I've heard from so many who have that recurring dream where you are failing out of math class. For years, the dream brought the feeling of panic, maybe even shame or failure. The constant theme is that I'm not good enough and I need to double up in order to make up for that academic deficiency.
But something has changed for me recently. I'm looking deeply at some of my own real-life deficiencies in an effort to accept them, accept me. I'm learning about the "limitations" ingrained in my life as an artist, that are the flip-side of the coin of being highly creative. I'm learning that I can't erase certain "failings," if that's even what they are.
We think it's all about being a hippie-free creative. Life-liberated in pursuit of art and self-expression. But there is a dark side. The side where I'm also a Highly Sensitive Person. What is "exciting" to you is terrifying and overwhelming for me. I have great difficulty being in crowds, new situations unnerve me, if I don't have an "exit" plan I will go into sheer panic. I see, hear, and feel everything. I don't accept many of the invitations to social engagements, even though I deeply love those who invite me but I just can't love all of them in a tiny space at one loud noisy bustling overwhelming time. People assume that I am friendly and outgoing, but this is simply because I've learned to wear the persona of the rest of the world and no-really-I-just-want-to-go-home. What sounds like a great Friday night for you would keep me up for hours after I come home. Oh and I would've been dreading it for at least a good 24 hours beforehand, so I'm exhausted by the time I get there.
Traffic jams, strangers, unfamiliar cities, family reunions, ceremonious occasions, eating out—and sometimes, if I've been home for days, going to the grocery store—will bring on panic.
Should I go on?
Yes, there's a beauty to this: I prefer the kind of quiet that allows me to hear the soul-stirrings in my own head so I can turn them into paintings. I have an intuition that helps me see things that a lot of others can't. I am all in for one-on-one conversations. I do deeply love my friends. I use the word brave a lot because SO MUCH scares the ____ out of me.
Despite the beauty, I've only focused on the failings. And when it piles up, it comes out in my dream of failing math.
But not last night.
I was still failing math. But here's the change: my reaction was beautifully different. My reaction was that I could still be a good college student and graduate, even while failing miserably at math. No panic. No rush to erase the mess and try to bargain my way into getting a better grade. No trying to "fix" it.
Can I really apply this to my daily? Can this become my new reality? That I can still be a good artist even while I'm terrified and overwhelmed in normal life circumstances?
I think at a core level I AM applying this to my daily life. This is becoming my new reality. And I hand this over to you as well, sharing like my favorite chocolate bar:
You can still be a good parent, even while _____________.
You can still be a good employee, even while ___________.
You can still be a good spouse, even while _____________.
You can still be a good friend, even while _____________.
You can still be a good YOU, even while ______________.