I'm a perfectionist. What I do often never feels good enough. There is always something more I could have done or something more I should do. So for this post, even after reading it over once, I will not edit it. You will get the rawness I'm often so unwilling to share with others.
When we go on dates, we often feel like we have to put forth our best selves - that what we are hiding within isn't beautiful. And I've done that so often. In a four-year relationship, I molded myself into someone I didn't want to be. On many first dates, I laughed even when something wasn't funny.
Someone recently told me that they felt like other people expected him to smile. And he did for them. I have the image of him smiling engraved in my head. It was like with every smile he was gripping for that feeling he once felt and that there was still a fight left in him. I know I saw genuine smiles when he was around me.
"You know, you don't have to smile around me if you don't feel like it" I said.
"I know. You bring this lightness though. I really like it." He responded.
"I'm glad. I love when you smile." I paused. "I feel safe around you."
"You are safe around me." He said softly.
I believed him and I still believe him. I feel a silent comfort when he is around and that has been an uncommon feeling recently.
Like him, I force that smile onto my face more often that I like to admit and I very rarely admit it. I've hit a new low in my life that I thought I would never surpass after a year of struggling with self-harm. I'm not in that place, please don't worry about that, but I feel an absolute sense of blankness. My memory is foggy and recent days turn into blurs in my mind. I write to hold onto those moments and that's why I am writing today, why I will write tomorrow, and why I will write every day that follows. I feel so apathetic to everything but this single domain and that scares me because I thought that was the same feeling with teaching.
But when I write, I feel that sense of purpose and optimism that I know I have within me. I'm trying to shed that sense of perfectionism that my life has to work or turn out a certain way. There are goals I'm going to fight to achieve; a purpose that still propels me forward.
I might not want a house in the suburbs, kids that craft a family, or a job that I know will bring me stability, but I do know that I want something, and that is enough for now.
I'm okay. I'm not great but I'm going to be okay.