I won’t lie. I am a hot mess these days.
Making a huge life decision, such as taking a break, and walking away from a very intense relationship, has played with my head.
This week has been a full reminder of who I have become over the past decade, as well as who I once was. The two of them argue incessantly, and every once in a while I need to tell my present self and my past self to just shut the hell up. They are voices that whisper to me, that I am not good enough, and that I have to try harder. They also whisper, “Of course you aren’t perfect, stop kidding yourself”.
During my relationship I was surrounded by perfect. Everything was easy in the house we shared. Everyone thought that I had this “perfect life”, and at times, I did too. Until I wasn’t perfect.
By appearance and outside perspective, I had a beautiful home, in a great neighborhood, surrounded by the perfect people. I have the perfect career and have been gaining serious traction as a writer. My skin was an obsession, always trying to erase my age. I obsessed about my hair, and make up, and tried to maintain the persona that was expected of me.
Paranoia and Perfection
This morning I woke up at my daughter’s house. She and her roommates had to work, and I spent the day alone.
When I woke up, I had two big goals in mind.
- Do my nails.
This is where shit went sideways.
I set goals for myself, while I am unsettled, living out of suitcases, and away from my “perfect lifestyle”. Not only that, but I am in someone else’s home, surrounded by unfamiliarity. And, I am a perfectionist.
The day started with me going out to my car to grab a couple things, feeling paranoid that I was being watched. It took me a bit to shake off, and I managed to get out of my own head. Before I knew it, precious time alone had passed, and a sweet friend talked me off of the freak show, over the phone.
Then, I sat down to do my nails. For some reason, the first time I put a layer of color on them, I determined it wasn’t good enough, so I wiped off all the polish, and started over. The second time actually seemed worse, and I was playing with my daughter’s cat, and smucked them all up.
So, I did them again.
One nail refused to set, and I buggered it up over and over, resulting in my entire day is all about making ONE NAIL perfect. One nail has taken away almost a full day because I need perfection. In total, I think I repainted it 10 times. It still isn’t perfect, but I gave up, after self-talk.
Perfection is a Problem
When you are accustomed to a lifestyle where messes aren’t allowed, and everything that surrounds you is easy and accessible, it becomes easy to focus less on your life, and more on your lifestyle.
This has been a major eye opener for the past while. I realized the other day, that I am not only a perfectionist, but I have become spoiled.
Something as simple as not having unlimited ice coming out of the fridge, or a room not being as organized as you are used to, can be de-railing. This week I have experienced this first hand. Life was easier before I left the house, because of the things and because of the logistics.
Now, it’s not full of all of the luxuries that made me a perfectionist, and although it has been a challenge, for some reason, it helps me to feel free. If I choose to sit and obsess over one finger nail, I will, and I will embrace my stubbornness and OCD.
Before and After
At the house that my partner and I shared, we had security cameras, and apps on our phones to lock doors. The house is set in a beautiful community with a view, 3 bathrooms, a ton of space, and everything within it made life easier. It was simple to simply exist within those walls.
Yet, I struggled with happiness.
I am now sharing a house with a friend, and her roommate, 3 cats, a dog, a bearded dragon and fish. It is chaos. There are no fancy gadgets and gizmos to make my life perfect, and everything around me is unfamiliar. I wake to my roommate making coffee in a kitchen where cats have full range, and we sit and talk.
But, I don’t struggle with happiness. I struggle with not being perfect, yet for some strange reason, happiness has been unlocked. I smile brighter, I breathe more deeply, and I feel relaxed.
It is a very large pill to swallow when I have come from a place of such perfection and ease.
The biggest and hardest lesson I have learned from walking away from my perfect life is that my own perfectionism isn’t truly who I am. It’s who everyone expects me to be.
Life doesn’t have to be perfect, for you to find happiness. It is so much more important to find your imperfections, embrace them, and accept them in who you are. You may choose to work on being better, but why? It is who you are and what makes you unique. Striving for perfection may or may not make you happy. Maybe you feel pride, or accomplishment for your perfections, but that doesn’t necessarily make you happy. Allowing yourself to embrace your imperfections is the seed that will grow the happy inside of you.