Friday, June 24, 2011

Perfectionist Much?

Today was a very good day, capped off by what in most households would have been a very nice email to receive.  One from my school, informing me that for the fourth of my four semesters at college I have made the Dean's List.  I was happy when I opened the email.  For maybe a split second. . .

Ok, so when I say I was happy for a split second, I'm probably exaggerating.  I was only happy long enough to register that happiness was the emotion I was feeling, before I squashed it.  How dare I be happy with those grades?  I have had two years to earn a perfect 4.0 and I haven't done it yet.  What is there to celebrate about mediocrity?  I should be working harder, studying at all my meals.  I should delete my Facebook account until I've attained a 4.0  

Etc. etc. etc.

I am a tiny bit of a perfectionist, I suppose.  And that isn't something I necessarily want to change - it can, despite what you may have heard, be a good and helpful and productive thing.  For instance, I am very thorough.  I am often quite efficient (so as to have time to do the next task thoroughly.  and because I have to be the fastest, being a crazy person and all).  I work very hard.  I study a lot.  I have lots of useless-but-oddly-helpful knowledge.  I'm reliable.  Everybody's go-to gal.  However, when mismanaged perfectionism (is that a real word, or did I make it up?  You know I'm totally going to Google it right?) can be . . . difficult.  Challenging.  A little destructive.  Case in point, my evening.  I jumped directly from last semester's ok-but-not-good-enough grades to next semester's schedule.

My eight classes.

Five jobs.

Theater show (as a performer)

Theater show (as Props Designer & Mistress)

Dance shows

Etc. Etc. Etc.  And how nothing I do in any of those areas is good enough.  We've already covered the GPA.  I don't want to get in to the jobs.  My goal is ultimately to land a lead while at school in the theater shows: which I can't do if I don't work harder.  Get in better shape.  Work on my appearance.  Take voice lessons seriously (which I can't afford without adding a sixth job).  The shows I do props for I'm such a perfectionist I went out and bought glass coke bottles manufactured the same year as the show was set - even though we already had some in the props closet from roughly the same time period.  I know.  I'm insane.

You're already not as pretty as the other girls.  Why do you think you're never going to be a lead?  Your voice is good but it isn't trained and you're too old for that shit.  It's your own fault, you should've gotten another job sooner.  So you're not as pretty, you're not as trained, you're not skinny enough, and you think being a decent actress is enough?  Shut up.

And of course you'll probably bitch about adding a sixth job.  Your family and friends don't deserve to hear it.  You need to work that hard to get an education, you shut up and work that hard.  Most people don't even have the chance!  

The chance for an education you'll probably squander anyway with your so-so grades.  A little work ethic.  If you had any, you'd be a better dancer.  You'd get your legs higher.  You're 21 and can't pirouette.  That's just laziness.  Which is why you're chubby. . . .

And thus the cycle begins again.  Sometimes - like tonight - I can step back and see it.  The unhealthy, crazy dialogue I have with myself.  That five and six jobs at a time is a lot, that I take twice as many classes as a regular person.  That there are people who really struggle with school who will never earn my personal-low of a 3.85

I know that being a perfectionist is part of my personality, that it is hardwired in.  And I know, of course, that some of the voices come from how I was raised.  Never being good enough.  Never being "as smart as you think you are."  Or working hard enough to avoid the endless litany of swears.  Knowing anything less than the perfect sentence or action or thought or learning curve was enough to get me punished for weeks.  Crying because there didn't seem anything left I could do.

Sometimes I wish I could tell myself to shut up, to leave me alone.  I'm not really sure how I've avoided an eating disorder or some other such illness.  I'm very grateful that I haven't. . .

I'm not really sure how to end this post.  What to say, to make it all make sense.  Or turn it in a hopeful manner.  I'm not really sure I can be hopeful and optimistic tonight.  This, too, makes me angry with myself.  That I unleash my burdens on an unsuspecting world drama queen, my mind hisses.  They don't want to hear it.  If you're going to talk, have something nice to say, I order myself.

But tonight, I am not listening to my own voices.  I am going to hit the "publish post" button and maybe shed a few frustrated tears.  And tonight - if only for tonight - thats ok.  Because





No comments:

Post a Comment