Monday, December 3, 2007

Deeper curse than perfectionism

In case you haven't noticed, it's been nearly a month-wait! let's not be so negative- it's been 3 weeks since my last post. We all know that I have excellent excuses that have been milling around in my head about how intensely busy I've been, or about how when I'm finally with my husband I just can't stand to break away from basking in the beautiousness of being in the same room, no, state, no, even time-zone as he is in, that I might be commiserated with. Somehow I don't really feel like excusing myself anymore because I've recently realized something so blaring about my personality that I am completely shocked and appalled that I have never voiced it before. So let's cut to the chase.

Hi, my name is Libby, and I am an all or nothing person. Shall I explain?

I finally understand why though I need order and cleanliness to feel like there is joy in the world, my room manages to get disorderly. Why I've been so bad at journal writing my entire life. I never really knew what one was supposed to write in their journal, so succumbed to describing everyday life. The problem with this is that I never (ok, not NEVER, but almost never) wrote in my journal daily. This is a problem because every time I went to write in my journal, I felt this need to get "everyone" (who ever that is) caught up on all the goings on for the past while (usually year) since I've written. I knew this would take forever, and I just never have enough time to do all that catching up- forever is quite a long time, you see. This blog has been very nice for me because I have felt no pressure to keep people up-to-date on my life, and therefore, I even considered a few quick blips after the long pause, with no acknowledgment of my absence at all. You can see, though, that I gave in.

Now I can rest at peace when I just don't want to organize my closet, or fridge, or bathroom cabinet, because I know that if I do it, I'm going to do it "right"- take everything out, wipe everything down inside and out, mend/build shelves and/or paint walls and/or vacuum, and then carefully and deliberately place everything in its own special nook until... several hours later... am satisfied by its perfection- and that's just going to take more time than I have right now. Perfectionist? Yes, I have always been aware of this curse, but this "all-or-nothingness" realization has brought my neurosis to a new, more manageable level. I feel more at one with myself knowing that having finally discovered the exact problem, I may be able to figure out some way of mastering this peculiarity. Now I can begin the long journey of overcoming me by making conscious efforts to discard my binary approach to task completion, and break things into "some"s and "bit"s.

For my first feat, I will attempt to clean the bathroom sink and only the sink (without a net). A difficult thing for me, for sure. The spotted mirrors cry out while the grimy grout in my shower calls to me each morning- yet noises have been subconsciously muted and neglect prevailed, waiting for enough time to allow me to conquer the whole. Then, perhaps, the next day I may just wipe away the dots in my reflectionary device, and stop there.

Tomorrow, I stop after a piece,
and I gain peace of mind.


Lindsay B said...

This post might possibly change my life forever. For weeks now I've been cringing at the state of the toilet area of my bathroom, and then feeling very depressed because I just did the laundry and I forgot to put the bathroom towels and bath rug in. Now what do the toilet area and the bathroom laundry have to do with one another? To the average person, not much, but you my dear friend Libby, might understand the torture I'm going through. In my mind if I'm going to clean the toilet I have to clean every square inch of the bathroom at the same time. I feel that this personality trait must be monitored very carefully because if at some point it gets the best of us...bad, bad things could happen (trust me, I've seen it happen on Oprah). So tomorrow...I clean the toilet!

Jay McCarthy said...

You're the most amazing best Libby!

Bryn said...

Oh! This is SOOOOO the same problem I have. Well, one of many, actually.

UsedToBeDay said...

Just wanted to update those who care... I did it!! I JUST cleaned the sink!! A proud day for me :)

emily said...

I hadn't read that. You're comment about the bathroom is spot on!I'm glad to know that other people are crazy like me!