Life is made up of two types of people
The reasons why we end up in either pile are vast, complex and far-reaching. For the most part, these reasons are deeply entrenched into our psyche, as early as our teenage years…certainly by our 20’s, we are firmly in one gang or the other; and we generally stay there for life. I however; am amongst the scattered few who’ve experienced a double perception on this black and white issue. I was a perfectionist and now I am a definite Non’er…
Practical Positives of being a Perfectionist
Bionic Perfectionists whoop ass in all areas; but for most (irritatingly to them) merely human perfectionists; due to frustrating time constraints, that they concisely calculated in alphabetical order back in year 11 of life… they hone in on particular areas of their world, where they MUST excel. I somehow ended up choosing ‘Home’, ‘Work’ and ‘Friends’ as my priorities. The bonuses for me were as follows:-
My desk and entire office were always immaculate, and my life’s research and all other submitted work, contained not one error.
I had an impeccable CV without a hint of a verbal warning, far less a disciplinary.
My life’s balance sheet was always up to date and fully er …balanced.
I didn’t know what a red bill was…
I got out of the bath into crisp yet oh so soft ironed sheets every 7 days, come death, earthquake or tropical monsoon.
I was the greatest friend, whilst resentment brewed under the veil,
I was always there.
The perfect hostess,
When ‘their’ hearts where broken, I held the broken pieces until they re-attached themselves.
I never missed a birthday, an event, a disaster, a celebration,
I perfectly organised the perfect schedule for the perfect rota for the perfect life plan, all on pretty pink paper and blue ‘unchewed’ bics.
You get the picture I’m sure…
I worked with Selina at the time… a ‘Non’er.
She was a high maintenance slightly pickled partner to Ronald. Ronald being boyfriend number 36! She was always running out of ‘leccy’ on her meter, and often found ironing by candlelight. She had been sacked for gross misconduct twice. She got hammered on a Sunday night (come death, earthquake or tropical monsoon) and subsequentally, spent at least 2 hours of Monday smoking and throwing up (much to the disgust of her colleagues). Her house stood firmly in the ‘Bomb Site’ category and she had around 40 odd socks and only 3 whole pairs…2 of which had holes in the toes.
She was an un-organised, impulsive soul and these traits brought with them…trouble and strife.
Now being a past Perfectionist, I must shamefully admit… we DO look at these Non’ers with great pity, as they scuttle around in the madness they seemingly create. Why can’t they get it together…Lazy people make the most pains…Some people never learn….Take some responsibility…Pull your socks up…Oh how we continue to deliver our moralising ‘eye rolls’ at the unorganised nature of these strange other creatures.
You can’t really blame all these ‘Mr and Mrs Perfect Pants’ for feeling superior. From the story above, it would be easy to assume I had my head screwed on a little more than Selina. I didn’t experience the stress that Sel did, my life was calmer and I used to look at her and definitely think I was happier. I used to see her watching how everyone treated me at work, her eyes told me she also thought I had it all figured out. She was indeed wishing she could live the life of me, ‘Mrs Perfect Pants’, the impeccable boss with a pub full of friends and her stepford sheets…
The Perfect Tops
Back in the days when I was in the ‘Perf’ club, I used to finish work on Friday, pop home, blitz the flat, which included dusting every single surface capable of collecting skin and other distressing bitties!!. Every doortop, every doorframe, every skirting board, every window-sill, the tiny ledge on the teeny feet of the sofa, every cupboard top, the top of the washing machine drum, the inch of the fridgetop visible at the front of the worktop, the top of the curtain poles, the handrail on the balcony, the top of the gate…
Once the blitz was completed I would glance around, feeling utterly joyous, calm and wonderful… take off my perfectly ironed clothes, pop on some more ‘starched gems’…and go to drink the night away with a big old ‘Friday’ grin on my face. A grin I thought was entirely real.
Then one innocent summer I had a problem, and then I got another one, and another and another and another and another; and then just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I got about another 6!
And I fell apart…Perfection was a distant memory as I sat in my very own bomb-site. No job, no life, no smile, and for the first time ever, sacks of red bills and life’s ‘red bill’ equivalents!
I felt weak, I felt a failure and I hated most of all the loss of the feeling I used to get when I looked at the plethora of clean ‘tops’ every Friday. All I had to look at now was debris, rubbish and grime
But whilst festering in my own crap and pity, I had an epiphany or 5 which literally turned my life upside down and eventually, tipped me the right way up!
I realised that!!!!!
– By behaving like the perfect friend, employee and house-keeper. I had closed off all avenues to actually improving myself. BEHAVING like your perfect; and striving to BE nearer perfect with insight; are two very different things
– I wrote a list of all the possible implications of being non-perfect and realised that the worst that had happened to the ‘tops’, was that they were dusty! OMG!! 😉
– I was living in a self-made prison of rules and expectations
– I was ignorant, with a deluded sense of superiority based on ‘a mask and her behaviours’
– In a quest to be the perfect employee, friend, house-keeper. I had inadvertently become a highly imperfect sister, daughter, partner and person.
I saw Selina the next day, and for the first time, I wanted to be her more that I had wanted to be anyone ever…
What I perceived as ‘my biggest failure of self’, turned out to be my ‘get out of gaol free card’ and the beginning of real self insight! Not a reality based on ‘facade’s a plenty’…
Now I pride myself on being inconsistently humanly imperfect. It is by far the happiest and healthiest gang to be in after all.
Nowadays, my friends know that I will never have any milk to make them a coffee, neither will I have cleared the cat hair off the sofa before they arrive in their black jeans. But still I will be the friend driving up the M25 to collect them when they’ve missed the last coach home
I don’t send all my little cousins birthday cards anymore, and sometimes I miss the Easter Egg hunt… but when I see them now, I make sure that I ask them about their lives; and I purposefully make a fool of myself (and suffer week long neck injuries) on ‘Fi’s’ trampoline, so they chuckle. I get excited about the shiny-ness of stones with my nephews..
I sometimes inflict my cactus legs on my ‘Onion’ and he is often forced to view my insanely wild head of hair, when I can’t be ass’d to tame it; but he knows I will never tell his secrets, nor subject him to the ‘perfectly’ behaved, utterly disrespectful games I used to indulge in
I don’t cook his tea very often ;/ but I smile a lot more now I’ve learn’t the art of vegetating without guilt :), and I always have time to listen when he is blue
I’m no longer plagued by nightmares of insignificant skin and dust, so now when I listen, my brain has room to really care…
By reducing self built expectations of myself; by becoming lesser. I have grown taller, more balanced, wiser and kinder. And whilst still remaining miles away from perfect, I am nearer to the distant dot as a Non perfectionist, than I ever was whilst I ponced around trying to be perceived as perfect…
Non perfectionists are born FREE and they live, shrink and grow…they are blessed.
Perfectionists are self incarcerated ‘lifers’. They are cursed and suppressed, and they exist in patterns that prevent them from really living. They are blessed only when fate gives them a) the opportunity to see how the other half live, and b) enough insight to jump onto the ‘reality’ train whilst it’s at their station…
It’s only in the times when you finally let yourself fail, that you will be offered parole! To all you perfectionists, I urge you to take it! Previously unknown levels of freedom and fun are waiting around the corner FOR YOUUUUUUUUUUU :)!