Grace and Space

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Or Space and Grace.

I molded this from the *conversation* I had with the lovely Melinda Kucsera. If you haven’t read her stuff – it’s good! Check her out at MelindaKucsera.com.

“We can be innocent enough to be vulnerable, but need to be tough enough to pick up the pieces.”

{Thank you to Annie of Annie Scribes for your poem prompt. Annie authors What the Woman Wrote}

As a recovering perfectionist, I wish someone had given me permission years ago to let go, let it flow . . . I now wish that someone had been me.

Melinda discusses the messiness of life in her post Permission to Be Me. She suggested I write my thoughts from our discussion thread; thank you for the suggestion, my writing friend.

I cannot imagine not writing. From the time I was a young girl, I created stories and worlds for myself and my characters to reside in. Writing for my blog, I had so many reasons to begin bleeding the words. Writing my story, revealing my truths, sharing my life, the books I read, the places I go. I feel vulnerable when I write and began using a moniker to give myself breathing room to experience the joy of sharing my stories with writers without worry of reflecting poorly on my family or creating characters with attributes gleaned from my friends and their experiences.

This freedom gives me permission to be me without exception. The good, the bad, the ugly. I prefer the anonymity it provides my children – whom may or may not want my ramblings to be electronically linked to them, as well as my husband, family, friends.

Not to mention, I’ve owned this domain for years . . . it’s time to use it.

I choose to give myself permission to write and discuss my writing online with other writers in this writing community. Here’s the rub: I’m not only a writer. I am a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a neighbor, a home educator, a dog owner. I garden, bike, travel, practice spirituality, and more.

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Here it is: As much as I prefer to stay positive on-line with my writing and   interactions. I fail constantly. I am fatally flawed. I miss appointments, forget to call friends. I swing through the drive-thru. I don’t visit my family as much as they want me to. I am, in fact, fatally flawed. An imperfect woman in this imperfect world. My life experiences, struggles, quirks, imperfections; these are the very characteristics who make me who I am.

Authenticity

No one wants to read about a character, or a story, or a process that is perfect. Hell: Cinderella couldn’t even keep the glass slipper on when she went down the stairs, and she was a ”saint by all accounts in the Disney cartoon {I have serious issues with the patriarchal theme of this classic folktale because folks can be their own heroes, their own knights in shining armor}. None of us can relate to that kind of process, to that kind of life. We are all full of imperfections, holes, cracks, and regrets . . .

. . . but sometimes, those very imperfections are what makes us so relatable, so alluring, to others. These are the things that draws readers in, makes them feel seen, makes people comfortable.

Comfort in our own skin, in our own life, with our own choices, our own realities — this is something most of us will strive for most of our lives to obtain. As I round the corner to 40, it is much easier to see progress. The ideal mindset, not worrying about measuring up or not being ‘enough’, is the growth mindset I am working toward.

Because here’s the thing: I’ve never really cared what people have thought about me, what I’ve done or said…but I’ve beaten myself up enough for not living up to my own expectations.

We can be our own worst enemies. I found my children starting to follow in my footsteps. Seeking perfection. I was not only disturbed, but horrified, they could not be happy with their own successes. It wasn’t until I realized they were mirroring me. Likely never satisfied with themselves, their work or success, because I was never satisfied with myself, my work or success. They have based their own self-worth on a perceived value of what ‘perfect’ appears to be. I have inadvertently based my own self-worth of not measuring up to my own ridiculously high expectations. I didn’t see a lot of my own mistakes until they manifested in my children. Children, particularly young children, are often mirrors of their caregivers.

