Battling perfectionism

Yesterday I completed the project I promised to begin back on December 31; that of creating a short video based on the composition workshop I gave at the Episcopal Communicators convention in Seattle back in 2008.  You can find it on Youtube, if you're interested.

I'm pleased to have completed the project, but not all that pleased with the results: this is a huge subject, but I only tackle some of the basics, and I don't illustrate all the points I make.  The narration was constructed piecemeal, as I was frequently interrupted during the work and there was a lot going on around me, so it's a little slow (can you spell "soporific?") and it seems clear to me that it was added after the fact; I'm not always sure what I was thinking when I put the slides together in the first place.

Can you hear the perfectionist in me speaking?  She has a way of surfacing any time I dare to make any statement that might indicate I have important information to share; I believe her job is to apologize in advance for any imperfections, in hopes no one will sneer at my work.

Sometimes I would like to shoot her, but I suspect it would make more sense for me to sit down with her, thank her for protecting me so assiduously, and ask her exactly what it is she's afraid of: after all, she is the single biggest example of that desperate need for approval that seems to take over whenever I'm feeling like I may have overstepped my bounds.

I suspect the image here this morning is my attempt to defy her: this is a photo taken in Boulder of scraps of paper in a trash can.  I suspect the part of me that chose to display it here is trying to say (as protection against my perfectionist -- what complex beings we humans are! --) see?  I can create art out of TRASH.  So BACK OFF! 

If it weren't time for me to head off to class, and if my husband weren't floating around the house, I might take time to sit down with these two protagonists and get them to work out their differences.  I have a wonderful new book on family systems therapy that my friend Joanna recommended -- Self-Therapy, by Jay Earley -- that should be good at helping me deal with the squabbling children inside me.

If only I could find a bit of quiet space and time to do that!


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