On Perfectionism

Perfectionism is something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember. I’ve always strived to not only do well, but be 100% perfect the first time I try anything because that’s a completely normal expectation thankyouverymuch. Yes, yes, it is.

But it’s really not.

I remember, for instance, the intense frustration and tears when I was first learning to drive a manual. I got angry at myself for crunching the gears and not transitioning to the next gear smoothly enough. What. What even is that. As I’m writing this, and in hindsight, I know perfectly well that it is completely unreasonable to think I should be able to know how to drive from the moment I start and yet, there that thought was, springing up in my mind, whirling around, making itself known until the frustration caused by my mismatched expectations and reality got too much and tears came rushing out and I felt like a giant useless loser.

I have also experienced this frustration when I recently started to learn crochet. Oh boy. That was not a pretty sight to behold. Or hear. There was a lot of swearing. Poor Mr. birdandfox. And, also, ouch to my poor creativity. Perfectionism can be a bitch to the creative process, hey? Little doubts sneak in, as is only natural in the creative process it seems, and perfectionism attaches itself like a dirty little leech and sucks out all the self-belief, replacing it with more fuel to add to The Fire of Doubts until you just don’t even try because what’s the point. Urgh.

The paralysing power of perfectionism can also be found in my uni life. I expect myself to be able to understand complex statistics from the word go. I also expect to be able to write brilliantly and get everything correct in the first draft. I constantly question myself and my abilities – “Why can’t I understand multi-level modelling?”, “Why don’t I know how to write a manuscript for publication?” – and it often ends in me not even wanting to try, for fear of failure. Because, yes, in my brain, not getting it right the first time = failing. Never mind the fact that I’m still a student, still learning, still finding my way. Unwavering perfectionistic standards for myself begets professional-level procrastination begets paralysis.

So my expectations have a lot to answer for. I’m well aware of that. But figuring out what constitutes a reasonable expectation for yourself can be a tricky business. What makes it even more frustrating is that I don’t hold these same expectations for other people. If someone repeated to me some of the things I tell myself, I would tell them to cut themselves some slack. I would tell them that you’re not expected to know how to do everything right off the bat and not to cry and also please don’t throw things. Ahhh, double standards. How I loathe thee. But do thee so well!

I envy the people who say that they accept, and often expect, they will make mistakes when learning something new. How are they comfortable with this? How did they come to think this way? Tell me your secrets! Teach me the ways of this magic! But I digress.

Writing these points on perfectionism has been rather cathartic for me and I think there’s something in that. Writing your expectations down, talking about them, or simply getting into the habit of questioning them yourself, can go a long way. Because once you start challenging those impossible, towering expectations, they begin to come undone. So pull on that loose thread. Unravel that jumper. Or knitted overalls, whatever. And watch your unrealistic expectations come crashing down around you, making room for learning, fun, and creativity. Don’t let your perfectionism paralyse you.

Jacquie

P.S.
You’ll be pleased to know that I have since learnt to drive a manual and am now a very competent driver. It just took more than a few hours to get it right.

P.P.S.
Crochet is still not happening.

Frankston Beach

I do love to be beside the seaside. Don’t you? The beach has so many wonderful memories attached to it for me. So many holidays spent on the Mornington Peninsula with my mum, my sister, and my nanna. Trips made in the stinking hot summer with cicadas chirping, the sun sizzling, and warm breezes flowing past. Trips made in the chilly winter when the wind whips past your ears, making your face ache with the cold. I loved all of them and still love to go down to a beach, any beach, when it’s warm or cold.

I don’t go nearly as often as I would like, even though I’m less than an hour away, so when I knew I would be down in the area, I made sure I left home a little early so I could take a stroll down the pier at Frankston beach. This is what I saw.

