“Your writing would improve greatly if you connected more of your sentences,” she commented on the end of my paper. What she didn't know was that my writing was 'disconnected' because of the class I took before hers. In the previous semester, a teacher had marked me down several times because of comma splices and what he deemed, “run on sentences”. So I learned to disconnect. I didn't want to use the word 'and'. I puzzled over the comma splice, and was wary every time I used a comma.
About a year ago, I wrote a paper. A long paper. MLA. The kind with references, thoughts, and creative thinking. I remember puzzling over that paper for hours, fine tuning and tweaking little phrases until it was exactly the way I wanted it, then proofreading it backwards two times before giving it to my husband to proofread. When grades came out, I was surprised to get an 100.
I've learned that if I write, I write well. If I edit, I edit well. But the two don't seem to coexist. Either I am busy communicating or I am taken with the task of perfecting. I can't do both at the same time. So I am afraid to even attempt writing if I know I am going to be edited. When a grade depends on a placement of a comma or an 'and' instead of what I want to communicate, I become frustrated. Because deep within, I want to be perfect and I want to communicate.
Perfectionism. I'm afraid to start writing, crocheting, organizing, cleaning, creating because I'm not sure I could finish. I ponder whether to take on something new because I'm not sure if I will be good at it, or because I think of two or three people that could 'do' something better than I can. Perfectionism binds me, and I don't try, when I could and should.
Letting go of perfect allows me to be me. Letting go of perfect lets me see others with grace. Letting go of perfect send me to new realms of hope and joy knowing that it is okay not be perfect. Letting go of perfect helps me live in the realm of acceptance instead of under the hammer of judgment.
How do you let go of perfect? In what ways does perfectionism manifest itself in your life?