Why I Gave Up Perfectionism

Writing was my salvation but perfectionism makes it torture. 

My struggle with perfectionism has been constant, exhausting and hindered me in reaching my potential. Until now, I’ve dealt with it and all its nagging consequences. My habitual tardiness from standing in the mirror too long grooming my right eyebrow, constant dissatisfaction with my body even though I’m still the same size I was when I was 18, and my urge to constantly improve, optimize and develop everything and everyone is an addiction just like any other. After forty years of existence on this planet, I give in. I can’t keep up with the illusion of “I just woke up like this” because I didn’t and I don’t. I never did. 

The reason I let go of perfectionism is not because I wanted to be more approachable, down to earth, vulnerable. On the contrary, I want to be famous. I aspire to be a New York Times best-selling author. My urge for perfection place keeps me from the page. If you’re a writer, you get it and if you’re not, let me explain. 

As a writer, there is nothing more intimidating than the blank page. It represents hard work, not knowing, or knowing and not wanting to make it real. One thing is for sure though, writing it down will make it real so be ready for clarity. The games I play with myself to coax words from my fingers are complex. I start writing on the 33rd minute of every hour for 33 minutes. The number 33 is The Master Number that symbolizes reaching the world, a high vibrational energy and is concerned with doing good in the world. I light candles that encourage openness, I sing aloud and stroke my throat to activate my 5th chakra.  I pray and meditate. I wear nothing. I dress up with a full face of makeup and heels.  I incentivize myself with that $200 pair of jeans that I bought, yet still sit unworn in my closet. All this is in service of getting myself to write. I wholeheartedly believe it’s the one and only thing that I’m supposed to be doing with my life. Becoming a writer has tugged at me since I was 5 years old when I remember the onset of a reoccurring dream of me sitting on my fathers’ lap while he read me a story, the story of MY life. Writing is what terrifies me the most. but brings such a sweet still peace.  After meeting myself on the page, I am centered and grounded, I know myself better than before. 

The intimacy I have with the page is like no relationship I have with humans.   I hide the real me from other people but there’s no hiding when I write. Anyways, I’m pretty sure another human couldn’t handle the truth that spills out. I even struggle with being the owner of such darkness, desire, lust, disgust, gratitude so intense that the spoken word can’t describe.  I’ve been running from my emotional truth since I realized how uncomfortable my feelings could be. My addictions did their best to keep them quiet and even though I stopped drinking and drugs 13 years ago, I just (like last month) stopped starving and obsessing about every piece of food I put in my mouth. So, I’m experiencing a whole new reality and understanding why I kept my emotions at a distance. They are so intense. I feel so deeply. They are big and angry and loud and that’s scary to me. Feelings are uncertain. Messy. And decidedly not perfect. Yet that’s exactly what great writing is about— raw emotion, the intense details, palpable discomfort. There is no room for perfection in becoming a brilliant writer. I want to tell stories that bring readers to tears, make them burst with laughter, feel like they’re right there in the room. That’s the kind of writer I want to be. It’s for the applause but also a cause. I want to be vulnerable with my experiences to combat the shame, to help other feel less alone and to encourage them to reveal their darkness so in order to heal. The page is my salvation, it’s the only thing that understands me, where I don’t feel like an outsider. I belong when I write. 

The anxiety that’s mounting as I pen this last paragraph makes me think I’m having a panic attack but it’s an illusion. A lie. Resistance that want to take me down, pushing me away from greatness. This is when I exercise embracing the imperfect blog post that I have committed to posting once a week. I will still write to get published and work on my book but I want to invite the fun and excitement back into my process. Getting clips in mags for money is fantastic, but stunted the realness of my words. I’m thinking so much about the end product that I bypass the prose of my heart- no pun intended. I’m following the path of Glennon Doyle-Melton, and getting into the nitty gritty of my day-to-day. After all, there’s only so much that can be articulated through a social media post. Mostly, I want to heal, to know myself and all the intensity of my emotions. I’m intent of recovering from writing avoidance. When I walk away from the page, I’m running from my truth, and self-sabotaging my potential. I’m ready to embrace the imperfect and unknown.  I’ll conquer my perfectionism and avoiding the page like I’ve handled every other addiction.

One Day at A Time.

Progress not Perfection.

Easy Does it.

Thank you for reading the first of many imperfect blog posts to come. Your feedback is welcome and appreciated.


Aubree Nichols