Yesterday, one of my best friends sent me an image that literally brought me to tears:
I don’t know how she does it but Tiffany always seems to know what I need to hear and when I need to hear it. She’s been a huge source of stability and support for me over the past few months and I can’t thank her enough for that. Having good friends really does make the world a better place.
Anyways, back to that quote…
Perfectionism is something that I’ve dealt with for
the majority my entire life. For as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with doing things “right” and being the “best”. Ironically, it was considered a positive trait when I was growing up and didn’t start backfiring until a few years ago.
Discovering that perfection doesn’t exist has been a long and difficult journey for me. I spent years living with the mindset that, if I followed the rules and excelled at everything I did, my life would pan out exactly how I wanted it to. Obviously, that’s not the case and it left me constantly searching for validation that didn’t exist. It was exhausting and eventually I just couldn’t do it anymore.
The majority of my obsession was manifested in my dreams of becoming an actress. In the midst of my determination to find success, I completely lost any sense of why I was doing it and whether or not it was even what I wanted. Instead of pursuing an acting career because I loved the art form, I was merely doing it to find validation in ‘winning’ and being ‘successful’. I was changing myself on a weekly basis in an effort to fill in the gaps and morph into whatever this industry needed me to be. I took and re-took my headshots, cut and colored my hair multiple times, lost weight, gained weight, took classes, found new representation, networked with the “right” people, and drove myself into the ground by letting the world around me dictate who I needed to be. Sounds miserable, right? It was.
At the start of 2013 I finally reached my breaking point. Things within my family began to fall apart (which is another topic entirely) and I was faced with the harsh reality that there are certain parts of life I’ll never be able to control. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve finally begun to accept that. While I’ve spent years and years trying to create my “perfect reality” I’ve let so many experiences pass me by. I’ve lost friends, turned down opportunities, and missed out on making memories because they didn’t fit into my schedule and didn’t directly benefit my ‘plan’. It kills me to look back on that and I often wish I could do it all over again with the knowledge I have now. But, I can’t. I can only move forward.
So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m apologizing to all of the people I love for the distant, obsessive person I became. I’m throwing away the predetermined future I had mapped out for myself. I’m rediscovering the carefree, happy-go-lucky girl that I once was. I’m finally embracing myself for exactly who I am rather than who I think the world expects me to be. And, most importantly, I’m letting go.
Am I going to stop working hard and aiming for success? Of course not. That will always be a part of who I am. But, instead of obsessing over the results, I’m going to enjoy the ride. I’m just going to live.
I know this post was lengthy so, if you spaced out half-way through, I don’t blame you. I have to admit, I feel slightly anxious about opening up about something so personal but my hope is that a few of you will be able to relate to this and benefit from the things I’ve learned. And, if you’re my friend in real life, let this post serve as an explanation and an apology for why I disappeared. Emily is back.
I have no idea what tomorrow holds and, for the first time, I’m okay with that. I’m focusing on finding happiness in the little things, building and nurturing relationships, getting financially stable, and becoming the person I was meant to be all along. It’s time to smile like it’s going out of style.
Plus, I’m in my 20’s, it’s practically a law that I should be out there having fun, right?
Here’s to imperfect bliss…