Yes, you heard me. I know you're not quite used to being treated this way. In fact, you are quite used to being treated like royalty. Like celebrity. Like God. But I am here to tell you that I, a loyal follower of many, many years, am out.
I am done with you, Perfection. This is my break up letter and you cannot convince me otherwise.
For too long, your compelling presence has swarmed about, persuading me I desperately need you. Without you, you told me, I am nothing and not worthy of other people in my life. If I am not perfect, my family will not love me, my friends will no longer want me around and frankly, finding love will be absolutely impossible.
Because who wants a human being in their lives?
I listened as you whispered thoughts of inadequacy into my head, urging me to see my best, my hardest, and my most brilliant work as my most heavy failures. You started with my loves—the things that filled my days with wonder—and slowly you belittled them one by one until I couldn't love them any longer without criticising myself. Then you damaged how I saw the world, rendering the world drastically imperfect and in need of, well, more of you. I couldn't walk past a person, a building, the work-in-progress that is life in general without picking desperately at its flaws.
It took me a long time to realise, Perfection, that you were jealous.
You were jealous of the beautiful things that took up my heart and my head, the things that came from the depths of my soul and were sparked into something bigger and greater. Jealous of the beauty I got to walk past and see and hold every day. You were so jealous, you sought to replace them.
You tried and for a long time you succeeded. Not anymore.
It sounds ridiculous that I could be convinced of these things. In doing all of this, you turned my head into a barrage of hate mail, my days into quiet reclusion and my nights into tear-fuelled anxiety attacks. You told me being a perfectionist was a normal, everyday thing, but I was too inexperienced and too captivated by you to realise you extended this to how damaging a perfectionistic nature can be.
I am a people-pleaser and I am a perfectionist. This does not mean, Perfection, that I need to torture myself.
So this is what I am going to do: I am going to live the rest of my life free from your clutches. I will own my flaws because they are mine and flaws are beautiful too. I am going to strive to do my best, to be my most excellent, but I will not tear myself apart if I do not reach it. I will look for the good in people, not the ways they could be better. I will see the world and life as a journey and not wasted time becoming an end result.
Furthermore, I am going to lead a wonderfully and beautifully messy life.
I know you, Perfection and the way you recoil at the idea. I know how once upon a time you would've made me feel if I had been my less stronger self trying to rebel against you. You would've told me nobody wants to see that. Messes are not placed on magazine covers or in photoshoots or on the big screen for a reason. They are in tabloids and on gossip sites because the only time people love messes, is when they need to feel better about themselves.
But you need to understand something, Perfection. You are a lie, and mess and complexity and the great unknown are real. You are not God, certainly not my God, for He is the strength behind these words. He is the one who on a normal day, in a normal week, smashed a wall so I could glimpse the world through His eyes. He showed me real love. And in doing so I realised that I'd much rather be a beautiful mess than a replica of perfection.
So, here I am, at the end of my break up letter. I doubt you'd be a blubbering mess. After all, this world is fuelled by you and your ways and you will find another person to lead into the dark. But not me anymore.
Now, I am free.
Talisa Pariss is the co-ordinator of the school-based Louder Theatre Company, teaching drama, communication skills and confidence to kids. When she's not pretending for a living, she can be found indulging in any kind of creativity she can get her hands on.
Talisa Pariss's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/talisa-pariss.html