Here’s the thing…
Mary Poppins might claim to be ‘practically perfect in every way’ like it’s some great accolade. But frankly, this sugar-crazed, neat freak has a great deal to answer for. No, I’m not talking about her blatant disregard for baby teeth. I’m not even talking about her villainous levels of narcissism (face it – she puts up that mirror with more obsession than the Wicked Queen), and let’s not get started on the way she summons a tornado just because she doesn’t want a bunch of older nannies to get a sniff at her job. Nope. I’m talking about the way she encourages us all to ‘strive for perfection’. I’ll say this much for her though – she can pack a bag like a pro. And flying around whilst keeping the perfect ballet-first-position, is an incredible testament to her core strength. But seriously Mary, I’ve had enough of striving for perfection. It’s exhausting, and a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious waste of time. (I’ll just pretend my own laptop isn’t trolling me as it tells me it has ‘no spelling suggestions’. People at Apple: your very name is the central theme of a classic Disney film – is it too much to ask to get some Disney vocab programmed onto your devices?)
Someone who says it better…
‘Perfection is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.’ – Brené Brown
Here we go then…
I feel like we have perfection drummed into our heads from such a young age. Especially for us creative types. We want our art, our story, our vision, to be perfect. Because if you’re not going to deliver your best work, what’s the point, right? But this constant need for perfection often does little to inspire. Instead, it freezes us. It stops us from making any progress at all. And there, I think, lies the keyword: progress. But as usual, I find the best way to get my thoughts onto the page is through fiction. So here’s the part where I try to stop overthinking. Stop aiming for perfection, and just write… (Easier said than done – that’s right Mary: I’m scarred for life!)
Let’s get creative…
I started this blog to embrace my creative writing, so I’m trying to challenge myself to write a poem, short story or flash fiction to accompany every post. (Makes another coffee. Procrastinates. More coffee.) Right, here goes…
“The Perfectionist’s Prison”
A piece of verse by Chrissy Kett
Strive for perfection!
When is perfection ever grasped?
It’s as unattainable
as counting grains of sand
in an ever-changing landscape.
For when, with painstaking precision,
you’ve finally counted every grain,
the wind will blow another,
grain to be counted.
You stare around this endless desert,
to see that it isn’t really a desert at all.
It’s a prison.
You look around.
Where’s the jailor?
There’s no one here but you…
You’re the jailor to your perfect prison.
And only you hold the key to your escape.
Where is this key?
I’ll give you a hint.
It’s very hard to find.
You’ve been staring
at individual grains for so long,
you can no longer see anything else.
Look at the mound of sand that you’ve already counted.
It’s GOOD ENOUGH.
And it’s in its centre where you’ll find the key.
PROGRESS is its label.
Strive for progress.
Enough creativity. I’m a ‘Type A’ personality–give me a list!
Six Reasons why Perfectionism never allows us to ‘fly our kites’.
- We struggle with completing tasks, AKA – Let’s finish our kite…
But did we choose the perfect colour palette, and ribbons? Oh no, let’s start all over again…
- We struggle with our happiness, AKA – Let’s go to park…
Nope, we just told you! We’re too busy working on our kite with painstaking precision…
- We don’t like taking risks, AKA – Let’s go fly a kite…
Erm no! I’ve finally finished it. Why would I risk getting it stuck up a tree now?
- We’re critical of others, AKA – Let’s enjoy everyone else’s kites…
Did they even try? Those ribbons are a complete and utter disaster.
- We take everything personally, AKA – The wind’s dropped…
No wind? My kite’s plummeted to the ground? That’s it, I’m a complete failure!
- We can’t take a rest, AKA – Time to go home now?
No. I made this kite, and now I’ll fly it until I’m exhausted, burnout, and utterly spent.
Let’s cut to the last eight bars shall we?
I confess I’ve stolen this from my mother-in-law, but it’s one of her many sayings that I just love.
Ok, so I’ve had a bit of a dig at Mary Poppins today. But I only jest. In case you haven’t noticed, you’re reading the ramblings of a massive Disney geek here. I love me a bit of Mary Poppins. (And yes, you guessed it: I’m a Julie Andrews girl when it comes to original versus remake.) Also, in fairness to our rosy-cheeked nanny, she did only ever claim to be ‘practically’ perfect. So maybe she knew the dangers of perfectionism after all. But on the serious side, let’s stop clutching our perfection like it helps us. Let’s start recognising it for the ‘twenty-ton’ shield it really is. Let’s face it, if Captain America went into battle, he would not be grabbing it. (Yep, I’m a Marvel girl too. But Disney own it now, so it’s all good.) So to finish with yet more Disney quotes – ‘let it go’, and ‘let’s go fly a kite’.
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Hi, I’m Chrissy! I’ve started this blog to celebrate the Arts. I’m a performer who’s taking a little break from being a ‘talking prop’, and am enjoying the teaching and writing side of things. If you want to know a little bit more about me and my writing journey check out my About page.
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