Perfectionism and The Art of Self Sabotage

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I’ve had life block for a long time now. More devilishly frustrating than mere writer’s block (yep, got that too), life block affects every aspect of my creative, driven, hopeful self in much the same way that writer’s block functions.

When faced with decisions that range from what to make for lunch to what to do with my life, I will wash the dishes, scrub my kitchen trash can, pick up dog poop, unclog the shower drain and perform any other mundane task that I can think of in an attempt to avoid making a choice. Often, I wait so long that I back myself into a corner, and have to make my decisions based on the options that are left. I have a million ideas – articles to write, businesses to start, projects to begin, art to create – yet I see them only as endpoints where I long to be. I dread the journey, full of the frustratingly unpredictable moments that others call excitement, in their direction. I worry about how my decisions will be perceived by others, whether I will live up to the expectations placed on me, possibly by my family, or by phantoms of mine and society’s making, but most likely by no one but myself.

In conversation, I often feel tongue tied and it’s not for lack of things to say. Rather, I’m experiencing a new-found concern for how others will react when I talk. Is what I’m saying witty and intellectual enough? Is it deep enough? Is it too deep? Is it too personal? Is it boring? Is it funny? Is it going to seem like I’m trying too hard? I imagine that my friends have lately found themselves confronted with an unusually quiet Caroline, who “hangs out” with a consternated look on her face and little by way of contribution. The worst thing is that because of the battle tantamount to civil war going on in my brain, I can barely pay attention to what’s happening around me. I hate not being able to be a good listener to my friends.

Perfectionism and the Art of Self Sabotage | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Perfectionism and the Art of Self Sabotage | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

 Bambo, skipping stones and not worrying about it all that much.

In singing, I generally cannot bring myself to practice on my own. Though I am a relatively new student of voice, I seem to have decided that it is unacceptable to utter a single note that I would not want others to hear. I dread the sound of a mistake in an empty room. Why?

Somewhere in my brain, there is an unkind gatekeeper that stops all those nascent idealings, those tender beginnings of expression and choice, from making it into the world. She is a drill sergeant, impatient and rough, who expects nothing short of perfection and rational, deliverable happiness before she will let anything pass. She does not like the unknown.

And, oh! Writer’s block. My blog has been a constant companion over these last four years, and a place for much creative play. Yet, in treating a public platform like a journal, I leave myself little room for the practice of writing. I have come to dread sitting down at my computer because I have trained myself to expect that a finished, publishable product will be the result. I kill the phrases forming in my head before they make it onto a page, or I write a sentence and hastily rewrite it, and rewrite it, and rewrite it. I’m surprised the delete button on my computer still works. Of course, in knowing that each time I express myself, it will be for others to see, I have become locked up.

I wonder where my gatekeeper came from, and whether other people have a similar, unwelcome guest in their minds. Surely she hasn’t always been there or I would have the productive capacity of a sock by now. So when did I let this editor take up residence and demand a chez d’oeuvre be produced before breakfast each day?

This is one of the questions I hope to tackle this year as I travel, think, and journal every day without necessarily letting anyone read it. It’s one of the bargains I made with myself for sort of falling off the map for a year. I have to journal every day. I’m reading the book Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and have found her ideas about the daily practice of writing very helpful. For her, writing utter garbage that will never see the light of day is not just acceptable, it is expected. Only through the composting of those half-formed ideas, the discharge of mental chaos, can the real truths of thought grow.

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Women on Earth: A Year Among the Green-Thumbed Mothers of America

It’s really happening! On Friday, I officially finished my work as the editor of the Southern New England Weddings blog after a year and a half at the company, and am embarking on a year long project documenting sustainable farms and earth-related businesses run by women. I cannot believe how lucky I am, but I can also feel the spirit of my grandmother for whom this blog is named, Hope, guiding me and smiling at me. She was a fiercely intelligent woman who always encouraged my love of travel and discovery, and I know this project would make her smile.

Last weekend, I got my first taste of the year to come. It’s funny how things happen in life. One moment, I was helping a couple bring their bags down the cliff at my favorite (secret!) beach in Jamestown, and the next, we were discovering our shared passion for the urban farm movement. Marly and Brower are artists living on Providence’s west side, and have turned their entire property into a community garden guided by the wise hands of their friends, a group of Bhutanese women from their neighborhood. I was invited to photograph their observation of Teej, a Hindu celebration of women’s expression, at the house. So many joyous photos to edit, but I am currently sitting on a porch overlooking a garden and valley in Marshfield, VT and a hike is calling my name, so for now, here is a favorite photo of the holiday.

There will be many posts to come as I document my travels here at Hope State Style. You can also follow me on instagram at @cgoddard24. If you know of an individual or community of women who have found health, wellness and empowerment through a close relationship to the earth, I would love to hear about it! I am currently mapping out my year of traveling around the country in search of these inspiring people. Please leave me a comment or email me your thoughts at CGoddard24@gmail.com.

