I consider myself a recovering perfectionist.
Right up until the moment that I fail. In that moment, I don’t want to stay with my feelings, or grow, or use any other fantastic coping skill I may have acquired. I want to take all those feelings and shove them so far down they can’t resurface for at least a good year or two. Step two involves deleting all signs of said failure because heaven fucking forbid other people know I’m human and failed at something important. Cause you know, no one else has ever had disappointments. Oh wait, we all do. But never mind that, we hide it. And snap pictures and tweet clever blips of only our best and brightest moments.
Yesterday, I had to grieve the loss of something I thought I wanted. But within seconds of losing it I knew I had only wanted it for the security. I felt relief tinged with loss. And then I gave failure and shame the power instead of what I knew was true. I was embarrassed and wondering how the hell I was going to make things work now. What was originally a freeing moment quickly turned into a paralysis of fear and a rapid firing of emails to people who could possibly point me towards a new opportunity.
Because we have given failure a shamed based power in our stories.
And god, if we never failed we would never end up even near where we need to go. Do we ever consider that failure is quite possibly divine in its own right? That failure is a cosmic get out of jail free card because honey, you were so not meant for that path, and trust the goodness of what is beyond us to take out of our hands what we were never meant to hold.
Before the realists chime in, I’m not talking about that opportunity you muddied up because you didn’t put in the time and effort so it slipped right through your unprepared fingers. No, I’m talking about the opportunity you fiercely latched onto because this had to be it and damn if you wouldn’t make it work. Maybe it seemed perfect. Or maybe, your intuition reminded you gently it wasn’t, but your logic said it did. not. care. because look how perfect it is on paper.
And oh Lord, you would think by now we would know that what looks right on paper, what sounds like it should be the absolutely positively perfect next step according to our fear based little thoughts is really just that. One giant perfectly planned reaction to fear and shoulds.
Personally, I’d rather write my story through listening to myself even when it doesn’t make sense because honestly, if you’re really listening it isn’t always going to make sense. Actually let me rephrase that. There will be A LOT of times it doesn’t make sense to other people. And I’m learning to be okay with that. I live in my skin, not them. They can do them and I’ll do me. They can let fear and should and shame run the show if they’d like, but I’m done playing those games.