Monday, March 22, 2010

Would the Real Lop-her Please Stand Up (& Tap Out)

This morning I tweeted, partially in jest and partially in all honesty: "Another Monday, another identity crisis. Who will I be this week? Cindy Lop-her? Publishing Professional? Homebody? Future psych patient?"

I was pretty bummed last Wednesday when I realized my 2-week conference stint in NYC and the time needed to make up massive amounts of work because of the NYC conferences had just barely precluded me from making my roller derby attendance for this month, resulting in my being benched from next Saturday’s game per our attendance policy. That was a mouthful. It was a head full too. The implications of this were my letting my team down for what feels like the millionth time so far this season and my having to explain to my captains that I’d be missing attendance and unable to skate – a conversation I hate having to have. It wasn’t until this morning on my way into work that I realized what part of my problem is: I’m too fucking responsible for my own good.

Somehow, everywhere, I wind up leading the charge. I do it at my job, I do it at derby, I do it at home, and I even do it with friends. I think it all begins with the identification of a problem or a want that I take upon myself to put into action because I can’t stand NOT acting. By doing this, I now “own” whatever it is that I started, and I feel personally responsible for the follow through and maintenance of the project. This is why I became an LLC member of our roller derby league, and it’s why I’m one of only two remaining. This is why I’m in this massively time-consuming job that I wanted and that I helped develop the job description for, even though it’s at times overwhelming. This is also why I start massive projects at home, like the 4-day vegetable gardening project I nearly broke my back completing this weekend even though my house was and still is filthy and I have no clean clothes or groceries. I am, in every sense of the terms, a project manager at heart. Problem is, I spend so much time managing things outside my basic wants and needs that I have no time left to really tend to all these things like I should, and I have no time for me.

Each week, sometime each day, I feel like a different person, and I suppose I decide what main role I will play by identifying where the most immediate emergency lies. In the middle of last week I was the publishing professional, because I was behind on my work. This weekend, however, I was Farmer Dell, because if I wanted to accomplish having a vegetable garden this year, I knew this weekend was the absolute last deadline to prepare my previously ungardened lot. Tonight I plan on being Donna Reed, going grocery shopping and then cleaning my house and doing laundry, because, well, no food or clothes inside a house covered in dog-hair tumbleweeds and tiny clumps of dry soil is the emergency. I feel like I’m all these different people, but really I’m just a harrowed mess of a person who’s constantly trying to race against the clock. I have too many ideas, too many ideals, and not enough time, yet I don’t ever give up anything and I even add complications at times (hello, garden), which are sure to stress me out even more in the days to come when my lists are longer and my days are shorter. So all this leads to one question: how do I regain control? Does the answer lie in giving up responsibility or in giving up entire projects all together? A good friend of mine said to me the other day, “I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m so beaten up, lying in the center of the ring, and I know someone else needs to get in there and I need to get out, but I’m so bloodied and exhausted that I just don’t even have the energy to pull myself to the side and tap out.” Yep. That about sums it up. For me, however, there’s possibly one other reason I lay bloodied in that ring: because the lights are shining, the spectators are watching, and well, I’m already there.

There’s a certain reward I get for being every woman imaginable – friends tell me I’m “amazing” and the public really likes to see me fight, even if it’s against myself. In a way, I keep doing it because I know other people like to see me do it. Am I a people pleaser? Afraid of being unpopular? Afraid of no longer being “amazing”? Um, yeah, I’ll take all of the above and probably some others I haven’t even begun to think about.

Like many of my recent blog entries, there is no answer to be found at the end of this page – it’s more of a starting point for my thoughts and considerations. I think I need to find out what’s really important to me and identify where I want to be next year and five years later. Besides chasing my tail, what are my goals? What do I want? How do I envision the perfect life? Only then can I start to create it. The hard part is now – the time when I let various people down because I really can’t do it all. Oh, well, I project managed myself into this mess and I suppose I can project manage my way back out. Next on the agenda, a to-do list and some spreadsheets for how I can get back on track. One thing’s for sure, no matter who I am or what I’m doing, I take comfort in my methodology and my anal retentiveness. And, shit, if a girl can’t cling to perfection and procedures, what can she cling to?


Esmerelda said...

--"So all this leads to one question: how do I regain control? Does the answer lie in giving up responsibility or in giving up entire projects all together?"

My dear Cindy, it sounds as if you are in too much control. I suffer the same problem. I haven't learned to delegate. Other people can help. They may not do it on your schedule or to your standards, but you need to take on projects and then divvy them out a bit.

But then, you wouldn't be you. And I wouldn't be me. I can dish it out but I do the same damn things.


Queen Kicktoria said...

I am now only starting to learn the art of delegation. It's hard.

Jessi said...

I really identify with your post. I also am a "take-charge" kind of gal, and I end up taking leadership roles in multiple projects. I also end up with a sink full of dishes, eating take-out regularly due to the lack of groceries, and I get at most 4-5 hours of sleep each night (on a good night).

One of the biggest decisions I've made recently was to step down as president of our year old league. As the founder, this was a huge decision for me, a really hard decision. Even though it's a democratic, membership-based league, I still feel like it's "mine".

Ultimately, I realized that the quantity of responsibilities I have is affecting the quality of work I can invest in each, and I must forfeit the position to someone who can invest more, and obtain a better result. I've laid the framework and I have to trust that my successor will continue in the best interest of the league. So far, so good- and, now I have more time to actually SKATE! Oh yah, is that why I started this thing in the first place; to SKATE?? As silly as it is, it's easy to overlook your own desires and needs when immersed in so many administrative and leadership responsibilities.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I completely relate to your post, and best of luck to you in balancing your desires and responsibilities.

-Double Exposure, Palm Beach Rollergirls