Hey! It’s my birthday!
To celebrate completing 46 turns around the sun — and the fact that I recently finished a new song I’ve been working on — I made a little video for you with my ukulele.
Happy My Birthday!
The story behind the song: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much energy in my life has been thrown down the tubes, totally wasted on obsessing over my appearance. I was engaged in a vicious war with my body for way too long, and I often wonder what I might have accomplished if I had instead channeled that energy into creative production.
Sigh… All that time and energy lost…
Ah, well. Correct forward, as they say! And use humor as a tool to hopefully help other women to get off the obsession treadmill and correct forward as well.
If this song speaks to you, please forward it to a friend and/or share on social media. I have a vision of all women turning our energies away from warring with our bodies and towards creating something of value. Truly, we’d be unstoppable.
Meanwhile… more birthday news…
In my last insiders newsletter (not a subscriber? sign up using the form at the upper right), I mentioned that I was feeling kinda bummed out that I have not come close to reaching my 46×46 birthday campaign goal, to raise $2,116 for charity: water.
I’d already lowered my goal from $10,000 when I realized that there was no way I could keep my commitment to end my workaholism if I tried to run a $10,000 fundraising campaign on top of all the other Very Big Projects I had on my plate.
I thought I could hit $2,116, but apparently I needed a lesson from the poet William Stafford, who, when asked how he managed to be so prolific, writing a poem every single day, is reported to have said:
Every day I get up and look out the window, and something occurs to me, something always occurs to me. And if it doesn’t, I just lower my standards.
Apparently I needed to lower my own standards even more. Thanks and a big, warm shout-out to Laureen for reminding me that I could do this again, right now, lowering my standards for my charity: water birthday campaign “to something where you can say immediately, ‘Done it!'”
“Any money you’ve raised,” she reminded me, “is more than having done nothing.”
So here we go, then: Done it!
(Though please don’t let that stop you from contributing! There are a few more hours left before my campaign shuts down, and everyone who donates $5 or more gets a gift coupon worth $20 to use in my store anytime over the coming year. Plus there are a lot of other awesome premiums, too.)
Lowering standards while still pursuing excellence…
I don’t know about you, but I grew up always trying to be The Best. Always trying to be perfect. Now I’m proud to call myself an Imperfectionist (also known as a recovering perfectionist!)
It’s quite an interesting contradiction: I’m still continually pursuing excellence, but at the same time, I’m learning to lower my standards and allow myself to be imperfect, so that I can put myself out there, try things, make mistakes, learn, improve, and put more of my imperfect self out there again.
I’m also discovering that the more I reveal my imperfection rather than shamefully hiding it, the easier it becomes to share whatever I have to offer. (Watch past the credits on the video above for some silly examples of that…)
And, as you may have gathered from the ironic message of my song above, I’m learning to accept and truly love my body in all its glorious, aging imperfection as well.
I wish the same for you.
Happy My Birthday!
What might change in your life if you could stop obsessing and truly accept yourself the way you are?
PS – I’ve got a guest post over at Puttytribe today! The Stovetop Model of Life Design for Multipotentialites. I think you might dig it. Click here to check it out.
PPS – Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!
Laureen Marchand says
Melissa, a huge Happy Birthday to you! And thanks for the shout out 🙂
Here’s a William Stafford poem, I think germane to the topic of gifts arising from change:
Looking for Gold
(from The Way it Is: New and Selected Poems
A flavor like wild honey begins
when you cross the river. On a sandbar
sunlight stretches out its limbs, or is it
a sycamore, so brazen, so clean and so bold?
You forget about gold. You stare—and a flavor
is rising all the time from the trees.
Back from the river, over by a thick
forest, you feel the tide of wild honey
flooding your plans, flooding the hours
till they waver forward looking back. They can’t
return; that river divides more than
two sides of your life. The only way
is farther, breathing that country, becoming
wise in its flavor, a native of the sun
All good things,
Melissa Dinwiddie says
I love this, Laureen. Thank you — what a perfect birthday gift. 🙂
Carol Steinberg says
Happy Birthday, Melissa! I think your generosity is admirable regardless of the amounts–money, age: just numbers! Heart is what counts…and you’ve got that!
Melissa Dinwiddie says
Aw, thanks so much, Carol! 🙂 xoxo