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#No.Filter: Perfectionism

This blog series is an accompaniment to the performance of #No.Filter: an exercise in vulnerability for clarinet, electronics, and film which will premier original works at Resonance Cafe, March 25 at 9pm.


The last post I made was about my chronic anxiety (which I wasn't aware of until I was 30 and had been dealing with since childhood... but if you would like to know more about how I cruised through my life unknowingly with chronic anxiety *insert humor here* check out the previous post.)

Another aspect of my personal flavor of neuroticism (which I strive so hard not to be... but alas) is my perfectionism. I am in a better position than others with my perfectionism. It is relegated to specific areas of my life and is a prominent reason for my own issues (the anxiety and others).

My perfectionism centers around my intelligence and my music. My perfectionism pushes me forward. I think other people perceive me as being tenacious, persistent, an overachiever.... even as I write this I am struggling to say those things. Perfectionism and insecurity are bedfellows. I fear that people will think that I am deluded thinking that they might think that I am tenacious or persistent. you can guess my perfectionism and insecurity run rampant in my head.

Perfectionism is a bitch.

I think about how I am perceived by my colleagues on a regular basis. I constantly wonder how I come off and what others think of me. I often think that I am falling short of peoples expectations. That I am not enough. Not skilled enough. Not professional enough. Not smart enough. Not serious enough.

And so I work. Its the only thing I can think to do to combat this voice. I work. I work hard. I work vigilantly and diligently often to the detriment of everything else in my life. Stuff it all down, bury my head and go.

When I first graduated from McGill I felt totally lost and directionless. What do I do now? I am someone who operates on goals and suddenly I didn't know what was happening, which way was up. I was completely unprepared. I isolated myself, cut myself off from all friends, colleagues. I felt that outside of the walls of the university I had no goals and therefore no value (although I had since day one questioned my self-worth and value at university but that is truly a tale for another time.) Until I had worth, until I had value, until I had something to offer someone, anyone I would stay alone. I would fix myself. Fix my world. Then I would allow people in. Then... when everything was perfect, when I had something to show for myself.

These overbearing and irrational thoughts of perfectionism have plagued me since before I can remember. I have to be perfect. I have to be the best. I have to. It motivates me to work but it also has me on an endless search for validation (but THAT is a whole other topic).

And the martyrdom of perfectionism. Playing through injuries, practicing past the point of exhaustion both mental and physical. The grandiosity of it all, the melodrama unfolding in your mind. Ugh.

Perfectionism. This is what these past two adventures (Stardust and now #No.Filter.) are an attempt to combat. There is no right time. There is no perfect moment. The work will never be perfect. There is only now

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