It’s late. It’s late and I’m tired and my body is threatening an all-out revolt if I don’t slow down. It’s firing a warning shot right now with the beginnings of a sore throat. I’d best listen or I will certainly pay the price. Of that I am certain.
It’s the untold toll of perfectionism, both good and bad. Bad perfectionism is what gifted adults struggle against. You know what it is, I certainly don’t need to describe what you live every day. Good perfectionism is…well, I have a heavy dose of it. It’s just part of me. I’m playing piccolo in our village summer band. There is no hiding when you play picc. There’s only one, it’s very noticeable, and Stars and Stripes Forever is pretty much required. So perfectionism kicks in to protect me from myself. I will play my parts perfectly so as to not embarrass myself. I have done that in the past, it is ugly.
We waited a year after moving in, but my husband and I are painting every last square inch of our home this summer, room by
my God are we done YET room. Good perfectionism makes me fix the mistakes that probably only I can see, because if I see them again and again and again I’m going to be ticked I just didn’t fix them in the first place. And lemme tell ya, we’re rolling over paint jobs that were most certainly not done by perfectionists. It’s been a long year.
Of course, good perfectionism can descend into bad perfectionism quicker than you can blink. It’s kind of like a cantaloupe smelling like summer in the store, only to immediately give off a stench like my sons’ laundry basket by the time I get it home. So I work at that. I’m no longer a professional or even semi-professional flutist, so I give myself a rare bit of leeway. Good enough just is, for a change. And when I see roller strokes on the wall, I just remind myself that the universe was created from imperfection, I can live with a few funky spots. And hang some pictures.
Finally, as I do more and more writing, I find myself with an angel perfectionist and a devil perfectionist sitting on each shoulder. As I type, one is whispering that this is really a throw-off post and it’s not worth reading and if you’d started earlier maybe you could have written something of quality. The other is gagging that one, allowing me to finish the post before I fall asleep sitting up. They both have their place, it’s simply up to me as to which one succeeds.
Jen writes over at Laughing at Chaos, where she almost always but not quite writes something of quality. She is the author of If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional, to be published by Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Press summer 2012. She is in dire need of a vacation, a personal assistant, and a massage therapist on call.