Hitting the wall

Today I hit the wall again.

What do I mean by this?

I mean the quitting point, the part I am so good at, the part that I hate about myself. What I am really good at is quitting, I excel, I would have got a first in a degree with honours and be well on my way to a PHD.

So what is it all about today?

Today is only 4 days after New Year’s Day 2013, which is exactly 2 years after I first committed to being a poet, rather than just writing poetry on random occasions on scraps of paper that never make the light of day to be shared.

Why am I thinking about quitting?

Because I am not as good as I want to be and fear I will never be good enough. Perfectionist tendencies are common in serial quitters. It is also the main reason for not even attempting other things. What if I am never any good? What if I mess up? What if I end up quitting on it? These are enough to put some people off ever even trying certain things.

The tell-tale warnings of an impending crash (into the wall)

When you find yourself making excuses for why you aren’t participating as much as you used to. You hear yourself saying things like ‘Life is too busy’ or ‘I was too tired’.

Now both these things may well be true but what makes your other life commitments different from anyone else’s? The truth is twofold. Yes we are all different but no, other people’s lives are not always so much easier that it justifies you quitting.

Why am I writing this?

Because today I want to change how I see myself.

Yes in the past I have quit on many things but I have also stood by many other commitments that I somehow choose to ignore when thinking like this.

I have worked full time in my current job for the last 6 and half years, before that I worked 6 years for my last company (in the same industry) and before that my working record isn’t shoddy.

In 2004 I bought a horse; this July I will have owned her for 9 years. That is 9 years of DIY looking after a living, breathing, defacating (and yes this is relevant) creature, that never grows more independent or learns to muck out its own stable. All that happens is she gets older and like us she sometimes gets injured or sick and needs more care, not less.

In 2006 I took the monumental step of moving nearly 200 miles to the other side of this island country I call home. I will not say there haven’t been days when I have not wanted to run or drive for home screaming, but I am still here and visiting home has got easier. I appreciate the time I spend with my family more and they feel the same, we don’t take it for granted.

In 2008 I got married to the man I love. Now loving him isn’t always easy and he would definitely say loving me isn’t always a picnic either. Life has thrown us some real curve balls and brick bats since we met in 2005, but we have managed. Sometimes not looking or sounding pretty but we are still standing together and I can honestly say New Year’s eve this time was one of the best evenings we have ever spent together, it was wonderful.

Admission and acceptance

I admit the following:

If I let myself I will quit when the going gets tough.
I have self-confidence and self-esteem issues that lead me to believe quitting is a good thing.
I have perfectionist and pride issues that often stop me even trying new things.
I fear mistakes and failure because of the above, even though I know they are the way to learn.
I am lazy and procrastinate.
I feel overwhelmed sometimes by everything my life encompasses and it can paralyse me into doing even less.

I accept the following:

I have quit in the past, this does not make me a failure as a person.
I have reasons in the past for low self-esteem but my past does not dictate my present.
I am never going to achieve perfection it is an illusion there to keep us trying not to stop us starting.
I am going to make mistakes; it is getting past the cringe part that will allow me to learn.
I know I am not going to change hard fixed habits overnight but I aim to quit lazy and procrastination and I am good at quitting, right.
There will be days when I feel overwhelmed but there are far more days when I manage just fine.

Where do I go now?

The reason for writing and sharing this is for me. It is my commitment to myself. It is my logical thinking put down on paper, well on computer anyway.

I love poetry, I love writing poetry when I am not tying myself up in knots about if it’s good enough or have I blogged often enough. When I am not stressing over have I read everyone’s latest offerings and commented.

So I am not going to quit writing poetry. I am not going to quit reading other people’s poetry.

What I am going to quit is beating myself up for not being good enough.
I quit worrying what other people think of my poetry or me for not being online 24/7 and always being involved.
I quit playing the ‘you like mine and I will like yours’ game, I never wanted to be in that anyway but for some it’s the only way they play.
I quit feeling obliged to go on Twitter every day and reply and thank every last tweet that mentions me.

In conclusion

To quote the wonderful poet Mary Oliver:

‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?’

My answer is to do what makes me happy. This includes looking after those who’s happiness makes me happy. I love my family and my friends and want them to have a happy me to be around.

