l i l e p h y t e

November 16th, 11:24 | readme for self

Dear lilephyte,

I want to remind you that you can not be or cater to everyone, you can not do every job, or even qualify for some of them, and you can not be good at everything. Cyrano de Bergerac you are not. There are some qualities you just don't have (soft-spokenness, for example, or the ability to scale tall mountain peaks without blacking out from sheer panic). And that is totally okay. There are some tests you won't be able to pass, some people you won't be able to get along with, but this does not, by any means, translate to a failure on your part (even though, in academic terms, the result might technically be a failure).

You need to chill the fuck out, and cut back on this perfectionism. Take, for instance, this year's NaNoWriMo. Despite the recent slowing of pace, you're doing better this year than any of the past years, and it's because you were determined to finish. You drew a story arc, you gave your characters motivations before you even knew their names. You went about the whole thing far too seriously. Having done all that though, you're now frozen in the middle, egged onward by spite, and an honest desire to win for once, and held back by the fear that you're going to do a half-assed job at telling what could be a great story, or worse still, that you're going to come to the end of your epic tale and find out that it's really far more transparent and cheesy than you'd allowed yourself to realize.

lilephyte, it's a novel that you're trying to write in 30 days while holding down a full-time job, and travelling through three cities in eastern Canada. Taking yourself too seriously, much?

It is not reasonable for you to expect yourself to just naturally be good at everything, to ace every test, even if you usually did in previous academic situations. Keep in mind that a big reason for that is because you weren't taking every test offered by the school; only the ones in your major. Similarly, think about what you're doing now. Aside from the humbling, and somewhat shame-inducing feat of realizing there are things you really don't know, even though you think you should, consider: if it were really something that interested you, and gripped you, something that you were curious enough to follow and research and experiment in, surely you would have had all the answers. But you didn't. You haven't studied or been employed in any jobs that exposed you to most of the information on there, and while you may be missing out on something really cool, again, think.

Think about the jobs and hobbies you've had that you really loved. Not one involved camping yourself out with a machine and tooling around on it to figure out how it works, how it works with everything else, or how to make it work better. It's undeniable that you find all that "sort of interesting" in an abstract kind of way (after all, there isn't much that you don't have a passing interest in, from string theory to how those floating manhole cover things work), but it's not something you've actively sought to follow-up on in class, or in the working world. Everything you've ever loved doing involved the creation of something new, hopefully creative, and generally utterly useless, or else, it centred around talking with people, and helping them. In the best cases, it involved a combination of the two.

No matter what you don't know about this morning's test, you can be pretty sure it doesn't fall into that category. (And if I happen to be wrong about that, well, that's too bad, but it's not like you'll ever know. So stop your hand-wringing.)

I'm managing to get all this out in the narrow window created by starvation and panic. No doubt when you finish that cereal, you will return to your former levels of glorious panic, self-doubt, and regret, at which point nothing I say will manage to get through. This is exactly why I'm writing this now, here, on the interweb, where you can still choose to ignore it, but you can't deny that it's there.

No one ever defined a "good person" as someone who was good at everything. The definition (or the one that matters to you anyway) is a person who cares enough about something to try and learn to serve that something well, and to do it in good faith. While you can care enough to learn to do any task, lilephyte, actually attempting to do so would be the stupidest decision you could make. You already know (at long last) what it is that you care enough about, so stop worrying about your shortcomings in every other category and just focus on learning to do what you love. Thus are happy endings written.


      your common sense

Last book read:

( prev ++ 0 comment/s ++ next )

prev ++ next
(or "today"'s)

Last we checked,
lilephyte was...

...into notes

++ "recent" ++
Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
January 24th
December 17th
December 16th
November 14th

ResolutionWatch 2007
Photos (200): 130
Kitty Photos (30): 40
Scrapbook (20): 1
Books (just for fun): 16