Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Confessions of a Perfectionist

I just humiliated myself. I just pulled our riding lawn mower to the front yard and then right back into the garage. I couldn't figure out how to make it cut grass. I hate moments like that. That's when I hope all the neighbors were busy cutting onions in the kitchen or better yet, gone. Thankfully, the woman whose kitchen window faces my house is on vacation. Yep! I had all those thoughts. I hate feeling stupid.

Many people in my past think that I'm really something special. That's because most of them knew me in a school setting. If there's one thing I can do consistently well, it's academics. Yes, sir. I'm a certified nerd. I can pull a ridiculously high grade in pretty much any subject, and to top it off, I test well, too. Growing up, I was a big fish in a small pond. Aha, the birth of a perfectionist. If I ever made below an A, and it was "publicized" somehow, I was harassed by classmates for days. My mother, working in an adjoining school, found out about my one B in ninth grade, before school was dismissed for the day. Anyways, I quickly adjusted by avoiding anything I wasn't sure I'd succeed at. Pretty easy until you're 18. When your whole life is school, and that's easy enough, well.... the real world was coming quickly.

The truth is I'm pathetic at many things: I don't sing parts. When I'm with Nathan's talented friends, I lip-sync. Decorating a home is extremely hard for me. I hate scrapbooking. I'm technologically and mechanically challenged (hence, lawnmower and aforementioned computer problems). I'm not athletic or graceful on skates. Have you ever mistaken four cloves of garlic for four BULBS? Whew! A 12x60 trailer will stink for weeks! I don't take enough pictures of my kids. And did I mention that I really struggle with praying?

Sometimes, I get so caught up in 'hiding' my shortcomings. I guess subconsciously that I expect the people in my life to snicker behind their hands or even openly say, "What! You can't do THAT?! I guess you're not perfect, after all." Well, here I am, opening my insecurities up to you, my dear blogger friends. I thought it might be more helpful to blog on this than to keep crying on the couch while Alex screams and Kathryn says, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry...." ;o) I recently heard someone say, "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of being thought childish." That's my goal for right now. And if anyone would like to mow the grass before Nathan arrives home from TX tonight, just knock.


Kimberly said...

Can't help you with the mowing, but wish I could send you a hug!:)

Openness is good for the soul, I think....just not worth the energy to "pretend" to be perfect. Yes, I'm having to learn it too!

As for scraping, not at ALL worth worrying about! And once I mistook a quart for a GALLON of milk...definetely affected the recipe!! Testing well doesn't bode well for common sense, apparently!:)

Let Nathan mow the grass!

kayla said...

Wow, I did think you were perfect, glad to know you have a few shortcomings too. Thanks for sharing, it makes me feel better about my own.
BTW If we ever have a Friend's Vacation again you can sit by me during the singing. I always thought I was the only one who couldn't sing a part.

Charity said...

:o) I should have given some context to the mowing, I suppose. Are you all picturing Nathan with a glass of sweet tea, as his dear wife does hours of yard work? ;o) Actually, his company is planning to send him traveling quite a bit in the near future, so I'm learning some of that stuff to keep the home front running smoothly...

Matt and Silvia Decker said...

My dear perfectionist friend, I completely understand where you're coming from... no wonder we're such close friends!! At least you tried to mow... I haven't even attempted to do it for fear I would cut a toe ... oh yes, and look stupid!! Your perfectionist polyglot :)

Juwah said...

Well, I guess there's one good thing about me not being good at most things, nobody expects me to be. :) However, I do understand the struggle of feeling insecure. I have found so much security in focusing on Jesus' opinion of me instead of other peoples. Not to say it's not a force I still deal with, but it does melt away pretty quickly when I give myself the old,"Your not valuable for what you can do, but because you are created in His image" speech. :)

Tell you what you do my homework and I'll mow your lawn.

Tara said...

A positively delightful post. I have no delusions of perfection, but I do understand the frustration it can be when people think you're so much "more together" than you know yourself to be. Kimberly's right: it's not worth the exhaustion of pretention.

(I could easily envision Nathan sippin' on sweet tea while you mow the day away!! :) okay, not really!)

Taylors said...

You are so adorable, Charity! I think it's great how God made everyone "good" at different things. I'm sure you are "more amazing" than you give yourself credit for!

By the way, sorry I didn't see your post for awhile on my blog. Yes, we did have the lettuce wraps at PFChangs....(hmm...another restaurant we need to have dinner at together!) I LOVE those things. Sometime I am going to have an entire meal of lettuce wraps!!

Hope you have a good day Charity!


Holly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holly said...

I love this post! I actually do most of our mowing, and once I went around our very large yard with the blades turned off! (My neighbors were watching...) I also sympathize with the garlic episode; ask Daniel sometime about garlic salad!
I struggle with the "image" issue too; it's so refreshing to read something so honest! What a relief to just be "real"!

Anonymous said...

Bless you, my friend. What a wonderful post! Can you hear the collective sigh? I know that we can all relate in one area or another. Well...except me.

Kidding!!!! If you only knew...


(I don't scrap book either, and the thought of decorating a house...the cold chills begin. And there's lots more, but I'm not into public humiliation.) :)

Misty said...

Can;t help you out with mowing either although I use to do it long ago!

If it makes you feel better, I can't sing in parts either, gave up on scrapbooking, and would love to have some help in the decorating dept!

When I was a teenager I put much more than a tsp of salt in the cookies....and we had company! :-)

Thanks for being "real!" (something else I struggle with :-))

Ladyluck said...

I totally identify.
It's so bad that a few years ago Jeff sent me back to school. It was great... I got to remember what success felt like.
Of course now I'm back in my real world of being a mommy where the visible successes are sometimes few and far between. Sigh.

LindaJo49 said...

I love your blog!! You can put a spin on life that makes lots of LOL moments!! Thanks for being so transparent! That is a great blessing in itself. Oh, by the way, you mentioned things you can't do. One thing you can do well -- write! Keep it up -- you might become a famous author someday!

Kim M. said...

I am laughin' because I can SO identify with this and the panicky embarassed feeling too.
Once, I tried really hard to parallel park. Back and forth, back and forth... Over and over and over with 2 men standing and gawking. I finally gave up and drove away and I saw them laughing in the rear view mirror.