Sunday, May 24, 2015

Leaving perfect behind

I'm a renter and every six months a total stranger comes to my house to check out how I'm treating it. It's fair enough since there's always that risk that I would be a crazy person who would trash the place and cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. But it's also a stressful knowing that you'll have someone come into your house basically to judge you and how you keep the place.


I'm a messy person. It's mostly a surplus of art supplies (and a not so unique ability to just leave clothes lying around) that's my problem. Because both Bee and I like to do arty things there's paper and pens, plaster, glues, paints, canvases, interesting stray pieces of stuff that has potential to be part of something more interesting, crocheting and knitting needles, yarn and projects in various stages of completeness. It's a bit of an issue every six months because it's kind of everywhere so you can get to it easily when the mood strikes.

Add to that, I have three cats and I'm only supposed to have two and none of them are supposed to even be allowed to so much as dream of being kept inside. Cats are mean creatures when it comes to leaving evidence of their existence all over the place and this evidence sticks to pretty much everything including skirting boards and (apparently) windows. They don't care one iota because cats are busy just being.

I'm fighting a war here.

The worst place in the house, and I'm glad to say this, is Bee's room. She's messier than me and while I'm hoping it's just a phase I think it's more of a truth that I have rubbed off on her. She's a messy person too and she's going to keep being a messy person. We have resorted to praying that she will find a life partner who likes cleaning, cooking and tidying up.

One would think that we would be content with just being messy, screw the real estate agent person because we're just messy people, but it's not so. Every damned time we're up for inspection my mother possesses my mind and I suddenly need to make a perfect impression.

My mother, unlike me, is a clean freak. She presents a perfectly manicured abode to the public and it's not only squeaky clean it's also color coordinated. None of that rubbed off on me. I think I got my father's genes but it's impossible to know if I did or if I'm a genetic mutation because my dad never got a look-in in the cleaning stakes. He just went along with my mother scrubbing, washing and cleaning just like my older brother and I did.

Sydney is a place that suffers from a shortage of places to rent and it's freakishly expensive to rent. As a single mum you're handicapped in the renter's game and as such the need to present yourself as someone who perfectly takes care of the place you rent isn't completely irrational. If you, like me, haven't had your rent raised in the five years you've lived in a place then you feel even more pressure to keep up appearances because you're saving money. If you've already made a good impression you feel added pressure to keep it up. The last thing you want to do is to have to look for a new place because you have to move.

But I'm not feeling it quite so much this time around and I don't know why. Maybe my need to appear perfect has been eroded together with my anxiety and depression, or maybe I'm just feeling a change coming up where I won't have to worry about a stranger coming to inspect my ability to care for a house. Maybe I'm just thinking that my "not good enough" is actually good enough and that I don't have to work quite so hard on making a perfect entrance every damned time.

In a lot of ways I'm leaving the need to be perfect behind and it's really so much deeper than just letting go of worrying about what others think of me and needing to make a good impression. It's more than feeling a little freer to be more a authentic self and less of what I think others want me to be. It's more of a finally allowing myself to leave the impossible standards my mother set for me not only with her insanely perfect cleaning and housekeeping, but also with how I am and how that impacts people's perception of her; it's setting myself free from having to be "perfect".

Perfectionism is a really dangerous partner and while it's ruled most of my life and got me to places I probably wouldn't have got to without it, I'm ready to leave perfect behind and while that will not get me further on the path I was on I'm pretty certain that it will bring me to new places and new successes, and that they will be very different..

I just don't want to strive for perfect anymore, I just want to be myself and that means I want to be authentic. I'm leaving perfect behind so that I can do that and I think that's where my happiness lies. Perfect is beyond elusive and perfect is an unattainable state. It's like chasing your tail and while it's keeping you occupied it's exhausting.

So, I'm leaving perfect behind.

Bye perfect!

I'm just saying.

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