My Not So Perfect Life | Teen Ink

My Not So Perfect Life

January 3, 2017
By SCSKATE SILVER, Austin, Texas
9 articles 5 photos 23 comments

Most of us are convinced that we have lived a utilitarian life. While this holds true for those in category a, those in category b, which includes nearly all, exist innately blind to their own self-sabotaging actions. Categorizing myself into either of these groupings proves an impossible and daunting task, primarily because I am unable to qualify for the first criterion: that I am convinced I have lived doing what is best.

My “aha” moment sprouted in the midst of my first year of middle school. During this transition period into what I then perceived as “the big leagues”, I was quick to realize that I had a condition that even WebMD could not help me with. Symptoms of this condition included but were not limited to: uncontrollable fits of anger, dissatisfaction, and frustration. I suffered through internal conflict and was trapped in a civil war between my logical right brain, and impaired left brain. The condition’s common name: perfectionitis. My resulting title: perfectionist.

Perfectionitis is as fictitious and ridiculous as the name suggests. I would be completing a homework assignment while watching Pretty Little Liars, when suddenly, I would write “died”, instead of “did”. Worst of all, I would have written it in any perfectionist’s worst enemy: pen. The result: an ugly, ugly, piece of paper. Not just a yellow or brown unidentified stain ugly, but a naked mole rat scratching his nails on a chalkboard ugly. My reaction would be far from pleasant. I would cry and watch as the words on the page soaked up my tears to a degree where I had defied chemistry, and changed the bonds of “homework” into straight up  “trash”, rip it up, and throw it away. And then, I would sit there, frustrated, regretting the last five minutes of my life, and wondering why my teachers had imposed an impossible load of homework on me, because my unproductiveness was clearly their fault.

But if someone asked me why an avoidable imperfection would bother me, I would tap into my Gulf of Mexico sized well of excuses, and concoct a fallacious excuse, saying that the lack of aesthetics “harmed my eyesight” but in reality, both parties did not need glasses to see right through this lie. For years, when my perfectionitis lured me into redoing assignments or wasting time on a task that was inevitably irrelevant, I would feel trapped. My problem was not obliviousness, because I was quite aware of the challenge at hand. Rather, I understood that redoing an assignment or succumbing to perfectionitis was unnecessary, but I was addicted to the idea of making everything impeccable.

Throughout middle school, I grasped the bull by its horns. I willed myself to let it go, to move on. Slowly it became easier to refuse. But sometimes, ignoring perfectionitis proves more difficult than usual. In Calculus, a few weeks ago, I was making the most of my time--doing my chemistry homework. I was taking notes on a video, when my friend knocked my elbow while shimmying past my desk. This chain reaction of events, ultimately forced me to write an “a” instead of a  “u”. Ideally, I would have thrown a “dude!” at her, and continued note-taking, but the growing hideousness of the misspelling of “pressure”, which at this point looked more like “pressare”, glared at me. I managed to win the staring contest and not redo the assignment, thankfully, but it took me a couple of extra seconds to let it go.

To this day, perfectionitis continues to play a role in my life, although a much smaller one than before.  Looking back at all of my past experiences and the progress I have made, I do not think that I can ever fully rid myself of perfectionitis, but I will darn well try.

The author's comments:

Being a perfectionist is possibly one of the worst things that has plagued my life. This is how I slowly overcame it :)

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