Progress not perfection

Taking one step, just one, sounds like the simplest thing in the world.

The idea of it is easy enough, the theory sound.

But the actual step…


Fear has had a lot to say for itself in my life. It shows up in a host of exciting and different ways, masquerading as something else entirely, sometimes even cheekily as a ‘good idea’ or as a ‘great opportunity’.

One of my greatest fears is going backward.

Funny then that it should be my default setting when things get a bit too much.

These last couple of months I have been in the shadow dance of anxiety and depression…not two words I use lightly, however, ones that need to get more airtime in my eyes. The past week was when a particular bout came to a head.

The familiar feelings of  withdrawing, retreating, and shutting down. To feel that any stimulation was too much stimulation – even bike rides on sunny afternoons. And lord the tiredness – the endless sleep that felt, had the setting been different, I would awaken after 100 years by a Prince about to slay a dragon.

The forgetfulness, clumsiness, and attention span of a ten year old. Not the greatest mix whilst navigating traffic lights or trying to meet deadlines. And definitely don’t think it’s a good time to crack out the best glasses/crockery – it’s not.

My ego was also hauling me over the coals for the weight gain that has piled on over the past couple of months – not the best record to be repeating for someone who achieved a weight loss a few years ago and who’s ego dined out on the attention and compliments.

The lack mentality. Lack of time, lack of money, lack of energy, lack of inspiration, lack of confidence and worth, the list could go on.

I don’t write this for attention or sympathy, but as a showing of a life long battle scar, and of a more recent bruising.

For as much as this has been the underlying soundtrack, I have also been lucky enough to see how far I have come.

That I have a support network of people who’s love knows no bounds. Who have all shown up for me and supported me in a heartbeat of time. Who have held space and listened. Who have walked and talked, and kept going when the tears were flowing and I couldn’t say why. But mostly the pride I feel for myself that I put my hand up to say “I am not OK” and opening up instead of shutting down.

That I have learnt enough about myself now to face my darkness head on. To not wait for it to grip me unawares, to turn into it and to whisper “You will not win”. That I have enough reserve to call in the armoury of defences (yoga, nature, mediation, writing, talking, sleeping, getting help) that I have accumulated over the years, even when I don’t feel they are working at the time, the simple action of trying is what calls the wave to come and carry me back to shore.

That is what conquers my fear – that even though I may have slid down the snake for the 100th time, I’ve not landed on the same square.

I have learnt something, I have endured something. I have suffered something. And in that, it makes me better. It makes me a better person, because I can stand across from you and say “It’s OK. ME TOO”.

We all have moments – some pass us, some stick around longer than we’d like. But for me, I know that my determination to climb up the ladder again after falling down, to open, to be exposed, and to have the patience to wait for the sparks of hope to appear and to continue that patience long into the ride back up.

That is progress, not perfection.