Skip to main content

A Perfect Mess

Perfect Mess, artist Beth Munro
I've said here before: I'm a recovering perfectionist. Since my young teens, I've wanted everything planned, thought out, well-executed and: perfect. Yes, it's an unattainable goal, but dammit, I was up for the challenge.

That meant never giving my parents a moment of worry. Striving for the Dean's List and making it. Having that paper done weeks in advance. Making sure my kids were not only dressed well, but well-mannered.

What I never bargained for was that the Universe is not geared toward "perfect." It's geared toward "good enough," "survival of the fittest," "natural disasters," but not "perfect."

I was always missing the mark. And I was always unhappy with myself. Why, God, did you make me crave "perfect?"

This week, I got what I wanted. And it is really, really painful.

I took a job a few months ago because I really needed a job. I told myself that the place I worked would balance out the fact that I didn't really like the work. I've ended up sitting in a cubicle, with walls so high I cannot see anyone else, doing data entry. Two days this past week, I realized no one even spoke to me except to address a work-issue.

As a gregarious, out-going Irish girl, this is a fresh Hell.

To make matters worse, I'm lousy at this job. I've tried to be super-careful, watch the details and learn, but I...suck.

Now, I've come to realize that my brain doesn't work as well as it used to. With depression, anxiety and trauma a big part of my life for the past 15 years or so, my brain isn't always as precise and careful as it used to be. I've had to compensate, work around and make do. I've gotten much more comfortable with "good enough."

But "good enough" is not good enough for this job. And my boss told me this week that my work was "disappointing." I had to sign a piece of paper that said my work would be "error free" in two weeks or I'd be done.

"Error free" is humanly impossible, so it's pretty easy to guess where I'll be in a few days.

Isn't God funny? I prayed for years to be free of the burden of trying to be perfect, and here I am, a perfect mess. I no longer worry about keeping up appearances and showing everyone that I was above the fray. Now that I've clearly achieved that, I am horrified.

Every day this week, I've wanted to hide in the women's bathroom and cry. I want to go back in time and worry myself sick over perfection. But I can't. There just isn't space in my brain anymore.

I'm hoping to find a new job before I get canned. We'll see. If nothing else, I'm going to be more clear with myself and my new employer.  I cannot be error-free. I'll do my very best, but what you see is what you get: a perfect mess.


Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.


Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…