Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Don't sweat the small stuff ... or, you know, sweat a lot

I had a moment today. A moment where I felt really stupid. A moment where I thought to myself "I can't finish my designation; I'm not smart enough". You ever get like that? It happens to me more than I'd really care to admit. But then, today, I realized that it's a nonsensical feeling. I am not stupid. I can't be. My course grades negate the concept. I'm actually very bright. I'm just not highly functional in a number of other very important ways.

No. I'm not stupid. But ...

You know how, when you go in for a job interview and the interviewer asks you to outline your weaknesses ... and everyone always tries to pick something that's actually a good trait but make it sound kind of negative? Remember saying: "I can be too much of a perfectionist"? Oh, admit it; we've all said it. The thing is, though, that for me, this is actually true. And incidentally, it's not a good trait at all. Actually, it kind of sucks.

I waste time. Everything must be just so. For if it is not absolutely perfect, then it is wrong. Other things are pushed aside as I work to make it perfect, totally functional, and beautiful to boot. Because I care, even if no one else does. And everything else that is actually of utmost importance suffers for it. I try to move on, but I am unfocused, knowing that I just blew something over, leaving it complete but not 100% perfect in every single minute and irrelevant way. And to get past it and carry on, I must first go back and finish the fool thing to my satisfaction.

It's pathetic.

I think it's some kind of weird undiagnosed OCD problem. It must be. I redo, and redo, and redo, trying to make everything in my world fit with absolutes, when the reality is that some things just don't matter that much. Other things are of greater importance. But I can't look at any of those things just now, because this spreadsheet is not evenly spaced and the fonts go all weird partway down, and the symbols switch from red to blue and back again with no rhyme or reason whatsoever, and it's making me crazy. Because it's not perfect.

It's not my fault. If the chairs are not completely straight, evenly spaced, and precisely the right distance from the table, something bad will happen. I just know it. Apparently.

Today, I realized that if I were in the army, I'd be the guy who routinely lags 10 minutes behind the batalion (and ultimately gets ambushed and offed by the enemy) because my bootloops were not perfectly symmetrical and I simply had to fix it before I could march.

Yup. That's me. I am just that insane. And over time, the problem appears to have gotten worse. Much to my chagrin, I appear powerless to just carry on and accept that things don't always have to be perfect. Sometimes, it just has to be good enough. And you move on, accepting that it's as good as it needs to be and no one else cares.

But I care! And dammit, that's good enough. Isn't it? Well, it should be. And if other people don't care about it as much, then they're just wrong. Apparently.

This is a flaw. It's a big one, actually. You don't want it.

Though at times when there are serious things going on around you, it can be helpful. It provides a distraction from the serious, as you work on fixing the inconsequential. This can help you keep your sanity in what might otherwise be a terribly stressful situation. Because you can focus on tiny details and completely ignore the fact that your hair is on fire, if you so choose. The problem with this, of course, is that you really have no choice in the matter. You must deal with your flaming hair. And yet, while your hair burns brightly, you find yourself completely disabled because you have observed a small scratch on the side of your fire extinguisher and you really can't bring yourself to deploy it until it is properly resurfaced.

This annoying trait means that everything takes me too long. And I don't like it. But I appear unable to change this in myself, and it's really, really irritating. Plus it creates stress. The stress of having to do it perfectly. It's a hard thing to handle. And then, you start irrationally feeling stupid, because you ran out of time or missed something or ... and it's at that moment that you feel like you're teetering on the edge of a precipice, still balancing on the appropriate side of the idiot line but just about to topple over. And you just don't know how you'll manage to carry on, because the slightest movement will push you right over the edge.

I really don't have time to be like this. Busy. Yes, with things that actually matter. I must find a way to get over it; some way to not care so much about trivialities. But I don't know how.

You know?

No. Of course you don't. Because you are not deranged.

Are you?


1 comment:

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

I hear ya. Sometimes I really think I am pretty dumb for a smart person.