The other day, I came to the realization that I am a perfectionist.
I know, it shocked me too.
These kinds of revelations tend to hide themselves when you are too busy making sure you have crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s.
Okay, maybe I am not a perfectionist with all areas in my life. Goodness knows I am not going to win an award for the cleanest kitchen (not with 3 loads of dishes to do every day), or the most frequently folded laundry. I can’t say I will ever enjoy folding laundry, even though I get a deep satisfaction when all the laundry is done and everyone is able to actually find clothes in a neat and orderly fashion.
Yet, there are so many things that I honestly do enjoy in life. Like writing, or teaching, or exercising. I honestly love doing these things more than doing anything else in life.
So, why am I not writing more? Why haven’t I finished the book I have been working on for ages? Why am I not getting on the rowing machine more often?
I have found that when I consider taking on a task which I would not only enjoy, but I believe it would enrich my life…I freeze.
One does not simply let paralyzing fear go.
The paralyzing fear of failure runs deep into a perfectionist’s soul.
The hounding questions of whether or not you actually know what you are doing, maybe someone else knows this subject better, what will people say when they see it? I can think of one person who should never be allowed to ever read any of my work, because I have words he has said before just hanging in the air, like suspended quotes of fail. Artistically destructive people should be banned from sharing their opinions with artists, I am absolutely certain.
The thing is, I am not writing for him (no one should ever write for him). I am writing for me.
I am not teaching for the approval of anyone else other than my family.
My need to attain perfection is not a facade, but a crippling symptom of my need to be accepted and, if I was completely honest, admired.
Tomorrow morning I have phase two of homeschooling anxiety: The first was the meeting with the principal, which was a little out of the blue. The next phase is the monthly teacher meeting. This has always gone well, and I just bring in work samples, show progress in each subject and submit a monthly report of what we have accomplished in the previous month.
This is a fairly straightforward meeting, since I have progress logs, status updates and work samples readily available from my own records. I just hate, hate, feeling like I am justifying our homeschooling to someone.
And I know for a fact that my irritation and annoyance is not based out of any fear or insecurity, but solely on my standard of perfection.
In my perfect world, I would walk in to the meeting and be praised for the enormous amount of hard work we are doing every day. My children would be commended for being so studious, and encouraged to continue on their prosperous journey.
The reality is that the meeting is mandatory for our group, and it lasts an hour.
And that’s it.
There is no earth-shaking revelations which come out of it. We merely fulfill the state’s requirements, and we are done with what we are obligated to.
What I come to realize, if you will follow me on this metaphorical journey, is that what I think I need to do is to write a hit song every day.
And that is not only absurd, but impossible.
You don’t need to write a hit song, to write a song.
So, that’s what I am working on.
I am just going to really enjoy being a songwriter for right now.