My Relationship With… Unreasonable Perfectionism

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Many people can relate to the idea of procrastination. Unfortunately for me, what appears to be procrastination is actually just a symptom of my unreasonable and overactive brain. There are some things in existence which have a certain way that they need to be and knowing that certain things are existing wrongly consumes me beyond belief. I don’t procrastinate work because I want to do something else. Instead, I procrastinate work because something is wrong and I need to fix it.

My irritating and highly specific perfectionism has been prevalent throughout my entire life. The amount of times I have asked my mother to confirm that ‘socks have feet’ , because people won’t believe that this is one of my lifelong mantras, is innumerable. Socks were actually the first thing that I fought tirelessly to organise, ensuring that colour, length, worn-ness, and lefts and rights were all matched perfectly. If it wasn’t a definitive pair, then they were not going on my feet.

This kind of unreasonable perfectionism became very annoying very fast, especially for my mother who just wanted to get me out of the house and to nursery without me removing my socks. But for some reason, I couldn’t stop. Knowing that something was not how it should be itched my skin, often causing an equally as unreasonable rage to boil inside me. I was still having tantrums over socks well into high school, and sometimes occasionally grunt in frustration if I’ve lost one nowadays.

The perfectionist in me definitely shrinks when I’m calm, but never usually goes away. I’ve managed to make it a few months without needing to rearrange supermarket shelves, but still pick up and straighten price tags whenever they’re skewed. I even jokingly asked my boyfriend if I could organise his wardrobe, and let out a gleeful scream when he said ‘yes.’ It was still a shock for him to wake up one morning and find me sitting on the floor folding his underpants, but he did appreciate the handiwork.

Unlike many others with anxiety-related disorders, I have been thriving during isolation. I don’t feel the same overarching guilt when I choose to empty, clean, and organise all the kitchen cupboards because I’ve got nothing else that I really need to be doing. Editing the News articles for Wessex Scene has been an absolute godsend of a job for me to do; I have an actual thing that needs organising (including putting dates and information into a table!!) and have the time and energy in order to complete it efficiently. That being said, if anyone fancies writing any News articles, you’d be doing me a massive favour…

Sometimes my perfectionist attitude is the most irritating thing to deal with. Even trying to find a picture depicting ‘organisation’ stressed me out beyond belief. I disprove of the featured image for two main reasons: I don’t like keys in jars because then they aren’t at right angles, and I wouldn’t keep copper and silver coins together. Despite the unnecessary stress, it always seems worth it when I can admire my own work. Whether it’s a vacuumed staircase, a shelf of folded underwear, or a perfectly straight line of shoes all with the laces tied, I have moments of utter bliss, and crave that feeling of euphoria when my unreasonable perfectionism is momentarily quenched.

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A philosophy student with a penchant for uncertain puns. Pause Editor 20/21, i.e. funny sausage

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