The need to be perfect has been following me around like a dreary cloud for decades now, and it has caused me to teeter on an emotional tightrope.
I get lost on the spectrum that is, at best, a frustrating nuisance and at worst a debilitating personality crisis.
Mine is a case that highlights the collaboration between nature and nurture. I have a well-documented family history of anxiety disorders. I also grew up in a community that adhered strictly to organized religion.
God was always watching, waiting for me to screw up.
Socioeconomically, my parents were Asian immigrants, so as a first-generation child and my mother’s firstborn, I was taught that I had to work exponentially harder than my peers to get ahead in life.
My parents entered America’s South in the 1980s, a time when othering and racism were more acceptable in the mainstream than they are today.
I’m a little mad at my past, and I simultaneously find it intriguing.
Both things can be true. I’m reflective by nature, so having a complex history keeps me interested. What I’m thankful for is that my life experiences have chiseled me into a writer.
A great deal of my content is based on my lived experiences and observations. Even though I love what I do, perfectionism has followed me into this domain as well. Here, it underscores my cognitive dissonance.
I struggle with this dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance can be thought of as a psychological inconsistency between what you believe and how you act. I don’t just feel the pressure to write perfection, I feel like I have to live perfection so that my writing is completely consistent with my life.
While writing about lived experiences initially seemed like it would help with this dissonance, I quickly started trying to perfect the content so that I appeared balanced and polished. This is who I have been as a person since I can remember: a perfectionist steadfastly pursuing a glossy false god.
Recently, I’ve come to realize my mental and emotional location.
I’m standing at a junction in my life where the road forks. It’s two-pronged, which…