Like the first time I heard my child say, “I hate it when that happens.” Something I used to say all the time, a colloquialism I grew up hearing from my Southern family. I said it until I heard the word come out of my 2 year old’s mouth. I was flabbergasted! My sweet, innocent, loving child saying a seemingly innocuous word. Hate. The word still turns my stomach. I used the word ‘hate’ all the time {“I hate that happened to you” or “I hate that your cookies burnt!” or “I hate it that you weren’t able to come to the party” – it’s a very Southern working choice, or maybe a Midwest wording choice, in spoken vernacular}. The word was grossly inaccurate. The word I meant to use was something more like dislike or upset or disappointed. Not hate. Hate has no home here. Hearing my sweet child say the words sounded, well, hateful. We stopped using the word that day.

You can imagine my horror to believe I allowed my children to think less of themselves. Pile on the hate word and I found more and more reasons to paint myself into the box of never being good enough, thereby painting them into that same proverbial box. How sad! I was not meant for constant disappointment in myself, my partner, my children, or others. This is not who I was meant to be.

These days, it’s all about grace and space.

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We remind each other daily — if we don’t give ourselves grace and space, how can we expect anyone else to do so? If we demand perfection of ourselves, we will demand perfection in others . . . we send out the messages to the world we wish to receive. Knowingly, or unknowingly, we connect that circle that is our mantra, our affirmation. Perfection or Grace? Intolerance or Space? Melinda’s post, Permission to Be, is a a beautiful thing.

I call it Grace and Space, Space and Grace, but you call it what works for you.

Permission Granted

As I taught my writing class last week, my students and I discussed the inherent need to put space between the writing process and the edit process. Allowing time to elapse between finishing the work of bleeding the words and the work of editing the content. Stephen King wrote in his book, On Writing, that he allows 3 months between the writing process and the editing process. I like to think of it as marinating, or brooding, on the content, characters, plot, and arc.

I wrote my latest book iteration mainly during NaNoWriMo last November. I allowed several months to pass and began edits in late February. I started teaching a writing class again in April, and I write along with my classes, so I put edits on hold. Before I knew it, I realized my writing actually dovetailed my November writing — which was ultimately a necessary first edit — so I’m knitting the two stories together in one massive edit {or do we call it a rewrite?}. It’s just going to be a mess now — but I can live with it.

Grace and Space

Once I get the rest of my big gardening ventures completed, and the construction we have scheduled for Monday, I may go back to it. I may not.

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That’s the thing about our writing…it’s always there waiting for us whenever we’re ready for it. My blog has been missing me, I know. I enjoy writing for Sonya’s Three Line Tales on Wednesdays {I often write of Space and Grace in these} and a few other challenges, but I find myself eternally, woefully behind reading posts from my blog writing community. I find myself drawn more to reading posts on Instagram as many of us follow one another here. However, as new algorythims are written, and I find myself writing or creating more and more, I miss a lot. This is when I give myself the Space and Grace I need.

I wish I had the time, talent, and energy to dedicate to writing. Finishing chapters and layers all in one go. Though that season awaits me on the other side of home educating and raising boys, I find I don’t mind the process. The stories and ideas may change and evolve over time and oftentimes are much better with the marinating. As I gain more experiences, I build more scaffolding to create my stories. As my stories grow fat with texture and layers, my depth of reflection allows for more precision, less filler garbage, when I write. I like the efficiency I’m building through practice. Lots and lots of practice.

I remind my children, my students, and myself: We are our own worst critic.

We will always expect more of ourselves than anyone else will. If we do not give ourselves permission to be imperfect and impractical, make mistakes, have fun, goof off – who will? No one will give us what we need if we don’t demand it of ourselves.

Change comes from within — and ultimately the only person you can change is yourself.

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My children and I discuss this often. In a world so wonderful, so many bad things can and do happen. Shakespeare wrote in his play, As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” Control is merely an illusion; the basis for perfectionism. If you change the script, allow yourself Grace and Space to be whomever, whatever, you are evolving to be, you will be happier, have more energy to love for yourself and the people around you.