Much love and goodness to you all, thank you for reading!

Caroline

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Great Friends Meeting House, Newport, RI | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

I’m so excited to collaborate with the Newport Historical Society on a series of posts exploring their historic properties around the city. Earlier this year, I photographed The Great Friends Meeting House and fell a little bit in love with the restrained architecture, the grey-green and white color scheme, and the wooden pews scattered throughout the building. Despite the sparing interiors, the things worth photographing were endless, especially all the smallest details of the hand-hewn structure. It’s an incredible building with a lot of potential for bringing people together, as was its original purpose. Coming up July 17th, The Island Moving Company will lend motion and life to the space with the Great Friends Dance Festival.

A few notes about the meeting house and its history from NHS:

• Quakers arrived in Newport in the mid-17th century.

• The meeting house was built in 1699. It’s the oldest surviving house of worship in Newport.

• It’s considered post medieval English vernacular architecture.

• As described by Rev. George Keith, “large enough to hold 500 persons or more, with fair and large galleries, and forms or benches below.”

• The structural timbers are made from oak.

• The present north wing called the North Meeting, a two story gable roofed structure measuring about 40 x 45 feet, was added in 1729. The second story of this addition has long been known as the “old ship room” because of the curving ceiling beams. The size of the building was tripled in 1807, when a new wing was constructed on the south side of the building.

• Restoration began in 1967 and it was donated to the Newport Historical Society.

• For more details about the property visit:

Explore Historic Newport, the NHS app

The NHS website: http://www.newporthistory.org

 

Thank you to Elizabeth Sulock and the rest of NHS for getting me involved, showing me around and giving me a mini history lesson!

Yiannis Making Sandals + Playing Harmonica

Yiannis Making Sandals + Playing Harmonica | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Yiannis Making Sandals + Playing Harmonica | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

 

Yiannis Making Sandals + Playing Harmonica | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Yiannis Making Sandals + Playing Harmonica | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

Yiannis Making Sandals + Playing Harmonica | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about things, lately. Mostly, how I am tired of them. The nondescript and the useless diluting the functional and the meaningful until all of it feels like rubbish. I’m having a yard sale shindig this Saturday and I can’t wait to get rid of the stuff cluttering my life while listening to a live bluegrass band in my backyard with friends. If you’re a pal of Hope State Style, ping me for the details, I’d love to see you there!

It’s true I like to pick things. Browsing Salvation Army, scanning the streets on trash night (just scored a Marcel Breuer Wassily B3 chair in need of restoration), bringing things home from my travels … all favorite pastimes. But it doesn’t always follow that I want to live with them. Maybe I need to have a store at some point. It’s just exercise for my eye, a challenge for my brain and a thrill when I find something no one else is looking for.

I decided to pull out these photos this week when the strap of my sandal broke.

Yiannis is the gregarious old flirt who would not sell me those sandals until I had drunk three glasses of farmer’s jug wine with him in his little workshop and store in Paroikia, Greece. We became friends during my time on the island, and enjoyed talking about music. I shared with him the Greek pieces I was working on with my vocal ensemble, and he played me some harmonica tunes.

I thought I would be more upset about them breaking, but all I could think of was, “time to go back.”

With Richard, New Orleans

With Richard, New Orleans | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

With Richard, New Orleans | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

With Richard, New Orleans | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

With Richard, New Orleans | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

With Richard, New Orleans | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

With Richard, New Orleans | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

With Richard, New Orleans | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

With Richard, New Orleans | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

With Richard, New Orleans | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

With Richard, New Orleans | Hope State Style | Caroline Goddard

While visiting New Orleans this spring, I spent a day shooting with my cousin, Charlotte, and her friend, Richard McCabe. Richard is the curator of photography at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and is currently obsessed with his Polaroid camera, which is understandable given the prints he was getting on our shooting excursion. Sometimes I feel like I snap into different personalities as a photographer depending on who I’m with and where. I shoot very differently when I’m thinking about a travel post for the blog, or capturing a wedding, versus just playing. I’d say my attitude that day, and the resulting films, fell into the latter category. Thanks to Richard, we got to see many different sides of New Orleans, too.

Hopestate-Feature-on-Wordpress

Hope State Style featured on the WordPress Blog!

I got a nice surprise one day this May when I opened up my blog dashboard- a huge spike in views and follows and some lovely comments that alerted me to the fact that I had been featured on the WordPress blog! Even though I’d probably still be writing this thing if the only person reading it was my mom (hi, mom!) it’s always nice to know that others are taking the time to visit me. I’m truly honored! Thanks to all for stopping in. You can see the article, which is part of their Early Theme Adaptors series, here.