‘Great things are done by a series of small things brought together’
Vincent Van Gogh
Today we’re talking progress. I’m pretty sure everyone has seen the graphic (that I won’t be including for copyright reasons) of the two little arrows, detailing what we think progress looks like (straight line shooting upwards), and what progress actually looks like (an arrow dancing around the page making loops like its on acid). Much as I love that little drawing, I always secretly thought ‘Pfft! My progress will be the top arrow!’- in almost every area I wished to progress in. But, as I’ve hit twenty, I’ve realised that my progress does indeed look like the bottom arrow. And that isn’t a bad thing.
Okay: story time. Lets take a look at two incidents- one from yesterday, and one from this morning- that show my progress is like the bottom arrow.
If you’ve followed this blog and my IG very closely, you might have picked up on the fact that I have been in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), for an impulse-control disorder known as dermatillomania. Twice. The first time helped a little, but not a lot. The second time changed my life. Having left the second course I was told that I could have bad days. But just to remember: that bad day isn’t me going back to square one. I can learn something from it. Yesterday was a bad day. Dermatillomania is where an individual compulsively picks their skin- make no mistake, it isn’t just someone picking spots when they shouldn’t. When you’re in that frame of mind, nothing will stop you- not red splotches, blood, or scabs. At one point, I would have stayed in all day, and moped, and maybe watched several Disney movies. Yesterday, I slapped on some makeup, and went for a walk. Then nagged my dad to take me to Tescos (I know, exciting) so I could wander around somewhere , and took another walk with the dog that afternoon. And I realised that it wasn’t the end of the world: the small acts such as these that I engage in when things do go wrong, are contributing to my continuously getting better, even if there are ups and downs.
Second, more positive, example: in the gym this morning I was trying to use the chin up machine, when a PT came over and told me I wouldn’t get anywhere fast using it. I would do better using a bar. As I am only 5’4, I couldn’t reach the bar. Even on the bar with built in steps. Even on the bar with built in steps, with a plastic step stacked on top. I had to stand on the PT’s hands, and do my chin up like that. As I gym it alone, I don’t have anyone to spot for me. I mentioned this, and the PT said I should feel free to grab any of them the next time I was in. Which I shall. Point being: I only managed three assisted chin ups today, and felt like a massive fool doing them. I may not be able to do them every week, but eventually the small steps I’m taking will lead to me being able to do a full on chin up.
When we achieve great things, it a culmination of teeny tiny steps we’ve made over days, months, and years- and sometimes that little arrow might head downwards for a bit. And I am too impatient for that, and I like my progress to form a steep and rapidly moving upward curving line. But life doesn’t actually work that way. And you know what? I’m kind of okay with that.