Letting go of perfect

Hello from the distant realm of IRL!

I could give all kinds of explanations as to why it’s taken me so bloody long to post on this blog (my significant other has a horrendous and all-consuming immune disease that was mistreated for months, we’ve had about five close family members get extremely ill or die in the last six months, work has been insane as I attempt to establish my own business, and oh yeah, I’M GETTING MARRIED?!), but the fact is…

I can’t stand not being perfect.

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That’s the bald truth behind my lack of posts lately.

But wait… what sense does that make? When I’ve been at my lowest, my “least perfect,” I’ve posted lots in the past. And I certainly do not identify as a “perfect” person… most of the time, I couldn’t feel farther from that.

I’m not entirely sure that I understand it either. All I know is, the “better” I get mentally, the stronger and stronger the voice is that reminds me of my never-ending quest for perfection.

I think it’s kind of like: when I’m a mess, I’m a big mess. I can let go of the fantasy about being perfect, because it’s so obvious that I’m not. I let myself give up and cry and freak out and accomplish next-to-nothing, because I don’t have any choice.

However, when I’m doing “okay,” it’s a totally different story.

Once I’m “okay,” then I’m also “normal” (these are all terms I use in my own mind, mostly subconsciously) and I have zero excuses to be less than perfect. Keep in mind that my job (editor) really doesn’t lend itself to combatting this type of obsessive thinking!

(Bear with me… this is really annoying and almost stream-of-consciousness, I know… that’s because I’m forcing myself to write this WITHOUT GOING BACK AND EDITING. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. No joke.)

I’ve struggled with severe procrastination all my life. Only recently (like four or five years ago) did I learn about the general pysch theory behind procrastinating. It basically goes, “If I don’t give something my full efforts, my full attention, or even a proper chance, then I don’t have to feel bad when it’s not perfect — because I didn’t really try.”

Something about that hit home, especially in relation to my BPD. (GAH I ADMIT IT: I SPELLED THAT BDP BUT I HAD TO FIX IT, YOU GUYS… this is what I’m talking about!)

How many times have I told myself some version of that same sentiment? If I don’t fully admit that I’m in love and 100% committed to this relationship, then I don’t have to feel bad when it falls apart. If I throw this essay out there at 3 a.m., then I don’t have to be upset with an 80% instead of 100. If I don’t really act like myself, then I won’t get hurt — because I’m never truly exposed to be hurt in the first place.

BPD and procrastination share a core aspect: they both depend on a whole lot of deception and bullshit to protect something very very painful and very very vulnerable.

Admitting this — admitting that I have this core of pain and vulnerability — is not something I did once and never have to do again. I’m realizing that it’s something I have to remind myself of over and over and over again. Every day, in fact. Because otherwise I fall right back into the thought pattern that made me so miserable in the first place: “I’m not enough, but if I can just try hard enough, be enough to make everyone I ever meet happy and totally enamoured with what a wonderful, brilliant, kind, talented, hilarious, perfect person I am… then I WILL feel like enough at last.”

On the one hand, I’m deeply grateful that the past five-six months have been the single longest period I’ve ever gone without suffering a deep depression since I was about 10 years old. On the other hand, I’m no longer proud of myself for that fact. It’s not enough to get through the day and make a little money and make someone else smile. It’s starting to creep into my mind that I’m fat (I’m not), unsuccessful (I’m not), self-centred (I hope I’m not), and light years behind where I “should be” in life. I should get up every day and work out for a couple hours. I should then go to my job I love and make thousands of dollars a day at. I should eat organic produce and healthy fats all day and crave nothing else. I should volunteer at a couple local charities in the evening, then visit with every one of my friends and family so that I don’t feel guilty for not caring about their lives. Finally, I should work on my groundbreaking novel for a few hours, finish the day with some art, reading, and other suitably edifying hobbies, and then get eight hours of sleep. How hard is it to just have a day like that?

I’m delusional. I get it. You don’t know how many posts I’ve drafted for this blog over the past four months or so. But none seemed funny/insightful/relatable enough to be worth posting. I’d end up deleting every single one.

So here goes. Unedited and utterly imperfect, this is my new style of blogging — and hopefully, eventually, my new style of living. I’m not going to agonize over each post for hours, then tell myself I don’t have time to blog at all.

(FUCK, okay I could not resist doing a Command+F for ‘really’ — one of my most overused words — and there are 500 of them… sorry, guys… really sorry :P)

-Cat xxxxx