Saturday, August 5, 2017

What It's Like to Be a Perfectionist: A Poem

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By: Lime Green Giraffe Photography Editor, Meghan K.

Every so often
I’m doing a dance move
And I mess up
And then I panic.

Too personal. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete.

Drawing is supposed to be fun
But sometimes stray lines happen
And then you erase half the picture
And the drawing takes you two hours.

Who actually does this? I sound so nitpicky. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete.

What is perfection?
Is it something humans can achieve?
Is it something the media forces us to adore?
Why do we strive for it?

Am I writing an essay? Lighten up! Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete.

Is perfect like a movie star
With her photo on a bus?
Is perfect like my best-est friends
So unbelievably us?

Okay, this one just sounds like a child’s poem. Delete. Delete. Delete.

How am I supposed to get this poem right?
It’s going on the internet; it has to be perfect.
Why am I such a failure?
WHY CAN’T I DO THIS?

I keep trying not to be so personal. DELETE. DELETE. DELETE. DELETE.

Maybe I should try being personal.

Never try, never fail.
Keep your mouth shut if you don’t know the notes.
Stand still if you don’t know the dance.
This is the voice in my head, telling me that I can’t.

Write a poem about perfectionism
And the perfectionist has to edit it.
Too personal, too robotic
Delete. Delete. Delete.

My internal monologue is constantly judging me
A camera replaying my biggest flops
I am my own worst critic
I am my own worst enemy.

I make a mistake.
I smile.
I laugh it off.
You’d think I didn’t care.

But I do care.
I care too much
About being perfect
About getting it right the first time.

How does this even work? Am I supposed to rhyme everything? This is all so bad. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete.

Am I doing this right?
My mind can be so kind at times
But then it trips me up at times
Because I overthink things

And then it keeps me up at night
And I question and judge
All those moments that I fudged
And I overthink things

And it’s not just the times I open my mouth at the wrong time
It’s when I’m writing a poem and the rhyme
Just doesn’t come out right, and then I fight
But I’m only fighting myself.

The drawing, the essay
The nail art, the whole day
And someone tells me, “Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
They say, “You hold yourself to an impossible standard.”

It’s easier said than done.

None of this is right! Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete.

Man, I wish I could throw my computer across the room.



Wait a minute.




Oh, I’m so glad I have a good memory.

Rewrite. Rewrite. Copy. Paste.

Maybe when I put all this together, it’s halfway decent.
It’s not perfect.
In fact, it’s kind of smudgy.
Kind of like that drawing I erased seventeen times.

The eyes don’t match, the proportions strange
But I can’t rearrange it
It’s something I can’t help falling in love with
I made this.

Perfection
It’s weird sometimes
Because sometimes smudgy patches
Look better than clean lines

Sometimes I see perfection in chaos
I don’t really understand why
I can see perfection in the imperfect
And yet that doesn’t apply to me

The erased drawing
The fudged dance moves
I don’t budge, I judge myself
Until I have it right

I always strive to be perfect
I have to be okay with me
Smudgy, too-personal,
Imperfect me

And somehow judging myself for being a perfectionist
Is more of me doing the same things
Trying to be perfect by being imperfect
Is there no end to perfectionism?

I have to be okay with me
Perfectionist, smudgy,
Meticulous, imperfect,
Contradictory me.

Sometimes “good enough”

Has to be good enough.

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