New Year, Same Me (the Good and the Imperfect)

This is my favorite embroidery I’ve ever done – on an aesthetic level but also on a personal one. It’s something I struggle with a lot: beating myself up for falling short of perfection. Which is funny, because I so don’t think of myself as a perfectionist, and in fact when our premarital counselor suggested I might be Type A I laughed out loud (I’m sure you won’t be surprised that she didn’t laugh along and my fiancé looked quite unamused).

In all seriousness, I suppose I am…well, let’s call it Type A-. Where my surroundings are concerned, I like things a certain way but I am often lazy about getting them there; when it comes to myself and my achievements I have extremely high standards but I often fall short for what I consider to be terrible reasons, such as getting sucked into the second season of Travelers instead of writing a blog post (I just barely avoided that self-beating today). My partner, my therapist, and pretty much everyone else who knows me well would call the things that keep me from achieving my own high standards ‘life,’ or ‘self care,’ or, god forbid, ‘relaxation.’ None of that feels like a good enough excuse to me.

That said, I do achieve a lot. I finished my second book, didn’t I? And did two full rounds of edits besides. But all I can think about is how none of the agents I’ve queried has wanted me/it – so far. Many people go through hundreds of rejections before they get an agent, and I already had one before I decided to move myself and my writing career to the U.S. I shouldn’t feel like a failure, but I do – I’ve explained part of this in a past blog post, but essentially it’s because I struggle to celebrate my own successes and I excel at stressing over the ways I fall short.

The past few months have been tough for me, emotionally. There’s been family drama, body image struggles, the emotional minefield that is being engaged for the second time, and plenty of writing setbacks; this past month especially I’ve been watching people celebrate their 2017 achievements all over social media and I’ve burned with envy. But that’s not fair, to them or even to me. I have achieved things – for example, this is the first year I’ve ever stuck with a resolution, and perhaps most importantly I have an amazing, communicative, supportive relationship for which we’ve both worked very hard, on our own and together – I just haven’t achieved everything. I’ve been letting the perfect be the enemy of the good again.

My New Year’s Resolution is to quit doing that, or at least do it less (hey, may as well get head start on celebrating the little steps).

PS For anyone else who has been suffering from professional envy or just general social media-induced feelings of worthlessness, this tweet helped me a lot this morning and maybe it will help you too: