I Live With a Chronic Wound: It’s Perfectionism

Yesterday, the Struggle Bus rounded in my neighborhood and I got onboard. Southbound, to no place in particular or useful. It’s a familiar bus, with a familiar route to Perfectionism. It’s a route I regularly frequent with a driver named Sheila, and one that doesn’t actually help me get to where I want to go. The ride reminds me of riding shotgun, when my mom used to throw her arm out wide, giving me her right arm “seat belt swing of 1982”.  The kind that is meant to contain you in the seat and keep you safe when moving along at high speeds when a sudden course correction comes along.  

Sheila is the name I gave to my inner self, the inner child who demands what was demanded upon her. Be the good girl, be the right person at the right time, know more than you should know, do the right thing, and play it safe. If you step over the line, be warned….there will be wrath to pay.

When I ride this bus, I must be safe and I must be perfect. Living in the confines of conditional expectations and what is considered appropriate. Yesterday before boarding, I did nothing more than remember, “I’ll be 43 in a few weeks, and still failing to live within the expected constructs of what “it should be.”

Perfectionism is my wound. It reminds me of my shortcomings and stands there above me with a devilish laugh and fiery probe, waiting to poke my deepest wounds. Who should I be at 43? Does the age of 43 fulfill my desires or the desires of the outline of a deadman on the side of the street named ‘Traditional’?

Perfectionism asks the best of me, while delivering the worst. While it does not compromise my physiologic state of being, my vitals don’t emulate a dying blood pressure of 55/30, but as I travel 55 miles per hour in the lane of self deprecating, my vitality and sense of self definitely take a hit. I feel the sense of slower energy, depression, and sometimes I really want to hurt myself. “If only I could be perfect”. My symptoms as subjective information include:

  • Wanting to hurt myself, punch myself, or otherwise say I’m an unworthy POS.
  • Feeling so low, I wouldn’t care if I died.
  • Feeling like a failure. Realizing that my statistical information of being an outlier in an aging body only exacerbates the notion that I have moved beyond the limits of “youth” and struggling to feel powerful and sexy.
  • Sobbing tears with or without wanting to/being able to get out of bed. This is when the heaviness in my heart translates to a heaviness in my brain that leads to numbness and pity. It paralyses me.
  • Flabby thighs….. oh I wish I could say it were just that simple.

I also wish I could say that after 43 years of living, Sheila would be my friend and not my adversary. Sometimes I can hold her hand or slap her a high five when I get onboard, but quickly she becomes the anger management driver filled with road rage. Side note: If you have figured out how to be friends with your inner self in a way that you never have strife, please leave a comment and let me know how. As of now, the only things I have figured out relate to a sense of forgiveness and surrender.

I choose to forgive that I can grab my ticket to ride and board the bus to perfectionistic desolation more often that I consciously want to. So what if my thighs are 43 years old and come with a little crepe paper wrapping. It behooves me to remember that aging is a beautiful and flowing artistic process.

Maybe the bus schedule advantageously adheres to a healing timeline more than I do. Sometimes the bus comes around because it instinctively knows I am in need of a good cry. I do admit, the wounds that get poked and elicit emotion, let me know that I have more healing to do.

Healing means “to make whole”. I realize that all organized and disorganized perfectionist parts of myself create the whole and I want to love them all. I may look my Ego in the face to say “I see you” and then ask the Divine to set aside my personal agenda and ask for the actions I must take for protection and healing in this moment. Divinity knows that one slip-up does not ruin the progress I’ve already made and am still making toward my goal of embracing my flawesomeness. Divinity knows that everyone has flaws and makes mistakes.  #loveyourselfanyway

When I disembark the bus of perfectionism, there is a part of me that suddenly feels a larger possibility for my life. I laugh and realize that the “trip” I’ve taken is just that, a trip down some other road of crazy, weird ass shit. Do I really need to buy into the perfectionism wounding I’ve been trained to believe? No. I see it as something I no longer need to be a passenger to, but allow for the option that I have the power to gain possession of myself and drive myself where I want to go.

Next time this bus comes around, I will simply smile and wave. Wave at the bus and my wound that knows I’ve “been there…done that” and it’s time to live beyond it.

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Jenn Maronek

Nurse | Blogger | Coach | Author

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