The Perks of Perfectionism

I’m an asshole.

Straight up.

I am the nicest asshole you will ever meet. Honest and truly.

Put me in a group, however,  and I will take creative control from you and I will impose ridiculous rules and guidelines and deadlines and I will make your life a living hell until whatever needs doing is done. You will do it. You will not like it. You will cry and beg and plead for mercy and some semblance of sanity because

This is my rifle:

of the wooden variety
of the wooden variety

this is my gun:

I will red pen you!
I will red pen you!

And God help you because Gunny ain’t got nothin on me when there is a deadline.

That's me!
That’s me!

You remember that kid in school, the one who rolled their eyes when it came time for the group project? The one that ended up doing everything and you thought ‘hey, that’s awesome!’ because I mean who really wants to do the work when someone else so obviously will? Yeah? Then do you remember that same kid taking all the credit for doing all of the work and you ended up not getting that grade you needed to pass the class?

Yeah, you remember...
Yeah, you remember…

I was that asshole.


Because of simple group psychology. You get the same people in every group. People who don’t want to do the work, people who want to do the work because they need the grade, and people who do the work BECAUSE NONE OF YOU CAN DO IT HOW I SEE IT IN MY HEAD AND HOW I SEE IT IN MY HEAD IS THE RIGHT WAY NOW BACK AWAY WITH YOUR HAM HANDS NERF-HERDER! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!

Yes. That is how the silent, panicky conversation goes in a perfectionist’s head. It’s not that you CAN’T do it right, it’s just that you can’t do it right because we have control problems.

This thing I am.
This thing I am.

It’s not that I don’t trust you, I just trust myself to do it right and on time because Jesus HG Wells help you if the assignment isn’t turned in on the time and my grade has to suffer because of you.

May the Elder Gods have mercy on your soul if I find you....
May the Elder Gods have mercy on your soul

I’m not crazy. I have trust issues.

It all started when I was a kid and some other asshole didn’t turn in our group project on time after I’d spent DAYS getting my end of the bargain ready to turn in. I had to face down the wrong side of a grade because I’d been let down. Ever since then I’ve had issues with people and getting things on time.  There was that one time on swim team, too. I stopped swimming because of other issues with my coaches and JROTC. I went back to the team because I’m a sucker. Got to nationals. Swam my ass off in the 500 yard freestyle. Then swam my ass off in the 200 yard freestyle relay only to be let down by my teammates. We never broke the school record. We didn’t go to State. Prom had a lot to do with this.

Made. Of. Steel.
Made. Of. Steel.

I’m not bitter.

I’ve been let down. So, I’ve become a control freak. I’ve always been a perfectionist. The control thing is a new manifestation. Both have good and bad sides and are pretty much rolled into one thing.

The good side is I will always get something done when it needs to be done, before if I can manage it.

Bad side is I am liable to give myself a heart attack because I WILL sit there and I WILL obsess if something is off even one iota of an inch.

Art school has brought this out in me full force.

I won't tell you how long it took me to do this one.
I won’t tell you how long it took me to do this one.

The perfectionist is a creature of As. Not Bs. The perfectionist is the person that will cry when a B presents itself or that laments getting a 98% on something they know they could have gotten a 100% on. A perfectionist has been done and re-done in Hollywood so many times it hurts my head. But the best thing about a perfectionist?

We get the job done.

Not only do we get the job done, but we get the job done better. We don’t stop at just good enough, we sit there and we lament and moan and complain and whine about how something isn’t good or it’s terrible or oh my god no, but when the final product comes out, it comes out better than right by god.

I’m a special kind of asshole. Not the destructive kind. Not the kind that make you hate group projects, no. I am the kind of asshole that knows she can do it better. That I can make a book cover out there that will compare to the Big 6 designs. I’m the kind of asshole that will sit there and keep up with the swimmer in the lane beside her because the counter got dropped to the bottom of the pool, I’m the asshole that will make it happen.


Because I am a competitive person. It gets my blood going. It makes me feel alive and challenged and fulfilled.

I thrive on it. I love the thrill, the ‘what if’?, the doing.

And because seeing a professor’s feedback detailing how I’ve understood and exceeded the assignment requirements,  the 6:51:00:00 on the timer, or the limited emotional range pushed through on Facebook or SMS messages when someone likes what I’ve done for them keep me going, they keep me doing what I’m doing, and they reinforce the fact that perfectionism and the stress management problems are totally worth it.


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