Sunday Candy Issue #17
Crippling Perfectionism, Feedback & Essays, The World At Large
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So lately I’ve been thinking about my crippling perfectionism.
Cognitively I know the expectations I tend to put on myself are tremendously high. Unrealistically high. Through the roof high. I don’t meet them. Ever.
And I know I never will.
I also know that those expectations are silly, unproductive, and even harmful. But knowing that doesn’t make the perfectionism go away. It gnaws at me.
I hate that I even do this myself. It’s not gentle. It’s not kind. It feels cruel. And that makes me all the more disappointed and angry at myself. Because I don’t have to do that to myself.
And still, I do.
I have this ridiculous belief that if I don’t reach the capacity I want to believe I have and someone witnesses that, it’ll somehow override anything good I’ve ever done. Or really, anything good about me.
That doesn’t make ANY sense. I know that!
I’ve never looked at someone and thought ugh, you’re not perfect at this or that. Gross. I hate you. That would be weird! But somehow I’m convinced that’s exactly what happens when I don’t measure up the way I expect myself to.
Meanwhile, I absolutely adore the ways people are imperfect. I don’t care if you’re not perfect at something, or even if you’re literally the worst at all the things. When others are imperfect it feels less like a fault and more like something to be celebrated.
So why can’t I also celebrate the imperfections in me?
Today I found myself looking back at issue #3 and saw this quote I shared from the book Big Magic:
“The only reason I was able to persist in completing my first novel was that I allowed it to be stupendously imperfect.”
I’ll show myself compassion by looking for ways to be stupendously imperfect this week.
Feedback & Essays
I love being an Editor in Write of Passage. One of my favorite parts of the experience is watching how the students do such an impressive job of wrangling through the hoards of feedback they receive and implementing whatever changes they feel are necessary.
I relish watching their writing evolve. Sometimes they make tiny tweaks and other times the changes are massive. It’s all beautiful to me. With every draft they write, edit, and publish, there’s progress.
In my eyes, whatever growth they make personally or in their writing through that process is way more important than reaching some sense of perfection.
Here’s 3 essays by WOP students that I loved and want to share:
Steven Kilmek: The Power To See Blurry
Steven’s writing in this strikes a wonderful combination of being funny, personal, and thoughtful. The essay explores how his poor vision is a superpower and it’s awesome.
Lately I’ve been wondering what other things in my life that I’ve perceived as bad fortune are actually unappreciated gifts. There are two sides to every coin, and I’m starting to believe that the most content among us are those curious enough to at least look at the other side once in awhile, in the off chance that we may stumble upon a superpower.
For me, that’s being able to not see clearly.
Elizabeth Edwards: Don’t Get Attached to Your Work
Elizabeth’s essay has elements of personal, observational, and playful. I love the colorful introduction and the way she explores how the lessons she learned back in architecture school apply to writing. It’s so fun to see the parallels.
He pulled out his favorite pair of scissors with a huge grin on his face. Snip, snip in the air, he warmed up his hands to do the unthinkable. He suddenly grabbed a paper study model, cut-off half of it, placed it upside down and declared, “There it is, this is your scheme.” The shock and horror in my classmate’s face is forever burned into my memory.
Jon Vasquez: How AA Helped Me Go Vegan
Jon managed to take two topics I wouldn’t have expected to go together and explored how, for him, they do go together. In this, he explains how he applied one of the principles he learned in Alcoholics Anonymous to his transition to a whole food plant based diet. Amazing.
I’ve found that future tripping tends to come when I’m on the cusp of a big change, and when it does, it feels like mental hyperventilation. Luckily, I’ve also come to learn that the antidote is really simple and clear cut: just take things one day at a time.
I learned this tactic from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). More often than not, alcoholics like me wind up in AA because we’ve begun to accept that we’re powerless over alcohol and that our lives have become unmanageable.
The World At Large
This week I’m sharing one of my favorite Modest Mouse songs, The World At Large. I remember listening to this song on repeat as a teenager. And no matter how many times I listen, it always hits. Maybe it’ll hit for you too.
That’s all for issue #17 of Sunday Candy!
Thanks for reading, friend.
Until next time,
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