There was a time when I thought I was perfectionist, since I never seemed to get anything done despite having all these ideas of things I could do. I figured I must be a perfectionist, since I'd either start something & stop after realizing I'd already fallen miserably short of my standards, or else not even start to begin with due to thinking I couldn't do it. I'd sit back, take a look at the stupid-badass idea I'd just come up with, do a quick inventory of my skills & abilities, get intimidated by how amazing my idea was, then end by simply deciding it'd be impossible for me to do. This led me to believe, in retrospect clearly wishfully, that I had astronomical standards & was also far better at coming up with ideas than at executing them.
I remember thinking this for quite some time, with mixed success. There was a strange comfort in it, though sadness as well. You get used to the sorrow of thinking you're a perfectionist, lying eternally short of perfection, because at least you're AWARE of how amazing things could be, while everyone else wallows in their gooey soup of mediocrity. It's easy to picture a person thinking they're perfectionist forever, without ever sliding into overt misery or self-hatred.
But, it was a little after that that something happened. Something that made me rethink. One day I left my house, as I try to do all days, & went to class, where I was given a homework assignment. So angered by this, I did the homework immediately, & when I finished I gasped so hard I almost fell out of my chair. Here is the sound I made:
*rapid sucking in of air*
I suddenly realized I wasn't a perfectionist-- that, instead of having an awesome capacity for devising unachievable ideas, which I would then correctly perceive as impossible, I was actually just lazy & that most of my ideas were ones anyone could come up with, & then discard in the same way I had. I saw also that my standards, rather than being stupendously high, were in fact average or noticeably below average, & that I was just lying to myself because I was incompetent & couldn't even achieve basic quality in what little I tried to do.
I saw I was using perfectionism as a shield-- not necessarily against failure, although that's what I initially wanted to think, to preserve some sense of nobility-- but pathetically against the fear which arises from realizing that your shortcomings at doing things are equal to your shortcomings in coming up with IDEAS for things to do. Some would call this a form of elitism, but even that's flattering. It's actually a result of being young & lazy & without effective social outlets for your endless neuroses.
The day I realized I wasn't perfectionist but actually just lazy & incompetent was a big turning point in my life.
& the BEST part is that being not-perfectionist is an even better excuse for sucking at things than being perfectionist. Because then you can just do anything. & when you fail at it, you're happy afterward instead of sad-- or just as happy as you'd be anyway. For example, if you have an essay to write, you can just scribble whatever ludicrous nonsense erupts into your head, & then when your professor asks you what you were thinking you can answer honestly: "I have no fucking idea. How do you expect me to do these things, I'm not a perfectionist!" He might try to argue with you, & you can go along & feel no shame if you lose, which you invariably will, since you're not a perfectionist.
When did you guys realize you weren't perfectionist?