Book Notes: *Poser, my life in twenty-three yoga poses* by Claire Dederer

This is not a yoga book. It's not a book that preaches about being present or 'just breathing'.  It is a memoir that made me laugh out loud and also made me seriously reflect on some of my own crap. Claire is a new mom in her 30s who starts to do yoga. She is plagued by her own perfectionism and this is the story of how she begins to let it go.

She is irreverent to the whole yoga thing (which I love).  In one scene, Claire has just walked into her second yoga class (she is skeptical). Enter: the teacher:
"I am Atosa," she said. Like hell you are, sister.

Descriptions of the over-educated mom trying to make all of the right choices really hit home with me. Breastfeeding, making her own baby food (organic, of course), choosing the 'right' preschool. These things were the 'rules' of Claire's liberal neighborhood in Seattle.
Our goodness was driven by an underlying terror: What if we stopped?....There was trouble lurking at the edge of my effort; all I could do was everything, and do it right.

  This made me ask myself, "What would happen if I stopped being 'good'?" Hmmmm. Am I putting too much pressure on myself? Let me rephrase that. I mean, I know that I'm putting too much pressure on myself... to parent correctly, 'wife' correctly, create correctly, career correctly....but is it because of fear? It sounds almost ridiculous. OF COURSE it's because of fear, right? What else could it be?

It reminded me of what a well-intentioned therapist, Steve, once said to me when I was talking about the pressures I was putting on myself at work (teaching at a charter school): What would happen if you were just 'good enough'? 

I realized that 'good enough' made me uncomfortable. How could I do that? I must do the absolute best job that I can at all times or..... or what? I couldn't even fathom it. I couldn't imagine not putting in my best effort at work. It was black or white for me. Either I would be doing the best job or I would be a crappy teacher. There was no in between. No balance. Insanity. I never thought I was a perfectionist because I don't care too much about getting all the lines straight or the 'i's dotted. I am more free-form. I'm big picture, not details. I didn't realize that there are many ways to be a perfectionist.

But enough about me and my analysis paralysis.

Back to the book. I loved it. When I finish up the biography of Steve Jobs (a much more intense perfectionist) I might just have to read it again.

1 comment:

  1. I am reading this book right now and love it. So well written and I can totally relate. Thanks for the suggestion.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...