Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Perfection, You're an Asshole

You know how the universe speaks to you?  Well, the universe was hitting me over the head with a shovel yesterday.  Okay, I get it, universe, you can stop shoveling me!

It started when Rob sent me this article about perfectionism and how many problems it causes us.  Then I was cruising facebook and read this article Anne Lamott wrote about... Perfectionism.  Then I was channel surfing in the afternoon and Katie Couric had on a dame that wrote a book about the perils of... Perfectionism.  All of these things were unrelated, not like when you see the same actor on every talk show in the same week pimping the same movie.  And I didn't go looking for any of them (or did I?)

So I asked myself, after the second run in with perfectionist dogma, why is this coming into my life today?  What am I supposed to take from this besides the obvious?

I do not consider myself a perfectionist.  I'm an eye baller, not a measurer.  I don't beat myself up over failures, I'm more of an "oh well." type.  However, I do take pleasure when I get things perfect.  My own measurement of perfection, not anyone else's.  I like things to be just so, and I have to talk myself down a little bit when they're not.  I like rules and parameters and un-ambiguous answers.  In class recently, we've done a color theory section and we had to mix paints and make a color wheel.  I hated it.  I like 2 + 2 to equal 4, and that's not the way it works in color mixing.  It was crazy making.  This is why I like baking better than cooking: Cooking uses a recipe as a guide, and then you "salt to taste."  I am paralyzed by salting to taste.  Or, you're supposed to go to your local farmers market and buy what's fresh and in season and make it work.  This does not work for me.   I like the recipe to be the gospel, and I never deviate from it.  That's baking.  

I think my daughter suffers from perfectionism.  She has a history of being good at everything at the first try, and when she isn't, she gives up in less than a minute.  Then she beats herself up because she can't do stuff, or she's not perfect at it.  This causes a lot of anxiety.  I've been wondering what, besides hormones, is causing her anxiety, and I think the universe was trying to speed up the process of discovery yesterday.  Thanks, universe.

Have I made her a perfectionist?  I mostly brag about what a total loser I am, so it doesn't seem like I have, but I probably have, what with my baking and my math.  But why doesn't she focus on the things I'm terrible at?  Like planning what's for dinner and cleaning the grout in the bathroom? And eating a healthy diet and exercising?  I'm a complete failure at those things! I am the most mediocre gardener in the world, and I almost let a baby fall down the stairs one minute in to a babysitting gig the other day.  Brick stairs, not carpeted.

Parenting is hard.  And I don't want to hear anyone bragging about how they are a perfectionist.  Its a DISEASE!  Read the articles, and tell me you don't see yourself or your kid in there.  I dare you.

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