Boxes, Boxes, EVERYWHERE!
Life is filled with boxes. From the boxes our shoes and supplies come in, to the proverbial ones that hold all of our baggage. Small boxes. Large boxes. Often times these boxes get in the way of our full potential in life. This is absolutely true for me. I recently read a post on oprah.com by Genevieve V Georget who talks about the things in life that hold us back from success. (Here is the link to the full article: http://bit.ly/24eEf0p) This made me think — what are some of the the things in life that have held me back from succeeding to my full potential when it comes to following my dreams? Certainly the biggest thing is my un-natural need for perfection. I’m willing to bet, I’m not the only one who has this need. I’m not going to analyze where the need to be perfect comes from, that’s what therapy and copious amounts of alcohol are for, when chatting with my girlfriends but I do want to chat about a couple of things I know about my need to be perfect.
Let me start by saying this isn’t a post about blame but yet all about feelings. I felt a strong “need” to be perfect. I wasn’t sure how to accomplish this but I was able to identify how not to accomplish a feeling of perfection and accomplishments. The first is what I determined to be “failure.” At a young age if I wasn’t sure I could succeed and do well at something, then I chose not to do it at all. I allowed my fear of failure and not being perfect to drive so much of my life. I chose not to play sports because I was uncoordinated. I tried to play volleyball because my parents and the coach wanted me to, but I hated every, single, solitary moment of it. Sitting on the bench was easier than making a fool of myself. I hated running because I was slow and bigger than everyone. I was five foot eleven at age sixteen and my body was awkward. I had no idea how that others were feeling the same way. As a result, I’d rather hide out than deal with people making fun of me. Because when we are teenagers the assumption is that everyone is making fun of us for everything that is different, right.
Growing up in small town Texas, I never thought I was famous, but at an early age I learned that people paid attention and were concerned about everyone else and what they were doing. My parents lived in the public eye with their professions and I never wanted to disappoint them. I never wanted to fail or be an embarrassment to them. So yet again, I chose to live in a box of what I deemed to be acceptable for the family life.
Miranda Lambert said it best in her song “Famous in a Small Town” —
Every last one route one rural heart's got a story to tell Every grandma in-law ex-girlfriend Maybe knows it just a little too well Whether you're late for church or you're stuck in jail Hey, word's gonna get around Everybody dies famous in a small town
(Lyrics from - www.mirandalambert.com)
Unless you’ve ever lived in a small town you may not understand this, but the reality is - everyone is someone in a small town. Good or bad. We are all someone.
This is how I ended up realizing my life was full of boxes. About nine years ago, I decided that life wasn’t worth living with boxes and this need to be perfect anymore. I was on this earth for a reason and living in fear of failure or not being good enough wasn’t it. So my first act of rebellion (yes, that’s really how I felt) was to go skydiving. Phone calls were made and a couple friends and I headed to Skydive Spaceland where we took to the skies for an amazing and wonderful day! And guess what?? I survived. It was an actual RUSH! One I’ll never forget! It was the first time I realized I could do something outside my “box” and I would be okay. More than okay actually. I felt FREE!!!!
So what was next for me? I left Texas which was all I had ever know and moved to NY. Not NYC but the Capital Region (near Albany) and took steps to do my own thing. I bought my first home, learned my way round a new state and made friends. But I was still living somewhat in “boxes.” Not the kind that hold all my stuff from moving, those I took care tossed out quickly. But the ones that included pieces of me that I put on the shelf until I needed them. The piece of me that was terrified to start over. I couldn’t allow myself to feel that fear so I found a way to hide it away and just power through. The box that held my feelings for my friends who I missed because they were two thousand miles away.
The box that held my dreams traveled with me no matter where I went. Texas. NY. Everywhere. My dreams were no longer a part of my life. I found new things to keep me busy, I changed things about myself to fit in and I made my life amazing. And my life was amazing, but those boxes kept falling out of the closet at the most random times. The “perfect box” would fall out often enough that I would wonder if I was ever going to be good enough for anyone.
Then with age comes wisdom, or maybe it’s the failure to “give a shit” anymore, but I decided I no longer wanted to be perfect. I know, crazy right! How on earth did I decide that? Actually during my years in NY I met some great people who became very dear friends. Those friends helped me understand that I’m just fine the way I am and that “perfection” is very similar to “normal.” It’s all in what you make of it. My life is and can be whatever I desire it to be. What is normal or perfect for me may not be for someone else. So I started dreaming again, I wrote them down and I started working towards those dreams. They may change and in fact I know they will as I change. But what is amazing is that I know the road will be bumpy and messy. It won’t be perfect. But I’m not going to live with my life in those proverbial boxes anymore. I’m going to ride that bumpy road, with the wind in my face and my giant sunglasses on. My painted red lips smiling at the sun and enjoying every high and low on the road to success. Would you like to ride with me?
Now it’s your turn. Think about what your boxes are filled with and whether you are ready to empty them out and toss them away. When you are, I’m here for you and I bet there are many more who are dumping their boxes and taking a ride just like you.