My Break-Up with Perfectionism

I give you an imperfect post.

My entire life I’ve carried perfectionism with me.

On my shoulders, in my mind, on my chest. In fact when I was in high school, I had an assignment for a psychology class to ask 50 people 1 positive and 1 negative thing about me (you can imagine how that goes over in a pubescent teenager’s mind).

Of that memory, one response lingers with me today. It was a post-it note from my english teacher answering both questions with one word: ‘perfectionist’. I mean the woman hardly knew me, so it must’ve been pretty obvious.

And to Perfectionism, I say…

You’ve helped me strive for high goals, endless ambition, and mountaintops of success.

Unfortunately, you make me take SO much longer to do anything than if I just allowed myself to make mistakes.

Though hell, with you I traveled the world 360 degrees on my own budget by the time I was 23. I became one of the youngest certified coaches ever at IPEC while completing TWO Bachelors degrees at the SAME time.

I even co-authored and published an academic book by the age of 25 without a Masters yet under my belt.

You sound great. Why would I let you go?

Despite all those achievements, I’ve always used you as an excuse to never feel good enough. To petrify myself from taking action, from learning, from failing, from freaking showing up as me, as vulnerable Taylor who doesn’t really have it all figured out.

We were a power team with a glorious facade

I do have to say that from the outside, we look great together. We do. We look like we have this beautiful accomplished life, a glorious facade. Everything comes so easy right? All of those “achievements”.

Though that’s how I’ve used you, Perfectionism. My attachment to you makes me work really hard for things I actually don’t enjoy doing.

Like writing an academic book. I’m proud of it but (sorry professors) that project took way more energy than I got back from doing it.

Having 2 Bachelors, well that kicked my ass and I missed out on a lot of ‘enjoying being young’ because I needed to write a paper or study for a test or be freaking responsible (boring).

Together we worked freaking hard for an image, an expectation of recognition of value from something or someone beyond us. And no matter how many coaching sessions, deep talks, journaling, self-help whatever, you stay SO LOUD. 

Now, I am exhausted. When I let you take over, I get anxiety, my chest is tight just thinking about the responsibility I feel I need to take on in my undying commitment to you. 

To all of this I say no more. Thank you for taking this woman to where she is now. But homie, she is just too tired. 

So, this is a very overdue break-up.

Feeling freshly human backpacking Morocco… even with showers only every 8 days.

It’s not you, it’s definitely me. 

I want the freedom to show up as me whether I’m an excited party animal or there’s mascara running down my face. 

I’m not perfect.

I am Taylor.

I am loud. I am curious. I love eating red peppers. I believe in the universe and a Source that has the energy to create worlds. I travel just to learn from people, the land, and animals all over the world.

I went through an “I hate America (U.S.A)” phase. I emerged from that phase with a deep compassion for the pain I drew from the stories I told about my American identity– let’s face it, I was using the U.S. as a scapegoat for coping with my own perfectionist sh*t. 

Now life without you will be different

Remembering Taylor without Perfectionism…. she’s dope.

I talk about Nelson Mandela as if he was a dear friend (first name basis). I’m fascinated by human controversies (Putin, Trump, Thatcher, China vs. USA, the Zimbabwean conflict). I write with emotion rather than ontological evidence to translate my ideas.

I LOVE conflict and discord as a means for growth (just depends how you use conflict).

I find peace when sitting in steaming hot water and in getting lost in ideas with creative, limitless people (those two things are not mutually exclusive).

I actually never liked this photo because it highlighted my imperfections. Location: Hoi An, Vietnam

Beyond you and all the expectations we set together, my dream is a great deal more grounding, a great deal more ‘me’.

Without you in the driver’s seat pushing me to get that PhD or prestigious big-time position at XYZ company, I think I’m just going to live on my own terms. Design a self-sustainable farm. Live in health with the land. Get some pygmy goats. Maybe start a family who will thrive with me.

And that’s all me. AkaTaylorGang. BiscuitFace. TayTay Bad Bitch. 

So, sorry perfectionism, you just don’t fit in with all that.