Ok, well I’m not really serious about the perfection thing. Well, I mean, I AM, but I know I won’t get it. (Right? No chance? Are you sure? Damn.)
I am a SERIOUS perfectionist. I’ve gotten a lot better over the last few years, but it’s that part of me that adheres SO RIGIDLY to a diet right up until I screw it up and then chuck it all because I FAILED. There is no “progress” in my head: there is Excellence and there is Failure. I’m working on that, but it’s funny to see how much I’ve really internalized it – that mentality pops up in all kinds of odd places.
Part of that comes from being labeled a “gifted” child. I was a really smart kid, and I never really had to learn persistence as a child: being good at stuff was just built in to my brain, so I never had to be persistent about anything. There is a line in the movie “Good Will Hunting,” where Minnie Driver asks Matt Damon about how he can think organic chemistry is easy. And he says something like, “Some people just get stuff. Mozart looked at a keyboard and saw music. He could just play. Me, I see a bunch of black and white keys that mean nothing. But when it comes to stuff like organic chemistry . . . I can just play.” And I was that kid. Nothing mental was hard, nothing academic required work – I could just play. (My mom says the first time I got into a ballet class and realized I wasn’t just perfect at it without trying, that it was like seeing a big “TILT” sign over my head: it just didn’t compute, LOL.) But I think that translates into an expectation that I will ALWAYS just be good at everything, all the time. And it’s a pretty deeply ingrained expectation because in many ways, it’s always been true – at least in the ways we encounter when we’re kids.
As an adult, though? It doesn’t really work that way. Nothing is easy or cut-and-dried – there are all these shades of grey. And that’s the part I struggle with the most, I think: that whole concept of baby steps, of getting back on the proverbial horse, with the idea that I won’t stumble across one thing that is the Right and Perfect Diet (or Life) Plan For Me And Which I Will Never Screw Up.
This might be a bad time to mention this, but I have no idea where this post is going. I thought I knew, but . . . um . . . apparently not.
So it seems like a bonehead thing to say, “Well, THAT idea didn’t work for the week that I tried it, after 31 years of doing something totally different. So it must not be the right idea!” Seems silly, right? But that’s always my reaction. Hell, I don’t know, maybe that’s EVERYONE’S reaction. Beats me. But there was a lot of good stuff in the comments to the last post about baby steps and getting back on the horse and reframing and not giving up.
And the other thing I have to remember is that I have to find something that works for ME. If I know it makes me crazy to think “I can’t have [x],” then I have to find a way not to think that.
It’s funny how sometimes the Powers that Be (God, Universe, Spirit, Great Cosmic Muffin, whatever) show up in your life when you need them most. I came across a post at All My Jiggly Bits (I can’t write that without giggling) yesterday called “HELP: What is Eating Right?” that addressed a LOT of the same stuff I’m dealing with. Down on the 18th comment, Em said:
Limiting your consumption of something that you like isn’t necessarily ‘dieting’. It can just mean keeping that thing special. You’ll enjoy it more if you don’t have it all the time.
And in some ways the end result of that action isn’t really any different from “cheating,” but it IS a way of thinking about it differently: a way of looking forward to something instead of walking through the days thinking “Must not eat [x].” And the word “treat” has SUCH a different connotation for me than the word “cheat.” Because I have NEVER been a “cheater” – I have ALWAYS been “perfect.” But even perfect people get a treat now and then, right? (Hm. Suddenly I feel like a performing dog, LOL.)
So I won’t chuck the new eating plan just beacuse I had a hard moment (or two). And I might do some reframing, as recommended. And I’ll remember that what works for someone else might not work quite the same for me, and that THAT’S OK.
And now I’m really tired of writing. LOL