Ima Video
Evil Schemes, Music, Thoughts

Perfectionism Release Therapy

My favorite teacher in high school taught musical theater, and her name was Megan McQueen. I had never met anyone so organized, excited, logical, kind, funny, compassionate, and clearly completely in love with what she was doing. She had a fierce and unwavering respect for other people’s time, no matter if they were fourteen or forty-two. She was a force of nature, and her students often became more like her disciples. Her compliments were given rarely and always had a matter-of-fact tone, as if they weren’t so much compliments as obvious facts others just hadn’t gotten around to saying out loud.

She gave me one compliment in particular that has stayed with me. I was applying for a fairly prestigious cultural exchange scholarship I was determined to get but didn’t feel good enough for. Megan said, a touch of impatience in her voice, “The point isn’t that you will succeed, which you will, but that you will take your experiences and share them for others to see and learn from. You are a fountain of ideas and creation; they’re not just getting you, they’re getting all the people you touch afterwards, too.”

I’ve failed to live up to that expectation.

Somewhere along the way my confidence and curiosity got mixed up with my reputation as always being exceptional and created a huge evil scary monster called Perfectionism. Not in a cute, ‘I always re-read my emails before I send them, I’m such a perfectionist hee hee!’ kind of way, but in a crippling, nothing-I-ever-do-is-good-enough kind of way.

It didn’t have to do with what other people thought or the reactions I got, because they continued to be positive — it was about me knowing I could’ve done it better, seeing all the flaws, all the room for improvement, and being incapable of stopping work on anything until it felt finished, which actually meant nothing left to improve.

This relentless drive to IMPROVE IMPROVE IMPROVE means I’m, well, succeeding in improving myself and my skills to some degree — but it’s also driving me mad. It’s crippling. I have been working so hard, for so long, through so much bitter effort, without anything to show for it. I started writing my book four years ago this month – four years! I have eighteen projects going on at once and only one measly finished short story to show. In over two years I’ve only posted on this blog a handful of times.

Basically what I’d look like if transported to an alternate dimension where your outside perfectly reflected your inside.

It’s time to finish things and let them be. This video is step one in what I hope will be a long, happy path called Putting Things Out Into The World. I’m just starting to learn the ukulele, I’m self-taught, and I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve never recorded anything like music in my life. I look at this and I see all the glaring holes and I know I could make it better — but I’m not going to.

I’m not going to.

cover photo
Family, Music

Owl Faces – Minda Lacy’s New Album

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My cousin Minda is an exquisite human being, the type who is effortlessly memorable, accidentally beautiful, unabashedly poetic, and never annoying about any of it. She’s the wild child hipsters so furiously attempt to emulate, completely unaware of her own stylistic power. She’s like Cuba, a land without the pressures and expectations of advertisement, oblivious to its rare and self-confident purity.

(Not to say Minda ia a tropical island under communist dictatorship – though, she is often very tan, and loves the ocean. Not sure about her stance on cigars.)

Here she is barefoot, walking a kitten - as you do.

Here she is barefoot, walking a kitten – as you do.

As kids, Minda and I would spend summers together building elaborate fantasies in which if we didn’t carefully prepare a protection potion and distribute it by smearing mud-paste on every tree trunk in the orchard, zombies would rise up from their sunken city and eat everyone’s brains. We used to play Quake (yes, the video game) by putting on multiple pairs of sunglasses and hopping over the roof of my dad’s workshed and yelling. We had an elaborate, 2-minute secret handshake. We once discovered callouses, decided they were basically a superpower, and spent a good four hours furiously digging holes until we were both exhausted and disillusioned about the effort required to get forward in life.

The non-Minda human in those pictures is not me, fyi. :)

FYI – the non-Minda human in those pictures is not me. 🙂

Minda is a tree-climber and lizard-catcher extraordinaire who wears shoes as little as possible. She has long natural blonde hair, enormous green eyes, and long alien fingers perfect for playing the guitar or being a hand model. She’s worn her mom’s clothes, or her younger sister’s clothes, (or my clothes), or just clothes that were sort of around, her whole life, pants often held up by rope or string or vines. She has a large, close-knit group of friends who love her, and I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about her, friend, family, or otherwise. She’s a light, impossible to contain or anticipate.

She’s been playing the guitar and writing poems for years, but always seemed shy to sing at our yearly New Year’s Eve parties. Then I left to Germany for five minutes, came back, and she’s the lead singer of her own band, all original songs by Minda Lacy called Bitches in the Beehive, and she’s got FANS. The kind who modern dance bare foot in front of the stage and shout out her own lyrics back at her like crazed, impromptu backup singers.

She’s just come out with her first album, a beautiful collection of seven songs full of her fun, poetic, unique view of the world – and her stunning singing voice, sort of husky and playful and clear. It is well-worth a listen, a share, a featured blog post, anything you can do to spread the word about this bombdiggity record.

It’s called Owl Faces. Find the full album on Outfield Records and YouTube, or check out some songs from the Bitches in the Beehive days on Soundcloud.

Her kitten-wooing powers is something of a theme, it seems.

Her kitten-wooing powers is something of a theme, it seems.

Good luck Minda! May this be the first article of many.