Surprise: I’m not Perfect.

So it’s been a while since I wrote and I’ve been asked why so I figured it was time you all knew the truth.

I haven’t been busy working on the estate; what I was able to do is done and so now that is all paperwork on Matt’s shoulders.

Nor have I been away because I am emotionally distraught and unable to form sentences. I’ve actually been writing more than ever before… it’s just not making it online. (Before you get excited, I am not working on a book.)

Honestly, it’s more embarrassing than that.  I have been writing in my journals every day but absolutely terrified to post anything to my blog.

See, what is probably the most common remark I receive about my writing is that it’s so “authentic” and I’m so “honest.” Guess what? It’s easy to be those things when no one is reading what you are writing. There is some freedom in the anonymity that the internet gives you; that’s why cyberbullying is a thing.

Before March 29th changed my life forever, only three of my blogs ever reached 100 views, and probably 5 of those were me trying to get the blog posted and looking right. Over half of my blogs had less than 50.

Since the bus crash, one blog had 700 views … and that is the only blog I’ve posted under 1100. Confused but Confident, my most viewed post, has over 18,000 views! Over 100 countries have read my blog since March. That’s scary.

I’m not just talking to myself anymore.

To further complicate all of this, y’all aren’t random, anonymous viewers who don’t really know who I am either. Y’all know my parents, know me, or at least know about us… like in real life. If you tried, you could find my house.

I know this because you tell me. You write to me on Facebook about how my blogs have impacted you or how you heard about me on the news. It’s come across in text messages and even in some of the hand written cards from the funerals.

But here’s the crazy thing… that’s always been my goal.  I want to write and inspire people to believe that they don’t have to be perfect to go do something and make progress. That’s why the blog is called “Imperfect Progress” for crying out loud!

Somewhere along the way I started believing I must have something perfect to say to be able to write. And that same thought processes started leaking into every area of my life:

I felt the need to have perfect food, or else I might as well eat whatever I want.
I need to have a perfect call plan, or else I won’t do any prospecting at work.
I must have the perfect talk, or just let someone else speak for bible study.
I require the perfect response, or someone else can answer the question.

And this mindset is a dangerous place to be.

I am very blessed to have several men and women I consider mentors who have earned the right to speak truth when I need to hear it. Wednesday night I was sitting across the table from Tony, who has been a mentor to me for over 7 years, and he called me out.

In our conversation, I explained that I didn’t expect so many people to read what I write and that it’s made me afraid. He looked right at me and said that I’ve forgotten who I am. My dream has always been to write books that are read by the world. Here I’ve been given a small taste of what that looks like and I hide under a table?

“But now whatever I write will reflect on my parents,” I refuted.

“And you not writing is reflecting better?” He let me think a minute and then said, “Jenn, you’re better than this.”

That’s when I remembered.

In the pursuit of perfection, there is no room for the errors that create growth. The result is fear of taking action and, thus, no forward motion. Since what isn’t growing is dying, this means that it’s causing me to go backwards.

I will get real numbers Friday, but I know for sure I have gained weight and inches since my parent’s death. That is what happens when eating one bite of a sandwich justifies me to eat whatever I want today because “I already messed up anyway.”

I’ve hired someone to cook for me, because of how crazy life has been, and I have still eaten off plan 2 or so days every week.

And my imperfections don’t end there.

When I am getting stressed out by life and people, I waste hours at a time on YouTube, usually watching something related to Star Wars, Science, or the Science of Star Wars.

My intolerance for imperfections also nearly caused me to sabotage a few very key relationships in my life. When comments or actions were not what I expected/desired, I took those as personal attacks and nearly let it destroy the friendship.

Oh, and I almost changed jobs. Not because I dislike my job or my clients… I actually love both. But because I let myself get fixated on the 5% of my job that is annoying and tiresome. What you focus on grows and I soon began to feel that my work was an unending pile of drudgery and paperwork.

Good thing I have an awesome boss and great mentors who helped me adjust my perspective and realize that my perspective, not my job, was the real issue.

So this isn’t my best article ever. And I am not going to edit it to death to make sure it’s flawless. There are probably several sentences with the wrong structure. It’s totally imperfect… and that’s the reality of who I am.

I’m imperfect and I am striving every day to make progress. I keep trusting God. I keep taking action. And I keep hoping that tomorrow I will be a better person than I am today.

You’re welcome to tag along.

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12 thoughts on “Surprise: I’m not Perfect.

  1. Glad to hear this. Perfection can make us insufferable and invades our humility before God. Spoken from one who tried for far too long to be perfect. It has been good to play outside and get my clothes dusty.

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  2. Sally

    Dear Jenn, I’m thankful you have mentors to keep your focus on your gift of writing.. I’ve been to NB as my parents moved there in ’82. I’m in Wisconsin. I’m one of your 1100 readers. I’m a reader because of tragedies in my life as well. You give a special kind of story when you write. And we are all a work in progress. Keep on keeping on. Hugs from afar.

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  3. Connie L. Falkner

    Jenn, take it easy on yourself. Keep on writing, but give yourself permission to cry and scream when you feel the need. Grief has no timeline. Your pain is not typical, with losing both parents separately. They are with you, especially when you are thinking about them. Trust God and know he’s got you…. ❤
    Your parents were the best and so are you! Hugs to you and your family.

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  4. Roland Moore

    Perfection? Achieving complete perfection would render memory unnecessary. Everything one does or ever did would be perfect, therefore no need to remember mistakes and attempt to remedy those mistakes. How odd would that be that someone would find the perfect memory? Maybe having a perfect memory would be more like a block of Swiss cheese, where the holes are exactly where they need to be.

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  5. Jenn, you don’t know me, but I’m a perfectionist, too. It will do you no good. You can end up with ulcers and chest pains, so I hope you can learn to accept your imperfections at a younger age than I. I’m trying to learn this lesson and I’m much older than you. I am so sorry about your parents’ deaths. After reading today’s post, I searched your blog and found the posts in which you wrote so eloquently and lovingly about both of them — what great parents they were and what wonderful examples they set for you and your siblings. Embrace your imperfections!

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