This past weekend, I indulged a little and made myself some waffles (they were only the good protein ones from the freezer section … but, still waffles, nonetheless). As I was beginning to butter my waffles after they popped up from my little toaster, I found myself amused at the way I was buttering them.
I was being very particular that butter got into every square. I meticulously scraped the same amount of butter so that every piece was coated in the same manner.
I have done this since I was a kid.
And, I laughed.
Actually, it stopped me dead in my tracks … causing me to pause, for just a moment, to observe exactly what I was doing.
You see, I am a recovering perfectionist.
I say recovering because I am most definitely a work-in-progress. I can be extremely anal retentive about the littlest of things. I have a default habit of wanting things to be just so. To control the outcomes, to make sure … well, everything is perfect.
That need, that drive, that obsession around getting it right haunted me most of my life. As a child, it embedded a restlessness in me that cost me sleep, energy, and even joy. The over-thetop need to excel (at any cost, I might add) created an enormous amount of anxiety around letting others down, failing, and in falling short.
I recklessly and willingly sold my soul to whatever acknowledgement, reward, praise, recognition or award I might receive for being so perfect, and being a good girl.
I worked hard, got good grades (the top grades), excelled at all I did, played sports, held a couple of (nearly full-time) jobs while going to school from high school on, showed up (always), and did the thing that everyone expected of me.
I strived, and strived for success. I was the poster child for leaning in, for putting in the work, for hustling. I wanted to work harder than anyone else. I needed it all to be right. I had to win. I needed to be at the top of my game. I wanted to be a champion.
And, it cost me far more than it was ever worth.
For during those out-of-control times where I obsessed about perfection … a milestone that isn’t even truly obtainable … I did so at the cost of my health. For there was the time I fell asleep at the wheel and took out a guard rail because the level of my exhaustion was real and deep. Or, the time I thought I was having an heart attack in my mid-30’s, only to find out I had manifested an actual mass in my chest due to the level of anxiety and stress I was carrying around in my body on a daily basis.
Not to mention, the serious weight fluctuations I pushed my body through, the hate I had for myself, my body and my lack of performing at my best 24/7, or the excessive abuse I did personally or allowed others to do to my body (in many ways and through multiple facets) …
Often times, just as a way to take the “edge” off.
And, in doing so, the wheels came off. I hit rock bottom (a few times … well, it takes me a while sometimes to get the message). Like God had to give me what I call, Universal 2x4’s, just to wake me up. With each rock bottom moment, I fell even harder. It was only after going to the hospital assuming I was having a heart attack that I finally started to wake up.
Something had to change … and, it started with how I viewed success. I had to take time to redefine what this meant. And, I had a LOT of shit to unpack around that one. So much stemmed from my relationship with my dad, his ridiculous expectations, and never being able to please him in any effort or work I did.
It was never enough. Which means … I never felt like enough.
When, what I came to learn … is that I am perfect in my imperfection. That this illusion, this false truth and lie, we create for ourselves is not a real reflection of our perfection. Our perfection exists just because. Simple because we are here, on this earth, in this moment, shining the gifts that are truly ours to shine.
And, for no other reason than that.
Through many, many years of peeling the layers back, and doing the work on my own healing, I understand that. And, I understand beyond simply an intellectual understanding. I feel it in my cells, in every aspect of my being, in my soul.
I realized, as we all have the opportunity to do and embrace that for ourselves, that I am enough. That me, as me, in all my glory, is already perfect. That there is no need for approval, for permission, or for judgement from myself or others.
That the perfection is in the simple being and the “is-ness” that is life.
Now, all that’s not to say that I don’t still have my moments. Of course I do!
And, that humanness, that realness, that being authentically who I am is also perfect. So, that when I see myself being anal retentive about how I butter my waffles, or I look at my beautiful spaced, color-coordinated closet (remember, I said “recovering perfectionist”), I now can just laugh at my little weird idiosyncrasies that are just part of me.
Because the reality is, I like some of those weird parts. I need some spaces where I can be obsessively organized or have things be just so. As long as I can do so without judgement, without criticism, or without feeling like in anyway there is something wrong with me, that I am broken, or not enough.
Because the truth is, even that is perfect.
So, I say butter the waffles any damn way you want! Just be sure to pour loads of sweet, delicious maple syrup on top of it once you do. Take a big bite, let yourself indulge, and savor every last morsel. And, if you are like me when you are done … you might just lick your plate, as well!