Reaching beyond perfectionism
I’ve long been a perfectionist. Well, in some ways anyway — the most harmful ways, I’d say. I’ve got notebooks and notebooks full of things that I thought I’d want to make, things that I felt could change something, be meaningful, something. And none of them exist. I always figured I’d start when I figured it out. Of course, the figuring out happens in the doing, right? That’s what they tell you. It’s easier to put that on a t-shirt than it is to live it.
This space is one of the few exceptions. A bit over a year ago (one year and seven weeks ago, actually), I decided to post here every day for 30 days. And then I didn’t do that, but I committed to keeping the posts coming. I believe this will make post 307. Those posts include 30 poems written during this April’s #NaPoWriMo1, so there are some overlaps (I kept posting other posts in April as well). But it’s still quite a bit of posting. I feel good about the quantity.
I don’t want to get too far into quality just yet. And that’s the point here. The quality is something that will come with time, and with, well, the lack of quality. My primary goal here at this point is to keep doing it. To keep showing up. To give myself the space most days to do this. I aim for a Sunday to Friday writing schedule. Sometimes, like yesterday, I forget Sunday. Sometimes, I forget — or can’t do — another day. It’s all good. I keep showing up.
So, what’s the point? Show up is the point. And make a mess. Fuck up. Let it be horrible. And then do the next one. And the next.
But there’s a larger point that I’m starting to get for myself — this doesn’t just apply to writing (or music, or pottery, or dancing, or computer programming, or whatever you are creating). It also applies to connecting with others. It’s so amazing to me how much my perfectionism has gotten in the way of my building community. It shouldn’t surprise me too much, I suppose. After all, it is the first characteristic of white supremacy as laid out on the linked website.
The folks at [Holistic Resistance[(https://www.holisticresistance.com) talk about reaching. We need to reach for each other. White folks, we need to reach for other white folks. There’s no way to undo racism if we don’t. And we need to reach for BIPOC folks. Cis folks, let’s reach for trans-folks. Left, let’s reach for right. Let’s reach.
Thing is, reaching is bound to be a mess. Reaching is bound to be painful. But reaching is our way through and beyond the perfectionism that’s got us in this holding pattern. A holding pattern where, every day, people are harmed.
Let’s reach. And let’s keep showing up.
National Poetry Writing Month↩