Today in class we read â€œPurge Your Portfolioâ€ from Patti Dighâ€™s Life is a Verb.
I really wish I could have read this particular story right before my birthday party when I was having an attack of the â€œexcuses“â€¦
You know the onesâ€¦
â€œDonâ€™t look at my patio, I didnâ€™t have time to get new cushions.â€
â€œDonâ€™t look at my shoes, I didnâ€™t have time to find the perfectly matching pair.â€
â€œDonâ€™t look at my hair, I didnâ€™t have time to get it professionally straightened.â€ (
which is too expensive anyway)
â€œDonâ€™t look at my stomach, I didnâ€™t have time to lose that extra pregnancy pooch in the past week.â€
In the story Patti said she needed to â€œlose about 1,000 pounds,color my hair, and polish my dance stepsâ€ before her high schoolfriends arrived for a visit.
And then she realized â€œI didnâ€™t need to make any excuses anymore.The hips, the house, hairâ€“they just are. They are me. They are my life.This is me!â€
She tells a wonderful story of her daughter taking her art portfolioto a comics convention and showing it to fellow artists to get theiropinion. When looking at one piece she said, â€œThatâ€™s not really a goodone,â€ to which an artist replied:
â€œIf you donâ€™t like something, take it out of your portfolio. Youdonâ€™t want to have anything in here that you need to make excuses for. You want to be proud of everything you put in front of people. â€
Finally she asks, â€œWhat in my portfolio (where portfolio means house, life, brain, relationship) should I keep?
Taking another look at â€œexcuses,â€ she opened the story with:
â€œFor many people, an excuse is better than an achievement because an achievement, no matter how great, leaves you having to prove yourself again in the future but an excuse can last for life.â€ â€“Eric Hoffer
It just so happens that I recently discussed this very thing with a close friend. We talked about the pressure to be perfect(for me itâ€™s with my writing and physical appearance)because somewhere along the way someone told us we were good, or pretty.
Now, I feel like if Iâ€™m not good or pretty EVERY SINGLE DAY, andEVERY SINGLE time I write, or present myself to the public, I willdisappoint. When I fear I will disappoint I MAKE EXCUSESâ€¦
â€œDonâ€™t look at my hair/patio/shoes/stomachâ€¦.â€
How can we stop this cycle?
I have a notepad that says â€œTrust it or adjust it.â€
I think Iâ€™m going to go with that motto for now.
LOVE it (hair, body, home, lifeâ€¦) and embrace it for what it isâ€¦or change it.
Be proud of everything I put in front of people, or get rid of it.No more excuses.
I know in my heart that the more I read, write and connect in this space, it will happen.