One of my favourite activities on earth is constructive-self-criticism.
And by favourite I mean compulsive.
And by constructive-self-criticism I mean beating the crap out of my self-worth and stripping myself of whatever is left of my dignity.
One day, while aggressively and relentlessly berating myself, about all the things I have yet to accomplish, I yelled at myself (I do that),
Name one f@#$ing thing you’ve accomplished in this lifetime!
Which, naturally, hurt my own feelings but, interestingly enough, led me to sit down and write this list:
I left home when I was 14 years old.
I lived with families, I lived with roommates, I lived with a mob of debaucherous punk rockers twice my age (you know who you are) and I even lived on the streets for a while.
I went to photography school.
I gave birth to 3 beautiful and brilliant baby girls (naturally and drug free – I might add) and raised them pretty much all by myself.
I got my driver’s license when I was 8 months pregnant with my youngest daughter, so I would be able to get to the hospital the day she was born.
I took a bus to Seattle, 3 months later, and picked up a piano and drove it to Vancouver in a 1 ton truck, with no one but my 2 month old baby by my side.
I tossed everything I owned to the curb, packed up 3 kids and moved across the country, all by myself.
I was accepted to Concordia’s (Jazz) music program even though I had never graduated high-school and showed up at the audition without accompaniment or sheet music and sang an Irish love song and Opportunity by Joan Armatrating… Acapella.
I survived the death of the love of my life/the father of my children without being institutionalized.
I survived Autoimmune Hemolitic Anemia and 12 blood transfusions. Although I suspect I may have suffered post-traumatic-stress disorder as a result, but HEY! I survived.
I survived (so far) raising 3 teenage girls without having a psychotic break (mostly) or giving them up for adoption.
I watched my house burn to the ground with everything in it. 3 times.
I have been heartbroken, dumped, cheated-on, lied to, evicted, robbed, raped, bankrupt, and devastated in countless ways, and bounced back (mostly) Every. Single. Time.
I co-founded and co-produced an awesome series of burlesque shows.
I’ve worked as a waitress, a shop-keep, an usher, a bartender, a photographer, a nanny, a janitor, a secretary, a florist, a pre-school teacher, an intervention counsellor in a homeless shelter, and a resource counsellor for pregnant women and new mothers “at risk”, an actress, a singer, and about 12 other things…
I’ve performed in burlesque shows, rock-shows, dinner theatres, cabarets, festivals, television emissions and films and shared the stage with some of the performers I admire most in the world.
I write stories and songs.
I’ve been published in a magazine (sure it was only 3 sentences for en Route, but still!)
And a bunch of other cool things that I can’t remember at this exact moment.
Have I accomplished everything I was hoping I would have by now?
Not even close.
But if you had told me 20 years ago that I would have done everything on that list by the age of 41, I’m not sure I would have believed you.
I’m just saying…
Maybe instead of beating yourself up for everything you have “to-do” or haven’t done yet, sit down and write yourself a list of everything you have done.
You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised and pretty damn proud of yourself.