Anne Lamott on perfectionism:
“I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
It’s embarrassing how much this quote describes me; how many times I’ve wobbled on each of those stepping stones, my arms flailing like a spastic flamingo, proud that I stepped squarely in the center, ashamed that it’s so damn hard for me while it looks so easy for everyone else (or at least, why I care so much when everyone else couldn’t care less). I don’t really think I’m going to die if I don’t do things perfectly, but there is that feeling that Something Very Bad will happen. I have a sneaking suspicion that Something Very Bad looks a lot like being left alone because no one can deal with me anymore. And yet, I think my striving for perfection, instead of my failure to reach perfection, is one aspect of my complicated personality that makes me so hard to deal with. What gets me the most about Lamott’s words is that, yeah, it seems like everyone else is having a lot more fun, and they also don’t seem to be missing out by refusing the bitter medicine Nurse Perfectionism makes me swallow every morning. I’m so all about reinventing myself right now. Do you think I can do it? Well, I know that I can’t, but God can. I wonder if I let Him reinvent me, how much would He leave as-is, or just improved a little? Meaning, how much of my personality is still the curves and creases that He wanted me to have when He first plopped me, a slimy lump of clay, down on the potter’s wheel. So who knows what I’ll be like when I get back from Norway…but I’m ready to get wet, moldable, back on the wheel: let me spin around and have some fun again.
Disclaimer: Let me just say that yes, I know I should perhaps rename Quotable Friday and call it “Why I love Ann Lamott Friday” or “Ann Lamott can see through a window into my dark soul Friday”, I don’t know, something like that. But don’t worry, I’m almost tiring of her writing, after reading two of her books back to back, so you won’t hear from her for a while on here. Although, I make no promises.