Friday, October 16, 2009

On Being Perfect...

I struggle with being perfect. I have my whole life. I want so badly to not make mistakes, to cross every "t" and dot every "i," and I pummel myself with hatred and disgust when I screw up.

I'm not sure if there are many others out there like myself who find themselves filled with a deep-seated desire to never fail at anything. "Perhaps when we finally get it right," we tell ourselves, "we'll feel complete at last." Maybe that's true, but we'll never know. We'll never reach that point.

I was dancing last night, learning new choreography for the upcoming Nutcracker performance, and when I screwed up (which is inevitable in ballet) I hung my head and walked off the floor in the middle of the rehearsal. I couldn't handle the shame I felt first at not being able to live up to the unreal standard I had set for myself and second at the way I reacted to my failure. It was an eye-opening moment for me.

I've been having these discussions with people for the past few weeks. I'm quick to forgive others for their shortcomings or their failures, yet when it comes to myself I cannot let anything go. I'm relentless in my masochistic attacks.

I feel like if I can figure out this perfection thing I'll finally be worthy of the love I get from those around me. Until then, I'm a constant disappointment to people who think highly of me, "for," I tell myself, "all they're really looking up to is the fake me. If they knew how terrible of a person I really am, they'd surely reject me outright." This goes for all of my relationships. My friends, my ballet instructors, and God. Until I can figure out how to be perfect, all I want to do is remove myself from these relationships because I know I'll continually disappoint everyone I come into contact with.

Yikes! That's a dead-end street, isn't it? What's missing from this picture, I believe, is forgiveness and an understanding of what it means to be a human being (not to mention a proper view of what a healthy human relationship looks like). My problem now is that I'm not quite sure how to reach that goal.

2 comments:

PeterAtLarge said...

When you get to my age, Mark, I'm sure you'll be a happy fuck-up. Did you ever think of doing the Mankind Project's "New Warrior Training Adventure"? I think you'd get a lot from it, as I did, years ago. I still work on staff from time to time--and fuck-ups are accepted there!

Steve said...

Thanks for the honest post. It takes courage to be that transparent. I can definitely relate with the tension between my image--who people think I am, who I want them to think I am--and who I know myself to be.