Perfectionism is a real bitch
People hear the word perfectionism and they think its an attribute. That if you are a perfectionist that you basically do something until it is perfect, and what in the world could be wrong with that? But in reality perfectionism is can something that paralyzes you. So afraid of not being perfect, you don’t start that daunting project. Or maybe you don’t make yourself truly vulnerable to someone, afraid that your totally human and normal imperfections will be exposed. Afraid you will let people down. It fucking sucks.
I’ve struggled with this aspect of myself for most of my adult life in some capacity. As I look back at my life I know that I got this from trying to please my father to garner his attention. I also see I carried this into my marriage and I feel these ramifications between David and I still, even though we are no longer together. The last thing I am wanting is to bring that dynamic into my current relationship.
Last night David and I got into it. I would categorize our interactions as of late as pleasant, with a hint of civility. When I told him about my boyfriend I certainly expected a more wild response, but I was pleasantly surprised by the grace in which he heard the news that I was in love with another man. But last night, after I made my way to his house after my fourth straight day of commuting I found myself sitting at the kitchen table discussing business and money…and getting angry. Timing is such an important aspect when it comes to serious conversations, and let me tell you something: Grilling me about my actual contributions to our new business after I’ve had a long day is not the time. My fuse was short, my voice was loud. It was not a good time. David expressing his displeasure at my performance. Me expressing my displeasure at working with him.
But thats how we work, he and I. Butting heads, exploding and then sorting the rubble to come to a mutual understanding. Its barbaric and exhausting, but we do often have clarity after the dust has settled.
After my son and I got home we settled into our respective couches, him engrossed in you tube videos headphones hugging his ears. Me twirling the ice in my glass of whiskey, light clinks breaking the silence of the space. My heart was really heavy. I had been reminded tonight that I wasn’t perfect. We had argued in front of our son. Said not nice things. My son was sullen and withdrawn as we made our way through the dark mountain roads, fat rain drops plunking onto our windshield. It had been awhile since he had seen such interactions between his dad and I, a reminder why not being together was probably a great idea. There are all types of learners in the world and my son is definitely an experiential learner. And while I’ve reminded him over the last few years that its best his dad and I aren’t together I think him having the evidence splayed out for him to see had the message sink in.
As I enjoyed my whiskey my boyfriend started texting me. Hearing from him always makes me smile, fills my heart with joy. He knew that we had been having a little pow wow and some dinner. He was wondering how it all had went. As I went down the list of details texts of concern and advice came. As the conversation progressed I got more and more upset. And felt like I shouldn’t have said anything at all.
I shouldn’t be sharing my stress with him. The man has enough to deal with. A single father of four? Deceased wife? His dance card is full. I should be nothing but a bright spot. Right?
My son goes to bed. I pour myself another glass of whiskey. And the tears flow down my cheeks. Suddenly I am afraid. Afraid I had just totally ruined this budding relationship. I had brought burden to his shoulders. What had I been thinking? He’s not going to want me now. I am not perfect.
My mind is spinning, my heart continues to be heavy. I text my sister , explain where I am. That I am afraid that he won’t there for me because I wasn’t perfect. She reminded me quickly that he wasn’t Shane. He wasn’t like that. I hand’t even realized the projecting I was doing. This man has never given me any indiction of judging me or doing anything other than loving me for who I am. Wholly and fully. I couldn’t let this perfectionism whisper in my ear like a evil witch, pulling me down to depths of limitation that didn’t serve me.
And like all things scary, often times when you address it head on it isn’t the big bad lion you feared. Rather its a tame house cat. So I decided to address my feelings with my guy, share where I was at. See, when I start to feel like I’ve let someone down I can often shut down and withdraw. I had started doing that last night, and certainly it was there this morning. I could tell he sensed that shutting down. And I don’t want to murk of unspoken words to muddy our waters.
He listened intently. Then proceeded to tell me that he wants to know and love all of me..even the unshiny bits. I could have cried. All my fear and angst evaporated like water off of hot pavement. It was just…gone.
I know that it will continue to be a work in progress; my perfectionism isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But I can genuinely say that for the first time in my adult life I have a partner that truly accepts me for me. That its ok to not be perfect. That he celebrates who I am rather than stew in disappointment that I am not fully who I “could” be.
I genuinely don’t know what I did to deserve this man, this relationship. But fuck an a, am I ever grateful. A tall dark and handsome man that listens to me? Who loves me for me? Who inspires me to be a better person. AND can fuck me for hours and is kinky as hell?
I need to buy myself a lottery ticket. Like yesterday.