A few weeks ago I made a complete haimes of something.
I sent an email with an error in it.
To an ex-boss.
What I considered to be an important email.
And what, honestly, was quite an important error.
In an already awkward email.
Where errors were definitely not required.
I couldn’t believe it had happened.
That would never have happened to ‘Old Me’.
The ‘Check everything 600 times’ me (and then 37 more for luck).
The ‘Reread that same email a further 90 times post-send’ me – to make sure it set the right tone, and it couldn’t possibly hack anybody off, and wouldn’t cause any discomfort, or annoyance, or be a burden on anyone else’s day.
The me who would apologise for the inconvenience and presumption of taking up space in somebody else’s inbox. The sheer effrontery!Read More »
I was an organisation freak
Stifling my own and others’ flow
With an eight sided To-Do List
And a review of the To-Dos every day
And no chance of ever getting it all To-Done
And then I broke
And then I got help
The lady said ….
“You seem to be a perfectionist?”
My head said ….
“That’s a good thing right?”
“That kinda sounds like a compliment in my ears?”
It was a curse
It meant, when depressed
If I couldn’t do everything
I wouldn’t be able to do anything
It meant that ….
It meant I never created
It meant I put my work, and finishing that exact thing, exactly right
above everything else in my world
Above my own health
Above the health of my relationships
Above any fun whatsoever
And then in time ….
I am gradually fixing
Not fixed, but improved
My quirks, my ‘Ducks-Don’t-Stand-In-Rows’ story, my pet peccadilloes
The cracks in my walls where the interesting plants grow
I now create
I am able to move, even just a little
To colour outside of the lines
Or even (God forbid!) draw new lines
Lines I just feel on the day
Whatever squiggle takes my fancy
No measuring or anything
Guided by what my heart says
When my head’s filter is not watching
What a bloody relief
No longer an eight sided To-Do List
Don’t get me wrong – I haven’t lost my mind completely!
I keep reminders. I stick hopeful intentions in a calendar
But if on any given day a To-Do doesn’t get done
I do not flay myself
I say “Yey me!” For the things I was able to do
The days I manage not to spend under a blanket
The days I do something, anything that moves me forward
Even if just for a few small hours
It is a few hours where I’m living not hiding
My name is Gratefully Imperfect
And I am a recovering perfectionist
I grew up in a very loving family. I knew my parents loved me and they told me so. I had a big brother who, despite the odd dead-leg and headlock, always had my back and was on my side. We were well looked after and enjoyed the simple pleasures of family walks at weekends and cosy Christmases in front of log fires. And yet, as I grew from a confident and carefree toddler and then young child, things started to change. I became more insular, spending more time playing on my own (or with snails, or my imaginary horses whom I fed rhubarb leaves, or writing odd little stories and poems). Gradually, and imperceptibly, my introverted nature was beginning to emerge. This was a completely natural process, but as I grew older and life changed around me, I began to develop a sense that I was perhaps a bit of a misfit amongst my more outgoing and outspoken friends. Having just come out of the other side of Christmas, feeling a bit down and a bit uncomfortable in my own skin, I was reminded of one of my early encounters with feelings of misfittery as a girl.
It transpires that I have been over thinking it. What a surprise (to absolutely nobody, at all, in the world). This is what I do. And I know this. I have done it all my adult life. I think so hard on what needs to be done and the best way to do it that I become completely paralysed and can do precisely nothing. On top of this I am a perfectionist, so I think too much about how to do the thing exactly right, and what is the right thing anyway? And oh, what about that other thing that also could be the best thing? And now I have a list of a million things and what if all of them are a bad idea and ……. Actually, where is my blanket? I’ll be under there and I’ll see you next year, maybe, if the stars are in alignment, and the weather is right and my stomach doesn’t hurt.
It has been an excruciating week for me. Several months ago I stepped away from social media as I was finding it overwhelming. It was making me sad, on occasion angry, often irritable after I had spent time there. I wasn’t feeling inclined to share any of the little life things that were going on with me at that time. I was undergoing counselling, and these much bigger life things felt far more important and, as an introvert, not things I wished to share publicly. So, as part of the process to try and hear my own inner voice better, I decided that for the time being it would be healthier for me not to be drowning in the voices of others, especially if it was clear to me they were doing me harm. That felt like a very constructive decision, and has felt like a weight off ever since.
However, this week I had to return to the world of publicly exposing myself on the internet. Read More »