Tuesday, May 27, 2008

If perfectionism comes a knockin' at your door...

Just finished putting dinner into the oven... I need to get to the grocery store, so dinner was sort of an adventure which I am not really known for. I told my husband that the "scalloped potatoes" were either going to be WHEREHAVEYOUBEENALLMYLIFE or WHATWASITHINKING. Not really sure if you can mix margarine and real butter. I hope that my oven does not explode:)

Normally, I am a little more organized. Okay, let's just say it. I am freakishly inflexible. I am a perfectionist...which I think is Latin for "just shoot me now." I will no doubt write and rewrite this blog several times before I take the plunge and click on the dreaded "publish post" button. Even then I will most certainly reread this post several times. Even now I am resisting the urge to correct a couple of mistakes that I have found in the previous post. I can do it, I know I can. But don't look back because I am certain that I will not last long.

When I think of how many grocery lists that I have rewritten so that every item was in the order that you approach them in the aisles and the handwriting could have been entered into an art contest, it just amazes me. I could be the person that God put on to the earth to figure out the cure for cancer, but I was too busy turning all of my tomato sauce cans to face the front of the pantry. I'm really not a freak; it is just that I figure that if you have to unpack the books and put them back on the bookcase anyway... well, you may as well put them in alphabetical order by author.

It is surprisingly difficult to diagnose perfectionism because one can't help but have a vision of perfect homes perfectly decorated and perfectly clean. My fellow perfectionists would have perfect marriages with perfect offspring and (of course)... a FICO score of around 800. Oh, and their Yorkies would have perfectly groomed coats and would never, ever, poop under the bed.

Unfortunately, there is a nasty side to perfectionism. I heard Charles Stanley once make an interesting observation about this condition. He said that perfectionism is a two sided coin and that the other side is procrastination (you know how preachers like their alliterations). It was like someone had exposed my deep dark secret. I remember in school as a child not turning in homework assignments because they weren't quite finished or because it needed to be rewritten in order to be acceptable.

Adulthood isn't much better...Why take the time to do the dishes when I know that there is no way that I will have the (whatever) to load the dishwasher, scour the stove, straighten the pantry, mop the floor, clear out the fridge, take out the trash, make a pitcher of tea, wipe the counters, put out fresh flowers, polish the kitchen table, clean the microwave, blah, blah, blah...

Ps. Gotta go clean the kitchen..or take a nap...hmm, let me think:)


rthling said...

I wouldn't say you are "freakishly inflexible." It just takes you a few minutes to adjust to new plans.
And if being a perfectionist is a good excuse for not cleaning your kitchen, I'm gonna start using it. Think anyone will buy it???
*sheepish grin*

The Boyds Family said...

Sounds good to me....I didn't clean the kitchen because I didn't have enough (whatever) to do it all so instead....I took a nap. LOVE IT!!

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to ignore my kitchen, I think I spend more time in there than I do sleeping, but I know that if I don't go change out the dishwasher that I'll be handwashing dishes for breakfast. Uhhhhhggggg, guess I'll get it started.
I SO agree with you on the list making thing, though I don't go by aisle, I have a printout with 4 columns- cold foods, other food, household, personal. Jeremy hated it at first, but has learned to love it.