Featured image: One of the plants I mention later in this post. I was underwatering her I think before but she’s made a full comeback with lots of new growth. It’s called a Tradescantia zebrina.
As I said in my last post, I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety lately. Most of this has come from self-imposed stress.
I’ve been saying I’m “making up for lost time.” Due to my years of depression, I didn’t use to take care of myself; My diet was awful, I smoked too much, I had no skincare routine, my hair was rarely brushed. My room was constantly a “disaster zone” (as my mother would call it). I struggled to write and didn’t read anything that wasn’t assigned to me for school. I didn’t do anything to better myself, ever, and was only focused on short-term happiness. I was just trying not to die.
But now that I’m out of survival mode, I’ve become obsessed with making up for it. I’m obsessed with making sure I’m happy and healthy. I’m careful about what I eat. I’ve become very worried about my skin (really should’ve been wearing sunscreen) and how thin my hair is (the stress!). I’ve been extra anal about keeping my room organized. I force myself to write weekly on this damn blog even though you guy’s probably wouldn’t care if I skipped a week. I’ve been trying to read every book under the sun. I worked hard to find a good job and am working extra hard to make them think they made the right decision hiring me. I even bought plants and am actually watering them.
These sound like good habits, right? But my perfectionism is exhausting me and stressing me out. It’s become a constant anxiety to be happy, to make sure I’m having fun and looking good and feeling good and being good.
These things are all completely within my control (why would I worry about anything out of my control?), and they’re also self-imposed standards. The only person I can disappoint is myself. And yet, I feel crazy guilty when I don’t keep up with these things. I think a part of this guilt is fear that if I let myself off too easy, that I’ll slip back into depression. If I let myself stay in bed and let the laundry pile up and sit on my phone too long instead of reading or exercising, I fear that I will drown in those bad habits again. I feel like I have to do these things or I will die.
I also noticed that this perfectionism has also seeped into my dating life, for better and for worse. When a man tells me he hasn’t been to the dentist in four years (weird flex but ok) after I just spent two hours getting ready, I assume he doesn’t give a shit about anything. When he says he doesn’t have hobbies, or says he hasn’t read a book, or exercised, or ate a salad, or washed his face, or gone to the doctor in years, I’m comparing him to my extremely high standards for myself, and I’m completely turned off (sometimes with good reason, like seriously, go to the dentist?? He even had insurance!) But I also should not expect every person to be just like me and absolutely obsessed with health and well-being. Who am I to judge that they don’t wash their face when I can’t remember doing it all until after college?
Anyways, I’m stressed out of my skull and there’s nothing I can do about it. I even tried googling what to do about perfectionism, and one of the suggestions was “make a checklist” and if you know me, my entire life is a checklist (see blog post). Another tip was “acknowledge it“–I’m literally writing a post about it right now buddy and it’s not working. Another: “seek distraction“– distracting myself is all I do (see last post).
I don’t know man, guess I just have to be perfect.
I went to the dentist last Saturday. As she was cleaning my teeth, another woman came and wished her luck at her court date. She tells me she’s getting divorced. She asks me about myself and I tell her I have a good job, new 1-bedroom apartment, no boyfriend. We talk about online dating. I tell her about the guy who said he hadn’t been to the dentist in 4 years. She tells me about this grown ass man she went on a date with who inherited an embroidery company from his mom, lived in a grandma’s (not his) basement, and didn’t have dental insurance. We talked more about how men suck and how they’ll never change (he cheated on her). She ends the cleaning with “and I know he hasn’t changed because he cheated on his new girlfriend with me” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The appointment took like an hour but it was worth it for that TEA.
Also, the young lady who copyedited this for me, Morgan Hughes, said “I find it a little bit funny that you asked someone to copyedit your post about perfectionism.”