i don't follow through with anything
December 8, 2003 04:44 PM

When I was a child, I heard from my parents that I didn't follow through on anything.

It was sometimes true. I started getting involved in new things that looked good at a distance, then gave them up over a few months, or a year. Tap dance. Crafts. Dolphins. Baptists. Recorder. Singing. The baton. Archaeology. Early American History. Ballet. Piano. Painting. Sports.

What I heard from my parents convinced me that this was a problem, a native flaw in me that I needed to work to fix. I was an irresponsible dilettante, a spendthrift of my parents' money and time and my own personal investment. It was wrong to pick things up and then drop them. I evolved this theory that, as I'm competitive, if I didn't immediately see myself as having the potential to be amazing at something, I would quit. I was a defeated perfectionist.

By the time I was in high school, it became an essential truth of me. It didn't matter that I poured metaphorical blood into the theatre, or that I'd stuck with one of my musical instruments (the harp) for years, albeit grudgingly at times. Everything extracurricular that I picked up was about my defeated perfectionism - another thing that I would drop, in just a matter of time. I could never really succeed at anything, because I just wouldn't try hard enough.

And some part of me was so certain I'd lose at everything. That I was doomed to failure.

Except - I didn't. So much of what I did and thought when I was sixteen continued on. Everything I've tried as an adult I've succeeded at. Still, I don't see those things - the things I suck at but stick to, the things I continue to be amazing at. Because I don't stick to anything, I don't follow through - that's what I believed.

I had this epiphany.

My epiphany is this: I believe a lie. Part of my notion of myself is constructed upon the lie my parents told me based on some things that I did when I was eight. I'm sure they believed the lie, too, and believed that they were helping me by telling me these things; no half-sane parent tells a child lies out of spite.

I'm angry about this. That my parents believed this thing about me that was so fundamentally untrue. That I could have believed it. That I could disregard the experience of years so this fiction could appear true.

I'm angry. But I'm also tremendously relieved.

TrackBack
« angels in america | Main | 2003 in review »
/-->
in this section
present
past
back to archives
October 2004
August 2004
June 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
June 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
August 1996
August 1995
July 1993
April 1993
August 1992
May 1992
October 1989
July 1987
January 1987
September 1984
July 1982
more info
email me
design by seven ten
about the site wicked thoughts edge of the season arts links we have brains