I saw the Instagram reel your company posted, the one where you so confidently pronounced diaspora as dysphoria. I witnessed the moment when one of your staff members referenced your mistake and you assured her what you said was correct; because, “Hellllooo, you ARE Perfectionist”.
I witnessed the bile rise in your throat, watched as you experienced panicked breathing and felt embarrassment paralyze you while you rewatched the video and realized your staffer was right. I saw you greet your ‘old buddy’ panic attack as it shook and shimmied toward your body, swaying its full hips to a sexy funk beat that engulfed you.
You say, “Hey, panic attack, I see you are back.” Every misspoken word, every misuse of their and there in a text message floods back. You were reminded of the harrowing 6th grade trip to the Circle Line, the one where you wore pastel green parachute pants and got your period, the embarrassment paralyzing you.
Perfectionist, it is clear that you have made a mistake; another misstep, another screw up to keep you up at night. There is a new crack in the armor that you have to hastily patch up, smooth with spackle and make pretty on the outside, but you will never forget the crack that exists within.
You are spiraling, you are making an internal list of your recent f*ck ups. Maybe it’s the poppy seed between your crooked front teeth, the instagram video, and the realization that your Gen Z staffer Regina George’d you; yes, it is a Wednesday and yes, she is wearing pink.
How do you go back when your mistakes are playing on a loop in your head? Perfectionist, I don’t know how to go back, that science has not been created yet, or at least the man doesn’t want you to know if it has. You, my dear, have to move forward.
To start, you will pull yourself out of the panic and shame spiral by doing the grounding exercise your therapist at Refresh taught you: 3 things you can see, 3 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, all while taking deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Next, when you are ready, you will calmly and confidently contact your media manager and boss, explain your error, get the video pulled, edited, and reposted lickety split. You will then put more money in Jeff Bezos’ pocket by ordering 4 containers of dental floss, one to keep with you at all times, one for your car, one for your desk, and (obviously) one for your bathroom.
You are now grounded, relaxed, and in control. You are Perfectionist AND a Bad Mama Jama;
Dear perfectionist, you are a work in progress. But look! You have once again reclaimed your perfectionist status, and feel you are winning at life. So why do you have a gnawing feeling in the back of your mind that you can’t keep this charade up forever…
Stay tuned on our Dear Perfectionist blogs to learn more about ways to overcome your perfectionism and build confidence in the badass that you are (mistakes and all!)
Mean Girls. Directed by Melanie Mayron and Mark Waters, performances by Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey, and Tim Meadows, 2004.