Have you ever had that feeling of oh crap, why did I say that? I attended a Corporeal Writing workshop last weekend where we had to introduce ourselves then say what we always wanted to write and what we are experts in.
After the facilitators introduced themselves, the classmember next to me started and before I could figure out what I was going to say, it was my turn.
“Hi all, I’m Deb. I’ve always wanted to write a song.”
What the? Really? Where the hell did that come from? I was there to get some clarity in writing my beast of a memoir. Then I got wrapped around axle on the word “expert.”
“I don’t really think I’m an expert in anything, I’m kind of a jack of all trades. I can’t identify with being an expert.”
As I listened to the rest of my classmates talk about writing from their place of pain, I felt small.
Okay, let’s unpack that.
Truth be told, some of my earliest writing was listening to songs a million times and writing down the lyrics. This was back in the day before they put lyrics on album liners, and way back before you could search for them on the internet. I had a whole notebook of Jim Croce, John Denver, and Elvis Presley lyrics. Music speaks to me so maybe I can relate to writing song lyrics. But is it the thing I most want to write? No, I want to finish this damn memoir.
On to the second thing that stumped me.
I could not in any way identify with the word expert. I once considered changing careers to teach, but didn’t make the leap because I couldn’t imagine standing in front of a class not knowing everything. That perfectionism seems ludicrious looking back on it now. I’m a recovering perfectionist but find myself occasionally relapsing into old habits like a comfortable pair of slippers.
The next time I’m asked to introduce myself, telling the one thing I want to write and what I’m an expert in, I’ll say: “Hi, I’m Deb. I’d really like to finish my memoir of having a mentally ill mother so others in similar situations know they’re not alone…and I can parallel park my car like a boss.”
4 thoughts on “Introductions and Perfectionism”
God, don’t read my writer’s bio! As cringeworthy as it is I choose to pretend it’s not there to agonizing over getting it right. How do you strike a tone of authority without sounding like Falstaff the braggart? Ooh.
So I can relate. Deer in headlights whenever I’m asked the question. I’ve given maybe 7 or 8 completely different answers over the years–like I’m messing with you. =)
You should try that!
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Hi, I am not an expert in anything yet I was a paid teacher for 30 + years. Love reading your writing Deb…please keep it up.
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I love the last line of this piece!