Yeah, I’m in the mood for fancy titles.
But actually I wanted to write about something serious.
I’ve had a lot of time to think in the past week (although not too much energy to actually go through with it, but I did my best), and in retrospection, I seem to have run into a big theme for myself that will be very interesting to explore and consider in the future.
You might have guessed that I’m talking about perfection.
Now, if you meet me, ‘perfectionistic’ will most probably not be the first descriptive that comes to mind.
I’m rather disorganised, a bit clumsy and quite a happy drifter.
I like everything colorful, handmade, quaint… as long as things are beautiful and soulful, I’m happy.
And I want everybody else to be happy, too.
In order for them to be happy, I want them to be happy with me, to like me. So there’s always a part of me that tries very, very hard to do everything perfectly, so that other people will have a ‘positive impression’ of me.
When I was a teenager, the fear of not doing things right actually led me in a totally different direction: I got completely paralised, like a deer in the headlights, and didn’t make any effort to live up to anybody’s standards. I wasn’t a rebel, just a sad and hopeless little refuser. My own and other people’s disappointment and the bad feelings it brought are forever burnt into my soul.
And I don’t want to go there anymore, ever.
I’m not a person who wants to ‘fit in’ in the classic sense (actually, instead of ‘perfectionistic’ most people will name ‘hippy’ as the first thing they attribute with me – but that’s another story), but I have a very specific picture of the kind of impression I want to make on people, and I work hard to achieve it.
That’s not a bad thing… because it motivates me to challenge myself and the work I do, it forces me to constantly overthink whatever I do, my work, my thoughts, my social interactions.
But on the other hand, if you reread the last sentence, that’s exactly a bad thing. The kind of thing that makes you fall into a constant state of stress and self doubt. And soon enough, your mind will be filled with the voices of demons who tell you whatever you’re doing wrong and not enough and that you should try harder because you’re lazy and useless.
It’s a super fragile balance between doing whatever you can to be the person you want to be and maintaining an underlying mentality of ‘fu* you, I’m only doing this for myself and not to impress anybody’ – because that’s where it gets difficult. As soon as you are dependent on the outside world for acceptance and love, as soon as you can only be contempt with yourself when you feel that other people or ‘the universe’ approves of you – then you’re lost.
And the balance can go off so subtly, so unconsciously, that one day you’re feeling full of energy, fulfilled and happy with you’re life, and the next you’re an emotional wreck self-shaming yourself into a breakdown.
It’s kind of what happened in the past few weeks.
And I’m determined to learn from it.
I am never going to be perfect, but I’m worthy, just by trying.