Enemy In The Mirror

Wow. Been a while. Sorry, had to finish up a frankly abysmal college semester, then took a week and a half or so to just blob around in my chair and watch YouTube videos for hours on end. Decompressing, you know?

Anyhow, me and my dad recently talked about a subject we both felt was worth a write-up. One thing that has always gotten on my nerves is whenever someone else tells me about something I need to improve on – now, I know that sounds like I think I’m all that and a bag of chips (that goes without saying) but hear me out. Well, read me out. Whatever.

The reason why it irritates me is because nine times out of ten, I’ve already caught on to that exact thing I need to work on and I’m already harping on myself about it. And take it from a pathological perfectionist, I’m very, very good at giving myself grief over these things. So hearing it from someone else once is effectively hearing it for the millionth time, and occasionally that’s just one time too many and I snap at the person. They’re well-meaning and all and of course can’t read my mind, so it’s undeserved and totally unfair but it happens.

It all comes down (again) to perfectionism. It’s a great thing sometimes – striving for perfection or at least as good as you can get something is on the face of it a very admirable ideal, but in practice…it’s, ah, not so great. I tend to hold myself to impossible standards, which I then obviously fail to meet, and as a result I get salty and retreat to my room to wallow in Mountain Dew and Minecraft.

And it doesn’t just affect practical things. Recently, a game I’m super excited for ran a beta test which let me play it for a week. And for most of that week, I didn’t play it. I was very much looking forward to it, sure, and it looked fun, but I didn’t want to jump in. Why? Because I’m a horribly dysfunctional perfectionist. If I played a game I’d never played before, I wouldn’t automatically be amazing at it and I’d play badly. I didn’t want to play badly, so therefore I didn’t play. It’s logical, in a self-destructive and shortsighted way, but in hindsight it was the wrong move.

Since I brought it up earlier, Minecraft has the same problem. I like to have everything just so (perfectionism, yaaaay) so usually I play with mods – that’s short for modifications, someone out there with way too much skill with computers as well as free time thinks “Hey, Minecraft is pretty cool but I think it would be cooler with elephants in it!” So they make a mod, which I can then download and put into my game. Because elephants, dude. Come on.

So I tend to mod all the games I can into oblivion – resulting in them becoming cobbled-together monstrosities that crash every twelve seconds and are generally unplayable. Yet I persist in trying. Why? Because I need those elephants, by Jove, and I’ll have them and the twelve million other things I added because that’s the game I want to play in an ideal world.

Then I finally get into the game. Best part about Minecraft for me is building cool things, castles and cities and such. Bar none. Then I get an idea into my head, try and plan it all out – and never start, because I’m constantly adjusting the mental image to get it just right and perfect and by the end of it I’ve either ADHDed off to something else or just realized I can’t actually do that and so why bother playing?

Essentially, perfection is a nice ideal but it’s that. An ideal. Which means it doesn’t happen, isn’t going to happen, period. Full stop. Now, I hate writing coherent, MLA-formatted conclusions so this is the last paragraph. I’ll be working on updating a heck of a lot more often over the summer; no telling on what the fall semester will bring but hey, that’s months off, plenty of time.

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2 thoughts on “Enemy In The Mirror

  1. Thanks for helping me out as I read this. I struggle with the same thing. You have a fantastic way of putting your thoughts into the written word and express your deeper thoughts so eloquently. I encourage you to continue to write as I’m sure it is healthy for you but also helpful for others – including me!

  2. Ooops! I think that trait is genetic–cuz maternal grandma here has the same problem. I’m doing much better in my geriatric state, but high school was the pits! I missed out on a number of things because I was afraid I would not be good at it or, in fact, fail. Mercy me! Fail?!

    I totally sympathize with you. You did say it like it is, and you did it well. Really, almost perfectly.

    I certainly hope you won’t have to wait until you’re among the elderly to accommodate this heavy burden.

    Love you, GL

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