“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
The night before SoulSpeak’s revival in Minneapolis, I woke at 2:00am. Waves of anxiety moving over my body. I was stressing about what would come in the morning. I was stressing about the experience for the women and how to be present to whatever would show up. When I started taking improv classes, it was a battle to get myself there. Each time, I wrestled with whether or not to go. Each time I had to stand in front of folks in a scene, my throat constricted. All I could focus on was the blankness in my brain. My thoughts were frantic. What next? What did my partner just say?
When I left those classes, I was wrung out. Exhausted. Perfectionism had a chokehold on me. “How does this come out perfectly?” Perfectionism has often kept me stuck, the enemy of done. I’ve had to increase my capacity to create, to make, to do… Show up more. Let it be imperfect. You can be learning. I’ve had to stay with my profound discomfort for learning. I’ve had to learn to recognize that growth and learning often show up as tension due to rampant perfectionism. I’m learning to discern between tension that means it’s not safe (because that is rampant in white supremacist capitalist patriarchy) and tension that means I am growing.
Mantra: I am allowed to grow. I trust that with each next move, I am growing into the next version of myself.
Journal Q: Where is perfectionism showing up in my life right now? What would it look like if I stepped into that opportunity for growth?
These Soulful Sunday blogs go out weekly on Sundays to be used as a place to step back from the hustle and bustle and explore what your soul might be saying to you. Some folks use these as journal prompts and let loose amidst pages. Some folks bring them to the kitchen table and jam over coffee. Do you, boo.
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