Sleepy Seal

Dog on Pier Warning Sign on Pier

Pier Side & Ocean

Ocean View #3

Bench on Pier Bollard on Pier #1

Wooden Bench on Pier

People on the Pier

Pier Rail Bokeh

Sunset Fishermen

Hope you have a lovely week!

Jacquie

Nice Things #7

I have to admit I was a real grumpy grouch yesterday. I’d just finished house/kitten sitting for my sister and had some errands to run before heading home. I had a headache but no painkillers on me, I got rained on, there was a ridiculously long wait at the chemist’s, I was hungry and tired and didn’t really have the energy to drive. Helloooo cranky-town. But then I realised that I needed to curate things for today’s post and do you know, I felt a little bit better? Hopefully you enjoy the list as much as I enjoyed creating it!

  • How perfect is this super cute DIY for these cold nights that are upon us?
  • And here’s some more crafty goodness in the shape of cute fruit pom poms!
  • While you’re busily crafting away, might you listen to some music? This cute little post by fellow blogger, Catherine, over at Saint Cardigan got me thinking about my favourite crafting tunes.
  • Fancy treating yourself to a lovely little necklace? Or perhaps you need to buy a gift for someone special? I adore these necklaces made with recycled fabric.
  • If you DO buy someone a gift this month, maybe you could use some of these awesome washi tape wrapping ideas to make the gift look extra special?
  • How impressive is this shadow and light art by Kumi Yamashita?
  • Here’s a different kind of art – street art, with a sense of humour.
  • And finally, wouldn’t it be nice to sit back and devour a slice of this with your afternoon cuppa? Me thinks so.

This month’s Nice Things had a strong art and crafts feel to it, didn’t it? I’ve mentioned a few times here and on Facebook that I’ve been finding it difficult to get into a crafty mood lately. By looking around and seeing what other people are doing, I feel quite a bit invigorated. Huzzah! Who knows what this will bring.

How are you going? Are you well? How is the month of July shaping up for you?

Jacquie

Taking Stock #8 : All The Prompts!

*blinks* So we’re half-way through 2015…half the year has gone, just gone! Nobody panic, nobody panic…to help keep my panic at bay, I’ve written my Taking Stock post, using the full list of prompts this time, especially for this mid-year point. Enjoy!

Making: a mess out of my nail by biting it. Mm, so attractive.
Cooking: plots and plans for my Etsy shop.
Drinking: tea. Always tea.
Reading: The Silkworm by J. K. Rowling. So good!
Wanting: more time to finish reading said book!
Looking: at a pretty dreary day outside. Constant grey, cloudy sky.
Playing: the sick card still. Legitimately – this cold has not left me for two weeks.
Wasting: a lot of tissues, probably.
Sewing: nothing.
Wishing: I was sewing something!
Enjoying: the comforting warmth of a heat pack on my cold tootsies.
Waiting: for motivation to strike.
Liking: that it’s Sunday and that I don’t have to have motivation on a Sunday.
Wondering: if some ideas I’ve had for my Etsy shop will work.
Loving: being tucked up inside.
Hoping: there’s a thunderstorm soon.
Marvelling: at how quiet things can be when you really start to listen.
Needing: the ability to make more time for the things I want to do.
Smelling: tea and biscuits.
Wearing: a big cosy jumper – one of my favourite op shop bargains!
Following: the Australian Writer’s Centre’s podcast.
Noticing: my lack of creative energy.
Knowing: it will come back soon.
Thinking: I need some time off.
Feeling: that I can’t take time off now. Boo.
Bookmarking: this video about YouTubers writing and publishing books.
Opening: my mind to the possibility that I shouldn’t persevere with books that I can’t get into by the first third.
Giggling: at the trailer for Inside Out.

How was your month of June? Is the year passing quickly for you too? What’s been the best thing about June for you?

These Taking Stock posts are based on an idea by the wonderful Pip Lincolne over at the Meet Me At Mike’s blog. Head here to check out her Taking Stock posts and to find a blank copy of the full list.

Jacquie