I wasn’t planning on writing a post like this. I wanted to try and avoid the ‘First Post: Here’s Everything in the World About Me’-thing, but I’m starting to think that it might be inevitable.
I finally decided to write a blog on August 30th (if you’re keeping track, that’s over three weeks ago), and since then, I’ve spent tons (and tons and tons) of time on the design and layout of my website. I think I’ve fallen into the all too common trap of waiting until everything’s perfect to even start on a project. For me, this is nothing new. I’ve gotten a lot better over the years, but my gut reaction is still that I can’t start something until it’s ‘ready’ (read: perfect).
This kind of thinking, though, mostly stems from my OCD and not my rationality. There are a lot of ways that my OCD influences my thoughts and actions, but the strongest one is the way it makes me live in such a black and white, binary world. If you could ask my OCD, he would tell you that there are two answers to every question: right or wrong. That’s it. No hazy, ambiguous grey area to confuse myself, only concrete, definite answers. I wish I could live the world my OCD thinks I’m in, but here, nothing is that simple.
Very quickly, my tendency towards binary thinking led to the idea that if a task can’t be done completely (and perfectly), why do it at all? See, in my mind, because there are only ever two options, if something wasn’t completely done, then it just wasn’t done. My OCD refuses to accept partial completion of anything, and it’s an ongoing battle.
So, when I started in on creating this blog, not only did I start getting obsessive over what I should write, when I should write it, or possible outcomes of what I wrote, I also set out to make it ‘perfect.’ I actually found a way to rationalize this idea: if I make it perfect the first time, the layout will stay consistent forever and I won’t have to edit it again (so that I wouldn’t risk obsessively ‘fixing’ things). I hope that it took you less time than it took me to realize that that’s just plain bonkers. I mean, in what world would I ever be ready to say, ‘Okay, it’s done,’ and really mean it? (Spoiler — not this world.)
I’ve now set myself my final deadline to have my blog up and running. Sunday, September 24th. (And I mean it this time!) I’m hoping that by setting a firmer-feeling timed deadline instead of the more wishy-washy criteria-driven deadline I had before, it would light a little more of a fire. (And so far, it’s worked!)
Alright, so, so far I’ve explained one reason it took me so long to actually get my blog up, running, and publishing, but there’s actually another. I’ve had my writing software organized since a couple days after I decided to move forward, and I have tons of ideas for blog posts in there (like 15, right now)! So, then, why haven’t I actually been writing?
There’s been a few times where I’ve been ready to sit down and write something. So, I sit on the couch, my dog to one side, a cat at my feet, and I start writing. A sentence or two in, I stop and my mind goes blank. I know what I want to write about, and I have a vague idea how I want it to come across. I know that I’m not nervous about writing, because I talk a lot and I just plan on writing how I talk. (Maybe with a few extra commas tossed in. And the occasional semicolon.)
I’m not sure why I was getting so blocked when I was going to write. Could it be the TV on? Nope, I turned that off and it got worse. Maybe music is better than TV? Sorry, nope, I just started singing instead of writing. I had no idea why I couldn’t spill the words out of my head on onto my computer. I do have a theory, though: I’m not great at being vulnerable. Hell, I’m not even okay at it. It’s taken me embarrassingly long to be able to be open with my family and very close friends, and even then, I shut down a lot of the time.
Even though I’m really passionate about getting stories of mental health out there, and sharing with people that not every experience is the same or has a neat and tidy ending, the idea of it being my story? That’s terrifying. My rational brain gets it (and is super ready to go), she’s powerful and ready to move forward and hopefully help someone or make a difference.
My emotional brain, though, is terrified. Like, ‘just about to explode all over my mother’s kitchen’-level terrified. That’s what gets me every time. Terror. Some days it stops me from doing simple things, like going to the store or getting coffee. On worse days, it stops me from going to work or school, leaving the house, or even talking to my family face-to-face. For years, I’ve been working on moving through the terror and moving forward in spite of it. I’m still not perfect at it, but this is something I am so excited about and so passionate about, and I have to find a way to wade through the hella-deep Muds of Terror.
As a solution, here’s what I’ve come up with: this post. Instead of jumping into the blog head first and tossing out what I had planned to be my first post (which should be up this week — My Night in the Hospital and Why it Didn’t Help), I decided to dip my toe in and write about something not so intense. Thankfully it’s something where I can toss in some of my weird bankers’ jokes (sorry). Even crazier, this has been really easy and quick to write (woohoo to me!).
So as of this post, I’ve made it past the Black and White Fields, through the Muds of Terror, and I am finally diving head first into the Sea of (Bitter) Insanity.