Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Revelation #2: I'm A Perfectionist
I'm not proud of this character flaw. It's made me do things. Things I'd rather not admit. But I will, because it's you. And I promised I'd give you some revelations.
This defect routinely shows up when I'm learning something new. Like learning to sky-write or paint a wall, or learning this new job I just started. (Just kidding about the sky writing, but that does sound like fun.)
I like to do it right. NOT wrong. Where does this phobia come from? My sordid past as a child neurotic.
Yes, I admit it. As a kid, cold sweats, mysterious ailments and stomach aches were routine. I would wheedle out of all kinds of pressure situations if I thought I would somehow fail. School, tests, and ohmigod, ballet recitals.
The crazy thing was, I loved dancing. At eleven, I went so far as to audition for a big Syracuse University production of Carousel. And, crazily, I got the part! (This picture is not us. But a representation of us. Only probably better.)
I don't know what I was thinking. I had terrible stage fright. But I desperately wanted to be an actress someday. I was so scared that when it came time for the real performance I curled up in a ball and told my father I couldn't do it. I would absolutely barf!
His answer? He drove me to the theater, CARRIED me in the back stage door, dumped me on the floor and turned and walked out. (Seriously, right now, I can smell that dusty, black-painted hardwood pressing against my nose.)
Now this may sound a little...harsh for today's politically correct standards. For years, I even thought so. But that opening night, I had no choice but to go on. And I made it through. I even had fun. My dad was in the audience, clapping for me.
Turns out, he did me a big favor. See, I'm still a perfectionist and my own harshest critic. But after that day, I quit stopping myself from doing those things that scared me silly. I did them anyway. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I make it through. Sometimes, I surprise myself. But I'll give almost anything a shot.
So...Thanks, Dad, wherever you are. Just so you know? I needed that.