A searing memory from my first real job was the time I gave my boss a ride and he picked up a book someone had left in my car. All these years later I remember the title—YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT—and the humiliation I felt that he would think it was mine. Now I see that the strive to be perfect is deeply woven into the dominant cultural waters in which we swim though none of us want to be called out as being a perfectionist. And just as with other unconscious actions, I want to see and name my perfectionism because that is how I will be freed from its jabbing elbows and pointing fingers.
I think my inner perfectionist sometimes hears calls for me to be a different way as calls for me to be perfect in that new way. And this can cause stress because I know I am not capable of doing this. This might make me hostile when I am called into a different way of seeing something or when I am called to be more conscious of my inner biases or my foibles or habitual ways of being.
Little Miss Inner Perfection works hard. I notice this when I get home from MDUUC on a long Sunday and the only thing that sticks in my head is the snarky comment about me being a control freak. I find myself REALLY wanting to explain that the policies and open processes they object to work better in a diverse setting—because informal means only the in-group can lead! I forget all the small good moments I got to witness and all the gifts shared by so many talented people in community. I forget what a gift it is to serve our dynamic community.
As this 2019 year unfolds, I hold a deep commitment to remember the both-and-ness of life and to enjoy the humor that life’s imperfections bring us. And to watch for little Miss P so when she is around, I can at least say, “Hey, now!”
With gratitude, Leslie