I have to remind myself when I feel sucked into that rabbit hole of self-doubt and regret, I do not have to shame myself. Instead of continuing down the winding spiral of self deprecation, soul bashing, or shame, I need only acknowledge the regret is a result of my experience. My experience is merely part of who I am. Accept my imperfections. Accept my uncertainty. I prefer to embrace these imperfections as part of my life experience. Like wrinkles and laugh lines, these imperfections are the building blocks of who I am. I prefer to bathe in their sweet embrace than to indulge the urge to slide into regrets.

I give myself Grace and Space, reframe the situation; I begin anew.

Do you give yourself Grace and Space?

@Bikurgurl_watermark

Edited November 2020

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79 thoughts on “Grace and Space

  1. Thank you for taking our conversation about grace and space from the comments section and elevating them to a post. This is so awesome. Thank you for your kind words about my writing and your best wishes. It was a pleasure talking (commenting back and forth?) about perfection/imperfection, grace and space and how important it is to cut ourselves some slack. I am giving myself grace and space from now on 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The pleasure was all mine! It’s something that’s been weighing heavily on my mind to blog about, but life and writing keep getting in the way 😉 Thank you for your kind words and inspiration!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love it! Thank you for reblogging with your thoughts and rounding the troops for their feedback to keep the conversation going! We all need a little Grace and Space 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re welcome 🙂 yes we do need grace and space! I’m gathering more perspectives as I write this. I think I may do a series. Maybe it will help shine a little in our dark corners 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. We all do — giving yourself just a little bit of room to breathe is where it starts. Allow yourself more and more freedom to be human, to be you. Daily if you need to remind yourself; keeping a gratitude journal can really help – you don’t want to wait until you get life altering health diagnosis, or lose someone you love, before you stop to give yourself grace — then you can share your grace with those you love, your community, and the world 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Most welcome. You both are inspiring women. I created a hashtag on Twitter for this – feel free to come up with a new one if not to your liking. I’m not spending time on WordPress that much right now so I hope I can do my part in the other “space” ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful piece. I read Melinda’s post first. Now I get the entire picture. Thank you for this piece it’s written at a very helpful time for me too. I don’t know if I can leave my manuscript three months. But I agree, giving it some space helps a great deal. Congrats on finishing teaching your writing class.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s been so wonderful conversing with Melinda, Annie, and others on giving ourselves permission to have the Space to be imperfect, to make mistakes, to enjoy and live life! I’m so happy you stumbled upon the conversation and I hope you reblog, join in, and give yourself the Space and Grace you deserve! YOU are WORTH IT! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohhhh… that is so sweet of you.. that made me feel my thoughts are valued. ❤ I've read a lot of great responses already from writers that i look up to and I am not sure if mine still have to be said. but… i will. because you said so. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Don’t do it for me, do it for you if you feel it….THAT is the space and grace you deserve 😉 Just because I value your POV doesn’t entitle me to demand it of you 😉 Thank you so much for you kindness — I hope you allow yourself that kindness in return 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It gives me such a relief to read this post! We sometimes take ourselves so sternly that we start fearing to do anything new. I am beginning to see, this is a very dangerous thing. Often we say we are afraid of what others will say, but after reading this, I am feeling the first fear emerges from ourselves.We never give space to self, ‘the permission to be me’. This is an important insight. Do incorporate this in your teachings at homeschool through stories. Thank you for sharing this.Thank you to Melinda for starting this discussion. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughts! I’d love for you to continue you your thoughts on your blog if you feel so inclined — and so happy you’re back on-line! Your writing has been missed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it is a good thought to spread.I will surely carry it forward through one post. Thanks a lot! 🙂 I’m happy to get back to your writings too! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Fantastic 🙂 I am thrilled to see the idea of Space and Grace being carried forward and thoughts crafted to encourage others to love themselves a little more – take a deep breath, give themselves and the ones they love, the space and grace they need as well 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. What a sad tale of remorse, yet I feel a twinge of some anticipation of our protagonist going after her – by plane? By letter? Text? Love the open endedness of your story – it could lead to many interesting destinations. Thank you for joining us again this week ❤

      Like

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