But, it's not that easy...
I didn't forget about this space. I've actually been thinking about it a lot. There's also been a lot going on that I've needed to process elsewhere, in other ways. My life looks pretty different today than it did when we spoke last. As stressful, and painful, and confusing as this process has been, I'm grateful for it. I'm not being vague for no reason, I just think that there are many ways that I could tell that story, and if I'm going to so it, I need to make sure that I do it well.
But why are we here today? We're half way through 2018, and I have a confession to make.
I'm not just naturally good at things.
I work really hard, and I'm good at using google.
Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” - Brené Brown
The past 8 or so weeks have been a time of figuring out what it feels like to own my strengths. (Its uncomfortable. I say things that I don't mean and that aren't me because I'm trying to "sound confident" and then I obsess over the things I said. It's not cute. I'm working on it.) But I also want to own my weaknesses and recognize the ways in which the two are inextricably linked.
To some people, acknowledging my "short-comings" (and I put that in quotations out of recognition for how ridiculous this sounds) seems like a humble brag, or like I'm trying to be #relatable. But for me, it's honestly an attempt to recognize that this shit doesn't actually come easy for me. I'm sure it does for some people, but for me? Nah. Allowing people to believe that things come easy to me completely erases the fact that my efficiency is the direct result of mind-numbing anxiety, and leaves no room for a conversation about the fact that if I'm not careful, my habits can get really unhealthy really fast.
Want a hyper-relevant example from the past few weeks of my life?
Expectation/Belief: Bri is just naturally great at communicationion. Outreach and follow-up are her jam. She makes things happen!
Reality: Emails and asks are really hard for me. I over think them in the writing process. Obsess while waiting for a response and refresh my inbox constantly. Because out of sight is out of mind I have to reply immediately or I'll forget to. The inability to mark my text messages as unread will eventually be my downfall.
Result: I'm either really on top of it or drop the ball and forget it ever existed. There is no in between. However, I want to be perceived as competent, so I make sure I'm on top of it, to the point of near obsession. Then I get really self-conscious about being perceived as pushy or "too much". Ultimately, it just makes me fretful. Also, 78% of my text messages go unreturned for an embarrassing amount of time. If there's no concrete deadline attached to it... it's probably not happening.
But these are things that I know about myself. For that reason, I have systems in place. My systems work, but that doesn't make it easy. My systems don't take the anxiety out of it. My gmail filters do nothing to calm the voice in my head that tells me that even though I wrote it so carefully and so thoughtfully, something in it will make everyone hate me. Efficient communication is a large part of my job, and honestly has been a large part of every job I've ever had. It can also be an incredibly anxiety inducing process for me and the things I do to make myself seems competent make me appear good at it, which means that I am technically good at it. But that doesn't make it easy.
Why does this seem so important to me?
Why am I even talking about this?
My circles are small, but I have no interest in adding to the narrative that some people are just good at things and others aren't. I'm literally both, and I know I'm not the only one. High-functioning anxiety, perfectionism, control issues they're beasts. But sometimes they're useful. I'm thoughtful and efficient because I'm anxious. I have a love/hate relationship with my anxious nature. As much as it hurts me, I believe at my core that it is the creator of many of my strengths.
So what do I do with that?