Not perfect. Still good. 

So, I made a big goof at work today. Nothing that warrants the electric chair or anything, but still not something I should have done. Excuse me while I beat myself up over it for the next 10 years. 

Seriously. I cried as soon as it happened and have been replaying it over and over in my head since it happened.  Even as I write this now, my face flushes with shame and my eyes well with tears. 

Why do I do this? Why do I put this ridiculous pressure on myself to always do and say the right things at the right time? And why do I mentally berate myself when I slip up and show that I am, in fact, a human who sometimes makes mistakes?

Anxiety is probably part of it. But mostly I think it’s because I’ve always felt so wrong that I needed to be absolutely, perfectly perfect to balance it out. Ever since I was little I’ve felt like I had to prove to everyone that I was the best at every thing because I felt like nothing about me was correct.

Too loud. 

Too fat. 

Too Black. 

So, I worked hard to be the absolute best so it wouldn’t matter that I was bigger than the other girls–I’d be smarter than them. I pushed myself to erase the whispers of “jiggaboo” on the bus every single day and and the sound of my sixth grade crush laughing, reading a note I’d written him aloud. One day, I would be laughing at them–better than anything they ever hoped to be. 

And anytime I let that veneer of perfection crack, I punished myself. Hard. I remembered that fault longer than anyone else, and I reminded myself of it each time I made another mistake–a ticker tape of every single time I felt embarrassed or unworthy. 

Not a good way to live, people. I say all the time I’m a work in progress, and this is one area where I still struggle. I’m trying to rewire 28 years of thinking and remind myself I’m still good, even if I’m not perfect. 

Second Guess

This weekend, I attended a few events and had a wonderful time. I laughed, ate delicious food, and shared the company of wonderful people. I left feeling on top of the world.

Later, not so much.

I have this problem with analyzing myself–being hyper critical. Rarely in the moment, but always afterward. A mental magnifying glass, scrutinizing every word, move, thought. Wondering if I was too loud. Too honest. If they liked me. If they didn’t…usually followed by things I should or shouldn’t have said, did or shouldn’t have done.

My guess is this comes from a lifetime of feeling less than. Not pretty enough, or smart enough, or talented enough. Constantly striving to present a perfect image so people wouldn’t see how broken I was inside.

That’s no way to live. And I won’t live that way anymore.

One of my goals is to care a little less about what other people think, accept my flaws, and love myself unconditionally. I cannot control the opinions of others, so there is no point in stressing over and worrying about them. As long as I’m the best person I can be–honest, friendly, empathetic, funny, kind–that’s all I can do.

I love me and–if these are the people meant to be in my life–they will too.