That Time I Went Hiking In A Dress...And Other Lessons In Acknowledging The Parts Of Me I Don't Like.

For me, the month of December can feel a little bit stagnant.

I think it’s because it arrives so suddenly; hurled off the back of November like an insane two year old yielding candy canes and throwing snow balls. December is a time of joy and festivity and merriment (code for: drinking a shitton) with friends and family and it can be hard for me to motivate myself to pursue my career goals. It feels like I’m strapped to Santa’s sleigh and flying towards 2016 in a fit of fun but with no clue where I am going to land or how I’m going to pick myself up successfully once I get there.

This can lead me to feel panicky and upset. I have a tendency, like so many of us, to want to push myself constantly and to beat myself up when I am not doing things right. Hmm. That phrase, "doing things right" - let’s discuss. It is not until this year that I have truly realized the depths of my control freak ways. This week, in acting class, I was told that I tend to get in my own way because I want so badly to do the scene the "right way" and control the outcome. This reminded of a college acting professor who told me once “Izzy, you would make a great lawyer, because you’re always searching,searching, searching for the golden solution!” Those words have stuck with me so vividly and they have a huge influence over the way I see myself. I've spent years running away from those words and that opinion of me, and trying to give off the vibe that I am carefree and unafraid of messing up. It’s painful for me to admit that I want to get things right, and that I have a compulsive tendency to want other people to like the choices I have made or the way in which I have chosen to approach a problem. I crave potato chips, beer and being right.  

And so I combat that - I always wanna be the fun, cool girl. The smart, interesting one who has her shit together but is effortless. Occasionally, I think I do achieve both - but only very occasionally. I think I get closest when I actually admit to my flaws and own up to the fact that I suffer from a "need to be in control of the situation - but not appear to be in control of the situation". An example being that I recently wore a dress on a hike with a guy I was casually seeing because it freaked me out that we were a) going on a day date and b) doing physical activity and c) I wanted to still look cute. 

Of course I looked like an insecure weirdo. Or at best just a weirdo. But when I later took the time to acknowledge to myself the reason why I wore the dress and then turn it into a funny story to laugh about with friends, it helped me to turn that decision into a "kooky moment that highlights the truest version of myself." I can point to that to showcase the fact that I can be the organized, has her shit together woman AND the totally ridiculous girl who has the stupid audacity to wear a dress and accidentally flash her thong to the hikers behind with every gust of wind and worries way to much about how a dude thinks she looks. 

What I am trying to say, is that sometimes the best way to overcome our flaws is to accept that they are inherently there. OOF. Now THAT is a whole new level of tough. I spend so much time running away from my control issues or my judgments and trying to bury them, that it makes it more impossible for them to go away and they become MORE noticeable to others. This is because my method of trying to get rid of them has been to push them down so severely and do my very best NOT to acknowledge them -  so they're actually coming up two fold.

Recently, a wise teacher told me, that if I just learned to accept that those things are a part of me and not going away then I could make peace with them. And so, I am going to use this leftover 2015 time to revel with buds (most of us are in the “industry” so it’s technically networking, right??) and to let my introspectiveness push me to acknowledge the parts of me I don't like. To sit with them and celebrate the discomfort they bring! 

 I think it's also the perfect time of year to reflect, and to realize that sometimes the greatest opportunities come to you when you least expect them -- in random experiences or small moments of wisdom with a stranger. That is not to say that we should enter 2016 without goals and intentions - those are fundamental to the human spirit and keep us reaching. However, in the wise words of Hank Fortener, a pastor at Mosaic Church, “we spend our lives waiting for the big entree, anticipating and expecting, but in reality life is a series of small plates -- some of which you ordered and eagerly devour, and others which arrive unexpectedly -- and push you to try a new cuisine or discover a new concoction!”

Yay for food metaphors! But also, yay for the moments in which you were just "doing you" this year and great things happened. Yay for recognizing the parts of you that you don't love but trying to respect them. Let them live a little! Maybe, you'll discover you're capable of even more than you ever imagined. Yay for every "small plate" you ate this year...and for all the small plates to come. Think of it this way - you can eat more (metaphorically speaking) without realizing it!