Perfectionism Made Me a Quitter

Monday, January 11, 2016

Story time!

I’m sure many of you can relate to this tale:  There once was a girl who did (almost) everything right. She got excellent grades and she was involved and successful in as many extracurricular activities as she could squeeze into her schedule. Her friends were wonderful influences, and her parents never had to worry about her getting into any sort of trouble.  No one had to tell her what to do; she had already thought of it, done it, and done some more, just to be sure.

This girl thrived on working hard and making everything perfect.  She enjoyed it, because people seemed to like her more for it.  She’d never admit it, but she also enjoyed it because it made her feel superior. 

But, the truth about this girl is that deep down she hated herself.  So very much.
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OK, obviously that girl was me.  (It’s probably been you too!) And, spoiler alert—I crashed and burned.  Hard. 

You know those people who peak in high school?  That was me. 


That’s not to say I was “the sh**” in high school.  Yes, I was in student leadership. Yes, I had many good friends and very few dramas.  Yes, I was never bullied (thank goodness!).   I was very lucky to have friends who cared and who were “good” themselves.  But I was by no means part of the cool group.  I was in band—marching band, even—and drama.  Two pursuits in and of themselves that automatically excluded yourself from the popular kids at my super cliquey high school (a high school that I LOVED and still do).  But, I knew my place in that little world.  I knew I was a “good kid,” and I thrived at it. 



Most kids are SO READY to leave high school.  I was so NOT ready. 

I didn’t even pack until the morning of moving out to college and I cried the entire time.  I was leaving a place where I felt successful, admired even.  (That is embarrassing to type, but this is me trying to be honest.) 

At BYU, I quickly learned that the things I loved to do and had worked hard at (flute, ballet, performing), were not going to work out.  I tried out for various programs and was just not quite good enough to be accepted; some programs I was far, far from good enough.

Oddly, I don’t remember being super sad about not being accepted.  Because deep down, I never believed I was talented enough anyway.  I was too scared to keep trying, keep improving, and auditioning again, only to be turned away.  So, without much hesitation, I quit the things I had loved the most for the longest time.  This makes me sad now, because now I really believe I could have done it, that I could have made one of those programs with more effort.   Fear got the best of me.

Instead, I focused on school—something I knew I could still be great at—and being a straight-A student was my new obsession.  That and being thin, but that’s another tale, a looooong one at that and for another day.


So, I tackled school like I was out to prove myself to the entire world that I thought was watching.  I never missed a class, and I studied around the clock.  A’s were the norm.  (Embarrassingly, my worst grade at BYU was a B+ in BOOK OF MORMON, of all classes. I basically failed at my own religion!)  I met with professors for fun, and picked their brains on how I could pursue academia as my career.  I was a research assistant, I was a teacher’s assistant.  I wrote papers like you wouldn’t believe.  I applied for research grants on the side.  I loved it.  All of it.

I was also certifiably insane.  As in, severely depressed, anxious, and riddled with eating and body image disorders.  I was incredibly good at hiding all of this—I should have won an Oscar for my acting.  Behind my happy and successful mask, I still hated myself.  

I hit rock bottom in ways I’ll talk about later.  Just know, it wasn’t pretty and it’s still not over yet, ten years later.  I somehow (therapy!) managed to claw myself out of the well, fell in love, graduated, and engaged to a great guy—the only guy to know all of my troubles and love me anyway.



I still left BYU feeling like a success.  A PhD was next on my radar. 

We moved to CA right after we got married.  Then I had a young mid-life crisis.  Brad came home to me crying over my identity as a woman almost daily.  Suddenly, I felt like my fate was made for me.  I was a young Mormon wife.  I was supposed to be having babies, not pursuing my dreams! 

Yes, I knew women who did both; but I was still fragile.  Extremely fragile.  I knew having kids while doing a PhD would not mix well for me.  Behaviors I had worked very hard to improve on were still apart of my life, always lurking in the wings.  I knew I’d slip right back and I was scared of being at the bottom of the well again.  So scared.  I made a the decision then at 21 years old, that I wanted to be a stay at home mom not just for my kids, but for me and my sanity.

