As I reflect on this phrase today, I wonder if I can live with myself as I am, without the negative comparisons to an idolized idea of whom I “really” want to be? Can I forgive myself for not being the “Stepford Stacy” built up in my mind? I don’t want to be a perfect bleached blond spaced out on valium in suburbia, as the term “Stepford” might suggest. Instead, I use this metaphor as shorthand for the unachievable version of a romanticized self to which I constantly compare the real deal. I worry that I can be more highly organized, more of a creative intellectual, a more hyper-efficient housekeeper, a better dresser, a more caring pet steward, a loving partner who gives emotionally without making demands (fuck that one, actually), and, especially, a much better friend.
The catalyst for this post is my desire to be a more consistent blogger. I want to help readers embrace their vulnerabilities…and to raise money for a scholarship in Maryclaire’s honor at Sparhawk School. My raging negative self-talk is rendering me vulnerable and anxious: I am failing in my goal, I note with dismay, of writing consistently and so, I continue, I am failing to honor my longtime friend so recently deceased.
Alcoholism and eating disorders do not go away, and recovery is not a linear process. And so, once again, I need to remind myself that I seek progress, not perfection.
Sackcloth and ashes hang in my closet, a well-worn outfit that fits no matter how my eating disorder might affect my weight. I could be in the midst of a long period of food deprivation--or coming off months of binge eating--but these clothes still seem to cover a seemingly chronic desire for penitence. I want to put that outfit on today so as to manifest my remorse over not having blogged for six weeks. My return from Santa Barbara was difficult, and the reentry into Lafayette life was bumpy at best.
Progress, not perfection, I remind myself, noting that I kept all my therapy appointments, even when I didn’t feel like it. Progress not perfection, I repeat, and allow myself to feel a sense of accomplishment over the completion of a paper that I presented last week in Casablanca. Progress not perfection, I say again, and allow images of the walk that I took with Mark and our dog Wulfie at the Celery Bog to flit through my mind. Progress, not perfection, I allow, and come to the realization that maybe, just maybe, I needed to take a break from emotional purging for the last six weeks.
And so, I cut myself some slack today and move on a wiser person. But, I must admit that I am glad to be back posting on the blog! That, my friend, is progress...