If We Were Having Coffee // Perfect is the Enemy

Hello and happy Sunday! Thanks for stopping by for a bit of conversation and catching up over a cup of delicious coffee.

It’s late, I know. I stayed up too late binge-watching mindless T.V. and eating too many snacks. I normally don’t don’t do that on the weekends. I love to stay up but I know that I never deal very well with circadian disruptions in the morning. I don’t deal well with mornings in general! But the more sleep I get the better. And the truth is I’m not gettig any younger and though the mornings are getting harder all the time I am learning how valuable they really are. These late starts only mean less time in the light and already I can see the sun going down.

At least the air outside is still warm and I can have the windows open. I can hear the snow that is still melting from our last storm dripping off of rooftops and splashing in the streets. Autumn here is always more like winter but on the mild days I like to pretend spring has arrived early.

So, please, pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup. I have the usual: hot coffee from the French press but I have returned to soy milk from almond. I missed the silky texture it gave my coffee too much. Let’s talk about last week.

“You may think a morning coffee is the most enjoyable thing in the world, but it’s really just a habit.”

― Julien Smith, The Flinch

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I know I have been going on and on here about how poorly I have been feeling. I thought about taking a break from this blog but it’s all I have right now that is both all mine and doesn’t ask too much from me. It’s all I have that is mine and I that I also have the energy for and even if it becomes a place for me to dump my complaints and my sadness, that is what it will have to be, for now.

So, I have been feeling poorly. My ulcerative colitis symptoms have been creeping on for a few weeks now but this week my symptoms have escalated quickly. I struggled at work, and worse, I struggled at home too. My greatest fear with this disease is impacted my wife and our home.

Of course, some impact can’t be helped when I’m exhausted and in pain and hating my own body for failing me so spectacularly but I’m trying to minimize it. I try to protect a little of what is good in me, to carry some small positivity and enthusiasm through the day to give to her when we get home so she isn’t left with a shell of a person, or worse, all of my misery.

The good news is that I have talked with the doctor and we have a plan. I’m back on steroids which is both awful and terrific at the same time. The side effects can be harsh over time and I have already done so many rounds in the last few years that the long-term effects will begin to pile but I know I will start feeling better soon. I’m going to set up an appointment to speak with my doctor over the phone in two weeks so we can work out what the next steps are. The hope is that I can’t get myself back into remission and stay there with the same maintenance medication I’ve been on, but I have my doubts.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that work this week was hard and not just because of how sickly I’m feeling but because I’m teaching a class of new employees again. I love teaching so much but trying always to be a good teacher is hard. What I teach is small, but it is important and I strive to take is seriously. I learn from each person I teach. I learn a new way that people learn and a new way to help people learn in a way that works for them.

This week I learned how to better explain to people why perfectionism is the worst thing while learning and while testing. I always tell them this but I have never been able to explain the why of it. Why shouldn’t they try so hard? Why shouldn’t they strive to be perfect? But this week I tested a woman who was so enthusiastic and who was doing so well but then, midway through her test, she made a mistake. It was such an understandable mistake and of course she would be given the opportunity to try again, but all she could think about was the failure and I saw the life, the enthusiasm, drain right out of her.

I’ve seen it so many times but never this obviously. People make a mistake and they stop trying. They can’t see what I see, the potential. They can see that these facts and demonstrations we demand of them are not what we are really looking for. What we are looking for is the enthusiasm, the resilience, the strength to bounce back because this isn’t about them, it’s about the kids. So, I told the woman what I saw happening in her after her failure and then she saw it, and she changed it, and now I know how to tell people why perfect is the enemy of good.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week will be hard too but most of my training is done and I have my meds now so I think it will at least be an easier week than the last. By midweek there should be some time for me to make my own. I’m looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to reading something and to beginning a new kind of writing journey.

I cannot get Ray Bradbury out of my mind. I’ve been hearing him say WORK RELAX DON’T THINK and I have also been rolling around a part of his process that might just be the jump start I need to get from where I am to where I want to be next. It’s nothing big. In fact it’s so small and so simple that I have serious doubts it will work but I have a weird feeling too that it might at least help. I’m going to make a list, a giant list of words and phrases that I want to expand into a body of work. Essay titles, perhaps, or poetry prompts, or maybe even, someday, book chapters.

This is the task I am setting myself for December to open a spiral notebook (this has to be done long hand) and just start listing whatever pops into my head and I will keep on listing and when it’s time to WORK, I will RELAX because I won’t have to THINK so hard. I’ll let the list and my subconscious lead me to myself and you.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is very late now and though I have so much more I want to tell you, and to be honest I’m not very tired anyway, but if I want to have any hope of a decent start to the morning and the work week, I have to go now.

I hope you had a good week. I hope that wherever you are it still feels more like autumn than it does winter. I hope that your holiday shopping season is off to a good start and that the beginning of the end of the year found you in peace.

Until next time.

Paperbacks // Arlo Parks

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up.

Photo by Julien Labelle on Unsplash


Published by

Lisa Marie Blair

Painfully aware. Profoundly afraid. Perpetually falling in and out of love with humanity. She/They.

One thought on “If We Were Having Coffee // Perfect is the Enemy”

  1. Hi Lisa Marie.

    Please don’t fret over only feeling up to talking about your challenges. Like your wife (i bet) friends care about you and would prefer hearing the truth rather than a thin veneer of something more pretty, but lacking the value of being true. The real Lisa is much more interesting than any fiction could ever be.

    I love your attitude about teaching. I would add the attribute of it being an investment into someone else’s success and even when a student fails and is tempted to give up, you get to be his or her coach to get back up, recall the past successes and encourage them to make the needed adjustment or add the missing fact and press on to the finish line that is now so close…

    Don’t let your own instincts for wisdom ever be lost on yourself. We’re all works in process and you can master the challenges you cite.



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