Chasing the Pain and Assorted Messiness

Most of you don’t know me very well, if at all, so you don’t know the following:

When I do something, I do it hard core until I either decide I don’t like it, or that I’m not good at it.

I place extremely high expectations on myself.

Some of those expectations involve being able to “just get over it” and do the thing I’m trying to do.

Some of those expectations also involve being good at something instantly.

And that often leads to me not liking something because I’m not good at it. (Much easier to say I quit due to dislike than to admit I gave up because it was harder than I thought.)

So, it’s been what? A couple weeks, if that, that I’ve been blogging?

And I was so proud of myself for setting it up. And publishing some posts. And generally getting out there and doing the thing.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I started comparing my blog to other blogs. I became obsessed with my stats (bad, BAD idea). I was second-guessing every post idea I had. There was much typing and deleting. It was all rubbish.

And all of that thinking left my creativity more blocked than an intestine after eating an entire three-cheese pizza.

Instead of focusing on what I’d accomplished (yay!), I kept seeing where I fell short (according to my own ridiculous expectations).

Lucky for me, today was the final session in Havi’s Blogging Therapy course. Well, I wish it weren’t the last session, but if it had to be the last session, it was good it happened today.

We did a group check-in, so I decided I was willing to share all of this with the class.

And Havi so sweetly explained the concept called “chasing the pain”, which is a phenomenon that happens a lot when you are trying to deal with some sort of physical ailment.

Which was the perfect response because I know all about it in my own body.

It basically works like this:

I got my neck feeling better and now my shoulder hurts. Still working on my shoulder but my hips and knees needed attention. Got my hips and knees working better and now my upper back needs help.

In a nutshell, I fix one problem and another shows itself.

The same thing happens in dealing with our emotional stuff, too. Or so I am learning.

I worked through the fear of starting the blog, but then my tendency to expect too much of myself roared for attention.

And underneath these expectations, it became clear that I had turned this blog – which was supposed to be a place for me to be okay with less-than-perfect – into another bunch of Shoulds. Just another thing in my life to try to be perfect at.

As in, I should have published a new post already. Every post should be amazing and generate lots of comments.

To quote Havi: “There are no Shoulds in blogging.”

A much needed reminder for me to loosen up.

So that’s me, being real about how hard this is.  Being honest that my perfectionism gets in my way. And inviting my friends to share in all the messiness with me.

Because, really, what else can I do other than to keep chasing the pain? Even though I’m still uncovering new stuff (emotionally and physically), I know I’ve gotten better overall. And that tells me that if I stop chasing it, the healing stops, too.

26 thoughts on “Chasing the Pain and Assorted Messiness

  1. Havi Brooks (and duck)

    Man, the best thing for me about starting that course is how much great stuff there is for me to read now. Like this post!

    I’m completely enjoying all your insights. And your conclusion is perfect. Chasing is part of the healing.

    It’s bringing more of the stuckified bits to the surface and into your attention, which sucks, yes, but it’s also helping you let go of them.

    Love where you’re taking this. Can’t wait for more.

    And … don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet, but I think you’re a terrific writer. For the record.

  2. Heather Freeman

    I could have written this post myself. New to blogging, feeling blocked, chasing the pain, the whole nine yards.

    I suppose I don’t really have anything else to say than “yes, me too”, but at least I can provide you with the glee of getting a comment!

  3. morganpdx

    I completely understand the trap of ‘not liking’ something because I’m not good at it. I have that particular issue especially around physical activities; I’m used to being able to pick up new skills like that *snap*. If it requires, omg like practice? Heck no, I don’t like it. Learning to juggle helped me conquer that, at least for a time. Thanks for your thoughtful post! Keep it up. :D

  4. Stacie

    Oh my, Victoria. Are you in my head?? Sure seems like it… thanks for making my head a less lonely place to be. Hee.

  5. Jeb Dickerson

    VB…very nice post, and one I can relate to all to well. I think that some people (you may all feel free to challenge this) are raised in such a way that self-confidence is 2nd nature. For others (read: me), it comes with some difficulty, and then only sparingly.

    But yes, the effort must continue. Quitting isn’t a solution, regardless of how right it seems at the moment. It is through this effort, this persistence, painful as it may be, that confidence comes…healing continues, as you put it.

    Carry on Victoria, it’s the only way. Cheers.

  6. Robyn McIntyre

    Years ago, when I heard that my boyfriend, who had moved to another state (to make a success of himself before we got married – ha!) was cheating on me, I flew out in the middle of the night to see for myself. I can deal with pain and disappointment – learn from it and outgrow it – if I deal with it face to face. For some of us, that’s the way it is.

  7. Debra

    Three Cheers for Victoria!!! And some pretty awesome props for Havi as well. I haven’t read anything else you’ve written, Victoria…YET. I will, and I’ll continue if it’s anything like this. It’s YOU. I can feel your vibe, your sincerity, your energy…your VOICE.

    Down the road a bit you may realize that the pain has to chase you…and it won’t catch up, ’cause you’ll be flowing downstream with all the good stuff just waiting to burst forth and take hold of your *full* awareness…until then, no worries…every step that lessens the resistance and brings relief is a good one! (My friends, Abraham taught me that!)

    Peace, Love and Harmony… Debra

  8. Lynnn Jacobs

    It seems to me that it is worthwhile to decide why you want to blog. What do you hope to gain from the experience? It is a slow starting thing, and your way of doing it will probably change over time, and that’s okay. When I started I thought I was baring myself to the world, except no one read it. Ever. I now have a few regular readers, and that’s great with me. I think that as your readership grows there is a tendency to filter what you have to say in a different way than when you first start out. Sometimes I like that, and sometimes I wish I didn’t do it. Anyway, you have a lovely start. Trust yourself and what you have to say. And make sure you comment on other people’s blogs. You are perfect just as you are! But I’m sure you already know that!
    Lynn

  9. Chibi Jeebs

    “When I do something, I do it hard core until I either decide I don’t like it, or that I’m not good at it.

