Tuesday, February 02, 2010

the opposite of perfectionism? messy.

Given how often I fall into a nest of messes, no one could ever label me a perfectionist. Me and messy predicaments go hand in hand.  By the time I am finished a project, a counselling session, a meeting, a workshop, I'm askew.  Especially if chalk is anywhere in the vicinity.  I don't even have to touch the stuff and it somehow ends up smeared somewhere on my clothing.............usually situated in the most embarrassing spots.  Whatever accessories I am wearing............earrings, scarf, other jewelry etc, begin the day with me in the "proppa" place.  But then they end up in some other formation and I don't really care.  My hair never looks the same one day to the next. b-o-r-i-n-g.  Coiffed makes me feel claustrophobic.  Perfectionism, the kind that accompanies judgemental tsk-tsking, completely takes the air right out of my lungs.

Oh, don't get me wrong.  I live by a set of self imposed standards. I don't dress like a slob. The work I do isn't considered sloppy, though my office leans towards disorganized looking.  Though some would consider my approach to life as odd....maybe even eccentric verging on outlandishly deviant, I am reliable.  There are times when for a variety of reasons, I want to remain in that zone called comfort, but usually I like to play hopscotch with that square I've drawn around me.

I just like messes.  And humour.  I like humour too.  People who can't crack a smile scare me. They also push my goofy button too and I'm overcome by the desire to get them to crack that smile....pull them out of that tight assed ensemble with no wrinkles they are hiding in.

Like everyone,  I have several OCD tendancies.  C'mon!  YOU DO TOO!  For example, I can hardly breathe right if the pictures/paintings on a wall are tipped to one side or WORSE, not hung at the correct eye level. Colour and how a room feels hits me right in the temples.  If I have an idea for a crafty kind of project, I become a slave to the idea until I can try it.  However, the craft projects I prefer include paints, goopy glue, glitter shakers, cut outs, dyes, and of course googly eyes.  So, my idea may be clean, crisp and obsessive but my approach isn't.............it's MESSY.

I'm a random talker...........my head is FULL of ideas that churn and fuel me.  Nothing turns me on more than being engaged in an open ended expressively rambling quick witted fast paced honest plunge into the heart of a conversation with someone who loves that too.  I think there's a dirty term for this, but I'll be good and not refer to it here.  It rhymes with findmuck. 

I'm sure it frightens the daylights out of a person who doesn't like surprises when they find themselves talking to someone else who loves a good findmuck.  There have been times when I'm in the middle of one of these tete a tetes when I have thought about how it looks from an outsider......... CRAZY I'm sure.  Then, I move onto another thought and carry on.  :) However, when it comes to a problem, I'll pick at it and pick at it until I crack the damn thing.  It remains in my craw until I beat it to death with my thinking.  Is this a form of perfectionism?  who knows??

Can you imagine going to a Counsellor who is a flaming perfectionist?  Egads!  Surprisingly, they are out there.  What amazes me is WHY would they want to be a Counsellor?

Even though I thrive on the openness of a broad based multi-issued conversation, I am precise when it comes to planning for a workshop.  In fact, I even complete a lesson plan........with objectives and a purpose.  I  make a list of materials I will need.  I sketch out the activities, write down a variety of questions I want to use to engage the group.  I do all of the front end work.  I prepare.  Then?  I'm ready.  Then?  I go into a workshop and let it rip and let it unfold as it should. I'm ready for the messes.  When you're in the field of working with other human beings, you've got to expect deviations, opinions, emotional minefields, needs, issues, stories, frustrations, and spontaneity.  I LOVE THAT part!  It's like inhaling a breath of fresh air!

Rarely do I leave a workshop without covering the key messages I want to teach.  However, rarely does a class unfold as I have planned it out.   I can only imagine how this way of teaching, interacting, doing would make a perfectionist feel.  Messy random bursts of human spontaneous combustion fuels my being.  It must do the exact opposite for someone who needs to maintain a feeling of controlled decorum.  The anxiety must be intense..... as intense as I feel when I am confronted by a situation where I feel like my wings are clipped or my hands are tied down.  If we can't be "ourselves," the anxiety we feel heightens.

