In high school i went from a 4.0 GPA and captain of varsity tennis to truancy 3 full days a week & barely graduating. I wasn’t smoking pot under the bleachers, I was at home unable to get dressed. Bedridden depression. Emotional paralysis. Not knowing how to deal, so i just didn’t. Suffocating in shame, for not being able to do life the way a 17 yr old was ‘supposed’ to.
In college i dropped out after first semester, transferred, got hooked on coke and failed out, transferred again, dropped out and stayed out for several years, and when i finally went back, i graduated summa or magna cum laude with a Psychology degree. I don’t remember which - summa or magna - cause it doesn’t matter much to me now.
Sometimes perfectionism looks like an overachieving completely put together straight-A superlative Queen and sometimes it looks like an underachieving drop-out who has given up on themselves for a variety of reasons.
What’s beneath the perfectionistic procrastination?
Fear & trauma, the usual culprits.
If i don’t start i won’t fail
If i can’t be the best, i don’t wanna do it at all
If i can’t be the best, I’ll be the worst.
If i can’t be sure ill succeed, there’s no point in trying.
We may need to swing from one side of the pendulum to the other, but eventually we find our place, our sweet spot, somewhere in the middle. We learn some semblance of balance and trade in the black & white for grey-shade thinking. It might take a while, longer than you think it should.
And when these patterns pop up, we can see them for what they are: manifestations of fear.
When procrastination hits, ask yourself - what am i afraid of feeling by facing this right now? Why?
Your work is in the answer.