Yesterdays, or, Slipping Off the "Pumps of Perfectionism"


Driving home from TRX class, with only one working contact (the other was inexplicably doing sommersaults in my eye, effectively rendering me a one-eyed Jack), I heard the quote that summed up what I’ve been trying to say to myself for some time now. For some reason though, myself doesn’t like to listen to myself that frequently. Anways, Liz was talking to Oprah about a variety of topics regarding the hero’s journey, and one of the recurring themes was fear and how it may keep us (or push us, if it is a fear to stay still) into new pathways.

When Liz named the trait perfectionism a manifestation of fear, it confirmed what I have known for the last six months or so:  my “type A” facade is just a very socially praised fear.  I want to preface with a disclaimer:  I don’t doubt that there are people enjoying that type of existence.  Mad props to you, yo’.  I thought I loved it, too (truth bomb: I didn’t, I loved the attention it garnered me).  It turns out that my particular type of perfectionism came with the tagline, “Make it Pretty for the People.”   This idea of things being perfect also gave me an excellent copout—I could put things off, ad nauseam, until they met the mythical standard of perfection.  Seeing as this mythos had no definite parameters, I could keep pushing things off until I was pushing daisies, all in the name of them “not being ready” yet.

I am releasing that old excuse, and I wanted to proclaim it to the world.  Allie is not wanting to be perfect, and she is giving up the feeble idea that she should control every aspect of her world.  Instead, she will strive to be in authentic creative union with the universe.  Turns out this is waaaaaaaay different than my prior death-grip approach to life, and way more fun.

Now, this does not mean that I am throwing out my planners and renouncing clock time (though I’d love to do that at a later date…#einsteiniantimeforlife).  It does not mean that I will no longer plan the workouts I want to do each week, or that I’ll stop blocking all my emails into one hour of answer time.  Those little bits of structure are good in my day.  I look forward to those bits of scaffolding to shape my hours.  This also doesn’t mean that I’m not cleaning my house, or washing my hair, or morphing into a cloud of dust like Pigpen.  I do enjoy a clean and chic environment, and I dabble in dressing myself well and making my face look like someone else’s face. What I cannot abide by anymore is obsessing over the how and when and with who and how much and what for.  I will no longer do things just to be perceived as “together” by the outside world.  I shall not feel guilty if I migrate something in my bullet journal (does that carrot give anyone else a queasy tummy?).

Above all, I give myself permission to make gigantic mistakes. To fail spectacularly.  To try something, decide I don’t like it, and stop. I can be late to the party.  Hell, I don’t have to go to any damned parties if I don’t feel like it.

The talk is nice, but the proof is in the pudding.  This week, I’ve surrendered my writing process to God, and I’ve managed to post every day (more than ever before), and actually make headway on #projectsynopsis for my book.  I’ve made it to every appointment.  I’ve finished more tasks in less time.   More is getting done with less obsessive scheduling than ever before.  I like it. I like it a lot.

Thank you, Liz, for forcing me to take off my sexy perfectionist pumps.  As cute as everyone else thought they were, I was hobbling through the party in them when all I really wanted to do was stand on the table and dance.