Day 254: Turns Out The Only Person Who Expects Me To Be Perfect Is…Me

Hello everyone,

Last night, the huge story that I was working on last week for my college newspaper came out online. Naturally, the first thing I did was read it, only to find 3 grammatical errors.

This may not sound like a big deal to most of you, but to me, it was major.

3 errors? Yes, 3 entire errors.

I was so upset, my blood inside my whole body was literally heating up and wanting to spill out.

If I sound overly dramatic, it’s because indeed I was acting that way, but it’s because that was the first time I’ve ever seen any of my published work flawed.

As many of you reading this blog who struggle with eating disorders of your own already know, one of the major characteristics that make us such good candidates for eating disorders is the constant need to be perfect.

We all tend to be on the perfectionist side of the spectrum, and that’s where our Ed’s get to us. They tell us that in order to achieve perfection, we need to lose that last pound, or work off that last calorie.

Needless to say, my point is, that I am exactly that perfectionist person.

So when I saw those errors, it literally ate away at me . It was the same feeling I had when I failed my writing test for NBC.

Anyway, I was up until 3 in the morning so upset over it, only to wake up at 630 a.m. to find that I had made one more mistake in the story.

I interviewed someone who had gone through a traumatic event in 2010, yet when I referenced to that event in the article, I wrote 2006. Don’t ask me why I wrote 2006, because I clearly knew it was 2010, for whatever reason, I just did.

So the balanced and not black and white part of me would have thought this through. But I wasn’t balanced this morning. I was black and white-the gray was totally not there.

So, what did I do? I e-mailed the guy who I made the mistake about, asking him if he wanted me to correct the date. Then I decided, that of course, he would want me to fix it, so I sent another e-mail saying I would.

A short 30 minutes later,my editor made the change online and it was all fixed.

It was nothing for her to fix. Even she said it was such a minor error and not to worry about it.

But I was worried. I would be worried until I heard back from the guy that it was OK.

So, now I was on my fifth e-mail to this guy in the span of an hour, saying that the error is now fixed.

Had I waited and went to my editor first, he wouldn’t even have known there was an initial mistake.

Anyway, I waited all day for his answer.

All day I was anxious. All day everyone told me it was no big deal, and most people said they didn’t even notice the grammatical errors.  But I didn’t care. It wasn’t a perfect story now and it bothered me.

As I was sitting in class falling asleep due to not sleeping because of all my anxiety last night, I got an e-mail back from that guy.

This is what it said:

Hi Shira,

Thank you very much! I appreciate you going through all this effort. Its a great article. I showed it to my boss and he thought it was great!”

Yup…all that worrying and anxiety, and he was actually happy with the article!
And then it hit me.
That guy didn’t expect perfection from me.
My editor didn’t expect perfection from me.
My friends and family who read the article didn’t expect perfection from me.
It turns out, the only one who expects me to be perfect is no one else than myself.
It’s a quality that assisted me in becoming so good at having my eating disorder.
I had to become perfect in the eyes of Ed,and only then, would I stop.
Starving…exercising…losing…always striving for more and more “perfection.”
But the truth is, and it’s a truth I’ve learned in recovery more than once now, there is no such thing as perfection.
Believing that we can reach perfection, especially perfection to our eating disorder’s standards, can actually be dangerous, since it can be deadly for those with eating disorders.
So along with the lessons I’ve already learned, such as that my recovery will not always be perfect, and my meal plan will not always be perfect, I guess today I learned that my writing will not always be perfect either.
Restricting was not the answer today to make me feel better.
I think the answer lies right here  in front of me on this blog.
The answer is that I am not perfect.
Maybe it’s more perfect to admit your not perfect than to really try and say you are?
Anyway, just to piss Ed off, and to demoralize his ideas that I should always be perfect, I am posting the link to my story here on this post.
Because yes, I made some mistakes, and yes, maybe a year ago, I would let Ed make me ashamed of them, and probably starve myself because of them.
But not today.
Today, I post this article here, in the name of imperfection.
If I can’t be perfect, then hell, the least I can do is embrace the beauty in imperfection and that’s what I am doing by posting this story.
Hello life.
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2 thoughts on “Day 254: Turns Out The Only Person Who Expects Me To Be Perfect Is…Me

  1. Amazing! I loved reading this blog, this is something I came to learn when I hit one year in Therapy. I was writing about what I’d learnt/how far I’ve come. And I struggled with the same thoughts/feels. That it wasn’t good enough, and I remember writing, my therapist never expected this piece of writing to be perfect – it was me.

    Well done with the article. I personally think its great! 🙂

    • Oh my gosh , I don’t know what to say. Wow , thank you so much for first off reading the article and for taking the time to comment. It’s crazy how it happens like that right ? Even sometimes in therapy I wish to be the “perfect” patient and my therapist would never even want that, it’s just me . But were on our way to loving the perfect and imperfect parts of ourselves which I hope will one day give us the chance to cut ourselves some well deserved slack ! Thank u for this !

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