My name is Lucy Claire Curran, and this is the second installment of what I hope will be many episodes of what I’m calling The Crayon and the Pen; a video blog about my unique approach to career resources. I’m currently working as an Employment Case Manager, and there’s something about supporting people in finding their life’s work that has a lot of resonance for me. I’m playing with bringing resources to you here on my page that help marry the head and the heart, or that bring together our more creative capabilities and our more analytic or linear capabilities.
Hello, my name is Lucy Claire Curran, and welcome to the Crayon and the Pen, my video blog and resource for people who want to have more fun with their work.
I am trying something today because I realized I was putting off creating video content because my usual perfectionism was getting in the way. I wanted to make sure it was just right, I wanted to nail down exactly what I was going to say, I wanted to hone my message, and I realized that the perfect topic for an installment of my video blog was perfectionism and how to really let it go when it’s getting in the way. I think there’s a place for polishing. I think there’s a place for attention to detail. Of course, it’s always part of the whole and, if you’re like me, you have sometimes let perfectionism stop you from even starting, from risking beginning a project that’s really important to you because it has to be perfect before you start.
My coach Kimberly
Says I should write a haiku
For each post! (Nailed it.)
Three months ago, I returned to my childhood home in Ashland, Oregon, with the intention of visiting my parents for the fall and winter and also cleaning out my childhood bedroom. I sought to consciously close the chapter of my first two and a half decades of life. In addition, I had the hunch that some of the missing threads in my book might be found there, stored away in the boxes of school papers I had stowed away under my bed; tucked between forgotten hats and outgrown snow boots in the back of my closet; or slipped between the pages of my favorite childhood books, left behind and gathering dust in my improvised fruit crate bookshelf.
From time to time in my life, I have shown up at a bar or restaurant by myself, and—as I stood beside the ‘Please Wait to be Seated’ sign—I have made eye contact with the host or hostess, and been asked:
It doesn’t have to be a loaded question, but to me it often feels that way.
“Yup!” I’ll say, (too enthusiastically.)
“Just me today!” with a cheerful laugh, which is meant to reassure them that I feel great about my life, and they shouldn’t worry about me because I really—seriously!—do have friends with whom I go to restaurants and bars and such places, so my being alone on this particular occasion is completely, 100 percent, a choice.
It occurred to me this past weekend that I have spent much of my life trying to avoid making other people feel uncomfortable.
Not only did I assign myself the impossible job of keeping everyone’s feathers in an unruffled state, I think that on some level I assumed that making someone uncomfortable was just about the worst sin one could possibly commit. I mean, what could be worse, right?
(Can you think of anything? I can’t.)
Upon closer examination, my tendency towards preemptive and over-the-top courtesy unravels to reveal a far less altruistic motivation: I never wanted to be the person who made others uncomfortable. I never wanted to be that girl, the 5th wheel weirdo, the “who invited her?” party guest.
I have taken an almost two year hiatus from blogging. At the time, I let my blog become a burden, allowed it to become heavy until it weighed me down, and anything I wrote felt boring, irrelevant, and like an irksome duty.
I am returning to blogging because there is a great deal to say. I don’t mean by me, necessarily (although I do have a voice that I intend to put to use.) More than this, there are so many voices being cut out, intentionally silenced each day, and there are so many truths that deserve to be brought to the light, talked about, discussed, mulled over.
I originally embarked on writing a blog last year because I had taken on a large writing project—a novel—and I decided that I needed a touchstone to remember why I was doing what I was doing. I originally used the blog to connect on a regular basis with something about myself, or about life, that made me smile. Or else I would offer my perspective on issues such as feminism today, or else the importance of being a diligent student of history. I even added a few posts about writing and my own writing process. Meanwhile, I continued to pursue my dream of writing a book and sharing my work with the world.
I used to think that I could fly. I also slept on the top level of a bunk bed, which–as you can no doubt imagine–was a risky and high-stakes combination. Fortunately, I emerged from this period of my life largely unscathed. In fact, I found that the best time to fly was when I was asleep and could soar anywhere I wanted in my dreams.
I was thinking today that perhaps, though I know that I am unlikely to successfully take to the skies without the assistance of an airplane, hot air balloon, or related contraption, I still yearn to fly. Wouldn’t it be amazing, I find myself musing, to swoop high and low alongside the eagles? To hover quietly beside the hardworking hummingbird, admiring the flowers? To skim over the surface of the ocean and dive in and out of waves, only to return–salty, refreshed, laughing–to the air, out of reach of the tossing water?
I have been feeling a bit negative recently. So. This post is a little gratitude power-up refuel session based on the knowledge that turning my attention to those people and things for which I am grateful helps me to shift my attention in a more positive direction. So here goes:
Thank you for supportive friends and family members who remind me of the beauty in the world.
Thank you for mentors and counselors along the way.
Thank you for all of the dogs in Alamo Square Park who remind me that running can be fun.
I have discovered something about myself. I am extremely good at talking and thinking about writing. Resistance to writing for me too often comes in the form of analysis, which keeps me happily and busily dissecting just why exactly it is that I’m not writing.
God, I find myself saying. Creative work is so hard. If only I could get past this block and just feel free to write and create…think how wonderful that would be! I wonder what’s stopping me. Maybe I need to be more disciplined. Or maybe I need to start a yoga practice. Or maybe it has something to do with my childhood…