I’m a perfectionist. No doubt about it. Maybe the “if you can’t do something right, don’t do anything at all” was said to me once too often. Maybe it’s part of my DNA. Maybe .. who knows? Nature vs Nurture usually comes down to Nature and Nurture.
My perfectionism has, at times, taken on morbid and self destructive proportions. It has led me down a path that would cause more problems than I’d ever dreamed of. It has also, on many occassions, left me paralyzed and unwilling to try to move away or through it.
One of those things, as I’ve blogged about, often, over my years of blogging, was algebra. I refused to take it as a teenager and didn’t go to college to avoid taking it. I knew that what kept me from wanting to face college throughout my adult years was that algebra would have to be tackled.
Fear … that is the true basis of my perfectionism. On every level, when it is dissected, fear is the basis.
Today, I walked out of my algebra class
The realization that I’ve actually tackled something bigger than me (and the reality has been oh so much harder than I’d even thought it would be!) and while it’s knocked me down a few times, in the end, I’ll win.
But what I realized is the catastrophizing that has been done in my mind … failure, cannot, will not kill me. Failure not only hasn’t hurt me (though, it has hurt my bank account and feelings!) and I’m still here!
I have failed this class … 3 times! I failed beginning algebra 1 time. That is 4 classes FAILED outright without a physical cause … just not being ABLE to do the work (despite HARD work, tutoring and hours and hours and hours of study)
But … I’m still standing and breathing … and you know, no one seems to think less of me for having to work so hard! The failure that so frightened me .. seems instead of weakening me, has made me stronger, instead of bringing me down, has brought me higher, instead of derailing me has helped sharpen my focus.
Maybe .. just maybe other failures will be less scary as I face them in the future.