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Tell me about your dreams, Sad Godzilla - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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Tell me about your dreams, Sad Godzilla [Sep. 13th, 2014|09:34 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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There is a blog I like to read that tells funny stories, personal stories, about the blogger’s own life, but about every third entry the blogger does something that makes me wince on her behalf. Before the main subject of the post, she goes into Sad Godzilla Mode, stomping all over her own internal Tokyo with her mascara running, thrashing around destroying the buildings and roaring, “Not perfect! not perfect!” before she can start telling the story she wants to tell. She covers the blog post with disclaimers about how she doesn’t have a perfect life–quite often adding, “not like those bloggers you see” and then a list of the attributes of Perfect Life Bloggers.


And the thing about perfectionists–I know because I am one, and I used to be even more of one–is that telling her, hey, you don’t have to do that, it’s better when you don’t do that will just make her more self-conscious, not actually make her feel better about herself. There is no way to frame this as a far-outsider that will make her feel like she doesn’t have to be perfect. She has to come to that idea on her own, because anybody else introducing it–at least from as far outside her life as I am–will sound like “we have already realized that you suck, and here is another way that you suck: you write your blog posts badly,” not like, “hey, perfection is not a thing that exists in humans, so let’s move on without the disclaimers and hear about where your kid put the peanut butter; that’s what we’re all here for.” I would love to say, “No one reads a blog post and thinks, ‘that person is perfect, their life is perfect,'” but in fact this blogger’s comments are proof that some people do cherish that illusion about others, and flagellate themselves with it. It’s just…most of the rest of us don’t. Most of the rest of us get it. We’re all just doing the best we can, and hey, today the dog was cuddly because she got a haircut and the weather turned, woo. Or today something funny happened in the Ikea elevator when I was there to have lunch with my aunt and uncle. Or whatever. Onwards with today. That is what we’re all doing, glossy photos or not. We are all doing the onwards with today thing.


This is actually why I have started trying to avoid the opportunities to tell my favorite new college student How To College. She will college just fine. She will screw some things up, not because there is something wrong with her but because we all screw things up, and she is in a time in her life when everyone is telling her How To College, as a subset of everyone telling her How To Her. And so when she asks for my thoughts because I actually know something she wants to hear, okay, but otherwise, I am trying to mention thoughts like, hey, I love you and I believe in you, and otherwise thoughts like, I thought this picture Tim took was cool. Here is a video link I liked. Etc. In Hard to Change, Meg Hutchinson sings the line, “don’t wanna make the same mistakes that my parents did,” and once in concert she talked about how her father called her to say, don’t worry, honey, you’ll make your own mistakes. And I think that can be hard from the older side, thinking, well, I’ve made these mistakes, I should be able to stop my younger friends, my children or grandchildren or nieces or nephews or godchildren or whoever, from making them. But there’s a line between the sensible teaching and the overadvising, and the overadvising just feeds into the Sad Godzilla that lives inside many of us. I don’t want my favorite new college student to spend her first year at college feeding Sad Godzilla. I don’t want to be a force in her life pushing her towards thinking about what she’s doing that’s not perfect. I want to be a force in her life encouraging her to think about what she thinks is awesome.


This week I started a class in Scandinavian Woodcarving. I knew I would not be perfect at it. If I was aiming for perfect, I would never have taken it, because I was guaranteed to start out vastly, vastly imperfect. As it turned out, I started out even more imperfect than I had hoped, requiring five stitches, so we’ll see if the vertigo meds induce too much neuropathy for me to do this or if I can work around it. But it’s the sort of thing that can’t arise if the question is, “What would my life have in it to be more perfect?” The question has to be, “What might be awesome? Can we try that and see?” And then iterate. Get better or try something else, or both. Not perfect. Not perfect. Yes. Dreams don’t come in perfect. Let’s hear about what might find room for awesome after Sad Godzilla is done with the flattening.




Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: desperance
2014-09-14 05:28 am (UTC)
As it turned out, I started out even more imperfect than I had hoped, requiring five stitches

Oy. I'm sorry. Please to heal fast. We could do a countdown for the stitches - from five to four to three to two to one - if that would help?
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-09-14 11:46 am (UTC)
Sadly, it will not work like that. I will go in on Friday and go from five to zero very quickly. Well--as quickly as an urgent care ever does anything....

