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The Perfectionist Diaries - 1

A new beginning is scarier than anything else

By S. A. CrawfordPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 3 min read
Image: Bich Tran via Pexels

There is a kind of fear that I connect, uniquely, with taking a step forward into the unknown. It feels like ice in the veins, like roiling, bubbling oil in the stomach. Like sickness that won't quell.

My name is Sheree Crawford, and I am a perfectionist; I've heard that self-awareness is both the first step towards overcoming your issues and a necessity for growth. The fact that I have fooled myself into thinking I'm not a perfectionist for nearly 30 years is quite a feat. I pride myself on being good at my job; writing is my job. For years I've wondered how I could write fiction and finish stories for my clients, but I could never finish my own stories or books. Then I realized, like many writers, I am plagued by the fear of failure and have developed a habit of self-sabotage.

“Destruction can be beautiful to some people. Don’t ask me why."

John Knowles

The beauty of destruction. There's a thought that plagued me; when I read this quote, I realised it was painfully true. Self-sabotage, self-destruction, and self-harm; they have been the real constants in my life. Is it sick to admit I find a certain comfort in my own suffering?

Binge and purge, feast and famine, insomnia and lethargy... and of course, create and destroy. The pattern is so reliable that my friends joke about saving my fiction and keeping it where I can't get to it so that I don't delete or otherwise destroy it.

If I had kept every story I ever wrote, I would have published something by now. The fact that I've managed to write and maintain fiction on Vocal, I suspect, is only down to the fact that there's no quick and easy way to delete them.

This diary, this series of posts, is supposed to be a chronicle of my new beginning. But I promise nothing; promises and grand goals are how I got into this mess.

"The biggest thing holding you back is almost always… you. Start there."

Hunter Post

Is it pretentious to say that I'm nose-to-nose with myself right now? Probably; the whole process of self-examination can be pretty pretentious when you're over-educated, under-employed, and chronically depressed. Depression is a pretty self-involved state of being, in my experience.

So, I'm nose-to-nose with myself, right? Or at least the part of me that won't stop destroying everything the sane part of me creates, and she has this devilish look in her eye. Like she's saying,

"I dare you."

Like she's saying,

"Give me your best shot."

And the more I look at her, the less she seems like me. She kind of looks like my dad; another person who could have done more and constantly tripped himself up. She kind of looks like my mum; someone who was genuinely held back by things out of her control.

She looks like every person who ever told me I was weird, or strange, or stupid. Like every nasty stranger and contemptuous peer. She looks like the girls who talked down to me in high school... and the man who told me I was too cold, too distant, too fat to be loveable.

Whoever this self-destructive, mean-spirited bitch is, I don't want her anymore. But I can't kill her because she also looks like a little girl with a dozen notebooks and a head full of imaginary friends. Someone smarter than me told me that you should talk to yourself as if you were speaking to a little child. Maybe six to eight years old. So when I look at this other me with her weapons in hand, I think maybe I should make friends with her. But how?

"Part of the healing process is sharing with other people who care."

Jerry Cantrell

Sharing is caring - isn't that what they say? So here I am, sharing. Waffling like an idiot into cyberspace like the angsty main character in a terrible teen flick from the '90s... but maybe that's ok.

I was going to wait until after I had some answers to write this, but that would have been a part of the old pattern. That would have been her taking the reins and deciding that everything has to be just so before I can hit the 'submit' button.

This isn't a masterpiece. I'm not even sure it's coherent, and I really don't think it'll be useful to anyone... but for the first time, I'm actually writing for me. As a way to purge.

So, if you're out there, reading this stream of consciousness - thank you. And hello. And help.

Tell me how you would take the first step forward because I'm still no further along. I still have no idea how to begin.

Follow along with the Perfectionist Diaries:

0) Enforcing failure

1) New beginnings (you are here)

2) First steps


About the Creator

S. A. Crawford

Writer, reader, life-long student - being brave and finally taking the plunge by publishing some articles and fiction pieces.

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  • Kendall Defoe about a year ago

    'There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.' - Leonard Cohen I am no therapist, but I think this link might help:

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