Perfectionitis

I am a perfectionist.

I got it from my mother, but it manifested in a completely different way from hers. She LOVES to clean, and she always looks fantastic. Me–I am completely OCD about very particular things:  my books are alphabetical by author, then title; I am constantly making lists; my pens are separated by type and quality. I’m even making a list of WHY I’m OCD. Areas of my life are neat and tidy–like my office. Everything has to have it’s exact place or I am thrown completely out of wack.

At work, I obsess. I remember calls for weeks at least. Few names escape me, details are soaked up like a sponge. When people ask me questions or for help, I often either know the answer or where to go for help. I’m not trying to brag there, it’s just because I feel I have to be perfect. I feel very deficient if I don’t know how to solve something. My job is very much about critical thinking and puzzles, and I will agonize over the tough ones or if I think I’ve made a mistake. I also have to have everything complete before I leave at the end of the day. It bugs the crap out of me if I can’t get my work done before I clock out at the end of the day. Open cases drive me crazy.

The big downside to all of this is that I am a perfectionist to the point that if there is something I can’t do perfectly, I won’t do it. This sometimes comes across as laziness, but that isn’t the whole picture. Not really. My introvert nature does enable me to sit still for long periods of time, and I do love to read. But really, I am never satisfied with what I do, and it completely frustrates me. In my head, I should be able to pick up a guitar and play like Jimi Hendrix. Or a paint brush and create a Monet masterpiece. Why does my pen not flow into Rowling billions? My brain knows that these things take years of hard work and practice, but I feel like I should just instantly be perfect.

Even picking up a sponge to clean a bathroom is hard for me sometimes. Why isn’t it instantly spotless? I’ve scrubbed all afternoon and it’s still streaky! It’s why I would rather fold laundry into piles and put them away all at once. It’s a system, so that the shirts and underwear and tanks all go into the drawers in their perfect little piles. I’m sure it’s silly, but it’s what makes sense in my head.

I wish sometimes that I had gained the type of perfectionalism that makes me want to be super healthy and fashionable all the time. Because, actually, I do really want to be those things. I just don’t know how to be that kind of perfect perfectly. And so, I’ll obsess if my books are in the right order and I’ll stack the notebook paper on my desk just one more time so that it lines up just right. And you know all of my work will be done before I clock out. Because that, I can do. Perfectly. Or at least as close as I can get.

It’s just who I am. I am a perfectionist.

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