While re-making my bed around midnight the other night, a story my mother told me about myself came to mind:
When my mom first taught me to make my bed, I wasn't much taller than the bed itself. My arms were short and my muscles unused to the task. I remember making great effort to pull the sheet up to the pillow, then walking around to the other side, taking great steps to avoid stepping on my other bedding, and pulling on the sheet on the other side, but something always happened. The middle would still be wrinkled, or the sheet would be slanted, or I pulled it up too far. (It seems my perfectionism started at an early age.) I remember becoming very upset that I had to walk around my bed so many times for just the SHEET. Goodness only knows how difficult the blankets and quilt would be.
From there my memory gets fuzzy, and my mom supplemented the details I don't recall.
Apparently, at that moment during my bed-making lesson, I started to cry, refusing to keep going. When she asked me why, I said, "I can't do it! It's too hard!" (There were possibly other references to the largeness of my bed and how I kept stepping on my blankets.)
My mother said to me, "I know it seems big, honey, but if you do small amounts at a time, before you know it, you're done!"
Sure enough, if I looked at it in smaller pieces - like pulling up the sheet so it was even on one side, then walking to the other to tug it over and be even on the other side, THEN proceeding to pulling the blanket up - the task became easier for my child mind and muscles to handle.
This recollection took a whopping half second to flash through my brain, but I suddenly realized that I STILL have the same response to seemingly overwhelming tasks: "I can't do it. It's too hard."
This response is most common when I end up being assigned a specific type of project for work, and I have to go through the process of breaking it down into suitable sized pieces so that I don't keep pushing it off and doing something else instead. Before I've separated it into groups of related tasks, it seems so overwhelming that I refuse to look at it. If I get too many at once, I've even thrown in the proverbial towel for the day and promised myself I'd tackle it first thing in the morning.
Which I never do.
I'm not sure what my point is. Just sharing a moment of self-awareness? Hoping to pass on wisdom? Regardless, I was both amused at saddened by the realization. Amused that I'm still so like how I was as a child, but saddened that I keep re-learning the same lessons over and over.
It also strikes me that in moments of frustration or sadness or loneliness, when simply existing has become the overwhelmingly huge task, I often make remarks or posts like, "Life sucks," or "I don't want to be an adult anymore," or "I want to go home."
Such things can often be cured by a hug. Encouraging words are nice, but hugs are better. Big ones. That last a long time.
I need a hug.
Can I go home now?