Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Warning: You will think less of me after reading this post.

I do it a lot. I start typing away about something I am learning or struggling with and then I realize how awful a person I am and then I attempt to change the tone of the post and convince you that I'm really not all that bad, only to dig myself into a deeper writing ditch. And then I save this ridiculously long essay to drafts and promise to never post it for fear that my readers (all two of you) will hate me.

I have several just from the past two or three weeks. They are mostly about my perfectionism and inability to let things go. We all have our weird and (to others) stupid and unimportant struggles. You may read this and say to yourself, "Big deal! Get over yourself!". But, to me, it's a big deal. That is why I am forcing myself to write it all out and publish it....maybe. We'll see...

I have diagnosed myself with selective perfectionism. My perfectionism comes in the form of planning, time organization, and cooking. It is a serious issue for me. I plan my life months in advance, and don't deal well with it when plans change and I have to white out my calendar---I HATE white out! My time and life are meticulously organized. My weekends are always carefully planned to the minute. In a way, this is a good thing. I think organization and time management is important. But, last month I had a week’s worth of white outs and scribblings and reschedulings on my calendar and I started to panic. My chest tightened and I got dizzy. I also tend to over book my life. I am incapable of saying, "No". If you ask me to do something I will say, "Yes". And, then there is the cooking/baking. This is really a pride issue and where you come in and say, "Big deal! Get over yourself!". Everything I ever make must be totally and utterly homemade. I love to bake and am pretty darn good at it (See?!? Pride.). I can't buy a boxed mix and call it a day. I have to bake the cake from scratch, whisk the curd or pudding or jam fillings carefully over the stove from scratch, and all my frostings are completely homemade. I make elaborate cakes too. I admit it: I am a snob. People ask me to bake for get togethers and events fairly often. As you now know, I can't say, "No.", I always overbook, I am an arrogant-baking-wannabe-Martha Stewart. I am a perfectionist.

I love being that perfectionist. It is important to me. It's who I am. And it makes me look good: I am always on time and organized-super-woman, I am dependable and always there if you need me, and I make the best chocolate nutella cake in the universe (See?!? Pride.). I'm addicted to perfectionism. I can't stop. I must be awesome and I will freak at the thought of not being awesome but being awesome puts me on the verge of insanity.  It's so stressful, and in theory I want to just not care and let it all go. I've tried it. I posted this a few days ago. I sort of attempted it for a couple days. It was my cousin's birthday and I said yes to baking the cake. I was asked to do it last minute and started the baking process after 8pm. And, then I stopped myself and took a deep breath and told my Mom that it was too much and we were going to have to bring a boxed cake mix. I made the filling from scratch (baby steps, people. It had to at least be semi-homemade). It felt awful and now I really would have rather just given in and stayed up baking that perfect cake until midnight. It was dry and tasted like chemicals and made me look bad. But, it really didn't make me look bad because I know that nobody really cares whether a cake is from a box or not. I think I am the only one who cared or even noticed. I even told everyone that it was boxed and apologized for it, which is really ridiculous and obnoxious of me since everybody there probably only ever uses boxed cake mix and I was insulting them. I tried to not be a perfectionist, but that only stressed me out more than being one.

I told you that I would sound ridiculous. I know it's really such a small and petty thing, but I don't believe that deep down. It is a huge deal to me. I am addicted to looking good and being in control. Eww. I sound so ugly. I'm not using the term lightly...I really believe that I am addicted.

So, there. I think that I needed to get this off my chest in order to be cured for the weeks of writer's block I've been suffering from. I keep trying to write and nothing was coming out except for this. It's been laying heavily on my heart. So, I guess that means I should just be honest and admit to it. Now you know. I am proud and full of myself and suck.

What is the point to this post? I don't know. I wish I was able to wrap it up by saying But, guess what?!? I prayed about it last night and ka-bam! I am healed! I no longer care! In fact, I am bringing a Stouffer's lasagna and Twinkies to my friend's house for dinner tomorrow night--because who gives a crap?! I am FREEeeeeee! That is not the case.


  1. Oh are so not alone in this one. I have to go back through some notes of mine and find you some things that will hopefully provide you with some comfort. If it helps, I will write about my own perfectionism, overbooking (I am good at saying no about going places --my social anxiety always wins an arm wrestle with my perfectionism! This is more about setting boundaries, for yourself) And I love to bake--and am a bit of a snob about it too.

    I am big on control...I like home...I can control the environment here. Outside in the world I can get lost, be late, look stupid.

    One quick fix I have found is I treat life like an airport--I need at least an hour between things or I will be too rushed. Leave 10 minutes early, don't start ANYTHING before you have to go somewhere --no don't think you can sneak in a quick load of wash---and start to let others know that you have some limits and are trying to find some down time to help you manage all your good things. You want to be able to be there for them so to do that you need to be in good shape.

    I feel for you and applaud your bravery!!! It is a big big step to recognize it---and scary and you want to change and you don't want to change...and no one says you have to let it all go--but there are some great tips on setting boundaries. Lemme find my notes and get back to you!
    BUG HUG!!!

    1. Thanks, Brigid. I have any easy time saying "no" to social things as well. I too have social anxiety. I wrote about it a little here:

      But, if someone asks for a favor or needs help I feel like I HAVE to say "yes".

      It's frustrating because I want to say "yes", I want to help and serve and do the best that I can....I just need to find balance and accept that I am human and that I can't do it all and that that is OK.

      I would love to hear any notes you have. This is something I have been thinking about a lot and trying to figure out, so I am totally open to hearing other peoples thoughts. Thanks, Brigid. :)

      You mentioned social anxiety, and it reminded me of something I wrote a few months back after I went to a social gathering for the first time in a long time. I will have to find it and post it.