…in anger (this has nothing to do with Oasis but I do love that song!).
You can spend your whole life working on improving aspects of your life. Imagine you’ve always struggled with your career and finding something that you like that pays enough that you can live a life you’re happy with you.
Imagine you’ve spent years feeling unsatisfied moving from job to job.
Then all of sudden you find something that is everything you’ve always wanted and you’re finally happy doing what you do to earn a living.
But you’re also left with somewhat of a gaping hole in your heart where that struggle used to be.
Even though things have changed for the better, it feels as though something is missing because you’re lighter now.
What’s missing is the stress, anxiety, sleepless nights, worry and the struggle. Yet somehow you might find yourself longing for what once was.
Overcoming is a pretty big deal, acknowledge what you’ve accomplished and don’t look back on what once was.
There is power in the meaning we attach to words.
The Bare Minimum Betty concept is something I came up with because I enjoy playing around with ideas and creating characters. But it’s about more than just a made up character that doesn’t go above and beyond.
What started as just part of my writing practice resulted in me reflecting on my own behaviour.
I began identifying moments in my life where I was being bare minimum, not in a critical way but in a gentle way. Like ‘oh, I could put in more effort here’ or ‘I can feel myself holding back’.
And in these moments of reflection I began to understand what it really means to be bare minimum.
It’s complaining or being frustrated with where you’re at because you’re not putting much effort in and not getting much back.
It’s going through life without letting your core self be seen.
It’s following instructions and not being willing to ask questions.
It’s being tossed about by the waves of life because you aren’t willing to pick up an oar.
It’s noticing a problem but waiting for someone else to offer a solution.
That’s not the kind of person I want to be, yet I like many others sometimes fall into being a bare minimum Betty.
But in recognising those things in myself I’m able to push past them. So, when I notice I’m holding back, I’ll push past those feelings and speak up.
On the flipside I’m also aware that some people are totally satisfied with being good enough or bare minimum that is totally okay as long as you don’t pretend you’re offering your best.
Which one are you?
The first kind is the one we all know and love (or perhaps just tolerate through excessive eye rolls). This person is problem focused. They find a problem with anything and everything.
What’s worse is if you offer a potential solution they’ll probably find a problem with that too.
The second person is solution focused. They’ll complain as a way to vent their frustrations but then they’ll move on and do something about it.
The first person never manages to progress nearly as much as the second.
The answer might surprise you, or not.
By ‘it’ I mean this blog, the words, my writing.
I used to think that it was for you, that I was doing this because I had some great message to share with you and that it would hopefully inspire you in some way (or something along those lines).
But then I started reflecting on what I was writing about and how I was feeling each time I let the words pour out.
That’s when I realised that it was for me. I write for myself. Sure I want you to read it and I’m happy when you do but my musings of fear, challenges and the dreamlife are things I write because of the life I have lived.
I find it helpful to write a couple hundred words on overcoming a difficult situation because it serves as a reminder that not only is it possible, but that I’ve actually done it.
And when I think about all the pieces I’ve written it’s a reminder of the journey that I’m on and all the ‘gemms’ I’ve learnt along the way.
Some days the ‘gemm’ might be something I noticed whilst I was on the train and other days it’ll be an epiphany that changes the way I live my life.
And perhaps a few years ago I wouldn’t have had the confidence to share these random short pieces but I’m glad that I decided to start doing it.
It turns out I’ve been hiding.
I’ve been hiding from the kind of writing that challenges me. I used to think that that meant being more personal and baring my soul.
But I was wrong.
I think there is beauty in being able to write something that not only moves the reader but also the writer.
Not the painful, tortured writer but instead the kind of writing with feeling behind it instead of just words.
It’s hard to find the time to push myself with what I share on The Daily Gemm in-between everything I have going on (and everything I distract myself with). And sometimes I allow myself to be bare minimum because I know I can get away with it.
But I read something beautiful this morning and it moved me. It made me remember just what I love about writing. It got me thinking about how I used to write and how I haven’t pushed myself to explore my writing enough.
I don’t even remember the last time I just sat and wrote without thinking about what I would do with it once it was finished.
I haven’t written a poem in months.
I daydreamed about writing these personal essays about my life yet I rarely write more than a couple hundred words at a time and never get round to even planning the essays.
I’ve been hiding and I didn’t even know it.
Whatever is going on in my life will be woven through the words I write.
At times, I’m like a floatie being pulled and swayed in all kinds of directions. But I’m easily influenced and inspired.
From the ages of 16-18 I studied textiles, discovered Seth Godin and read a few books by Dickens.
That trio of things heavily influenced my writing at the time through the language in used. I can see it now but I was also aware of it at the time.
And as time has passed new things have influenced the way I write things like music, nature, relationships etc.
I still have my core style but my choice of words and what I want them to evoke has developed and grown with along with me.
For this blog my writing is heavily inspired by my themes of overcoming fear, self exploration, dream life etc
But I’m also still influenced by Seth Godin after all these years (I’m now in my twenties). I’m also influenced by things that move me emotionally, I’m a feelings person, who has kept a journal for more than a decade so it’s a big part of who I am. I can’t help but let that part of me pour out when I write.
I’d like to think that my influences and inspirations come through but it’s not down to me if they show or not.
That’s for you to decide.
The words I shared in January weren’t perfect. In fact they’re on the opposite end of the scale and I winced last week reading through them.
My writing style was not where I thought it was. It’s wasn’t witty, clear, concise and well written like I had hoped.
It was scattered with errors and I’d forgotten to take words out so some things didn’t quite make sense.
However, I was doing something new and getting the hang of writing something I felt comfortable sharing everyday.
But the beauty of doing this daily blogging thing is, each day I have the chance to write something better.
And then bit by bit (or even drip by drip – a reference to something Seth Godin has said many times) I’ll improve. Maybe practice won’t ever make perfect (what would the perfect blog post look like anyway?) but it will (almost) always make me better.