So, I had two options: 1) Pursue a PhD.  Get in a world of debt.  Graduate 7-9 years later.  Then have kids. Or, 2) Become a teacher.  Have kids in a few years.  Do the PhD later.

Option 1 would still end with me not wanting to work while the kids were young; so essentially, it would be 7-9 years of work and debt for seemingly nothing.  Option 2, it was!

That’s when I really became a quitter. 

Now, I don’t think I made the wrong decision in any way.  I am so glad I was a middle school teacher  before having my kids; I am a better mom for it.  I am so glad I didn’t put off kids for 9 or more years.  I am so glad that I didn’t get in a world of debt.  That was the right decision for me and for my family.

What was wrong was how I perceived myself.  I adopted the “quitter” mentality.  I was trying so hard to not be a perfectionist (with bad perfectionist habits), that I became a passivist to my own life. If I couldn’t be an ultra-achiever, I would be a “normal” quitter, and just not really try anything.  I’d never really be good at the flute again; performing was a pipe-dream; and academia was off in the black hole of “will-I, won’t-I?” I adopted the attitude about not-caring for my old dreams because they were so unrealistic, but really that attitude just masked a lot of sadness, anger, and embarrassment for not amounting to anything. 

For the past eight years, every single day I’ve thought about pursuing something in some way, wondering what I would pursue, and how.  Every single day, I have thought of a reason not to.  I’ve become the ultimate quitter, because I’ve quit before I’ve even started. 

For one, my dreams have changed a bit.  I’m not even sure if going back to school is what I want in my future.  I still want to be home when my kids are home, so I only want to work part time when I do work again once they are in school; that actually makes teaching difficult, too.  I love new things now: interior design being one of them; blogging being another.  (I love blogs.  So much! It’s taken me a while to finally admit that without feeling stupid.)


But the real thing holding me back is that I’ve been way too afraid of imagining possibilities that disrupt my life as a wife and mother, which is a role I deeply value.  I’ve been convinced that it's all too much work to be worth it, and that I’m no longer smart enough.  I’ve let my fear win over and over again, that fear of failure, of not doing things perfectly, and right away.

That’s where this blog comes in.  I’ll admit, I am highly embarrassed of it in its current state.  The design is shoddy, at best.  I don’t know how to fix any issue without a lot of googling.  I do not have good photography skills.  I am truly skittish about all the posts I have in mind.  I’m still that teenage girl who wants everything to be perfect so people will admire me.

Enough is enough.  My approaching 30th birthday gave me some courage.  I finally decided that I didn’t have to have the perfect name, the perfect design, the perfect game plan for this blog.  I didn’t have to finish the illustrator and photography classes I signed up for in “preparation” for creating this blog.  It didn’t need to be the “exact right time” for my family (and this very much isn’t, with three young kids at home).  I just needed to start and not give any more thought to the likely failure of it.

What do I want out of this blog?  For myself, I simply want to try.  I want to test myself every day in doing something that scares me.  (This seriously scares me.) For others who may read this blog, I want them to feel like they can try too, because we cannot let our progress (and happiness!) be smothered by fear.  We cannot let fear dictate where we are headed.


So, with this alllll in mind (are you still here?  This is so long . . . ), tomorrow I’ll be sharing some goals of mine for this year.  Goals where I am aiming at progressing and at tackling some fear.  

Writing will be a big part of that for me.  Readers or no readers, I’m trying.  And that’s enough. 

82 comments:

  1. Thank you! Thank you! You are not alone in your story. I felt like I was reading my own diary. You are amazing. Progress! I I identified with "The black hole of 'Will I?/ Won't I?'"

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    1. I feel like SO many of us are in the same situation. Thank you!

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  2. I'm still here. So glad to see you are taking this leap of faith and vulnerability. Sure love you, friend!

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  3. I love you so much and I think you are amazing and awesome to share your story.

    And. . .you're a great writer.

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    1. That's coming from my idol. NO exaggeration. THANK YOU! I have a long way to go, but this is all part of it.

