Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanugh. We post first Wednesday of each month and here writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak...or just outright obsessive and contradictory.
I wanted to let my friends know how special they are so I threw a virtual party for them. I was insecure about the way I wrote it. I didn't know if the post would reflect my feelings as I intended.
Dragons deny it but we are not perfect. Many of us are perfectionists, though. At first, I questioned the gifts I planned for those I wanted to honor. Were they too simple? Would they be considered meaningless? Could they encompass the feeling and reason involved the making? My perfectionist inner critic reminded me my ideas were like children's game compared to professional illustrations.
Mother Dragon taught me he who does what he can, does what he must; and he who gives his best effort, is giving everything of him. This was my winning argument. I couldn't give the best gift ever seen but I would give the best I had. I spent many hours planning, testing, and experimenting with art and edition software. I jumped from program to program and from laptop to iPad until I got dizzy. In the end, I was really proud of the result. It was not that my painstaking effort was visible but I thought it had been worth.
The day came. Dragon, dwarves, cave and gifts were ready. I was insecure about the length of the post. I didn't want to drive people into a catatonic state. There was always the option to have the dwarves perform the rumba version of Far Over the Misty Mountain Cold, but I didn't want them to fight over who wears the high heels. Luckily for you and me, there was no need.
The party was a success. The response was way above my expectations. Almost all my VIP showed up and some new faces too. The comments made me feel everyone enjoyed the party and left with a smile. My heart did the happy dance inside my chest.
At least until this
Turn into this.
Higher Powers, mercy me! Be still my cholesterol and don't give me a heart attack. By some format error, the Scale Award I found in my friends' blogs looked as if my dwarves made it when drunk and wiped their mouths with it. People will think this was the best I could come up with? Really? My face flushed, scales glowing in shame, as many times as I ran into this image. I cringed and wanted to hide beneath the biggest rock.
I asked Alex and Jeremy for their expert's advice to fix the problem a.s.a.p. The Ninja answered first and his advice was: "Email the original image to the ones you can and don't worry about the rest. People will appreciate it anyway, because it came from you." My eye twitched. Dragon talk vs. Ninja talk. I was risking demotion or permanent banning from the High Academy of Controlling and Perfectionist Dragons and Alex didn't sound a bit concerned. What's wrong with this world? I thought.
"All right Ninja, abandon the Dragon in his time of need. Tassin, bring the Oreos, double chocolate for quick death. Sessin and Millin, play sad music. Pancholin, I blame you for this."
Luckily, Jeremy Hawkins fixed the problem before I could commit Oreo Seppuku to save my honor. Now I just had to go on the hunt for the disgraceful image. I visited several blogs and asked my friends to please come back and download the award again (in .png to ensure quality). As I did this, I couldn't help but to question the Higher Powers. Why, oh why, did this happen with something that was meant to be so special and where I put so much effort? That wasn't the dragon award; that was an accident.
Wait a minute! I don't believe in accidents. I strongly believe things go wrong for a reason and it is completely up to us to learn from them or limit ourselves to complain about them. Once I remembered that, I was able to translate the Ninja's words. I used my heart, instead of my eyes, to see and I saw how proudly people were displaying the award. Never mind the picture quality. To them, it was not about the image in itself but the meaning behind it. It was all about the reason I made it in the first place. I was so touched and grateful then.The message I wanted to convey came through and was understood as I meant it. I doubt I would have this conviction if I hadn't faced the format error.
Sometimes we worry so much about the gift that we forget the true intent behind giving it. Often we get carried away. In the stressful frenzy of getting the whole paraphernalia perfectly, we forget the essence, the real reason, for the celebration. This is a good month to keep in mind the Perfect Gift is not always the gift that is perfect.
P.S. Nevertheless, if those who have the scrappy award would like to relief the dragon from his obsessive stress, you may replace the image with the one above.
I leave you all Dragon Hugs!