I’ve always hated the term “perfectionist” because of the stigma attached to it. Nevertheless, perfectionism has played a part in my life for years.
As a child I would spend hours outside picking up sticks from our yard. Not just big sticks, we’re talking tiny tiny sticks. It got so bad at some point that my mom set a time limit for me so I wouldn’t be out for hours a day picking up sticks. Perfectionism + OCD = the perfect marriage.
I always assumed chasing after perfection was a good trait. Shouldn’t we want our lives to be more perfect? Isn’t there a right way to do things? It’s only recently that I’ve seen the harm that this attitude has done in my life.
I am hesitant to share a song, an essay, a thought, unless it is as close to perfect as I can get it. Perfectionism doesn’t drive me to excellence all the time. Sometimes it paralyzes me.
My computer holds a plethora of half written songs, finished songs that I can’t bare to share, and blog posts I’m too insecure to publish. This self editing can be exhausting.
I mentioned this quote off handedly to Joe the other day (from Pride and Prejudice of course)
“We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the éclat of a proverb.”
Bingo! That’s it. If I’m going to share a song it better bring the house down. If I’m going to articulate an opinion it better change everybody else’s mind.
But sometimes you have to write terrible songs to get to the good ones. Sometimes you have to make a mistake to learn a lesson. Sometimes you have to hear yourself say something out loud to realize how ridiculous you sound.
I don’t want my life to be a collection of “perfect” things on display that I can never take down and put to use.
So, here’s to all the perfectionists in the world. It’s ok to come out to play.