Real Talk

Being a Perfectionist: A Work in Progress

August 10, 2015

I’m currently consumed in a 90210 Netflix binge. I made it my weekend goal to finish the series, so it’s safe to say this show has taken over my life.

Isn’t it peculiar how your current life struggle always coincidentally correlates with a scene or quote in the show or movie you just happen to be watching? I always think it’s the universe telling me something. Maybe it is, or maybe it’s just because movie/television plots are obviously always relatable to our life dilemmas, so we notice the similarities. Either way, it always happens.

So obviously that happened to me today while I was wrapped up in Season 5. I wasn’t really paying attention, but then I heard this scene, went back, and replayed it. I rarely replay a scene, but this  really resonated with me.

Some quick context (Season 5, Episode 14): Silver has been super OCD about everything her surrogate, Michaela, is doing, eating, etc. and completely obsessed with trying to make sure absolutely nothing goes wrong with the pregnancy. She says she had a specific vision of how her own pregnancy would go. Now that she has to do everything through another person, she can’t help but want to control everything.

Michaela: “You’ve spent so much time obsessing over this baby that you don’t have time for anything else. Not a relationship, not school, not even your friends.”

Silver: “I just want everything to be perfect.”

Michaela: “And is it? Take it from me, from somebody whose family is completely over-involved and controlling. It’s not healthy. Not for you, and certainly not for the baby.”

When Michaela said, “And is it?,” it hit my heart like a U-Haul filled with a mountain of bricks. I might not be pregnant or dealing with a surrogate, but that question is something I’ve needed to hear desperately for awhile now.

I have an obsessive personality. Hence “addicted” to lovely. Addictive, obsessive…I’m not sure how else to describe it. When there’s something on my mind, I become completely obsessed with it. It’s all I can think about. Whether that something has to do with school, work, family, friends, health, or any other problem I’m having, my brain is 5 million percent consumed with it. This goes hand-in-hand with being a perfectionist. I’m a planner. I plan out my days, my weeks, and my months so I fit everything in. I want to cover all my bases. I want to get it right. If I’m given any type of task or obstacle, I want my execution to be “perfect”. Never less than 300%. I’ll stay up all night researching things to try and “fix my problem” or make “the perfect plan” or find the “right answer.” This leads to both a severe lack of sleep and a style of life that never seems to have a break. ” I don’t think that I even really know what taking a break means. It is unhealthy.

Hearing someone say it that bluntly (even if this it’s on 90210)…it just slapped me right in the face. I can’t control everything. Can I ever really “get it right”? What does that even mean? Sometimes I just want to shake myself and scream,

There’s not a correct way to live your life! LET GO.

I’ve gone through so much in my personal life recently, and the biggest lesson I am slowly learning (very slowly) is that I need to let go. To let things happen as they may. That’s what I’m trying to improve on right now. Nothing is perfect. Moments can be perfect naturally, just by enjoying them as they happen. It doesn’t have to always go just as planned. It doesn’t even always have to be planned. This is a very hard concept for me to embrace. I’ve always been jealous of people who live moment to moment, never worrying about trivial things in the future the way I do. But life has tossed a lot of things at me, forcing me to face some major realizations about how I want to live my life. So now I’m working on finding the balance. Will I ever completely abandon my addictive, planning, perfectionist personality? Doubtful. To be honest, I don’t think it’s totally a bad thing. It’s good to be organized and motivated, and it’s part of who I am. But there has to be a balance. There has to be room for plans to change and space to just let the pieces of this puzzle I call my life fall where they may. And I can enjoy whatever comes from that. Because the truth is, I cannot control or anticipate everything life will throw at me, no matter how much I plan and organize and work as hard as I can to make things “perfect”. I just can’t. And that’s okay.

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