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.
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.