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  4. Reading this I'm reminded of all that you "were" in high school but I had actually forgotten most of it (the SBO, ballet, academics, etc--sorry!). What I do remember, and would think any time I'd see you pop up on facebook over the last 10 years was, "she was so, so nice to me!" Thanks for your courage in posting this. And thank you for being so kind to me when I needed it most. Cheers!

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    1. Angela, that brought tears to my eyes. Back at you, friend!

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  5. I love this! I feel like writing this post was probably really good therapy for you, and I feel like it's therapeutic for me to read, too! It helps me to think about what's important to me and be honest with myself and others. I only wish google reader still existed, so I could get alerts when you post! :( :( :( :( I'm still mourning google reader!

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    1. I was too lazy to set it up back in the day, so I don't know what I'm missing out on! You're right, it has been therapeutic. I've talked to you about this stuff, of course, and you've always been the BEST listener. Love you, Lisa!

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    2. You can really easily put a subscribe "email" thing. It's a gadget on blogs. I did it for my art blog. It emails new posts.

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  6. I agree with Heidi. I felt like most of what you said is exactly how I've felt. I really really love being a mom, but in some ways I felt like it was the easy way out of the "what do I do with my life" question. And then when I have days that I'm not a "good" mom, I think, "There is literally nothing I am good at." Thanks for sharing your story and sharing your willingness to try. I hit 30 about 18 months ago and it was also a sort of wake up call. I've been much happier since letting go of a lot of my fear. I still haven't tackled some things I'd like to, but I know it's not so much because I can't. I'm looking forward to reading more on your blog!

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    1. Heather! So fun to hear from you. Amen to everything you said. I hope I didn't discount how much motherhood means for me, but it's also the hardest things I've ever done. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one with those thoughts!

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  8. But we do need personal interests (of course.) I've been doing art lately. Some people like reading as a hobby. Some people are good at decorating! Some people are good at going on adventures.

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  9. Really enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for your honesty and courage in all you wrote. You're a talented, genuine writer and I look forward to reading more!

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  10. Oh how I love your honesty! I appreciate this post as someone who is doing everything in the opposite order. I had my career first and feel that I have been successful. Now I'm going to be a mom and already worry I'll fail. This gives me the courage to take a deep breath and realize I don't have to be perfect day one. Let's face it, being a perfect mom probably won't ever happen, but I can try.

    Thank you for being you. You are a great example to me!

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  11. Oh how I love your honesty! I appreciate this post as someone who is doing everything in the opposite order. I had my career first and feel that I have been successful. Now I'm going to be a mom and already worry I'll fail. This gives me the courage to take a deep breath and realize I don't have to be perfect day one. Let's face it, being a perfect mom probably won't ever happen, but I can try.

    Thank you for being you. You are a great example to me!

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  12. Loved reading your blog Monica. Just for the record a B+ is not a failure in religion. It is a respectable grade. You have made some great decisions in my book. There is no greater call than what you are doing now as you already know. Learning on the side is awesome and you will become a Jack of all Trades. You could seriously become an author. Love ya. Aunt Julie

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  13. Oh my goodness! I too was so obsessed with grades that it drove me to an English teaching career. I always wished that I had tried business or chemistry, but I was afraid of failing. But I've come to terms that I was truly best at English teaching. And personally, I think that degrees are great because education makes us better people, but a degree is not more important than being a mom. You can still learn so much and become educated at home. I've learned a masters worth of stuff staying at home and reading books. I'm getting my PhD in being an awesome mom who takes it seriously. I feel like every mom on the block can't be a 100% stay at home mom. They have to have plans to "go to law school later" or pursue this or that. Or they have to have a side photography business, or run a side business. I feel like our society deeply undervalues the role of a mother. For one, I have run a side business. I've run a home preschool for the past 19 months, while having 3 kids (only 2 kids for part of it.) It has completely taken me down, and I will never put this much on my plate ever again. Being a mom is too important. Having a family is too important. Embrace the wonderful mom that you are, and just know how important it is to just sit with your kids while they're watching TV. You never have to be more than that. A mother's is too important. Nothing else is more important. Ya know?

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    1. Totally! You are spot on. I think that's what I'm trying to do, is figure out how to be a good mom but still be "me." Being "me" my whole life has been working on something, and I just want to figure that out! My ultimate goal is to be home with my kids, but work from home as well. Not for a long time though, and not without a lot of trial and error on the way. I really do love you, Libby, and feel like your comment was one I really needed today.

