There’s something about the average 20-something year old woman that makes us want to chase perfection. I know it’s not just me and my slight addiction to to-do-lists, posts-its and planners. I see it in others too. We want that life. The life we have pieced together in our minds consisting of overwhelming success, both unpredictable and undeniable love, and blissful happiness. The life where we wake up flawless, debt free and embrace the mere fact that every aspect of ourselves is fucking phenomenal. The life where we are thankful for our now instead of desperately needing the future to happen. The life where we can spend till our heart is content, vacation like royalty, yet still change the world in some drastic yet beneficial way. That life.
Most of the time, we don’t even know where to begin to secure this life, but we all know that we want it, some version of it. So we put our foot to the pedal, draw out some bullshit map we force ourselves to see as the perfect route and then speed towards this ideal, “perfect” life. Oh, and GOD FORBID something or someone that obstructs our path to greatness, because it needs to be this way or we are sure to fail.
We chase perfection and it’s crippling.
In February, I began to partake in the Twenties Unscripted / From A Wildflower writer’s challenge ((late of course, true to Yetti fashion). It was smooth sailings till I got to the day where I was asked to write about where I saw myself in my 20s. Disappointment settled in, and then came the negative self-talk filled with a whole lot of, “Yetti, you fucked up!” and “You were supposed to be here by now, you little failure!” It took 4 days and 7 different drafts before I said, “Fuck it,” and did away with the rest of the challenge. But it did force me to reflect on my “path” and why in God’s name did I need for my life to be a certain way, to be perfect with no grey areas or reservations.
My want for perfection and a solid plan at all times came from my need to please those that surround me. My need to please those that surround me came from my desperate need to feel loved by my father, a traditional Nigerian man. Yes, I am the girl that does not have divorced parents, and has a father that is incredibly active within her life, yet still managed to have daddy issues. This desperate need and people pleaser behavior lead to years of cutting, suicide attempts and full-blown mental breakdowns. And though I now understand my father has always loved me and we have one of the greatest relationships a woman could ever be blessed with, the foundation for this perfectionist behavior had already been laid.
I know you’re all thinking, “why is she sharing this?” but I wanted to explain the basis of why I used to chase perfection and the importance of knowing why in order to stop doing so. If I didn’t evaluate where this behavior came from, I would have no way of resolving it. I would never truly know why failure and other people’s disappointment was borderline debilitating to me. Most importantly I probably would have never truly understood where perfection as whole comes from.
Let me enlighten you really quickly.
per·fec·tion (pərˈfekSHən) noun – The condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.
Perfection is what you set it to be. That’s all you boo. You set the standard for perfection, you delineate what you’re aiming for, and you also outline what you deem as unreachable. Only you can truly do this since both failure and perfection are a matter of opinion. If you change your view on it all, you may possibly be closer to perfection than you think. I now understand that I could very much be behind on a few aspects of my life, career, love life, etc. but I am also in a place I never thought was achievable: I’ve discovered happiness.
Embrace uncertainty. Love the fuck out of it. Because the very same uncertainty that may throw you off your route may detour you towards something better. Sometimes your plan is not for you. The very first time I took on uncertainty was when I allowed myself to fall in love. 3 years later, I had an incredible relationship, a painful ass break-up but I came out with a whole new perspective on my life and it’s purpose. Not to mention, I learned that I am indeed one of the greatest girlfriends of ALL time. If I stuck to my plan of being a spinster, I’d be on cat number 4 with a cobwebbed nether region.
Simply put, do yourself the favor of evaluating what you’re striving for. Analyze it and fix it from the root. Then after that? Live your fucking life, crooked path, bullshit and all. The chase may not be a chase after all.