Finding the Courage to be Average

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, “Hi. My name is Kim and I’m a Recovering Perfectionist.”

If you aren’t a Recovering Perfectionist, you may think that I am making light of a very serious problem, alcoholism. But if you are a Recovering Perfectionist, then you know: there is nothing funny about obsessively striving for perfection, it is crippling.

I have this quote by Anne Lamott (literally) written on my bathroom wall:

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor. The enemy of the people. It will keep you insane your whole life.” -Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Today I am working up the courage just to be average.

December 1 of last year I was told, “I don’t love you anymore.” I spent the next three months in a race to become lovable. I failed.

I thought that if I could just become more of me, a better version of me, a more enthusiastic me, a prettier me, a smarter me, a hundred times more fantastic me — then I would be loved again. But that’s not how it works.

It’s not that I’m not fantastic enough — for I know that I am more fantastic than he will ever find again (I can only say that with confidence after 3 months of beloved women friends whispering their love to me) — but because I am not able to fill the void. He has a few missing pieces, and no matter how much I want to be or how hard I try to be, I cannot be those missing pieces.

You have not heard from me for a week because I have been laying low, just trying to make it from one day to the next, limping along with my broken heart. And then, when The He finally left for good, I spent a day and a half in bed, in darkness, in silence, in a cocoon of my own making. Today I have emerged and I have a new purpose. Today I have decided to dare to be average.

I tend to make a lot of declarations on this blog, and I fail to live up to most of them. I have to wonder, will I be able to live up to this one?

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~ by Kimberly Mason on March 6, 2010.

9 Responses to “Finding the Courage to be Average”

  1. Dear Kim,

    Hugs and prayers for you during this difficult time. The failure to live up to those declarations has its root in perfectionism. Daring to be average, you will live up to this one, one step at a time.

    Grace and peace, Amy

  2. You are challenging me. Good luck on your growth endeavor.

  3. I remember being told as my ex was leaving that maybe someday I’d find someone who’d want a person like me. It made me furious and made me realize that I had wasted my time with a person who could never appreciate the person that I am. Remember that this is not entirely your fault even if he has made you feel like it is. It is good that you are in the place where you know that you are better than he’ll ever find!

  4. Sweetie, you couldn’t be average if you tried. It’s not about being average; it’s about knowing you are already perfect, just as you are. Which is something it’s hard to remember at times like this, I know. But that doesn’t make it any less true. You are already exactly who God created you to be; you just have a new opportunity to grow into it, to find some of the corners of you that were closed off before…

  5. What great words from your friends! Blessings abound- we are all enough!

    I am grateful today that you are on the web and how your words and prayers and thoughts have added to my life! (I loved the Wailing Jennys after hearing them on your site so I ordered the CD and drive my daughter crazy with it in the car! Who knew it had an added benefit?)

    Your inner world is incredibly beautiful, like your quilts, your children, your pictures and your prayers. I thank God, nothing and noone can change that.

  6. More importantly, dare to be your authentic self. What in the world is “average”? By who’s standards is that a measure? ~karen

  7. Hi, I’m Cindy. I too have -ered myself into oblivion -better, smarter, gentler, nicer…
    I too have learned that I am not responsible for filling another up. That is God’s place, not mine. I too have learned that I can not expect or rely on another to fill those voids for me. That is God’s place.
    The deal with average though, Kim, is that it is comparative, which means one is lesser and another is more. You’re perfect as is. I love and adore YOU now and tomorrow and yesterday. You yoked me with your journey and growth. It is so much like my own.
    Much love. Big hugs.

  8. I’ve been praying for you these several months, and I pray especially for healing. I believe we are all called to become our authentic selves, not the selves we try to fashion to make someone happy or love us. This has got to be the hardest part of our spiritual journey – finding out who we really are, not who we think we should be, and finding our that is enough.

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