My friend Tracy sent me this photo of deviled eggs she made. The picture is blurry, but it's still possible to make out her failed attempt. Tracy makes fabulous deviled eggs, or at least she did until she took the advice of a friend who told she had been doing them wrong. So she did what a friend suggested and made them another way. Instead of her usual delicious looking, and tasting, deviled eggs she got this mess of yellow and white. Tracy's going back to trusting her own tried and true methods.
Why did she listen to her friend, when she already knew what worked for her? For the same reason we all question ourselves. We think we aren't doing it right. It's part of our endless quest to be perfect. To find the right path to success or love or happiness, or even making deviled eggs even better. They were fine to begin with. Her friend's right way, turned out to be Tracy's wrong way.
In tap dance I want to do the steps the "right way." Yes tap steps are suppose to be done in a certain manner, but my tapping will never look like the teacher's tapping. Comparison makes me cringe. I try to remember I am different. First, my size 10 wide feet are way bigger than my teacher's in her snazzy little shoes. If I keep feeling as if there is something wrong about the way I tap dance because I don't look exactly like the teacher, I will be in perpetual frustration. Likely this is the reason many people come to a tap class once or twice and give up feeling they just don't look right. Especially when dance rooms are full of mirrors. Also, I can not do this dance step but it's fun to dream.
Cooking or dance is like writing. Many a critique group I have participated in has included people who like to tell other people what is wrong about his or her writing. I'm sure in the early years, I did the same thing, act like a writing know-it-all.
I avoid critique groups now as I've moved beyond searching for someone who knows exactly how I should be writing. There is no one but myself who knows just the right words I should be using in just the right manner. I must confess though a spiffy editor would always be nice to have. Missed words, wrong punctuation and questions about content is always appreciated. But not someone who wants to tell me the right way to write.
At the retreat center in Oregon, I found this library. I loved how messy the books were on the shelves. Neat book shelves always look to me as if the books are just there for show. Each book was written by someone who pushed beyond the bounds of worrying whether they were doing something correctly, or changing what they were doing because someone else might have the secret to success. The writers took risks, made mistakes and kept writing. They did it their way. Not easy in this word of conformity. Standing out is not always prized and doing something "my way" can be faulted.
Which makes me think of Frankie. I always liked how Sinatra sang My Way. And it was a big hit likely because he sang it with conviction and style. Oh he did have style. So don't let anyone dim the light inside of you that needs to shine. Trust yourself to be creative, to live life, the only way possible. Your way.
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