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Monday, December 1, 2014

Perfectionism Triggers Apocalyptic Melt Downs

The Booth
I’m a perfectionist. I used to believe that the badge of a perfectionist should be worn on the outside of the jacket; after all, perfection is the highest rung on the behavioral ladder, the blue ribbon of attributes, and the ideal to strive for. At least that’s what I believed. Yeah, what a crock of steaming you know what. Perfectionism is a disease like alcoholism, Tourette’s and pink eye. It’s a maniacal malady, which manufactures mirages, and measures mankind. God that felt good. And you know what else feels fricken good—letting go of perfectionism. Firing the police of people pleasing, the Nazi of not good enough, the shaman of shame. That felt good too.

Living, and running the family business from this tiny trailer, is an exercise in imustbenuts, for my first nature is to produce an aesthetically pleasing environment. Well, that lasted for about a day. It’s like trying to keep a white tablecloth clean at a pie-eating contest. So I choose not to drive myself, or, Mike, insane trying to keep up with that expectation. If I’m going to keep my sanity I’m going to have to go with the cluttered flow, and stop judging myself, and Mike, for the mess.

I’m also an idealist, which I believe is prerequisite for becoming a perfectionist. I get an image in my head of what something SHOULD look like, and then I go for it. I have images for everything, including people and food, and when something does not live up to the image that I created in my sick little mind I become unhappy. At least I see this now. For years I hated myself for so many things, but mostly for not being quite up to par.

So I’m probably living in this tiny trailer so I’ll learn how to appreciate the important things in life like love, truth, joy, and gratitude—things with real value that won’t burn up should an apocalyptic event occur.

Living here isn’t so bad. I actually appreciate some things about it—if I allow myself. I love that when I sit at the booth sometimes the squirrels will sit on the privacy fence, which hugs the trailer, and look directly in my window at me. They’re so close that I could count their whiskers. I love the canopy of tropical vegetation, which shades the courtyard on hot afternoons and dapples the ground with buttery drips of sunshine, and the urgent cries of the hawk, which wake me each morning inspiring the notion that each day is important. I adore Deja, the landlord’s Rottweiler, who stops by for a snack and a nap, snuggled in beside Little Dog, at the base of the booth, warming my feet as I work. And then there are the numerous fruit trees, bowing low with juiciness. Boy, I could wax poetic over some of the things here…there’s Duck Duck, the guard duck, who acts like she doesn’t like me, but lately I’ve noticed her quack softening when I walk by, and the tree house, which I’ve yet to christen, but I’ve purchased some rope so I can hoist my laptop and coffee up, leaving my hands free to help me climb the steep stairway.

Then there’s the blessed privacy from the world. Sometimes I can hear it out there, rumbling beyond the jungle walls, but if I pretend a bit, it’s easy to convince myself that I live on a tropical island inhabited by me and Mike, and a few friendly natives.

Yes, if I don’t listen to the stories in my head created by my neurotic perfectionist alter ego, about how a woman of a certain age should have more and be more, I could find it easy to enjoy this very simple life style.

My mother used to say to me, “Leah, you wouldn’t know what was good for you if it landed on your nose.” Well, Ma, I think I’m learning.

6 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

I'd like to be a perfectionist, and I won't stop working at it until I've got it absolutely right!

Lacey said...

It's never to late to learn or change as long as you're open to it. Love you

Leah Griffith said...

Oh my darlin', you said a mouthful. LOL! I love you too.

Martha Jane Orlando said...

I fought the perfectionist demon for years, Leah, but finally won! Sounds like you are well on your way to being on the winning team, too.
Much love to you!

Leah Griffith said...

I can't believe you just said you finally won. Don't you know the gremlins are listening, Martha? LOL! Sprinkle some of that winning juju my way;)

Debra said...

Beautifully put, my friend. That tree house sounds inviting! In fact, your cozy corner of the world doesn’t sound so bad either. It’s all in what we make of things, right? That old cliché, “If life gives you lemons…” certainly applies here. Stay in touch, lovely Leah. <3

P.S. You almost make me miss blogging, in spite of what we’ve talked about.

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