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  14. Hey Monica! I loved this and love you! Thanks for sharing. I could change very few details and it would be my story... I bet you never knew I was struggling, too! I've finally gotten to a healthy place and feel like I am my own person and can take on risks but I have done a lot of therapy as well and changed so many things about my thought processes and beliefs about myself and life in general. Your kiddos are lucky to have you and you inspire me!

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    1. Yes, you are right--I never would have known. Isn't that what's crazy about all this? Life is so. darn. hard. But taking risks, even small ones like this, are making me feel more fulfilled and happier than I've been in a while. You've always been one of my stars, and now you're even more of one for sharing this with me.

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    2. I just love you ladies. Wish I could give you all hugs and sit and eat lunch with you.

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  15. I have also struggled with many of those things. I think it must be part of being a woman...especially one that chooses to stay home with her kids. I constantly struggle with feeling like I lost out on going far in the things I used to be so good at because of being a mom but yet feel bad because being a mom is amazing and has taught me so many other things I wouldn't have learned. It's a constant struggle and I find it really hard to find a balance. And my goodness...I only think of memories of you with fondness. You were so darn nice and compassionate. I just love you! Thanks for posting this!

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    1. Lindsey! SO many fond memories of you. Mostly your amazing smile and how you always laughed. You made me feel funny. It really is a constant struggle, isn't it? I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one who feels torn up about it on the daily, even despite me really valuing what I chose to do.

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  16. Monica, thank you for sharing! Like many have mentioned, I've been there... Oh how I've been there and continue to battle those perfectionistic vs failure thought processes. I fully support you my dear! Let it all out there as I'm sure you will find connections beyond what you thought were plausible through your openess. Cheers!

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    1. Cara, you know you inspired me to be brave. I'm so grateful you chose to open your heart. Let it all out, indeed! There are a bunch more waves coming. Thank you for being my inspiration.

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  17. P.S. One of the main highlights for me when I was in marching band was you! YOU helped me so much and made marching band bearable! (I wasn't the biggest fan of marching for hours in the heat!) :)

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    1. Ha, seriously?! That made my day. Oh, marching band....

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  18. Three cheers for you and this brave new adventure! I'm proud of you! You were one of those girls in college that we always looked up to, admired and wished we were more like- I had no idea underneath it all you had an internal struggle! I've always admired your kindness, and the classy way you carry yourself. Don't be too hard on yourself, you are very talented and have much to offer!!

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    1. All right back at you, Lindsey! It means a lot to me to read your comment and remember how you were always so supportive, fun, and kind. College feels like decades ago!

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  19. Monica- this is great! Exposing your vulnerabilities isn't always easy but it can be so freeing and rewarding! You have a beautiful family! Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thank you Shelley! It's so fun to hear from a Somerset kid.

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  21. Can't wait to hear more. Love you.

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  22. Hi Monica! I saw your post on facebook. Just wanted you to know that while I never knew you really well, I wanted to know you better because you were such a kind person! Aaaannd some of my really good friends were really good friends with you (Laura Lewis Eyi & Heather Stay Cosby) - I love your honesty and look forward to learning more about you.

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    1. Yes, Tiffany! College seems decades ago, doesn't it? Thank you for your encouragement! It's been a sweet day.

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  23. I love you! And love this blog. Thanks so much for sharing so honestly. I actually really needed to hear this today - quitting has been on my mind lately.

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    1. I'd love to hear about that! I'm always doing the talking. Running give me runner's mouth, a term I just made up for talking your head off while exercising.

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    2. Let's go for a run soon! I admit I'd much rather listen to what you have to say :)

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  24. Oh man, your post just made me realize so many things about myself. I swear, everything in there you talked about, I was like "me too!"

