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Can You Have a Hobby Without it Becoming a Perfectionist Trap?

I’m pretty sure that most people can have hobbies without having them become perfectionist/”should” traps, but I’m beginning to realize I’m not one of them, at least not in my current incarnation as chronic over thinker/loner. Take this very blog, for instance–I’m so excited that I finally created a site that looked as good as I’d originally envisioned–actually, better. I certainly never intended to become a wannabe graphic designer in the process–or a WordPress designer for that matter–but I can’t say I’m sorry that I kind of did. The thing is that these new skills/passions seem to have come at the cost of my previous passion for writing; kind of ironic since the whole point of blogging is WRITING and I somehow managed to design a great blog only to realize once all was said and done that the thing that came easiest to me my entire life, writing, now seems to have taken a backseat to my new obsession with designing, creating, and making anything visual while words have become weirdly more foreign to me.

Not like it’s a big mystery why writing has become more of a struggle while novel new pursuits like graphic design and even product design are my new obsessions. The writing thing for starters; I used to just write what I felt like writing about without much thought–I’d read something or think of something while spacing out or scrolling through Twitter and that was all it took to have me racing to my computer to get whatever thing onto the screen so I could get it out of my head and move on with my day. I liked the social interaction writing spurred, especially since it’s a lot easier for me to articulate things in writing than verbally–writing is and I guess has been one of the main conduits to my social life for 15+ years now, which was good motivation to keep it up, and also I did it so regularly I didn’t overthink things–I had an idea, I fleshed it out, hit publish and that was that. Then came personal and professional identity crises; COVID isolation and anxiety that did as big a number on me as they did on so many others; grappling with he ongoing stress/heartbreak/hope/desolation that defines every corner of your life when addiction enters your family dynamic and the resulting fear that the only thing you’re capable of talking or writing about anymore is what a struggle it is to be you. Even I wouldn’t want to read me whining–especially not about the same shit for four, five straight years. But when that’s what you’re thinking about much or, honestly, most of the time, trying to write about lighthearted shit for the sake of not sounding pathetic just a) requires too much effort and mental bandwidth and b) is just not who I am. Sure, in person I can and do put on a brave face–and also it’s not like I’ve spent every minute of every day of the past few/five years of my life weeping or brooding…but it’s also not too far off the mark.

When I first re-started this blog, I wanted it to be a distraction; a place where I could write about lighthearted stuff I love–home decorating, thrifting, what I was reading or listening to or whatever…you know, “normal” stuff; “lifestyle” blog stuff. Because even when I was feeling crappy I still took pleasure in those activities and would have loved to have real people over to see my latest thrift finds or help me makeover rooms of my house or watch endless TV shows or movies but lockdown wasn’t having that so sharing it here would at least be the next best thing I figured. Except I didn’t figure that when I tried to share photos of my re-organized living room or cute thrift haul, my photos (I’m a horrible photographer) would just not come close to conveying what I was trying to share and ended up just making me wonder what the hell I was thinking when I thought of creating a site based largely on photos and visual content. And so it went, and so languished Chic n’ Geek and I would happily have just abandoned the entire mission if I hadn’t become so smitten with the concept of Chic n’ Geek and the new creative activities that had replaced writing and filled the billions of COVID hours.

So now I have a whole new world of craftiness that I never in a million years would have imagined having–I was NOT a crafty person AT ALL prior to COVID. Now, though, the office where I’m supposed to be working on my “real” business is filled with things I’ve designed–notebooks, post-it notes, stickers, prints, notecards, tiny tasseled boxes and tarted up paperclips–who knew creating this stuff could give such a sense of satisfaction? Or maybe it’s just the ADHD novelty-lover in me that’s so into all these crafty procrastinations and diversions–did you know that people with ADHD have brains that are hard-wired for novelty-seeking? Neither did I, until I spent the non-crafty part of COVID learning the ins and outs of the neuroscience of my ADHD brain. I guess all things being equal there are certainly worse obsessions to have than happily designing shit on Canva and/or Zazzle. Nor did I realize that, as opposed to the image I’d always had of myself as a slacker was actually totally off-base–or at least if I’d started that way, I somehow have tipped over to becoming the least likely thing I ever imagined being: a perfectionist. Which, also, is an ADHD thing–shocker.

Anyway, perfectionism and craftiness be damned, I’m pushing past my discomfort about writing by just…writing. Honestly, the whole time I’m writing this post I’m beating myself up for being a navel-gazer; writing more boring blather about all my brokenness, etc. But guess what? I’m writing it anyway because I’m realizing that’s the only way to tame inner critics who have gained WAY too much power during these weird COVID years–to just tune them out and keep writing away, blather or not. Because if I could go from someone who never dreamed of being able to make anything cute to someone who literally could design a freakin product line or open a store, I’m going to become, once again, the person who used to write without so much as a peep of inner negativity or insecurity. Not because the FOUR subscribers to this illustrious site care how much or about what I write–or if I write anything at all–but because I’m writing my way back to myself even if the process is cringy as hell.

And in the meantime, the totally disproportionately proud design me is of course going to drop some pics of some of my latest creations here because I CAN lol.

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About Author

I'm a writer at heart and have been blogging for 15+ years. Trying to rekindle the fun of blogging with Chic n' Geek...we'll see how it goes! Thanks for reading! --Maggie

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