Constructive Stumbles

Most people move on.

I’m not sure if this is commonplace, but sometimes, my own academic mishaps come seeking me in the quiet of the night with a raging vengeance.

It’s that feeling when your heart contracts and your stomach lurches, and your mind extrapolates your misdeeds into the future, and your life seems to be shaking on tip-toe, balancing on a thin string of numbers. But sometimes, it’s good to stumble, take a breather, and do a little self-check.

People have described me as “intense,” “high-strung,” “meticulous,” “sensitive” but also as “lazy,” “moody,” and “careless.”

This sort of paradox only exists in the perfectionist.

While some may take pride in the title, I wish to rid myself of it as soon as possible, because the perfectionist operates on the all-or-nothing premise: I will start to study as soon as all my notes and materials are organized. If I can’t memorize and understand everything in these three chapters, I will fail the test. If I don’t practice at least five times before the in-class essay, I won’t do well.

Perfectionists get nothing done, because the world is a messy place and conditions will never be “perfect.”

And I need to accept that.