Do you know that my daughter's favourite teacher this year is a self confessed ADHD?  She has the whole class of 16 year old seating out of her hand!  

People who thrive on the nitty gritty details as a means of feeling a sense of control completely dumbfound me.  Sure, I know how important they are in the scheme of things.  Yes, I want them to be the people who build our bridges and direct the construction of our dwellings.  But, when their way of being extends to a point where they bring that type of thinking and doing into the discourse and they don't have the capacity to be open and receptive to another human being without passing on gobs of judgement?  Well, I want to know why they are so frightened to let loose.  What's going on inside their heads and heart??  And then I want to run away from them because their barbs are nasty!

I want to know why they can't relax and jump into more fascinating forum where sharing happens through unconditional positive regard.  I want to know why they are the first to judge.... the first to be cynical, pedantic, posturing. I want to know why they can't trust another?  I want to know why they are so damn frightened of being wrong, or showing their grey roots.  I want to be direct and outwardly ask them the why ............. I want to lean forward and look into their eyes, straight into their soul and ask the questions.  Can you imagine??  It would be like stripping them naked, revealing their messy bits.  Do you think perfectionists have a fantasy to want to dance like Beyonce.......I'm a single lady? Somehow I doubt it.  Pole dancing for the tight assed?  Maybe this is the type of therapy needed to help them let loose a bit. hmmmm.........

My way of being is considered by some to be a flurry blur that even may be perceived as unconventionally unacceptable.  Though I am a far cry away from being a loose canon or a renegade with a strange agenda,  the very sniff of my messy unpredictability for a person who thrives on perfectionism  leads them to believe I am someone who needs to be reminded of my place in the world. UGH!  

I think I'm their worst nightmare.  Their biggest fear?  I'm going to ask them WHY?  And I would.  Because I really want to jump right into the heart of that slip sliding mess. 


Emily said...

I LOVE this post! Yay I'm not the only one who lives like this!! :D

Scarlet said...

Wow!! This post has ME written all over it!!! Halfway through that post I got up to realign my canvas' on the wall. But to do that I lean over a desk piled high of various things!

I am messy, and I love a good findmuck! I'm lucky to have a few friends who have gotten used to my odd questions: "Were you thinking with your head or your heart?" Why did you choose the pink one and not the green?" "How does that work and why does it work that way?", and also my very very abstract way of viewing various situations!!

Love your writing!


Susan Deborah said...

I think it would be great to know you and befriend you!!!

Nice rambling. "Through indirections eek directions"

Joy always,

Selma said...

How did you know my inner workings? That's just plain uncanny!

awareness said...

Hey Emily...I have a feeling there are many of us messy humans. To quote my friend Pip, we are all beautiful in our imperfections. Welcome to my blog... and thank you for your comment. Shine on!!

Scarlet.... there's a painting in my dining room that keeps tilting and its driving me bonkers.
I like your questions. You know, I knew you'd be able to relate to this side of me. :) May you delve into a good findmuck real soon.

awareness said...

Susan...Wouldn't you LOVE to gather a bunch of blogger women together for a big guffawing gabfest? My goodness we'd have fun.

Selma.... I am not surprised. I've related to so many of your posts, I figured we were of the same mind. I owe you an email. ;) Just trying to get up and out of the mess and I will send you that story. I promise.

Susan Deborah said...


I bet we'd have great fun!!!!


Anonymous said...

Oh. come on Dana. You go to the grocery store with your dress on inside out and don't bother to take your purse.

awareness said...

and there's something wrong with that? No one said i was normal. I'm just a loopy lupine on my best days.

Gypsy said...

I really LOVED this post Dana and even though it is a couple of weeks old I just had to tell you that.

There can never be total control where human beings are concerned. There will always be unexpected curveballs thrown into the mix and that's exactly as it should be. If people want to go into a workshop or lecture and have everything happen just as they planned it, they are living in an alternate universe. It's truly amazing how different we all are and yet we continue to live in the same space and somehow survive it in spite of ourselves.