    Being the good girl and having good friends in high school? Check. Marching band and playing the flute? Check. Giving it all up when I got to college? Check. Eating problems? Check. Focusing on getting nothing but straight A's? Check. Freaking out about whether to go to grad school or have a baby, and feeling like you're giving up everything you've worked for if you choose the latter? Double check. Interests in interior design and cooking? Check Check. And being terrified of blogging because you're not a trained photographer/writer/chef/beauty queen/tech guy and don't have all the time in the world? Check. (Sadly, I kind of gave up at blogging, too.)

    Anyways, long comment. But I just want to say thanks for your post. You're eight years and three kids ahead of me, and it's nice to see that things will work out.

    (by the way, I found your blog through the lovely Lisa^. The other one, not me haha. Hope you don't mind me following your life now :)

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    1. Lisa! Thank you for your amazing comment. Lisa (the other Lisa) is amazing, and I'm sure you are like all the other great Lisa's I know. We definitely have a LOT in common! Can't wait to hear from you more in the future--either via your own blog or just this weird internet thing.

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  25. Those religion classes will get ya. I got a C- in Isaiah... Loved reading this. I'm so impressed with you and how you are working through things. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. OH Haley, you made me laugh. Why are those classes so impossible?! Why the necessary multiple choice 8-possible selections tests? Thank you for being my cheerleader!

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  26. We just made the connection that our cousins Kyle and Lara are in your ward and we were just talking over break about how amazing you are! :) I'm excited to follow your blog, thank you for sharing!

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    1. No way?! They are so darn cute. Love them! Rachel, I know this is weird because we only had a summer together, but I miss you! Ha. You really had such a great influence on me, I'll never forget it. Thank you for being so kind!

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  27. Great post! I'm also really glad to have a more old-school blog to read again - one that is just regular updates about life and isn't aiming to be pinned a million times on Pinterest or sell me something. I don't necessarily mind those blogs, but I miss blogging's hey-dey when folks just wrote for the sake of writing.

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    1. Ha ha ha! That is TOTALLY what my husband said when he got home. I love both kinds of blogs, but I definitely LOVE the real ones. Are you still blogging?

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  28. Wow! Monica I love this. It's obvious from these comments that you are not the only one, but perfectionism (or any struggle) is a lonely state to be in until you show some vulnerability which is insanely brave and it's what you've done! And then everyone realizes that we've all been suffering in silence, side by side, without knowing it haha. ALSO, just my two cents, but I think it's ok to experience "quitting" for a good long while after being focused on achievement. At least that's how I justify my current low stress lifestyle ;) I love you and I'm so glad I met you in Freshman Academy!

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    1. Also, PS, but I wonder what we can all do for the next generation of kids so they don't experience this.

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    2. I think about your PS all the time. I'm scared for that with my kids. I used to be about as private as any one could be, the proof being that even my roommates had no clue about any of this. But I've learned that opening up really helps everyone involved. It lifts the shame! And kudos about it being OK to just be in the quit-zone. I think you are right about that--sometimes it's best to give it a couple years. Or eight! Ha. I'm so grateful to know you too. FA ladies are legit! And my own PS: your uncle was my favorite professor at BYU. He was the professor I was an RA and TA for. Changed my life, even if it was just to spark a fire in me.

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  29. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts!

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    1. Thank you, Steph! I hope you two are doing well.

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  30. Monica, I. Love. You. I am so thankful for our high school years and that we were in the same "group" of friends. I have always been thankful for you. Year 30 is interesting, isn't it? Last year, I started thinking, "I am going to be 30 soon and I have done NOTHING that I thought I would." I thought by 30 I would be some amazing warrior woman who led people to right. I would have left my mark on the world. Sometimes I have to slow down and realize that there are seasons to life. Right now my season is motherhood. I love my three babies and I am thankful that I get to be home with them everyday. I don't know that the future holds, but I hope that I can continue to trust the Lord and things will work out. I honestly believe that. I do not expect life to go along peachy king (I'm almost 30 now and I know thats not how it works :)), but I hope that my faith in the Savior can bring me joy through whatever comes my way. I hope your have a great year 30!!!
    Mary Johnson Hanson

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    1. Mary! Did you enjoy your cameo appearance?! Reading this comment transported me straight back to high school. I can imagine us saying these things in your bedroom, among other less serious topics, of course. You WERE a terrific force of good in my life, and I have NO doubt that you are doing that for not only your family, but your friends and community. Our friends, you included, really changed my life for the better. I loved your words about SEASONS--Amen, amen, amen. And I love you, Sister Mary.

