It’s time to break up with Perfection

Oh, Perfection, you jealous lover. You demand so much of me and give so little in return. It’s hard enough being a first-born, naturally Type-A personality with a touch of control freak. But then we met in college, when being a music major meant perfection or fail. At first, we were a loving couple. I knew that, as a musician, you were only as good as your last performance, that practice makes perfect, and that perfection was expected at every turn. I had to be at 100% accuracy 100% of the time or the performance was a failure. I loved you then. You made me great and through you I got applause and kudos and have fantastic flute recital memories and the recordings to prove it. We were happy.

Since I’ve moved away from my music career, you’ve become jealous and demanding and our relationship has become a dysfunctional one. You are hostile towards me, try to lash out at my children, and it’s getting harder and harder to reign you in. You cannot accept that while you are welcomed and loved in a music career, you are a detriment in a family setting.

It’s time for you to go, but I don’t know how to get you out the door. I’m afraid my life would fall apart without you there to keep me in line.

I am so accustomed to your presence that I don’t know how to live without you. You were such an important part of my life for so long that I scarcely know a day without you. I’ve separated from you in the past, but only for very brief moments, such as letting the dishes pile in the sink so I could read or letting the boys watch too much tv instead of read or play. But you always came rushing back, angry that I made you go, even briefly.

It’s because of the boys that you must go. See, A has his own Perfection causing trouble, and you don’t get along with A’s Perfection. In fact, the relationship between you two is becoming so problematic that he and I aren’t getting along well. And I won’t allow you to interfere with the relationship I have with my son. He and I need to feel peace with ourselves just because, not because we have done something perfectly, or been perfect all day.

I don’t mind a phone call now and then, but you must move out and get your own place. Come and visit when I have the flute out, or am using sharp tools, or am attempting to bake a new gluten-free bread. You’re welcome then. But when it comes to my family, or my sanity, or daily life, get the hell out. You’re mean and jealous and never satisfied.

I will learn to live without your daily interference. That will be just complete Prefection.

6 Responses

  1. We are certainly kindred spirits when it comes to the influences on musical training and parenting! I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about.

  2. I have the same problem and I am trying so hard to ease up on myself and as a result my five year old daughter. Even with my blog, I try so hard to write the best post I can but the push send even though the perfectionist in me is yelling, “Eh, it’s funny but it’s not hilarious”.

  3. Beautifully written.

  4. Way to go, girl! You have made a declaration, and we’ve all heard it!

    Remember, Perfection is sneaky and it’s going to miss you and try to weasel its way back. If it does, just recognize the return, give yourself grace that it happened, then state your declaration once more. In time, you both will get used to the new arrangements.

    Breaking up is hard to do, but oh so freeing! Keep us posted on how it goes!

  5. That was beautiful. Letting go of expectations can be difficult. Look at the serenity prayer. And then consider what is really important in life. Perfection or love? Marvelous stuff.

  6. I don’t think i’ve been perfect once, you are fabulous with or without your sense of perfection!

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