imperfectly yours

By Kathryn Baxter
Woman Newspapers

With the new year came a new job and all the hopes and expectations one has at a time like this. For me, though, this time is among my worst. I struggle with the unfamiliar like I do with nothing else. Worries bubble up in and a narrative takes hold: I make ugly mistakes. I don’t belong. They will see through me. These words seem irrational when I type them here, but inside my mind, with insecurity their only companion, they echo loudly.

I wrote in my last column about trying not to react too quickly to situations and feelings. Boy, I have not practiced what I preached.

This is a difficult path for me – the one where I learn to be patient not only with myself but also the world – but I know it’s the right path. Allowing things to organically happen instead of forging ahead in a neverending quest toward a better/faster way is arduous. There are hidden tree roots waiting to trip me. The climb is steep and the apex always seems just beyond view.

The difference in the person I was five years ago is striking, so isn’t it fair to envision something equally better for five years ahead? So, I’m trying something out – I’m imagining the person I will be in a few more years.

I imagine the insight and wisdom I’ll have gleaned and the confidence I’ll have gained in life and at work.

I imagine the confidence and patience I’ll have once I’m more rooted into my current experience.

I imagine I will be more compassionate with myself, even as I await the challenging lessons ahead.

I’m trying to enjoy this process, or at least to not fight it.

Discomfort is not something I tolerate well, particularly when I feel misunderstood, judged and uncertain of the impression I’m making. I have a terrible habit of reviewing my day’s conversations - every syllable is critiqued, every sentiment reviewed. I’m never as hard on others as I am on myself.

I fear so much. In my moments of self doubt, concerns about my reputation, my uselessness, my outsiderness are like land mines upon which I dance and stomp.

But I don’t have to fear it. If I say something that isn’t as clear or thoughtful as I wanted it to be, I can always say, I was too quick to speak. I can say, I have something else to tell you.

I can forgive myself for being fallible. And though it is difficult to remember when I’m in the midst of it, we are all imperfectly on our way – together.