(timprov and I were watching a piece of American TV fiction yesterday in which someone was in and out of the ER in half an hour, and we laughed. This was the easiest thing that ever needed doing in an ER, and it was the least crowded ER ever, and it still took them two hours to put five uncomplicated stitches in. Two hours is the flat baseline. If you are writing a mystery timeline and someone actually goes to the ER--doesn't lie about it--two hours. Minimum.)
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2014-09-14 03:58 pm (UTC)
Trouble with the easy ones is that more emergent emergencies get triaged ahead of you (is that how the verb works? "Triage puts them ahead of you," perhaps...) - but yeah. When I went in with my dangerously infected thumb, the triage nurse looked and sucked air through her teeth and murmured how the hand surgeons would certainly want me admitted that night - and by the time I actually got seen by a doctor, it was after midnight and she said that the hand surgeons would almost certainly want me admitted but they'd all gone home and there really wasn't any point trying to find a bed for me tonight as nothing could happen now until the morning, so...
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-09-14 04:53 pm (UTC)
That's one of the troubles, yes. Another is that there is paperwork and stuff that has to be done--they can't just say, "Oh, we'll just process you off the books, slip me a twenty and we'll call it good."
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2014-09-14 05:01 pm (UTC)
Nope. Even in the UK, where money is not a factor at the point of delivery: there is still all the paperwork and possibly more. The NHS is a political weapon, and all sides like to bludgeon each other (and the voters) with statistics, and every round of "reforms" generates more managers to supply same. We hates it, we does.
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From: sheff_dogs
2014-09-14 08:36 pm (UTC)
I did once get admitted in under two hours in the UK, but it was partly because it was two am on a week day and partly because another patient assaulted me in the waiting room and I got fast-tracked! Not a bad assault they just knocked my glasses off when I told them to leave me alone, but still not what you want when you are in pain.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-09-14 08:47 pm (UTC)
And at least in US parlance, admitted means something very different from treated, processed, and released. If you're admitted to the hospital, they don't have to finish treating you or processing your paperwork or anything, they just have to acknowledge that you're going to need more treatment and get that fast-tracked. Which is still a pretty big deal to get done in less than two hours! And I'm still impressed! I'm just not sure they could have done it if they were sending you home instead of admitting you, here.
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From: sheff_dogs
2014-09-14 10:52 pm (UTC)
It was admitted to a ward and yes it was very impressive, but I think they were trying to make sure I didn't compain about the assault, she was what they call a 'frequent flyer' all the staff knew her name. Although the admittance was what my English teacher would have called 'interesting' as it was to a mixed sex ward, the ward proper had single sex bays, but the admittance section just had eight or so beds separated by curtains. I was doped up with morphine and went to sleep quickly wearing the large t-shirt I'd arrived in (I hadn't come prepared for a stay) and woke up to find myself surrounded by blokes! The t-shirt felt very short when I walked down the ward to the bathroom. It probably would have felt a lot worse if I hadn't been doped up with morphine. I ended up in a prvate room (as in just me, rather than as in paid for) as there wasn't an open bed in a female bay. The NHS is supposed to be phasing out mixed wards, but money.

It all worked out in the end.

I hope you heal well and fast.
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2014-09-14 09:26 pm (UTC)
I got fast-tracked too, one time: when my doctor had sent me up to the hospital with a note, and a GP friend of mine stopped me by the gate and said "Chaz, what are you doing here?" I waved the note at her, and she took it from me and opened it - over my spluttering protests - and said "Jesus Christ, they let you walk up here? With a DVT? Come with me..." and she walked me through Casualty and grabbed a doctor and said "You need to see this guy right now," and they did...
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From: sheff_dogs
2014-09-14 10:54 pm (UTC)
Yikes, good timing on your GP friend's part.
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[User Picture]From: klwilliams
2014-09-14 06:39 am (UTC)
I think anyone who would choose to take a class in Scandinavian Woodcarving is perfect already.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-09-14 11:43 am (UTC)
I don't know if I should tell my classmates. Don't want it to go to their heads....
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[User Picture]From: p_j_cleary
2014-09-14 01:55 pm (UTC)
This seems to be a very bad time for fingers, as Peter just got stitches out from a very bad experience with a mandolin.

I hope you're able to get back to carving some Scandinavians soon!
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-09-14 02:03 pm (UTC)
Oh yah, I'm going back Tuesday, no problem. It's not anything that should interfere directly. The question is whether the underlying problem--the meds-induced neuropathy--will come back and make me set the knife down soon enough/for long enough that doing very much carving is just not feasible. We'll see.
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[User Picture]From: tiger_spot
2014-09-14 02:16 pm (UTC)
Has Andres ever told you the story of the time he
lost a knife fight with a coconut? He did not need stitches but he did need to be glued back together at Urgent Care.

Scandinavian Woodcarving sounds like fun -- I hope your meds turn out not to interfere too much.
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[User Picture]From: blairmacg
2014-09-14 03:44 pm (UTC)
For some, perfectionism is also a form of protection, as attempt to sidestep being criticized for mistakes. I see it in karate students who constantly try to delay evaluations and testing.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-09-14 04:52 pm (UTC)
Very much so. Both an attempt to sidestep and an attempt to get there first. When I was little and being hypercritical of myself, my mom (who knows whereof she speaks) would stroke my hair and say, "Oh, punk*, you're your own worst enemy sometimes," and I would think, well, better that than having other people lining up for the job.

*punk = short for pumpkin
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From: diatryma
2014-09-15 12:39 pm (UTC)
"If I can just beat myself up enough, no one else will try."

Never works. There is no level of self-loathing that makes you immune to abuse.
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[User Picture]From: vcmw
2014-09-15 01:42 pm (UTC)
Oh yes! I have such a bad case of this that I wouldn't do my white belt test till I had been going to aikido for... 3 semesters? 4? 2 of them with sessions in the intermediate class?
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[User Picture]From: asakiyume
2014-09-23 07:10 pm (UTC)
This is very true. I've seen people practice what I call aggressive apologizing to more or less prevent the aggrieved person from making a complaint.
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[User Picture]From: zelda888
2014-09-15 05:31 am (UTC)
As much as I still have to work on in filk circles, I've at least gotten that one right: never apologize. Just shut up and sing.
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[User Picture]From: asakiyume
2014-09-23 07:08 pm (UTC)
I know exactly what you mean about wishing you could tell a person that all the disclaimers are unnecessary, but knowing that actually that's likely to simply add another thing for them to worry about.

(And hi! I'm @morinotsuma who was just commenting about you/to you on Twitter, but we've seen each other often enough on LJ too ^_^)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-09-23 07:57 pm (UTC)
Oh hi, thanks for the cross-platform identification!
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