I feel I need to admit something to myself and to all of you. I have been struggling with some inner demons, friends. I have been really struggling. With so many things. And it seems that at the root of it all is my old friend, that nasty little disease called “Perfection.”
Only about a thousand or so of you were around when I first wrote and shared The Disease Called “Perfection.” I’m assuming most of you have never seen it.
This disease, which I once thought I had beaten, has crept back into my life with so much force lately. I might write more about what’s been going on in the next day or two. Might not. But right now, I need to remind myself what an awful disease “Perfection” really is because I do not like where my mind has taken me lately.
The Disease Called “Perfection” was the first thing I ever wrote that made me sit and blubber as I connected to something brutally honest within. More than four years have passed since I first hesitantly published that blog post. Today, I for some reason went back to it as I attempted to make good with my current struggles. I read it several times and soon found myself editing it, and adding to it, and tweaking it, and taking away from it. I am sharing what it turned into with all of you from a place equally dolorous for me (albeit different in nature). Parts of this version include what I have seen and learned the last few years.
THE DISEASE CALLED “PERFECTION”
As a warning, I am sharing the following words in complete desperation. I have recently learned some very sobering and never-expected truths from people whom I love dearly. These truths have set in motion a quest within me to do whatever I can to make a change. Today is not geared at funny or snarky. Today is geared at something much greater. Please read this to the end.
I have to wonder. Am I the only one aware that there is an infectious mental disease laying siege on so many of us right now? Somehow, a serious pandemic of “Perfection” is spreading, and it needs to stop. Hear me out because this is something for which I have passionately and constantly hurt for most of the 34 years of my life. It is a sickness that for so many years I tried to put into words without much success. It is a sickness that I have personally struggled with more than I have ever let on. It is a sickness that at times has left me hiding in dark corners and often hating myself.
And chances are, somehow, it has infected and affected each of you in some (or many) ways, too.
What is the disease called “Perfection”? Perhaps a list of its real-life symptoms will help us all better understand it.
We live in communities where people feel unconquerable amounts of pressure to always appear perfectly happy, perfectly functional, and perfectly figured. “Perfection” is much different than perfectionism. The following examples of “Perfection” are all real examples that I have collected from experiences in my own life, from confidential sources, or from my circle of loved ones and friends. If you actually stop to think about some of these, you will probably feel so much of what I have felt as I write about them. I have been left with wet eyes so many times as I’ve done so.
“Perfection” is a wife who feels trapped in a marriage to a lazy, angry, small man, but at soccer practice tells the other wives how wonderful her husband always is. “Perfection” keeps people from telling the truth, even to themselves. My husband is adorable. He called me a whore this week because I smiled at a stranger. When I started crying, he said he had a game to go watch. I just love him so much.
“Perfection” is a husband who is belittled, unappreciated, and abused by his wife, yet works endlessly to make his marriage appear flawless to those who surround him at the water cooler. The disease really does keep people from being real about the truth. You would have laughed, guys. She said that I suck at my job and will never go anywhere in life. Then she insinuated that I was a fat, rotting pile of crap. Isn’t she the best?
“Perfection” is a daughter with an eating disorder who keeps it hidden for years because she doesn’t want to be the first among her family and friends to be the imperfect one. She would give anything to confront it, but she can’t because then the “Perfect” people would hate her as much as she hates herself for it.
“Perfection” is when a son has a forbidden addiction, and despises himself for it. “Perfection” makes him believe that nobody else could understand what it is like to be weak and fall prey to the pressures of the world. “Perfection” makes him believe that he is far more alone in his addiction than he actually is. And because of “Perfection,” the addiction worsens.
“Perfection” is a woman who finds herself telling anyone who will listen that she doesn’t understand why she’s not losing weight because she’s doing everything right and her body is just stubborn. “Perfection” is the same woman being unable to look at herself in a mirror with anything but repulsion. “Perfection” is that same woman, secretly stashing and binging on all the deliciously wrong things as she adds to her struggle in private with more food.
“Perfection” is a friend who slowly pushes his other friends away by creating exciting and unbelievable stories of his life because the need to match what everyone else somehow paints themselves to be is overwhelming.
“Perfection” is a man who loathes himself for feeling unwanted attraction toward other men because he has been taught his entire life that such things are worthy of wrath. “Perfection” is that same man sometimes longing for the silence of death over the loudness of being hated by those he loves most should he ever find the courage to admit it to them all.
“Perfection” is a couple drowning in debt, but who still agree to that cruise with their friends because the words “we don’t have the money” are impossible ones to push across their lips.