I feel like there’s a lot of pressure in this world to be “perfect.” Sometimes I think feel it a tad more acutely since I’m a PhD candidate, and there seems to be this silent expectation that all PhD candidates should be close to perfect at all times, like perfect little aca-angels. However, if I’m honest, I have struggled with this “perfect” push all of my life:there’s always this nagging voice in the back of my head that tells me I should be a little more perfect than I am because I’m clearly not meeting ANY of my goals. I’m always feeling a day late and a dollar short. I look out at the room around me and see my messy workspace, papers flung around me, coffee cup from this morning, wadded up scratch paper, blankets from the night before when I was snuggling on the couch with my husband and daughter still unfolded and in a heap and a mess, and I realize I’m not close to being the perfect mother or wife. Nowhere close. The voice nags. It whispers I should really do something about my mess.
I’m a mess, generally speaking. I have a project due on Monday that is nowhere near completion, and I feel very bad about that. Yet, I’m still pausing to reflect on the status of my mental state and to write this. I know you’re probably wondering why?– Why would she stop working to write this blog in the middle of needing to fold up those blankets and wash her coffee cup and get her project done? Because my brain needs a break. It needs a moment to not think about being “perfect” and just get some words on a page. It needs some time to process without actually thinking about processing, if that makes sense. It needs to not worry about being perfect for a little while.
A few weeks ago, my daughter started day care, aka “school”. I’m working on a post on that– but I keep stopping, because it’s been really hard and messy and emotional, and I always need to stop writing in the middle of what I’m saying to take a moment to breathe. I feel SUPER imperfect when I write about the shit show that is day care, when I write about the traumatic mornings getting ready for the day and my daughter tells me she doesn’t want to go, she wants to stay home. When she cries when I leave her at school, and I hear her cry as I walk back down the hallway. I feel very less than perfect.
There’s so much pressure to be perfect. And you know what I mean– I don’t even just mean “good enough.” I can tell myself rationally that I need to take some time to recharge, to rest, to take a nap on the couch if I need to or watch some shitty television because my brain needs some shitty television, but then there’s that other voice that says “really? Really? shouldn’t you be reading, or working on your syllabus, or working on something that will make you a better student/wife/mother?”
Maybe I should. I don’t know the answer. I do know that right now, there’s a lot of voices in my mind and a deep need for silence in my heart. I feel very less than right now, and that feeling can be so overwhelming.
To all the people out there striving for perfection and feeling less than, I’m with you– you’re not alone. And you know what, I think you’re enough. I think you’re perfect just as you are. And I think you’re super awesome for trying. Because getting up and trying every day says so much about who we are and about who we want to be.
Silence that little voice in your head that tells you that you’re anything less than awesome. And just because we all need to be reminded sometimes, here’s a My Little Pony to remind us: