Saturday, March 31, 2012


Hush little baby, gotta be strong
'Cause in this world we are born to fight
Be the best, prove them wrong
A winner's work is never done
Reach the top, number one

Cher recorded this song, Perfection, on her self-titled 1987 comeback album. It resonates deeply with me for I am a perfectionist. And that torments me. 
Why am I such a perfectionist? I don't know, and until I know why, I can't completely let go of it. Maybe if I had been more perfect as a child, my parents wouldn't have divorced. But, I have come to accept that their divorce was inevitable, and not my fault. My stepfather was such a perfectionist himself, he demanded it from us as well. Yet, I could never please him. I was identified as gifted in elementary school and perfectionism is an innate trait in many gifted individuals. So, maybe I was just born this way. Or, maybe it's a combination of all of the above. I have been working on it, especially in areas where I am comfortable letting go. But in areas new to me, it has become a frustrating battle.
I love each of my photographs below, yet I can find an imperfection in each. 

Stairwell, San Vicente Lighthouse, San Pedro, CA
 I wish the staircase bled more out of the frame.

Lens, San Vicente Lighthouse, San Pedro, CA
 The bolt in the middle of the frame bothers me.

Chimney, Greystone Mansion, Beverly Hills, CA

Maybe there's too much of the tree?

In my photography, I have learned to adjust my shots based on the imperfections. But often I don't see the flaws until I am home, viewing the shots on a larger screen. So later, when I am in a similar situation, I try to remember the lesson.

As I venture more into writing, my perfectionism is rearing it's ugly head. I haven't had a class in creative writing beyond freshman English, I haven't studied the structure of a novel or short story since college, and I've never had professional reviews of my complete novel until now. Maybe self-doubts are common in beginning writers. Makes sense to me.

I am happy with my novel. Is it perfect? No. I will always second guess some parts of it, but am I being too critical? Maybe. Okay, very possibly. After all this is my first one, and I am taking on a new direction in life, and it's confusingfrighteningandexciting, all at once. That's a lot to adjust to.

Culmination (sixth grade graduation) is fast approaching. My colleagues and I have asked our graduates to come up with a personal motto; a slogan for their life, where they've been and where they see themselves going.  One student's motto had to do with battles. I wasn't sure if he was speaking about physical battles, or emotional ones, so I asked. He said he meant the ones between the head and the heart.

So, this is one of my battles between head and heart; overcoming my perfectionism. In the photos above, I love the shading of the first one, the interplay between light and dark, and the staircase itself. In the second one, the lens was spinning, so I did the best I could at the moment, and the prism effects are amazing. The tree gives just enough of a mysterious feel to the house in the last one.

Yet, in my 'love life' I won't sacrifice my perfectionism. I mean, he doesn't have to be a perfect man (no one is), I'm just not going to settle for less than what I am worth. Again. I know what I am looking for, now I'm just waiting to meet him.

So, back to my writing, maybe it's not really perfectionism, perhaps I just need to build confidence as I begin something new. And trust those who know what they are talking about.

And let go of the past. (That should be my motto.)


  1. I'm right there with you. Always striving for it...but never achieving. :-)

    1. A former principal of mine used to say when you're perfect, you're ready for Heaven, because no one on earth is perfect. Funny how that came to me just now.

      Thank for reading, Greg!