The Truth About Perfection.

I remember being assured that failure was not a permanent disposition. That mistakes made in earnest pursuit of the truth would eventually take me to the right place. Still, I endeavored to perfect my ability to get it right the first time. Who wants to drop the ball or try and then fall when there is an option to be the best at everything?

In early grade school I believed that I could handle it all. In time I learned that I had a broad aptitude for many different subjects, semi-athletic skills and a mouth that could fill in the remaining gaps. What I lacked, however, was that one specific thing that I could claim was meant for me.

Some people ran faster, scored higher and knew exactly what was in their destiny. I envied those with their heads on straight and dreams that were supported by their perfect families. I could not understand what made me different or why the idea of excellence seemed so far away.

I had a hard time believing that what was special about me was the fact that I was not the same.

As a parent now I urge my daughter to celebrate and learn from her mistakes. Perfectionism is a crippling disease and I vow not to let her inherit what I have had to learn the hard way. We all need to get more comfortable with the truth of our individual and beautiful flaws.

The truth about perfection, is that nobody is perfect at all.

perfection, blog, inspiration, life

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The Height of Anxiety.

Sunday, I had a panic attack.

Every past failure rose up from the grave – and met me when I was most vulnerable – to drag me back down. I am familiar with not getting it right, or making unpopular decisions and being unreliable. But there is a brand new level of hurt experienced when you let your own self down. quotes, blog, anxiety, healing

I was running on empty. Most people see the gas light and immediately hurry to resolve the issue. Not me. I will keep driving–insisting that I can go much farther than mechanically possible. Sometimes, I am annoyingly successful. The person who always seems to slide through the cracks of undesirable situations. At others, I am the broken down car on the side of the road with a T-shirt hanging out the window.

Painfully and publicly aware that I do not have anywhere else to go.

Mistakes force patience down your throat. They invade personal spaces with their uncanny ability to break up your oblivious peace. I thought I could handle all these responsibilities, but the truth is the more I juggle the higher the chances are of me dropping things. Now, I have to stand still and face what went wrong. Now, I have to go back to the beginning when I should have been more disciplined from the start.

The first time I failed a class I was shocked and angry. Shocked, because I thought I did just enough to get by. Angry, because I could have done better, and my laziness reaped a negative result. But I went back and retook that class and the next time I more than passed the course. Eventually, I earned my Associates Degree.

Maybe I thought the next level of college would be a breeze. Maybe I just took on too much and did not understand what was required of me. Or maybe, I am not smart enough or young enough to do what is necessary. When you believe this type of negative narrative you will be hard pressed to succeed at anything. Self-created pressure keeps so many of us from aiming higher and pushing harder when the inevitable difficulties appear.

Sunday, I let my anxiety take the driver’s seat. But if I am honest, fear and the belief that I am undeserving have long been passengers in my now disabled car. I fought earnestly at level one to get to what I knew was mine. Late night papers and canceled plans were the norm of my existence. I have sacrificed fun to pay for school books, gave up countless nights of sleep to get it all done.

And I will not my anxiety get the best of me, not while level 2 is still left to be won.

 


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Callous, Cold Woman.

We separate by force. Distance keeps us at arms bay.
But I know I’ll crave your embrace in these coming days.
I wonder if your peace still lies with me.
Can you even sleep?

Or is your heart at rest knowing the best part is over?
And all that remains is effort given in vain.

Most people give up too quickly.
Doubt consumes courage.
Love grows sour.
And interest steadily declines.

I continue to hope for you.
Pray you’re at your best.
Even if at the end of things,
I don’t express much clearly.

I refused to be consistent because
I never wanted you to depend on me.

I mirrored your habits.
Became someone less…

But I digress.

I just want your heart
to be at rest.

 

Emphasis on Continually. (200 words)

Several bouts of loneliness later, I endeavored to stop trying. I realized I am stuck in my ways, and fitted with an intense stubbornness that will not acquiesce so easily. Maybe if we met 10 years ago you could have “saved me” from myself–as men so often claim to do when women are being unreasonable. But now–now, I am content to build my castle with the debris from every failed relationship behind me. I do not understand the concept of prince charming. And I have no reservation about taking care of my own responsibilities.

