:

I’ll have 2 guest posts running tomorrow, at Autism Home Rescue and I’m A Mom Too, respectively. I’m honored to be a part of both, since they focus on providing support for caregivers of people with disabilities.

A very big thank you to everyone who has encouraged, supported, and purchased Love’s Subversive Stance, especially the print book version! Your enthusiasm has made the entire process worthwhile.

Also, if you have ideas or suggestions for individuals or organizations that might be interested in Love’s Subversive Stance, please let me know, either in the comments section below, or via email (caroline AT awishcomeclear DOT com). I want to be thoughtful about the distribution, and your input is appreciated!

Finally, I’d like to invite everyone to come on over to A Wish Come Clear’s Facebook page and engage with the community. We’ve been sharing a good deal there, and so, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to offer a giveaway to readers and fans!

As a gift, I’m offering a colorful, energizing mixed-media piece from my friend Eileen (pictured above, and shown in the video). It’s entitled Three Trampolines (list price: $55). To enter to win the art, simply head to our Facebook page, Like us if you haven’t already, and add a comment to a thread I’ll start today!

The giveaway will be effective today (Monday) and run through the end of the day on Tuesday, after which I’ll select a recipient for the art.

Thank you so much, and have a wonderful week!

Caroline

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