Tenzin_and_a_frustrated_Korra (1)

Tenzin: There is no shame in taking the time you need to make a full recovery. I know you want to help. But trust me, everyone has this under control. I just think you need to …
Korra: [Angry.] If you say, “be patient”, I swear I’m gonna water-smack you in the mouth!
Tenzin: Nooo … I was going to say, you need to … [Searching for replacement advice] not worry about the future. Be grateful for where you are now and the progress you’ve made.

Last night a business associate took me out for dinner in the city’s art district. The restaurant was a cross between an art gallery, a bar and a restaurant. I loved the decor which set my mind’s cogs turning as I was finally feeling inspired enough to resume planning my pieces for an upcoming exhibition. The exhibition dates have been set for over a year and as usual, mired by doubt, I was procrastinating. Then of course, frustrated with my lack of progress, I’d berate myself for my creative block. I understand that the block is caused by a fear of failure. I want my pieces to be perfect and if I fall short, I’ll feel like a failure.

I do this to myself in other ways too. Like frowning at myself for being ashamed that I could not tell my business associate that I don’t drink at all. I shrugged off my decision to order a club soda and lemon, with an “Oh, I just don’t feel like drinking today.” Yet I gave myself a stern talking to before bed: “You have to get over this. You’ve been sober for over a year. Own your sobriety. Be proud of it and stop thinking that something is wrong with you. You should be further along in your acceptance of yourself.”

I might be right, but I can’t help feeling jealous when I read about others who totally own their sobriety, are open about it and never feel ashamed that they had to stop drinking. Me? I still worry that others will think less of me. Yes, I know I shouldn’t put so much stock in what others think and I am working on it. Times like this I have to be patient with myself and focus on how far I’ve come, instead of how far I have left to go.  I can notice and acknowledge the inner growth that is happening. I am a work in progress after all and I know I am in a better place than I was. I’m grateful for that.

Back to my upcoming exhibition. I know the best thing to do is to just focus on the work and enjoy the process. I have to trust that once I am true to myself, happy with what I create, and brave enough to put myself out there, that’s an accomplishment in itself. In the end that’s all that really matters. 

Tunnel Better Place Aang Iroh

Uncle Iroh: Sometimes life is like this dark tunnel. You can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you just keep moving… You will come to a better place.


This is Post P, in the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015. My 26 posts are inspired by the quotes from Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, two Emmy award-winning animated television series created and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. The setting for both series is in an Asian-influenced world of martial arts and elemental manipulation. The shows drew on elements from East Asian, South Asian, and Western culture, and (aside from the kick-ass story lines, beautifully developed characters and exceptional storyboards) are where I found a wealth of inspiration and perspective on my own life.

The rest of my A to Z 2015 posts can be found here.


  1. First… I certainly hope you might share some of your work with us?
    Second… love your self awareness. So often i just say no to a drink, simple, no other explanation. If pressed I would say I don’t drink, and leave it at that…because it’s just no one’s business. However, if it is someone I see fairly regularly or do business with i don’t feel any worry or shame in the “I don’t drink because..” and the truth. I have NOT always felt that way. I’m glad I am there now but I owned my time in the little evasions and feeling shame, we all do.
    So that’s where you are. I know you KNOW there is no shame, you’re just not quite at the “what other’s think of me is none of my business” end of the equation…you’ll get there. You will be patient and get there.
    I really love all your posts, and I love being remind of the avatar and how i used to watch it with my son. I wasn’t sober then….these little quotes are taking on a whole new meaning for me!

    1. Thanks Mished. I love you. You are always so encouraging in a firm but generous and kind way. Thank you for that. Happy to be reminding you of time spent with your son. 🙂

  2. 🙂 Yes, coming out. I haven’t done that in my normal social scene. I figured (or made up?) that as long as I do not internally own my sobriety and feel ashamed of it, I will transfer shame upon others and they will see me as such: shameful. So I’ve got some inner work to do first. And inbetween I do realise time and time again that those who protest hardest about other people not drinking (very few actually) are the ones who always have a glass in their hands.

    Fear of failure. I have that. Loads of it. I did something new today. I just started with what I wanted all along but did not dare to. I never ‘just start’, I seem to need procrastinating, guilt, shame, stupid punishement and depression first. With the wisdom of Anne I finally figured out that did not work, just for a second. But that was enough for the tea label wisdom of today to settle in: ‘Life expands according to one’s courage’. 🙂 I could do with that. 🙂

    xx, Feeling

    1. I love that quote! Life expands according to one’s courage. Very true. Kudos to you for starting something new. That’s awesome! 🙂

        1. Yes. But actually I’m a few days behind. Today’s letter is actually S, so I will be catching up fairly quickly now that I’m back home from my business trip. 🙂 I’ll post Q tonight and R, S and hopefully T tomorrow.

  3. I think it’s a process. One day you will feel comfortable saying you don’t drink. And from then on each time it will be easier. You might never feel like sharing why you don’t drink. And that is totally fair.

    I tried this out initially with strangers. I was much more open about both my drinking and my struggles with depression. I can’t begin to tell you how many people open up to me about their personal experiences with addiction or
    mental health.

    I feel it is part of my “calling” to be open to allow for this sharing. To assist with communication.

    I’m not sure where the motivation for that comes from. It just feels good. Like teaching yoga.

    Helping others let go of a little of their fear, even if it means I show my honest and imperfect self, makes my world brighter.

    I’d love to see some of your art too!

    1. Thank you Anne. I understand what you mean about being open. When we allow ourselves to open up and show our vulnerabilities, we give others permission to do the same. It certainly is your calling dear, helping others. You are such a natural at it. Hugs, 🙂

  4. I love all of your posts too, you are so warm and open and generous, it’s true. I’m so grateful for you here in this space.

    Mished is right…I think this is something we all go through, and I think it’s a lovely thing for you to be at the point where you want to break free of that shame and uncomfortability. Powerful. It’s interesting…I was getting there even with my colleagues at work before I drank recently…just becoming comfortable saying, I don’t drink. At all. And that’s that. I agree with you, I think it would be like taking flight from the old and embracing the new.

    So I think I’m just reiterating what others have already said…in your own sweet time, my dear.

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