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7:58 pm - Fri 8.13.2010
Perfectionist Tendencies

Perfectionist Tendencies

I've just put a halt to today's (till now) endless cycle of Internet browsing.

When I didn't have my computer for a couple days, and could only access the Internet on my cell phone, the two sights I still checked constantly were Facebook and Hotmail (It was days before I checked any of my other Internet "hangouts" - CNN, Entertainment Weekly, The Onion AV Club, or even Diaryland).

Clearly, I've been relying on those two websites - and the Internet in general - to keep me from feeling lonely and isolated

It ain't working. Not really (And in the evenings, and on weekends? It actually backfires - At those times, I pretty much drop off everyone's radar).

In a word?

It ain't healthy.


The subject of this week's WW meetings has been "Perfectionism" (And how it's the enemy in terms of WW success).

For the longest time, the last way in the world I would have described myself was as a "perfectionist"; Anyone who's seen how I live knows I'm a major-league slob, for one thing.

And for years, one of the "raps" I had against myself is "You never see anything through" (Beyond, say, the short-term commitment of a play).

I saw "perfectionists" as people who lived in perfect, pristine environments, over-achievers who did everything they did better than everyone around them.

I'm not that guy...but I kind of wish I were.

(And I kind of think I should be.)

I'm the guy who's found the task too daunting, whatever it may be, because he can't do it perfectly, because he's afraid, even before he starts, of how he's going to feel when he doesn't do it perfectly (Cause if it's not "perfect", whatever it is, what's the point?).

I don't want to get lost in figuring out why I'm this way, or describe how it's morphed into a huge aversion to frustration, or anything like that; I just want to acknowledge it as a reality I wish to change.

Which brings me back to WW...

I succeeded/continue to succeed at WW (As a member, particularly), because the program somehow short-circuited my perfectionist impulse. I did "the best I could do" in trying to lose weight, and in working at keeping it off...and - surprise of surprises! -"the best I can do" has turned out to be good enough.

Speaking for myself - cause who else would I be speaking for? - I've come to realize that the desire to be "perfect", to perform "perfectly", a desire that has seemed like a lofty goal (Albeit, one I could never attain) really not desirable at all.

It's actually been horribly destructive. I don't want to say it's "ruined my life" - because I don't think it's terribly helpful to define my life as "ruined"...but I would say it's done some terrible damage.

So, that being the case, I want to, as much as possible, put "perfectionism" on the back burner...for good.

And how to do that?

One way is to hang onto the example of my experience with WW - I've rarely if ever done the program "perfectly"...and yet here I am - a success.

Another way is to connect to my deep desire for life to be more fun - Perfectionism isn't "fun" - and to realize that, as counter-intuitive as it seems, the way to actually get as good as I can possibly get at anything I wish to do is to not be driven to be "perfect", but to just follow my passions fully and enjoy wherever they lead me.

And in terms of my acting career, to realize that while "perfection" is impossible, with my talent, intelligence, sense of humor, etc., "the best I can do" as an actor (And as a person, for that matter) is pretty fucking formidable.


The past couple evenings, I've spent the bulk of my non-Internet time either reading, playing guitar, or watching tv.

I don't worry too much about being able to read perfectly - I'm pretty damned good at it as things stand - and I'm a downright whiz at watching tv.

But the guitar playing has worried me, because it's exactly the kind of thing that, in the past, has been a source of frustration and angst instead of pleasure and creative satisfaction.

(I learned some rudimentary guitar years ago - some chords, strumming/fingerpicking patterns, etc - but stopped far short of becoming an actual "guitar player".)

But, happily, so far so good on the "frustration and angst" front.

The electric guitar I bought is easier to play than an acoustic, which I think helps, and more to the point, I'm realizing "there's no race here". I can learn as much as I want, as fast or as slow as I want.

Maybe it'll become something more down the road, and maybe not, but right now, it's just a hobby, something interesting and fun to do that keeps me off the Internet and away from the tv.

It doesn't have to be anything more than that.

It's "guitar playing", after all, not "guitar working".

So I think I'm going to end on that note, and engage in some "guitar play"...


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