Perfectionism can interfere with connecting to one’s self and with others. I am often not present because I am too busy thinking of ways to perfect the things I think about. I fear that of some of my core beliefs will prove themselves to be true. Therefore, I spend time perfecting myself, so that I come off as someone to be friends with or someone who is lovable. This is often true in my passion for surfing and skateboarding, which I take very seriously. I see myself trying to do a trick surfing or skating that I forget to be in the moment and have fun. It is something I force myself to progress in. The only time I am amping on myself is when I am scared out of my mind to take off on a Big Wave but I force myself to prove the fear wrong from holding myself back. After I make it out alive and in one piece, I feel accomplished. Same for skateboarding. I need to be ok with not being hard on myself and still be the one doing the gnarliest tricks in the park. For me, I can always do better. At least I feel that way. I need to enjoy the “Bag of Tricks I have On-Lock” and be ok with them, and believe that my abilities will perfect themselves.
I never considered myself a perfectionist but, today when South Orange County Detox and Treatment (SOCD) took us to the skate park, I got stuck a couple times during the skateboarding session. I’ve been skateboarding throughout my entire life and when I was younger I was always the best, until I broke my ankle and had to have surgery. This kept me off my board for a very long time. When I finally got back on my board I expected that I would be as skilled as I was before the injury. In the past, barely landing a trick was never good enough for me because I always wanted to be the best. Since I’ve been at SOCD and have acquired more sober time than I ever had before, I’ve learned that this kind of perfectionist thinking will never let me move ahead and try new things. Now I tell myself, “Don’t get stuck on one trick and beat yourself up; there’s so much more out there to skate!” I also try and apply this thinking to other parts of my life and my recovery program. When you get stuck and feel like you’re not progressing, keep pushing forward.
When reading about perfectionism in The Artist’s Way, I easily agree that perfectionism has nothing to do with getting it right. Perfectionism is the refusal to allow yourself to move forward. I can agree with this concept, to an extent, in that I struggle with this in my art and in-turn with my creativity. For years, I have been in a closed system with my art. I know that I have perfected my “Style of Graffiti”, but perfectionism goes further than that. This closed system that I have created in “Pursuit of Perfectionism” leaves me in a place where I refuse to do anything with it. I have conditioned myself to get stuck in my closed ways; not believing my art can go anywhere. The Artist’s Way also describes perfectionism as the pursuit of the “Worst in Ourselves”. This mentality stifles my creativity, and keeps me consumed by one piece of art, to the point of frustration, and/or to the point of not completing it. Even though I know it won’t be easy, I need to let go of my perfectionism and frustrations with myself. I realize that in order to move forward, I need to have fun creating art. Moving away from perfection, will open up a whole new realm of creativity in my Art and new possibilities for me as an Artist.