Thursday, January 24, 2008

Game Called on Account of Authenticity

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.”
- Ray Bradbury

My husband, Rhett, is constantly telling me, “Deanna, you’re over thinking it.” He’s usually right, but I still find it incredibly frustrating that he believes I’m able to do anything else. The constant analysis of every single move I make is a habit thirty-five years in the making, and it’s a tough one to break. If I were only guilty of excessive contemplation when making huge, life-altering decisions, I wouldn’t feel so bad; but agonizing over seemingly-simple choices like which breakfast cereal to throw in the grocery cart really cramps my style.

I know why I do it. I’m afraid. Nothing in the world is more frightening to me than doing something wrong, doing anything wrong. I’ve spent my whole life trying to find the perfect incarnation of me that will make everyone else happy. It’s an exhausting and unwinnable game, and I’m sick of playing it, but, still, I can’t seem to stop. To further aggravate matters, my current opponent (or is it teammate?) refuses to participate. Rhett insists that he loves me for who I am, no jumping through hoops required. That unconditional acceptance is noble and what every girl dreams of, right? Well, sometimes I hate it. I don’t know who to be if it isn’t defined for me by the one whose approval I seek.

I’m sure I could blame all the usual suspects for this tendency: my father was too harsh, my mother was inattentive, and so on and so forth. But does any of that really matter anymore? Realizing the reasons behind my behavior doesn’t mean that I’ve been able to change it – yet. I’m hopeful, though. After fifteen years of Rhett’s repeated insistence that I can be myself, I think the message is finally starting to sink in. I’m ever so gradually beginning to trust my own mind, my own heart, and my own intuition. I have no idea where exactly it will take me, but I know this: I’m trying to think less and be more. We’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.


Sheila Ann said...

I do the same. I get caught in the past and start ruminating. My husband said the other night- And how, having experienced all that, does that change YOU and your world right now? Are you worse off because of it?

Well, no. I guess not. I'm just me.

Melissa said...

Catching up on my reading...

This is a very hard thing to do when it's a 35 year habit. If you notice yourself thinking too much, you might want to try telling yourself "stop." -And then just stop for a moment. Whatever you're doing. Stop.

Then listen really carefully to all the sounds around you. Focus on the background noises where you are or outside a window. Really listen to only those sounds for a moment. You may be surprised at how quiet things are "outside" your head. -I'm often surprised at how quiet and relaxing things are outside of mine!