Welcome To Our Little Big House On The Prairie

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Perfectionism... And A Bookcase.

When I made over my office last month, a few of you commented on the quote written on the chalkboard over my desk...

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." 
~ Joseph Chilton Pierce

When I was googling the "perfect" creative phrase to write on my board, this one just spoke to my heart.  Learning to do things yourself and tackling things you've never done before teaches you so much about yourself.  And some of it isn't pretty. 

You see, I have a problem.  I admit, I'm a complete Type A personality.  Believe me, I've come a long way from the way I used to be, which I think is a good thing - Scott, eh, not so much.  LOL!  I mean, literally, all the items in the pantry had to be grouped by category, then by sub-category, all be facing outward and begin and end in the same place.  Laundry was worse... Clothes had to be folded a certain way, grouped by type, then color. My linen closet was a work of art.  I was so bad that if my mother-in-law or my mom came over and helped with laundry, I would watch while gritting my teeth, thank them politely, then wait until after they left to refold it all.  Yeah.  That bad.  And I won't even speak about how my children had to look when we went out somewhere.  

Having six kiddos changes you.  Not just in all the little, good ways that having children changes you, but it changed me in a bigger way.  I had to learn to let go.  I just simply didn't have time for everything to be perfect.  When Savanna and the boys were little, I had four children under the age of 7, with the 3 boys under the age of 4.  I had a maid come in twice a week and help out (Oh, those were the days!), but there were just certain things I had to do myself.  After Eva was born and two years later we moved to Iowa and money became an issue, I just couldn't keep up.  I had to learn to relax my standards a little or I would go crazy.  When I found myself crying over what a wreck the pantry was, I realized that I had to let it go.  Its been years since I made a list.  Am I disorganized?  Yep.  But am I happier?  Absolutely.  Its amazing how much pressure I put on myself - and I didn't even realize it.

Since starting to tackle this big ole house, I've found my perfectionism rearing its ugly head.  But again, its not helping me. Its hindering me.  I am so petrified of making the wrong choice in colors, style, or design, that I actually have to force myself to do something.  Anything.  When am I ever going to learn to trust myself?

So, enter the bookcase.

On Tuesday, I asked my Facebook followers to help me decide what project I was tackle next.  They were given the choice between my dining room table and chairs...

or the built-in book case:

Taken the first time we looked at the house.

I was really hoping and praying they would choose the table and chairs because I had no clue what I was going to do with the bookcase.  No such luck.  They chose the bookcase.  And I thought, "Oh crap."  LOL!!! (Isn't it great to know what I'm really thinking?  HA!)  And just because I really like to put myself in a pickle, I gave myself the deadline of Friday.  LMBO!  Why do I do these things to myself?!  LOL!

Tuesday, I spent the day snuggled up on the couch with Scott watching movies for Valentine's (him being home and doing such a thing is a rarity, so I dropped everything), and ignored the laundry screaming at me from the pile behind the couch.  Yesterday, I folded it and put it away, since it was starting to call me names.  ;)  But my mind was constantly working on what I was going to do with that dang bookcase. 

Shortly after we moved in.

Should I go simple and just paint it white?  

Should I wallpaper the back?  

Should I paint just the edges and leave the backs natural?  

What to do?  What to do?

Today.  Keeping it real with all the dust.  And the missing trim board.  GAH.

To make it even more interesting, while everything else in the house is built with quality workmanship (doors, trim, pocket doors, etc.), this particular built-in is pieced together.  I'm assuming that it was added well after the house was built.  How do I know?  Well, the trim is pieced together and cheap.  The sanding job is horrendous.  Pretty much the only thing they got right was that the stain matches exactly.  In fact, I just went and looked at it again and just shook my head.  What have I gotten myself into???

Trim is gapping as the house settles.  Its got to come off.

Was it too hard to cut the trim to size or what?  :P

More gaps in the trim work.  Ugh.
And I've really never understood WHY the bottom three shelves
 stick out further than the top three.  Any ideas?
I've ransacked my stacks of home decor magazines.  Do you think they had a single bookcase?  Nope.  Then, I hit Pinterest.  The only thing that helped me do, was decide that white bookcases are boring.  And since everyone is expecting me to wow them, I put even more pressure on myself to come up with something fantastic.  (Yeah, that's another issue I have.  I'm a consummate people-pleaser.)

And just for fun, let's add in zero budget.  And I mean, ZERO.  I've got to use paint I already have.  Books/Knick knacks, that I already have.  I can't replace the trim with something of quality.  I've got to work with what I've got - and that ain't much.  I will say this for the economy, it has taught me to be creative in ways I never imagined I would be.  And even if/when the economy improves, I don't think I'll ever go back to the way I used to be - which will make Scott really happy that his spendy wife has forever turned thrifty.  LOL!


By late yesterday evening, I was in a tizzy trying to decide what I wanted to do.  I had a deadline, darn it!  And you know what I did?  Yep.  Walked away from it.  (Well, kind of.  I gave it dirty looks whenever I walked by it.)

That night, when I crawled into bed, I grabbed one of my favorite decor magazines...  Cottages and Bungalows.  And instead of looking for just bookcases, I looked for pictures that spoke to me - in their colors, design, etc.  And then it hit me.  It still amazes me that I can have a small thought that blossoms until I get the whole picture.  One thought leads to another and then to another, until I can clearly picture what I want to do.  I never knew I could do that!  LOL!  And do I dare say I'm excited to get started?  Yes.  Yes, I am.  :D 

I'm hoping I will be done by Monday, but I know better than to impose a deadline on myself - you'd think that doing the office would have taught me that.  HA!  Tomorrow is Greyson's birthday and I know that's going to take up some time, so I'm hoping to get tentatively started today, do a little tomorrow and Saturday, and then finish it up on Sunday.

The moral of this post?

Don't let perfectionism get in the way of what you want to do.  Don't let self-doubt keep you from at least trying something new.  Trust in yourself and your abilities.  You never know what you might be capable of.  And if it doesn't turn out just right?  Well.  No one will know but you...  And in this instance, there's always another can of paint.  ;)


A. Love said...

From one Type A to another, thank you for putting into words what I've been feeling lately!

Fox Hollow Cottage said...

Hey girl! Sometimes, good enough for now can become a favorite! Look how long I put off the mantel. Painted it, now I love it. Waited forever thinking I was going to tear it out. Silly me ;) I am sure the bookcase will be loved by all and if anything, an improvement over it's current style. Mwah!! Lilo ;)

Shari @ turnstylevogue.com said...

Don't stress over it. If you are like most of us, you will want to redo it again next year! Just have fun with it and know that most things aren't permanent.

That said, I've been in your shoes many times and frustration can have a way of taking over.

Just breathe and go for it!

Our Beaten Path said...

I really enjoyed reading this. I too have a perfectionist problem but I've learned to deal with it. It seems so many perfectionist are so unhappy with life and I think it's because things are never perfect enough for them. Sounds like you've come a long way!

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