In my twenties I tried to be a perfect girlfriend, perfect student, and perfect employee, all the while denying the expression of my full self, imperfections and all. Even when I dressed the part of the disaffected adolescent, I was perfect at it all the way down to my spiked hair and scuffed Doc Martins.
At parties, I perfected the art of banter and hosted like no one else. All was accounted for, each detail a way for me to control life.
I never realized that perfectionism was an attempt to avoid all rejection, all criticism, and all failure. It was a matter of life or death.
Perfectionism saved me from drowning, but it didn’t help me to swim. I was treading water, staying safe, and desperately trying to control my reality, which is never truly possible. What I realized later was at the heart of perfectionism is the desire for love and acceptance.