Yes, You’re a Mess & We Need You Anyway


I like to only show up as my best self. I prefer to only show up when I feel nearly-perfect. Perfectly dressed, perfectly poised, perfectly POSITIVE, perfectly inspiring, perfectly kind, perfectly communicating with others.

I have high standards for myself, and that’s ok. But, sometimes, it’s not.

When perfectionism keeps me from participating in life because I’m afraid to show up wrinkled, crinkled, messy and “in progress,” it not only robs me of joy, it robs others of it, too.

We need each other. We need to be needed. We need to give. We need to receive.

When I step out of the dance of life, I stop the flow of giving and receiving. It’s like a conveyor belt with one piece missing – it doesn’t work without each part of the whole.

Have you ever seen what happens when someone dies? The way suddenly every single relationship left in the wake of that death changes forever, against your will? Have you watched a single episode of This Is Us? One death changes everything…forever. After twenty-five deaths in eight years, I know this to be true.

I like to say, it’s like there’s a million strings tied between us and each person/idea/place we love. In death, they’re all severed abruptly, and we’re left holding a million strings, a million pieces of ourselves that are no longer connected to that person, that dream, that idea, that relationship, that family.

If you step out of the dance of life – if you go hide in whatever make you feel safe and comfortable, or “better”, be it drugs or booze or gambling or self-loathing or just zoning out to Netflix and Hulu for hours – the strings drop, and…we miss you.

Did you know that?

We miss you.

You don’t know it, but you’ve cut the million strings tied between us, or you’ve dropped them for a moment, or slowly over time and in all these small, yet monumental, and insidious ways, we feel the cut ties. We feel the absence of your beautiful spirit. We realize, but cannot say, how much we miss what you have. We feel the lack of what you bring to our lives. We feel you as if you are a ghost that haunts us.

We would rather you show up as your less-than-best Self. Bring your addictions, your obsessions, your wrinkled shirts and messy hair. Bring your grief, your insecurities, your fears and doubts and worries. Please, bring them all!!!! Because if you bring your authentic self with them, we will have gained far more than we stand to lose.

Try the 80/20 rule…

Give 80% of your best self. 20% percent of your worst self is coming along for the ride, anyway. No way around it. But, guess what?! The cool thing is, you can show up as “almost good enough” and it turns out, it actually IS ENOUGH! 80% is our best version of being human! We’ll never get to 100! (So, quit beating yourself up about that last 20%. It’s never going away…not ’til your dead. And even that’s questionable).

We need you to show up as your messy, wrinkled, gloriously imperfect HUMAN 80/20 self. We need you to show up when you feel like you’re a zero, or a ten, or a thirty, too. It makes us feel better about the times we struggle, too. (Here’s the thing, most people are not looking at your 20, they’re looking at theirs. Show up, anyway.)

I know how hard it is – right now, I am literally forcing myself to wear a wrinkled shirt all day to MAKE myself be OK with being human…today. I get it.

I know you’re scared – you’re so scared to screw up because the ramifications of being misunderstood, misheard, misled, or mistaken seem devastating now. Because you live in a fish-bowl house called SOCIAL MEDIA, where your every move is scrutinized, publicized, and ostracized if it doesn’t fit the norm. If you dare to have an opinion or voice dissent. If you dare to try, and fail.

But, let me tell you this, as a girl who named herself The Grim Reaper Girl and hid from the world for years…

When you step out of the dance of life, what you get is a half-life; a dead life. It’s the picture of the Zombies you all like to watch in movies so much. Is that why you relate to them? Because you feel half-dead inside, and still have to fight to save your life every day? It does feel like a fight to the death almost every day, doesn’t it?!!!!

I know you’re tired of fighting.

But, we need what you have. If you leave the dance floor, you’re not just robbing us of your mistakes, you’re robbing us of your lessons. And we could learn a lot from you. Only you have had your unique experience. It’s your duty to tell others about them now. Pretend we’re all sitting around a campfire together like we did in tribes centuries ago. Pretend we have a generation of little ones sitting eagerly waiting to hear the stories of how we overcame; how we prevailed over adversity. They need to know our HOWS, guys. If we don’t give them our HOWS, they will never be able to pick up the torch and carry it for us when we grow tired and weary, old or sick.

I want to give 100% right now, but part of my 20% is I have seizures and I’m a perfectionist and it terrifies me to show up at 80%. The two are constantly at odds with each other. Unless.

Unless….I put them together to make 100, and give it my all with my seizures and perfectionism and selfishness and wrinkled shirt and fears and glorious insecurities in tow.

There’s no getting out of thing called life alive.

Let’s start living while we can.

Give to others what you so desperately need, or have needed yourself.

Step back out on the dance floor. It’s messy. We do some weird things out here, we bump into each other sometimes, we dip when we’re supposed to twist, we spin and fall recklessly onto ourselves and the floor and each other. We get drunk and high and eat too many doughnuts and hate ourselves the next morning, too.

Then, we get back up, and keep dancing because we know another battle is coming soon and the people to our right and left are the only people we’re going to have with us in the fight.

Don’t die before you’re dead. Don’t hold the strings in your hand. Pick them up, re-thread them in your needle, reconnect yourself to the people you love, reach out, ask for help, offer help, and join…the dance.

Giving something is almost always better than giving nothing. If all you can give is 1%, give your whole 1% – at least then, we’ll have one or two strings of yours to hold onto, to tether us in this crazy-ass storm called life. And yes, I know, I love metaphors. And yes I know I mix them sometimes. Deal with it. LOL.

Seriously, guys, these times are hard, we are in a fight to the death, if we stop to question ourselves too long, we’ll forget to take action and lose everything. Just do something. Give notice, don’t ask for permission. Make glorious mistakes, learn from them, then tell others how gloriously you screwed up and learned from it.

Then, hit send, publish, “Go”, “Start” or whatever button is in front of you, jump in, and trust you will learn from even the worst thing that could happen, because you know you always have so far. ❤

*In an effort to prove my point, all photos originally intended for this post have not been cut, cropped, filtered, retouched, saved, deleted, formatted, minimized, or added to enhance this post. 80/20 rule, baby! Here’s my 80%. It’s my heart, and THAT IS ENOUGH. 

One thought on “Yes, You’re a Mess & We Need You Anyway

  1. I am that “perfectionist”, “A” type personality you talked about in this blog. I just lost my 10+ husband of 49 years to bone cancer on Nov. 8th 2017. Still in just breath mode, just know however; you made me see myself clearly today and you are right. I will to break through, and just show up for my family. I stay away because I hurt and don’t want to impose it on anyone else. My death toll is simular to yours, tho not quite as many. I so respect you. God bless you my Sister. I will stand and be braver with you. Thank you so much for writing this blog
    I wish you much love and peace. Just for today you made a difference…80/20 here I come again.
    Most Sincerely,
    Linda Sedberry ❤❤

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