Welcome to Splendidly Imperfect Adventures! This blog resulted from my love of writing and self-induced perfectionist recovery program. For many years, I denied my perfectionism. I prided myself on embodying “hard-work,” “responsibility,” and “compassion.” I stayed late at work, poured over details and accumulated a wealth of vacation days. I made myself available to loved ones and friends no matter the wee hour of the morning — “proof” of my “goodness.” During this period, perfectionism eluded my vocabulary. I had abundant proof of my imperfectness! I got lost despite having two GPS systems simultaneously activated. I walked out of the ladies room with toilet paper delicately wafting from my waistband. I volunteered to play songs in front of my guitar class despite all my chord changes being four beats late. I was not a perfectionist. I tried new things. I made mistakes. I just set high standards for myself. Yep, that was it.
Sadly, fear of making mistakes and equating them with failure come with a steep price-tag including shame, low self-esteem, burnout, unhappiness and anxiety (Ben-Sharar, 2009). “Recovering” from perfectionism involves seeing blunders as opportunities for growth (Ben-Sharar, 2009). A beloved mentor introduced me to FOG (i.e. f@#*ing opportunity for growth) moments. Whenever, I came to her snotty-nosed and teary-eyed, swearing my life was over because I made a hideous gaffe, she would calmly say, “Amelia, I see you’re having a FOG moment.” To which I would sarcastically reply, “then please turn off this damn FOG machine!” I did not want FOG moments. I expended a lot of energy actively avoiding them. Other people, my friends and family, could have FOG moments but not me! I wanted SWAP (super wonderful and perfect) moments!
Then, FOG socked me in. I suffered two significant losses in the span of a month — my marriage and adored grandfather. FOG moment after FOG moment pummeled me. I did not want my marriage to end or to sell the home I loved. I missed my grandfather saying, I love you dear.” After all, I had done “all the right things.” SWAP eluded me, and I knew I must make peace with FOG or die in it.
Making peace with FOG meant accepting a life I did not sign up for and viewing mistakes as opportunities to learn vs. failure. Brené Brown (I totally want to be her fan club president BTW) highlights that giving voice to the thing for which you feel shame, causes shame to lose its power. Cognitive psychology teaches us that our thoughts play a powerful role in how we feel. In simple terms, if we equate mistakes with failure, we feel like crap. If we equate mistakes with wonderful opportunities to learn, we feel hopeful. Therefore, I thought if I wrote about my mistakes (and I make a lot of them!) with humor and self-compassion and reframed them as “splendidly imperfect adventures” then I could befriend FOG. My hope is that this blog will help you redefine your mistakes as “splendidly imperfect adventures.” I invite you to share your FOG moments with me, so we can unfold them together and keep shame and perfectionism at bay and make space for SWAG (super, wonderful, awesome, good-enough) moments.
Bio: I am an imperfect writer who lives in beautiful Southern California with an incredibly supportive partner and sweet poodle mix rescue.