I was raised in a culture where goals were taught, hard work was venerated, and dedication exemplified. It was a good way to grow up, I don’t doubt that for a second.
But when you put those kinds of life expectations on someone who is already a perfectionist, bad things start to happen.
I know. Cause they happened to me.
High school honor society. Varsity basketball. 6th in my state for high school rodeo. Collegiate honor society. Marriage at 19 and a child at 21 (because both were my goals, so why put it off?). Collegiate cum laude.
And I broke. I wanted to accomplish everything, and do it to the best of my ability. And I broke.
I had warnings. People wiser than me saying that I needed to slow down. I didn’t listen. Because I was different. I was disciplined. And I broke.
The breaking left me with anxiety disorder which I still struggle with to this day. But it also taught me balance–prioritizing and being kind and forgiving with myself. It taught me that the cruel “self talk” I was using to push myself that extra bit was doing damage to my soul.
Unfortunately, this is not a lesson “learned”. I still have to learn it everyday.
Some struggles stay with you till the end.
So why this post?
People put me on a pedestal. Some of them want to be like me (As Robin McKinley once told me, pick out the good bits carefully). And I don’t want them pushing themselves to be something that isn’t real.
So I’m determined to be real. To show myself as I really am, the bad bits and the good.
The other reason is because I see myself in them–these young girls, and I don’t want them to go through the breaking. I want them to hear me when I say part of being driven is being balanced. Part of being a success is being completely lazy sometimes.
And I want their leaders and teachers to teach stillness. It really is a skill. And it should be taught right alongside goals and success.
But most importantly, I want those girls to love themselves. To know they are worthy even when they fail.