Jenny: Imperfection Friday

So I’ve been out of it this week, trying to catch up on everything I’d let go, like, oh, THE ENTIRE HOUSE, and also the Brene Brown course. I’d gotten four lessons in on the last course and then Life distracted me, so I e-mailed Alison this week and she kindly gave me the last two lessons again because the notes I’d made on them made no sense. So this is my catch-up post for the course.

The fifth lesson was on practicing gratitude, and the assignment was to go around your home and your life and take pictures of things you were grateful for. I love the ideas behind it, especially the two big ideas, to honor your everyday life (“Picture normal before you lose it”) and then remembering to honor even the small things every day (“Practice gratitude even if you don’t feel it”). The problem was, the house is in such chaos still that I can’t take those pictures. So that’s my goal for Cottage Saturday (two days from now as I write this, one day from now when this is published): clear enough of the Stuff away that I can love even the unfinished stuff here, and put the collage pictures up then.

The sixth lesson was to reflect on everything we’d done before, determine our own mantras, and then take a picture of ourselves to put on up-to-now blank front page with the mantra. When I looked back on everything I’d done in the first class, I realized that almost all of it was valuable–the permission slips helped me identify the places I was needlessly hobbling myself, the “imperfect” assignment helped me find a way to self-compassion, the mantra exercise–“I will choose joy” was such an eye opener I made it my final mantra, the four collages on pain, numbness, comfort, and joy were hugely illuminating, and even though I haven’t done the gratitude collage yet, I know that’s going to be just as clarifying as everything else. The only one I had trouble with was taking pictures from my life that were upsetting and writing the antidotes beside them, talking to the Jenny in the picture and telling her that it was going to be all right because, frankly, a lot of it still isn’t right. But even that was illuminating. I think that’s the most descriptive word for this course: illuminating. It shines a light on all the dark corners where things I didn’t even know about were lurking and helps me clean them out.

And then I made three tries at the self-portrait-with-mantra and picked the one I liked best for the first page. I went through and found blank pages in the book and glued the other two in there, and then I printed out the first image of the Monument Valley game and glued it in on the second page because I loved the image and it just seemed right. Also I love Monument Valley. And then I took the last one and glued it in on the first page, and–except for the two page spread where my collage goes–I am now all caught up with a thick journal full of things I need to remember. I really love this course.

This is the first page/title page which is the last thing we did in the first course.

This is the first page/title page which is the last thing we did in the first course.

This is the Monument Valley illustration I put on the next page because it seemed appropriate.

This is the Monument Valley illustration I put on the next page because it seemed appropriate.

This is one of the other self-portrait/mantra pictures I made, trying to decide which one I wanted; it's now the last page of the first course. Oh, and Milton, of course.

This is one of the other self-portrait/mantra pictures I made, trying to decide which one I wanted; it’s now the last page of the first course. Oh, and Milton, of course.

And this is the other one I didn't choose for the title page, this one with Veronica and Wolfie (who refused to lift his head, but that's Wolfie for you).

And this is the other one I didn’t choose for the title page, this one with Veronica and Wolfie (who refused to lift his head, but that’s Wolfie for you).

8 thoughts on “Jenny: Imperfection Friday

  1. MJ says:

    It’s great to see how every lesson of this course seemed to bring you enlightenment and, yes, joy. Makes sense–if collaging can uncover elements of your story, this focused collaging can uncover elements of you. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. Aww. The pups look gorgeous! Thanks for sharing, and I admire you for doing the heavy lifting, moving the furniture and looking into the dark corners of your psyche. I’m always poking into mine, but one of these days I’ll give it a complete overhaul.

  3. jinx says:

    This is so excellent! Makes me want to take the course. I like the way you boiled down not just what each lesson was about, but how it contributed to a new perspective on things. I love it when that happens.

    Was just browsing Slate and Salon online and noticed that Salon has a current slide show called “Romance Novels Need a Canon” — turns out the first two books hyped in the slide show were “Bet Me” and “Welcome to Temptation”. I cheered, of course.

  4. Thea says:

    Oh, the doggies! such sweeties, and much resembling my own.

    Jennifer Crusie to me has always seemed “together,” so reading these course posts has been, yes, *illuminating*. As in: if even Jennifer Crusie has found and confronted The Things Lurking, then perhaps the course is worth my time as well.

  5. Micki says:

    I like this very much.

    And, re: the pictures: take them, take them, take them!

    I met up with some co-workers that I haven’t seen for years and years this week, and it was so good to see them. I have very few pictures from that time, and even worse, when I tried to show them my life now, the best I had was a zillion pet pictures (courtesy of my kid, and I thank her), and a picture of my teenager in a very large box looking at the cell phone with her father. It’s a great picture for *me* to have, but not something to show other people, really. I like to be reminded that we’re quirky, but maybe it’s not something to show off.

    So, this week, I’ve been thinking pictures. I must have more. And thanks to this, I’m going to include not-so-perfect pictures of the house and grounds.

    I can take more when they do get “perfect.” Ha. More when things get better or different at any rate.

    • aunt snack says:

      My brother-in-law is a photographer for the AP. Even after more than 40 years and a Pulitzer, he still takes tons more pictures than he sends out over the wire. And it is often the “imperfect” shots that trigger the happiest memories.

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