Today: Jun 18, 2024

Perfectionism a waste


I’m graduating, but I refused to write a sappy and cliché article about how much I’m going to miss college and all that crap. That being said, here’s my final column for Southern News. After several years of denial, I have come to admit I am a Type A personality. I also strive for perfection. This semester in my stress management class, however, my teacher labeled perfection as a time waster because it does not exist; that person is constantly striving to do better, and the cycle is endless. If you really think about it, it does make sense– that’s why I’ve given up on trying to be perfect. Perfection sneaks up on a person in a variety of ways, whether it is having perfect grades, perfect hair, being perfect at a sport, or worse: trying to be perfect at everything. Perfection is ultimately a person setting themselves up for failure. It’s time to stop being so hard on ourselves and instead try to actually enjoy life. One of my friends has lost a significant amount of weight. She works out hard at the gym and watches everything she eats, including bland chicken she broils in the oven without anything on it–not even a tablespoon of oil. There have been times we have gone out to Bar and some of us would get a slice of pizza: she never caves in. She doesn’t say so, but I know all that’s going through her mind is “That’s so unhealthy!” One of her roommates has said (multiple times) she eats jail food, and she does. She constantly criticizes her body and tortures herself as she continues to strive for perfection. I have another friend who is the only sane one in her family. She is often forced to play parent to her own parents because she is more responsible. She is also always putting everyone before herself, and I mean always. She makes herself crazy. Sometimes she will vent to me, and I let her. After all, every other second it’s always about someone else. In the midst of trying to make everyone else happy and be the perfect daughter, sibling and friend, she’s wearing herself out. When it came to perfection, I was a girl who tried to be perfect at everything. But I have come to accept the fact that it’s OK that my once-perfectlywhite sneakers now have dirt on them: it means I’m putting them to good use. I am also coming to terms with the fact that I cannot control everything, and instead I need to accept things as they are. I don’t believe someone can just change overnight: it takes time, which is another factor I don’t think most people realize. Instead of always focusing on perfection, I’ve changed route and have decided to focus on another concept: happiness. As I have been trying to lose weight, for the most part, I try to eat healthy. However, sometimes if I want a small package of peanut M&Ms or a piece of pizza, I debate it for at least 10 minutes. After that time if I still really want it (most cravings are temporary), I indulge. I’m not going to puni sh myself, but at the same time I’m not going to order a large pizza and have the whole thing in one sitting. If a spoonful of Nutella will make me happy, I enjoy it. I have also come to accept the fact I am not a perfect person–and never will be–but in the same breath, I’m certainly not the worst person either. Yes, I have my flaws, but who doesn’t? I’m a clumsy person, and at this point I accept the fact that will not change. I remember in kindergarten my mom would refer to me as “Bruise Virzi.” I still fall sometimes: I currently have a beautiful bruise on my knee from falling while hiking down West Rock last week. It happens, especially since I was not in tune with Mother Nature that day. Granted, I ended up with a bruise which consumes my knee, but I went hiking on a beautiful day. When it comes to my appearance, I’m certainly not perfect at that either. I have heard and read several times about meeting guys at the gym. I just laugh because I will never flirt at a gym. I don’t dress for the gym to look cute; I go to sweat. After all, my hair doesn’t need to look perfect every second, and I’m OK if my clothes are drenched. It means I had a good workout, which always makes me happy. But hey, if I’m that sweaty and gross-looking and a guy still finds me attractive, that’s great news for me! Ultimately, my point is you don’t have to be perfect every second and beat yourself up for every second you aren’t. Instead of dwelling on our flaws, we need to focus on what makes us happy, whether it is having a piece of chocolate, working out, or worrying about ourselves once in a while before the rest of the world. As Marilyn Monroe once said: “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

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