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  31. Read this today and it reminded me of your post:

    I think our expectations of what we want life to be often overshadow the good things that are already in front of us – and that’s when we miss the silver lining … When my focus is on living the best life I can with what I have in that moment, I always find my silver lining. I’m not expecting the gold I used to have. I’m not looking for the gold that I think I should have. I’m looking at the silver right in front of me and saying thank you every day.

    Now, let me just say that sometimes disappointment weighs heavy on me. But in my disappointment, the same rules still apply: I do the best I can with what I have. Is it usually all I want to do? No. But in the end, focusing on the silver lining is what gets me through the day.

    I have to remind myself sometimes, but the more I acknowledge that silver lining, the less I notice the gold that’s out of reach.

    I’ve stopped trying to adapt between what I want and what I have – and I’ve learned instead to want what I’m given. It doesn’t make the journey easy. But it does make it worthwhile.

    (Excerpt from Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts)

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    1. I've never heard of this book! Looks like one that needs to be totally on my nightstand. I'm sure that took you a while to type it up--that's a good woman right there to do that! This really is spot-on, and a terrific reminder for what I need to focus on in the here and now. Thank you!

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  32. Hey, hey, you got the comments working! Maybe it always was and I just couldn't figure it out. Most likely! I LOVE your writing and I'm so happy/proud of you for doing this blog. I feel like we could have a discussion on so many things touched on in this blog for hours. My theme for this year is "your in charge of you" or "you be you". I've spent too long caring about what other people think. I'm going to stand up for myself and my family/friends more and not be such a sissy or afraid of what other people will think. So much easier said then done but that's the goal. Such a great post. Would it be possible to get Brad involved and have this be, like, a husband/wife blog? Because you two are some of the best/funniest writers ever! Run it by the man of the house and see what he says. :) Maybe just a guest post here and there. Love you!

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    1. Thank you Emily! I LOVE your theme this year. I might have to copy it. I think it's so hard to admit that we care about what people think, but that's definitely a big part of my perfectionism. It makes me even madder at myself that that's a big motivation in my life, but I'm so glad that I'm finally getting mature enough to admit that and call a spade a spade. And I TOTALLY agree about Brad writing, because we all know he is the far better writer and so dang funny. I've already decided he's doing a series, he just doesn't know it yet. Love you too, Emily. So grateful to have you part of my family.

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  33. Girl...this is me. Manifested differently in my case, wish we could sit down over a cup of tea and chat. Love this blog. Mind if I share it?

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    1. I'd LOVE that, sometime somewhere. I wouldn't mind you sharing at all. Hopefully it will help someone out there.

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  34. Yes, yes, yes. I've followed a similar journey.

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    1. I've wondered, only because ballet makes crazy people and I know that was a big part of your life, as it was for me. Life sure is crazy and we all suffer, but I think talking about it helps share the load a bit.

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  35. Monica, I love you! Let's be best friends. :)

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  36. So insightful! Thank you for opening your heart to us. Just remember to keep listening to your heart and your inspiration. If you're true to that, and God, thn nothing is impossible.

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    1. Sarah! How fun that you commented. You are so right. You Connors are all incredibly wise.

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  37. Oh Monica. You have a serious gift for writing. You are so eloquent with your words. I love a good honest post. In fact, I just plain love honesty. Isn't it freeing!? Just being honest with yourself is such a healthy thing. I have much admiration and love for you. I am looking forward to reading more. Way to kick Satan to the curb by facing your fears!

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    1. Kali, you are the cutest for writing! This has been freeing, but I'm actually doing the whole, "Abort mission! Abort mission!" thing now... WE'll see how long this will last but at least I've two solid weeks of kicking Satan!

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    2. Don't abort!! I love to read your posts and I think a lot of people can relate to you.

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  38. Oh Monica! As one of those who admired you in high school,I want you to know that I admired your goodness and the kindness that radiated from you. I always felt love and acceptance from you. And after reading this post, I admire you and love you all the more! You are truly beautiful. I love the reminder that the goal should be progress! Such a good thing to keep in mind. I'm sure Heavenly Father celebrates our progress with as much love as we celebrate the small achievements of our own sweet children!

