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After Perfectionism

I’ve spent most of my life requiring myself to be perfect.


To not make any mistakes.


All in the mistaken belief that somehow this would ward off pain, betrayal; keep me safe somehow.


Six years ago, when I realized I was in an emotionally abusive marriage and had been for years, I saw how none of that perfectionism had saved me from pain. Or betrayal. Or had even slightly kept me safe.


So I dropped it. Discarded it.


Or maybe more plain to say: it was ripped away from me and I was left naked.


Perfect family? Nope.


Perfect marriage? Nope.


Perfect suburban life? Nope.


Plain for all to see, I had nothing.


I was naked.


My world had fallen apart


In that nakedness I felt something I’d never felt before.


The wind on my skin. The breeze in my hair. The faint scent of flowers that maybe smelled like what freedom would smell like.


However, the moment didn’t last long as I needed to create a new life. A post divorce life. A single parenthood life.


I began to create it with a little less perfectionism than before.


I allowed myself more humanity than before. I began dancing. I began dating.


My career took off.


My daughter was healthier.


Now I was creating the “Perfect” Post-Divorce Life.


A life that I felt I was perfectly creating.


Old habits die hard.


———————————————


Life stripped me bare again: a bout of COVID made it impossible to continue my director level role in a consulting firm.


Brain fog and fatigue stripped my succesful career from me.


I was naked.


I again felt the wind on my skin and breeze in my hair. My nakedness had me feeling the world around me. I even began hearing the voice of my intuition a bit stronger.


All this was short lived though, as I had to figure out how to earn a living as a single mom. To start a different career. To retool.


I worked to build a business as a coach, author, entrepreneur. Offering 1:1 sessions, courses, writing a few books, creating a social media presence.


And again doing it all  - well you guessed it - perfectly.


I believed I had to create the “Perfect” Post-Corporate Career. I poured my heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into it.


———————————————


I was knocked on my heels AGAIN. 


Stripped of everything. 


Naked again.


Complications of COVID (from months earlier) - along with long hours trying to get my business to be profitable - kicked an underlying heart condition into full gear and landed me in the hospital - more than once and I couldn’t return to working, earning an income. 


Naked,  I gave in.


I gave up.


I just couldn’t anymore.


I didn’t try to piece things back together, or solve it all and get back in the saddle.


I just surrendered to what was.


I could do nothing else.


I didn’t surrender from a place of strength, but from a place of utter and absolute despondency.


And in that moment of absolute nakedness I finally felt not only the wind on my skin and the breeze in my hair, but the light and warmth of God/Universe/Creator. I could finally feel freedom and peace, even in the midst of, or because of, my nakedness. 


———————————————


At this point in the recounting of my journey (as I’ve done throughout my books, as in my life) I usually tie it all up in a happy-this-is-what-I-learned bow.


Not only can I not promise that, I no longer have any desire to do so.


I’d like to think that I’ll no longer try to create the perfect life/business/relationship. But I can’t promise that. And I don’t want to.


Because of how many times I’ve been stripped and laid naked, I am now beginning to enjoy the feeling, unashamed of the exposure, relishing the feeling of the wind and breeze but also knowing there are ways and places I still want to hide. The desire and places are much smaller but they still exist.


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