The Curse of Perfectionism

The Curse of Perfectionism

I am a perfectionist. Yes, a type A, full blown perfectionist. Now you may think that is a good thing. Everything I do must be great right? Nope, you would be dead wrong! Being a perfectionist is not a blessing but a curse. I think of it as its own version of OCD. No, I don’t relock the front door 50 times a night or rewash my face several times before bed. Perfectionism manifests itself in other neurotic ways.

I was introduced into the world of perfectionism from an early age. I could read by the time I was three. That is more of an accomplishment on my mom’s part than mine, but still, I performed like a trained monkey for friends and family. In Kindergarten the teachers used to take me to the fourth and fifth grade classrooms to show how smart I was. The problem with performing like a trained monkey is you become a praise junkie. I was as addicted to praise from my parents and teachers by the age of six as a junkie is to crystal meth.

As I grew I continued to strive to be the best always.  I won science fairs,  placed in spelling bees, was photographed and had my picture in the local newspaper.  I was on the National Honor Society and Student Council. By this time there was no hope of curing my perfectionism, it just got bigger and bigger. But that was when my only responsibility was to be a good student and a good daughter.

Fast forward 30 years. Now I am still a perfectionist, but I am a mother of two, home maker, teacher, and a woman who takes Zoloft to deal with my anxiety. Yep, Zoloft. God bless that stuff. At school my classroom must be the cutest. I used to tell myself that it was because I spent so much time in my classroom. I mean, if I am going to be in there for 40 hours a week I might as well be in a pleasant environment, and there is truth to that statement. But here is another truth. I get a warm fuzzy every time a parent or a coworker or a student walks in my room and gushes about how cute it is. Praise meet junkie. The same is true with my teaching. It is not acceptable to just be a “good” teacher. Oh no, that just won’t do. I have to stay current.  I have to work hard.  I have to spend two to three hours a night grading papers and writing lesson plans.  Oh, and yes, my lesson plans are absolutely adorable with the cutest clip arts you ever saw.

Then there is the house. I can honestly say my house is not perfect, but it is NOT from a lack of trying. Honestly, with two boys and a husband who drop things where ever I just can’t clean fast enough for it to look immaculate. I am out-numbered, but still, if there is laundry I will wash it, dinner is cooked seven days a week, etc, etc, etc.

All this crazy ass perfectionism is the leading cause for why I am so darn tired. I know that. I wish I could stop. Sometimes I wish I could just not care. I’m not talking about quiting my job or suddenly having my house show up on an episode of Hoarders, but there must be some kind of happy medium. I still haven’t found it, and I am not even sure where to look for it. So in the mean time I’ll just pop another Zoloft and pour another glass of wine while I work on cleaning the parts of the house I couldn’t get to during the work week.

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