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    1. Oh my goodness! This totally made my day after a rough (but "normal" rough!) day. I appreciate YOU so, so much and that imagery of God celebrating us like we do our own children seriously hit me hard. THANK YOU!

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  39. Oh Monica! As one of those who admired you in high school,I want you to know that I admired your goodness and the kindness that radiated from you. I always felt love and acceptance from you. And after reading this post, I admire you and love you all the more! You are truly beautiful. I love the reminder that the goal should be progress! Such a good thing to keep in mind. I'm sure Heavenly Father celebrates our progress with as much love as we celebrate the small achievements of our own sweet children!

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  40. Monica!!! I loved this! I admired you in high school and I admire you now! You are amazing! And just for the record..... I always thought of you as one of the "cool kids" xoxo

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    1. That's because YOU were one of the nicest people I've ever met, let alone nicest "cool" people. I hope your daughter is feeling better!

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  41. I really enjoyed reading this post. Like several others have already commented, my own journey has been very similar. It has only been in the past couple of years that I have realized that I really am still good at art, and should still pursue it (even though I was not anywhere near the best artist at BYU). I also had grand plans for grad school or law school, or anything that would prove to myself and the world that I was legitimately smart, grand plans that deteriorated when I found out I was pregnant months after graduation. It is nice to hear that I am not alone :) I am now in the process of thinking how to enable the best in my kids without giving them the complexes that I had/have.

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    1. Bethany, you are so kind to comment! I would love to hear more about your art and how you are exploring that. Even though this blog isn't "going places," it's been a good outlet for me and I feel that every mother needs that. And yes, trying to not pass on our own complexes to our kids is very tough. But I think being aware of that in the first place is the biggest, most important step!

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  42. I didn't have time to read all the comments, so I'm sorry if this is repetitive, but I just wanted to say that wow!, this is my story too. Right down to the flute queen in high school who quit when I was not the best anymore freshman year at college. With my straight-A degree in hand, a wedding ring, and no real career direction, i decided motherhood was going to be my thing, with 3 kids by 30. Honestly, it takes 100% of me to be the mother and homemaker i want to be. That is not the way I expected to feel at all. Now I'm 32 and I'm ok with where i am right now. I don't do anything "extra", except hobbies just for fun, that will never make money, that I will never be the best at, but that give me something to learn about and improve on a little bit at a time. There is breathing room in my life! I realized recently that I will be 48 when my baby leaves the nest. That's almost 2 decades before retirement age! Surely some passion will spring up once space in my life opens up when less is demanded of me as a mother. Just wanted to say that you are not alone in feeling like this.

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  43. Kendra Prince OwensJuly 21, 2016 at 2:08 PM

    I ran across your blog today and have loved starting to read it. I went to high school with you at Davis High and its funny how different of an experience we had but how close they really were all at the same time.

    I to did band, but never marching band, and track and cross country and other sports. And I loved the acedamic world. But was is so different for me is I was so afraid to figure out where I fit in, out of fear of rejection, that I just hung back and didnt find a place...kind of hard with the clique school we did go to.

    What is funny though are the lessons I have learned as an adult. And that is namely that who we are in high school, who we are as moms and such are just titles we give to ourselves and roles we put ourselves into...not ones placed on us by other people. What I loved about reading this post is where you talked about facing the fear and just trying.

    Trying to decide who we are apart from titles is so hard and yet so freeing and yet something I excelled out as a young adult tell I hit a hug wall or "title" the pushed me over the edge and into a whole new place start new from.

    Thank you for your honesty. I have always felt I was the only one who struggled to figure out me or feel accepted and what not. And you being one I admired in school it helps to see we are just all human.

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  44. I know this post is from forever ago, but I've been reading your blog this morning and I'm crying. I relate to so much of this.. it's like you were helping me understand a lot of myself and my actions the past ten years. Understanding the feelings is one of the hardest parts for me, so I'm impressed with how well you understand yourself. Thanks for being vulnerable!

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