Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fitting In

I signed up to take an e-course (by Oprah and Brene Brown) on Embracing Your Imperfections. I have quite a few to embrace. It's all about learning to embrace who you are and stop caring what everyone else thinks. Something I was surprised that I really do care about, and that I wish I didn't so much.

I had the funniest reaction to my required supply list. It was a short list:
  • A watercolor journal.
  • Watercolor paints. 
  • Brushes.
  • Markers.
  • Double-sided tape. 
Over the years of my artistic struggle, I have amassed a rather large collection of art supplies. I knew I had watercolor pencils (unused) and I felt pretty sure I had a pad of watercolor paper. Yet I wasn't really sure where they were, and the idea of getting "new" supplies had me planning a trip to the art store.

Friday I looked over at the bookshelf in my office and there they were - the pad and the pencils. It was like they were sitting there just waiting for me to need them. Suddenly all this anxiety started to come up inside me.

It wasn't the "official" supplies, which meant I was going to be breaking the rules. I was suddenly back in high school, and I couldn't afford the "right" shoes for gym. I was teased cruelly for the knockoff Vans my mom had purchased. I didn't want to be different then and I didn't now - I wanted to fit in. I wanted to do the assignment correctly and be given an e-pat on the back.

Then another thought occurred to me - I was also afraid I would do a good job and be called out for cheating because I didn't have the right supplies.So essentially I couldn't win.

If I caved and got new supplies, then I was just losing the point of the class. If I did well, then maybe I was cheating. If I did poorly, I could blame my failure on not having the right tools. So my default is to be mediocre by design. I hate that. If I'm going to stink or soar at something I want to do it organically not by my own grand design.


  1. Well. My two cents--your mind is exceptional! No mediocrity there.

    Break the rules, is my advice.

    1. I take that as a huge compliment from you - my fellow rule-breaker!

  2. Meg, Longtime reader, not great at commenting. BUT, from what I saw on Oprah with Brene Brown you are supposed to break the rules when you enter the arena be yourselfQ You are wonderful, love your writing. I was excited about the series until I went to sign up and saw what was being charged for the course. No way on a small SS pension I could afford that and frankly with Oprah's billions and her wanting to change the world I think she could have offered this free of charge. I do hope you enjoy it though. I am my own worst enemy too, never give myself credit for the good things I do but am quick to criticize myself, something I would never do to my family and friends.

    1. Hi Kathie! So nice of you to comment! Now you know the other reason for me using the supplies I already have on hand. :-)

      I already like you - so try not to be harsh with yourself my friend.

  3. use what you have on hand. maybe breaking this first rule will give you the freedom to break more and be yourself.