I’m not dressed yet, and I don’t care.
This statement should cause gasps from the audience (of my friends), and confusion from normal people. You see. By now I should be dressed, full face of make up and be rushing at 100 miles an hour.
It’s been around 3 months since I started on Operation Feel Good. How is it going? On the whole, OK actually. I’m not going to pretend I’ve been perfect, I’ve had some major tumbles off the wagon. The holiday was a prime example, we ate a lot of bread and crisps and drank a lot of Sangria (red wine, gin, rose, cava), plus when I get hormonal I have to write a whole week off to carbs and bad moods.
However, I have had the chance to sit back and reflect a lot more. I think a lot of my mood is down to what I put in my body, I feel the difference after certain meals, good and bad. I’m not talking about intolerance or allergies, more how certain ingredients are meant to impact how you feel and/or your immune system. YES I KNOW it does sound a bit boo-hawkey but since I discovered Gurpareet Bains, I’m beginning to see where he’s coming from. We don’t eat his food every night (er, PIZZA), but it is a big part of our weekly menu.
But, on reflection, I don’t actually think this is the main reason for my current state of mind being relaxed and happy. I think it’s taking a step back from things.
You see. I’m a perfectionist. Having interviewed quite a few people this comes up during most “Oh I’m a perfectionist” they say with pride. As if it’s a good thing. Maybe, if you’re a perfectionist reading this now, you think it is. However, I see it as the worst possible thing to be right now.
I’m my own worst critic. Nothing I do in my eyes is satisfactory. Whether it’s work (that document still needs tweaking TWENTY MILLION HOURS LATER), gardening (I swear I can still see a minuscule weed), parenting (oh my god, there’s a streak of snot on his cheek!), looks (do I look tired, is my mascara ok?, look at my fat arms, are my friends laughing at how old I look) I beat myself up about it. I always have – right from an early age, I still get a sick feeling in my stomach from when I was four and stood in the wrong practice fire drill at school. HORRIFIED.
I don’t think it really came into fruition until I came to be a marketeer. I’ve realised that when I started working my way up the ladder I became more and more highly strung, beat myself up more and more about stuff, amazed that decidedly below average people were doing ok, sometimes better then ok. HOW can that many mistakes be ok? HOW can they present that presentation with a box of content overlapping the logo, it used to cause palpitations. It’s why I’m shit at working part time – I can never let go.
Then I gave it up. And for a year I’ve not really been entirely convinced about myself. I’ve felt a bit on edge, still waking up frequently at night with that sick feeling in my stomach. A lot more relaxed then before, and confident I made the right decision, but there’s been something playing on my mind. The need to achieve is obviously built into me, but I was attempting to achieve at something I’ve only just started, attempting to be at the same level that it took nearly 12 years for me to build up to, within a matter of months.
Last week I had an epiphany. I was gardening. I’d taken a week off to potter about the house, enjoy The Beast’s birthday and generally relax a bit. I realised how much I missed weeding, and I realised that I’d been losing myself in trying to be something, foregoing health and happiness because I’m trying to achieve so many things. I counted I was trying to fit 6 different objectives into 3 days. These 6 objectives are probably actually considered to be either part (as in 50/50 split, or even full time). NO WONDER I was knackered. NO WONDER I struggled to climb the stairs at the end of the day, NO WONDER I was worrying.
So I’ve cut it all back. I have two main objectives. We wont discuss them, they’re not that important to you, just to me. But oh my god, do I feel better. I have a third underlying mantra which I need to work at. IT DOESN’T MATTER IF IT’S NOT PERFECT. I don’t have to become defeatist if something doesn’t fit my standards, I have to accept that actually it’s fine.
So here I am. Sitting here in MIS-MATCHED PJs, with my hair spiked up, and I’m posting this blog. I’m not even going to put a header image on it or check it for typos (although I’m even hyperventilating at typing that line). I can’t pretend it’s going to be an overnight change, or if it will be a full on change and I will become slovenly and wander around in grey oversized tracksuit bottoms stained with snot, milk and something brown that I don’t want to think about…but with the help of a few of my friends, I’m learning to laugh at my slightly over the top worries (are the spidermen I’ve printed off for T’s birthday party too pale being one of them).
I don’t want to be perfect any more, and that feels great to know that…let’s hope I can sustain it.