If other people don’t approve of my methods to achieve this, that is their problem. My new mantra for dealing with this is ‘Other people’s opinion of me is none of my business’ but that is fine as my opinion of them is none of theirs. I don’t know who first wrote this but it’s a mighty fine quote.


18 responses to “Hitting the wall

  1. I empathise completely Abi, we put so many pressures on ourselves, I think we need ‘slow’ time to let things unfold, we need space and time to simply be

    • Thank you Marsha, yes we do need to slow it all down. In writing this I felt that frantic pace slow enough for me to work my way through the negative feelings.

  2. I’m so proud of you for being so honest about yourself, I don’t don’t see you like this at all. I promise to continue trying to support people. I never thought I was much of a poet to begin with but I shall continue to enjoy reading poetry, and writing for my own pleasure. Not for back slaps and head pats. Never has been my style, and if I only get one bally reader a month, that’s one reader who I’ve touched with my words and that makes me feel a wee bit better hahaa xx

  3. Very honest, very courageous. I’ll bet you a pound to a pinch of salt that there are tens of thousands of budding writers out there, who will relate to this, who would say to themselves as they read it, “why couldn’t I have written that!”… well, what else can I call this, but a very fine speech!

    If I had not developed the friendships that we have online (and of course in person); that is you, and all the other GRPG members, as well as many of the regular NWCU members and one or two special others, then I probably would simply have left my blogs unattended for long periods, until dust and cobwebs accumulated!

    Best advice, if advice were needed, must come from an old friend:

    “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
    ― A.A. Milne

    …and, so as to encourage you, the very hard working, pressured young you, of the value of relaxing, another word from the same old friend:

    “What I like doing best is Nothing.”

    “How do you do Nothing,” asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.

    “Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, ‘What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?’ and you say, ‘Oh, Nothing,’ and then you go and do it.

    It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

    “Oh!” said Pooh.”
    ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

    So there! Do nothing and the best of you will issue forth.


    • Wonderful. And I feel great having reached out in this online world and been touched by people just like yourself. Glad you quoted Pooh, I love Pooh n his stories. So I will add what a nurse said to me that I thought was better than me, she said, ” Act like you know what you are doing with patients and then if you don’t leave the room n come find out what to do.” That was great advice and maybe even for life.

      • Thanks, I already do the Nurse’s suggestion when at work sometimes. It helps as customers show no mercy if they smell fear.

    • Thanks Joanne, I think maybe I have just spoken out some of the fears and weaknesses we all have as humans. Maybe my greatest weakness is feeling like I am alone in this sometimes.

    • Heather, thank you! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment 🙂 In writing this post I talked myself out of quitting, well quitting writing at least. It is so nice to know someone as successful as yourself still takes the time to read blogs such as mine.

  4. I hope you do not quit I love your poems, when you do not post a poem I miss them, sound weird but is true I don’t comment much but like your writing ;). And good for you love yourself more than those people that don’t approve. Life should be simple, but others make it difficult, you never make people happy so is best to do what you want and make you happy.

  5. This is a courageous write. But…look, everyone wants to quit; everyone fears mistakes. So what…life is scary, period. Fer Gawd sake, Abi, quit and you’ll be depriving us all of a fine poet. More, you’ll be depriving yourself of something you love to do. What resonates most about this write of yours is that what other ppl. think of u is none of your business. Yay to that!.. Now…keep sharpening that pencil, keep writing, puleeeeese…and take time off from it when u need to. Above all, do what makes u happy! Awrighty? Hugs!

    • Jackie, thank you for your ever supportive comment. If you look in my conclusion part of this post you will see I have said I will not quit writing poetry, just quit a few of the surrounding things that clutter up my head and time. I am far from a fine poet yet but who knows maybe one day 🙂

  6. Superb & such an articulate posting Abi … what can I say? How about the truth: some of your poetry has elated me, given me insight, bathed me in a feeling of wonder … & some of it has just stopped me in my tracks to the point where I cannot think, only feel the absolute beauty of your words 🙂

    • Peter,

      Thank you! I am glad you are on the mend. This post was written as it was thought and it feels good to have posted it.

      In regard to your truth about my poetry, I am elated that my poetry can effect anyone in these ways. Poetry has been a wonderful journey for me and I am very glad to have had friends like you to help me on my way 🙂

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