    I place extremely high expectations on myself.

    Some of those expectations involve being able to “just get over it” and do the thing I’m trying to do.

    Some of those expectations also involve being good at something instantly.

    And that often leads to me not liking something because I’m not good at it. (Much easier to say I quit due to dislike than to admit I gave up because it was harder than I thought.)”

    Wow. I could have written that! I’m in the process of writing a post about what I’d like to work on this year and came to grab your address so I could link to your post about cutting yourself slack, and stopped to read your newest entry. I’m really enjoying your posts because I’ve found something to relate to in almost all of them. I’m looking forward to reading more, so please don’t stop writing!

  10. dpaul

    Great post. The irony is killing me. Here’s my post from 5 minutes prior to reading your post:

    http://tinyurl.com/8ujxf8

    Coincidence, I think not. I must be destined to read your blog, smart person :-)

    Well, that or the great Havi had once again read my mind (or both)
    -P

  11. Manya Arond-Thomas

    Good for you, Victoria, for puttin’ it out there. I’ve got the same lovely pattern of perfectionism, and though I call myself a “recovering perfectionist”, to listen to my inner critic you’d never know it. Such a courageous endeavor, to chase the pain, knowing that’s where the healing is, and without healing, there is no wholeness. So I”m happy to join you in this conversation, and appreciate your naming of it.

  12. jenni

    wow! Nice post- I like how you write and can relate to a lot of it as well. It is much easier to quit! I’m glad you didn’t and I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  13. ben

    I’ve been blogging for almost six years and I still feel exactly the way you do. There will always be someone who is funnier, more poignant, has more important things to say or just says them better. The point is not to be the best, it is instead to just be us. I’ll never be those other people but I am a pretty good me and I am willing to bet you are as well. Just do what you do and do it for the love of it, stats and comments can be fun but it will show as insincerity if that is your only motivation.
    That said welcome to blogging, there are clean towels on the back of the toilet, I hope you enjoy your stay.

  14. Pamela Slim

    Yeah!

    You posted about what is vexing you! That is really the secret to the universe. Havi is the goddess of pulling the curtain back on the scary stuff that gets in the way — then it is up to you to act on it.

    I am so proud of you (not in a “I’m trying to be your Mom,” way but “fellow human” way ;).

    Keep on blogging — the best posts really come from the stuff that you WANT to say but feel scared to.

    And checking stats will kill you. I admit I still do it, and every time I do, it is counterproductive.

    Can’t wait to read more!

    -Pam

  15. Victoria

    Wow…I am absolutely blown away at all the wonderful comments you guys have left for me! Thank you so much, everybody, for reading.

    @Havi – My head just grew about three hat sizes. Thank you and I’m so glad you like my writing!

    @Stacie – Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m not in your head…As far as you know. Bwah ha ha ha!

    @dpaul – Whoa! *that* is downright spooky! And I think Havi probably reads all of our minds.

    @Pam – You can be proud of me in any way you want! Thanks for reading!

  16. Cristina Favreau

    I’ve been blogging since August ’06 and I feel like I’m exactly where you are today! I don’t say this to discourage you, I say this to give you hope that these feelings are often the driving force (and to “share in all the messiness” with you!). If they weren’t there, most of us would have nothing to blog about.

    But then again, I think you already knew that. “And that tells me that if I stop chasing it, the healing stops, too.” You nailed it right on the head!

    I can’t wait to read more “realness” from you!!

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  18. elena krumin

    first blog i’ve ever read, first i’ve ever replied to, but if anyone’s gonna seduce me into all this, it’s obviously gonna be you.

    all these things you’re afraid of people knowing & you come out & say it? somebody’s realizing we all come from the same place we’re all going to, and we only hide our true selves out of fear or for diplomacy’s sake. good for you.

    and after all the responses, i can see how healthy, and way-gratifying it must be to be appreciated and approved of and applauded for just telling the truth. You couldn’t help but make it elegant.

    We need to have a solid ego before even looking at losing it, or they go hand in hand, so suck up the glory and let it motivate you to be even stronger/more vulnerable. I love you.

  19. Victoria

    @Elena – Ah my sweet Rainy. I am honored that mine was your first blog AND your first comment.

    It is a strange thing to reveal all this privateness to the interwebs, but there is something about it that offers more release than just journaling for myself. Maybe it’s more satisfying because it becomes clearer that we are all connected, and as you said, “[coming] from the same place we’re all going to.”

  20. Rob

    I’ve been blogging for over a year (in fits and starts, in between losing all of my posts, restructuring it several times, changing it’s focus a few times).

    I had been on an extended hiatus until I read Havi’s blogging stuff.

    She is absolutely right….do your thing for YOU. Great stuff. Keep it coming.

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  22. Natalia

    “And all of that thinking left my creativity more blocked than an intestine after eating an entire three-cheese pizza.”

    LOL

    I am about to start a blog. I almost did yesterday. And last week. And maybe the week before, too. Very. Scary. Good for you for jumping in ^_^ I hope to join you soon.

  23. Natalia

    That’s very sweet, Victoria. Thank you for the encouragement and support :)!

    And really, what’s the rush? It’s better to wait until we’re aligned, as you say, so that blogging feels more like a reward than a punishment!

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