This about sums it up

December 15, 2009 at 12:02 pm Leave a comment

My grandma has little plaques with cute proverbial sentiments hanging in random places around her house. At least, I think they’re random. You’ll turn a corner, or look up above a door and voila! — a brief little fortune-cookie phrase set in Art Nouveau-style lettering, adorned with 60s-style birds and flowers, illuminated in fading colors like mustard yellow, seafoam green, and robin’s egg blue. It’s kitschy, sure. But it’s Grandma. And who am I to judge, anyway — just because I keep my collection of quotations and proverbs hidden in an unmarked spiral-bound journal for no one to see?

Behind a door in the kitchen, there’s a stairway leading down to the basement and Grandpa’s workshop. The walls are lined with faux-wood paneling, and the worn wooden steps creak and groan. The moist, cool air from below mingles with the warm, dry air from above and stirs up the melange of dirt and dust from inside and out. The last time I vistited, I opened the door to follow the stairway down to take some photos in Grandpa’s workshop, but before I could even think about hammers and chisels and miniature table saws, I was forced to pause. A pale lemony-yellow plaque was hanging there amid a bulletin board full of papers, and rows of dog leashes and collars, of shoes and raincoats. It was staring me in the face from the most unassuming corner, not of a room — a real, living and breathing room — but a passageway, meant for transient presence — not for lingering around to ponder the profundities of existence: “Life is too SHORT to be SMALL.

But there it was. And here it is, reminding me that while I have no trouble dreaming big, I do, apparently, have trouble accomplishing anything. Is it wrong to feel like my life is one big waste so far? Is it awful to feel that it’s going nowhere and I can’t get it to go anywhere — why? — because I seem to be unable to accomplish anything in the first place? Deep down I know why, and I think you do, too.

In the past year, I’ve been faced with more than one excellent opportunity. I always start off excited, thinking, Hooray! This is just what I’ve been looking for! But as I start to fix up my resume, or put together a portfolio, I start seeing all the gaps and flaws in my character and experience. I shrink back. I procrastinate. And eventually it comes to the point where I’ve convinced myself that it’s not really an ideal opportunity after all because I’m simply not good enough — why?! — because I AM NOT PERFECT. AND I MUST NOT FAIL. And then whoosh! it’s gone.

It’s to the point right now where I have another potential opportunity (two, actually) waiting for me to act, and I’m apprehensively excited about the possibility of either. But I don’t want to tell because I don’t think I can bear the agony of not accomplishing yet again. But if I did accomplish either, and everything worked out, I have no doubt that I’d feel less small. Maybe. I’d at least be glad that I tried. Unless the universe explodes.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to slide down into frowny-pants moping. Make no mistake: I don’t want no sympathy. I’m fully aware that we each possess the skills we need to make our lives into the lives we want to live, and are entirely capable of using them to that end, blah blah blah. Me? I’m going to start by giving myself a visual smack on the back of the head.

If you’ve made it this far, I hereby bestow upon you the honor of sainthood according to the rites and traditions of the Book of Sarah. (No, really.)


Entry filed under: Head & Heart. Tags: , , , , , , .

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