If you’ve read any of the 100+ posts on this blog, you might have an idea of what I struggle with the most:
My relentless desire for perfection, which is quite frankly ruining my life.
That sounds dramatic. Nothing has been ruined. It just makes everything so fucking difficult.
See I’m capable of a lot of things. I can write. I can sing. I can dance. I can be compassionate as a mother fucker. And don’t get me started on empathy – I am a textbook empath.
Being hyper-empathetic is something I struggle with all the time. I get so jarred and rattled by other people’s emotions. I take it all on, which is bizarrely narcissistic. I sense discontent a mile away, and I fight with it and then desperately try to disengage with it, in an attempt to supply the world with the opposite.
So I’m capable of lot’s of things, I just don’t know how to disengage with my need to be perfect.
Some days I can’t see the green grass or the blue sky, even when it’s right in front of me. Some days I see brown, withered failure because I didn’t live up to the ridiculously unachievable expectations I have for myself.
And then I start to believe the stories I make up based on the seemingly disapproving looks I get for being myself. And because of them, I tell myself I am wrong: that I am bad, and not good enough.
Where’s all this coming from? It’s coming from the mind of an overly exhausted, mentally depleted woman. Three days at a wedding celebration with over 100 people might be the epicenter of fun for some, but to me, it was difficult, to say the least.
I was out-of-my skin uncomfortable the entire time, from the first flight to the last one, and instead of admitting that and accepting that big crowds and events aren’t my thing, I beat myself up the whole time.
And then I tried and failed, to fit in with people who, plain and simple, aren’t my type of people.
Don’t get me wrong: there were some really lovely folks in attendance, there was just a bit too much going on for my introverted ass.
So I drank booze to calm my nerves and the voice inside me that told me I needed to be perfect.
If you’ve read my Huffington Post piece, that last part might be the tidbit that gets your attention the most.
I struggled with alcohol for many years. But what lot’s of people don’t know about me – and actually I got a lot of assumptions flung my way over that 1000 word piece of writing – is that while I very much acknowledge my addictive behaviors, I don’t label myself as an alcoholic.
I am a human being who get’s scared of how she feels, and periodically tries to escape. Which is what I did when I cracked a bud light someone offered me on a 34-degree ranch in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by people I didn’t understand or relate to.
I drank to calm myself down in a social setting I was uncomfortable in. And it’s not even the booze that upsets me: it’s the beliefs I chose to believe about myself that brought me to drink that beer (you’d think if I was going to drink for the first time in a long time I’d pick something better.)
Save for a few close friends, most people don’t know that while I identified as an alcoholic for quite some time, I don’t anymore. I identify with being an addict in the sense that I am addicted to avoiding the overpopulated negativity and self-damaging thoughts I have about myself.
I am addicted to avoiding the fear I feel.
What do I do usually? Yoga. Meditation. Cooking. Reading. Shopping. But I had no time for any of that this past weekend, and the anxiety was so severe that I was unwilling to believe that these things could work, even if I had found time for them.
I can do all the blaming and excuse making I want: it won’t change the fact that I’m here now, still reeling from the side effects of booze, which in this case include depression, a lack of sleep, and brain fog.
To me, alcohol is a waste of time. It clouds my brain for days and keeps me from my passion, which is writing. I have zero desire to spend money on it – it’s just not fun anymore.
But this past weekend, with an open bar and next level social anxiety, I drank anyway.
Am I proud? No. In fact, I’m rattled, but not just about the fact that I drank.
I’m rattled about the speech I gave, even though many people approached me saying they loved it and that I should go into public speaking (proof that what scares you the most is what you should embrace.)
I’m rattled about those two Aunts of mine, giving me their reliable looks that said, “I’ll be nice to your face but can’t wait to get home and do the rounds talking shit about you.” I’m not even going to try with them anymore. Not worth my energy.
I’m rattled about the isolation I felt as my husband drank to the point that I wanted nothing to do with him.
Heck, I’m rattled that I drank and wanted nothing to do with myself.
I’m rattled by how alone I felt amongst a sea of people I felt the need to impress so badly that they would include me in the festivities, instead of ignoring me.
And I’m rattled by all of my over the top expectations that were destined to be left unmet.
Perfection wasn’t achieved.
What does perfect look like to me? Everyone approving of me. Me being patient instead of being a bitch during the traveling process. Me not being scared or upset over this innate sense of loss over my brother’s marriage; that things will never be the same again; that we will never have the relationship I dream of us having.
And I’m mad because I really don’t understand why I’m so damn emotional about all that.
And I’m mad at the prick who told me I screwed up the beginning of my speech because I choked on my emotions: this fuck you goes out to you, jerk-face.
I wish I could be perfect. I wish I could have handled it all with grace and mercy and an innate sense of calm.
But guess what? I didn’t. And none of these words are going to change that.
The one thing they will do is help me get over it. Help me forgive myself. And make me realize that I really need someone to help me get over this obsession with being perfect.
So there you have it: full-blown truth. I can’t be anything but real anymore. Spent too much of my weekend – my life for that matter – being fake.
Time for courage, and self-care and getting back to the business of being me.
Time to peel back more layers to find the truth, not a version others might approve of.
Because imperfect me is perfection.