Krissie: My superpower

Photo on 2014-06-17 at 09.58 I caught up on all the Brene Brown stuff before it disappeared from the internet. The one week that I found the most difficult was when I had to name my superpower.

Now, admittedly, Jenny and Lani and I went into this from a different perspective than other people. I mean, the first thing we had to do was make a sign that said “I am a creative person.” Uh, duh. We don’t have any trouble claiming our creativity. In fact, I took the course hoping to boost my creativity.

(Small tangent). I shouldn’t do that. I keep trying to control my creativity, the girls in the basement, or boost it up, or keep them running on a treadmill. Believe it or not I buy books on writing fast. This is absurd. I’ve been given a huge gift, and instead of trying to pummel it into something malleable I should accept it for what it is. A large, shaggy mass that rolls around picking up things (there’s a video game like that – I forget the name but the beginning is Cat-something)(something like Catamahri Damasy? ┬áThe spelling’s way off). It’s not something I can put into neat, labelled boxes and take out in proper doses. It’s a mystery. End of lecture to myself.

So, anyway, with the Brene Brown course we weren’t dealing with the obvious problems people have (or I should only talk about myself). I don’t need to give myself permission to write. I don’t even need to give myself permission to write shitty first drafts. I have all sorts of superpowers.

So when it came time to list it, the obvious superpower was writing. But for me, that was too obvious. I emailed Jenny about it. I thought maybe my superpower was to make people feel better, that by being so open I helped them open up. Jenny said no, my superpower was … I forget exactly, but I think it was being a caring/nurturing human being/friend. That wasn’t good enough (I wish I could find the exact wording — one hears things differently from the way people say them). So I put off working on the week until the deadline was approaching.
There were so many things I considered my superpowers (you know I have no false humility, right?). And then it came to me.
My superpower is Joie de Vivre. (Joy of living for those few who didn’t take French). I didn’t survive my nasty childhood — I thrived. While everyone around me crashed and burned I wept and then embraced life again. I write books that fill me with joy and fill others with joy. 40 years later I’m still madly in love with my stories.
The world around me is astonishingly beautiful, and I never take it for granted. I embrace everyone, and if I could do so literally I would. I never hold on to things that would make life harder — I let go of pain (at least the everyday pain of disappointment and worry – grief is a different matter) and choose joy. Choose to nurture friends when they need nurturing, choose to live life as I want to live it it, as best I can.
Jenny and Lani did an intervention a year and a half ago, saying I was dwelling too much on grief and death. Jenny’s been pretty clear about the fact that I have to stop dwelling on dates and such. the thing is, I don’t dwell as much as it seems. This place was a place I could talk about it, I could say anything, and if I wanted to work out my relationship with my recently deceased mother and my two-years dead sister and my brother and father and nephew then it was a safe place to do so. But it got lugubrious.
The thing is, I wasn’t living my life like that. I would get passing moments of grief, like a breeze on a spring day, and then it would be gone.
So amidst my self-proclaimed joie de vivre I have a great deal of grief, but that’s only logical when you get to a certain age and watch everyone die around you.
We also had to choose the dark side or the problem with our superpower, and mine, of course, was having to be “on.” The Krissie Show is absolutely real, it’s a part of who I am, it’s just a bit on steroids. But I slip into it naturally, and slip out of it just as easily, and it existed long before I ever started writing. I just need to make sure the Krissie Show doesn’t make too many demands at a time I’m not able to fill them.

Jenny and Lani may disagree, but hey, this one’s up to me. I may have missed Jenny or Lani talking about this, but if they didn’t, tell me what your superpower is. Don’t think too hard about it (I say, having had to to think too hard about mine). Your first instincts might be right, or you may have to work it out.
I want to know what fellow Marvel Superheroes we have here. I’m Auntie Mame. Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.

What’s your superpower?

Jenny: Imperfection Friday: The Last Lesson

Last class.

I owe Alison Atlee so much for telling me about these Brene Brown Gifts of Imperfection classes. I took them because I was intrigued by what she was writing about her journal assignments and because I’d get to mess with art stuff, but they’ve had a tremendous impact on my life. I still have one lesson from the first course to finish and a few more miscellaneous Frumpy Bunnies and butterflies to put in, but my journal is mostly finished, with some blank pages at the end to fill in with new things as I think of them. I really love this journal, not just as a record of where I’ve been in the twelve classes but as a reminder to stay awake and alive. This is where I’ve been for the past four months, now where do I want to go? Continue reading

Jenny: Imperfection Friday: I’m Not Cool

I love this lesson.

Brown talks about the drawbacks of being cool, that cool is a straight jacket we imprison ourselves in. She talks about how she didn’t include the chapter on laughter, song, and dance in the first draft of The Gifts of Imperfection because she thought it didn’t seem deep enough, and then her assistant pointed out that the data that said those things were important was all over her research, and that she wasn’t including them because she thought they weren’t cool.

Cool kills. Continue reading

Jenny: Imperfection Friday: Power Line

The fourth lesson in the second section of the Brene Brown course was about, in her words, “superpower and kryptonite.” It’s based on the idea that every strong point in your personality has a weak side, every weakness you have is also a strength a different area. If your weakness is being bossy, your strength is that things get done when you’re in charge. If your strength is sensitivity and connection to others, your weakness is that you get upset too easily. It’s something we used to talk about in teaching character: for every strength your character has, there’s a corresponding weakness; for every flaw, a corresponding gift. I like this, I believe it’s true, but I had a helluva time figuring out what my superpower was. So I reverse engineered and started with the flaws. Flaws are always easier. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Jenny: Imperfection Friday: I Am A Creative Being (This Is Not A Breakthrough)

I loved the first four lessons of the Part One of the Brene Brown class last time. Then I got hit by the Reality Truck again and didn’t finish the last two. (I made notes about what I had to do, though. It’s on my list . . .) Still I was definitely in for the last six lessons, especially when Lani and Krissie signed up, too, because the last six are on creativity, and we’ve all struggled with that. Then the first lesson came and it was to write “I am a creative being.”

Duh. Continue reading