Most importantly, I do not want anything that does not want me.

What is mine however, falls under the wing of my intention. I am part lover, all-fighter and sometimes both roles demand emphasis. Love does not just exist when we are madly locked in a passionate embrace. It does not trifle with temporary.

Love says, “I woke up early to make you breakfast in preparation for your meeting”.
Love commands your attention when you forget why you are fighting.
Love says, “I choose YOU,” over other people, over my doubts, over this ugly mess we created.
Love is continually choosing US over EVERYTHING.

….Emphasis on continually.


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–Jen Cosby

Party of 3 (200 words)

I saw the clouds in your eyes as you tried to remember why you started. That blanketed expression you offered when you wished things were different although you know life has the ultimate and final say. What could ever possess a person to commit their entire life to dying with nothing but the darkest stenches of mediocrity? Why does living feel like the longest endeavor when it is the soul held captive in this unforgiving human body? Maybe the biggest fear is that they won’t consider your efforts–when the truth is intention means nothing if it does not bring you peace. It used to be about love and honest representation, but now all we do is mask our eternal suffering. Mistakes linger in our hearts–puncturing foundations with their ever-present tease. I know I am not above this “missing pieces” theory. Just like you, I fear failure and the inevitability of time given in vain, if I leave. But you can’t force puzzles to fit where they are not meant to be. I just wish you would admit to yourself what neither party wants to believe:

You will never find what you are looking for, if you refuse to set yourself free.

 


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– Jen Cosby

Boundless Beauty. (300 words)

I hate to be the bearer of bad news in my own expectations or the facilitator of less than my absolute best when I am actively pursuing my dreams. I want to grow tired of the lies I sell myself and follow my heart as it leads me to truth. But it takes so much more than hopes and good thoughts to inspire lasting and effectual change.

Sometimes, you have to break down completely before you will ever follow through.

I am not infallible. Every day I wake up just like you with a choice to do better or to stay statically still. I could go on and on about the times I wasted or the balls I let drop while the world around me refused to stop–but none of that will matter unless I choose to make a difference now, for me.

When you are not emotionally connected to your actions, you will continue to fail without any regard to who you are taking down with you. You will emote and feel things deeply but forget that it is not all about your problems. It is about finding a path in the middle towards achieving and maintaining peace. Peace that can not exist if we are constantly fighting.

I do not want to hear “suck it up” when the truth in love inspires us to speak words of healing over people who are truly suffering. There are a thousand ways we can say the same thing without wounding sensitive spirits with our harsh expressions.

Some days this is harder for us to do–but the most beautiful things have a way of happening in spite of you.

beauty, life, expectations, hope, love, blog


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– Jen Cosby

When Home is Not Home. (350 words)

Parents are the first homes for their children. We exist to welcome and nurture them–as the protectors of their souls. This is not a perfect job, nor one where you can take off when you are exhausted. We were chosen. Given an opportunity to pour purpose and breathe life onto their innocent, blank slates.

Slates that are always, always influenced by their surroundings.

Parents/mentors/extended family have an important responsibility to guide children away from hardship–but to stand firmly by their side when pain is inevitable. We are NOT meant to wound these innocent spirits with self-righteous ideas of who we THINK they should be. Especially, when their idea of who they are conflicts with what we were taught to believe.

If home is not SAFE, children will learn to outsource their needs. They will run–into the arms of others who may give them false information and take advantage of their hearts. They will lie and tell you what you want to hear when they think you cannot handle their truths. They will form guards against any connections to you.

I am reminded of children who “come out” to conservative parents. And parents who then attack the very thing they were meant to protect. There are parents who refuse to listen when their child is screaming for their attention. And parents who later blame themselves for the consequences.

I am reminded of myself. When I was younger I did everything I could to get away from home. I felt invalidated and broken. So much so, I delayed my potential for nearly a decade before I discovered that I was worth so much more.

Now I know that I am my home.

Sometimes, parents fail and we are left to keep our home safe. This is okay. Things like this happen to people everyday. We fall off our paths and run in a million different directions. We chase after things we do not need and leave our homes open without any security. We make mistakes then drag ourselves back in the game.

But with or without them you will find your way.

home, worry, hope, blog


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– Jen Cosby