Recovering Perfectionist

Perfection. What a loaded word.

It has taken me many years to realize that the pursuit of perfection is not only pointless, but is also wrought with disappointment and the perception of failure.

I could blame my first-born tendencies, or type-A personality. But, at the end of the day, it’s about pride and control. Weeds that God continues to gently pluck out of my life. So, sometimes when those tendencies rise up, I feel like I have to explain that I am a recovering perfectionist.

Recovering because I still have to take a deep breath and remind myself that perfect is not an earthly thing. I have made a conscience effort to no longer make it my standard. I would never, ever expect perfection from my husband, or kids, or any other person in my life, so why is it that I can be so hard on myself?

Case in point…I am making poodle skirts for my daughters. They’ll be fun costumes for Halloween, and then used for dress-up after that. I’m not a seamstress, but am self-taught in the ways of straight seams for curtains, pillow covers, and the like. I know just enough to be dangerous.

Pillows? Check. Bedskirt? Check. Staight seams? This I can do.
Pillows? Check. Bedskirt? Check. Staight seams? This I can do.
Even the neck roll skill.
Even the neck roll pillow…new skill.

My $15 garage sale Bernina sewing machine and I have been down some roads together. We have a love-hate relationship. We’ve fought over broken needles. We’ve cried over ripped seams. But, dare I say it…I love the challenge and the creative outlet.

So I was excited to branch out and try an item of clothing.

I researched a few tutorials and decided to pick and choose from a few, to make it my own. I had a vision of perfect skirts that would look just like the perfect ones online. Well, with anything that you branch out to do, success is not guaranteed. I was sewing an elastic waist band for heaven’s sake. That fact alone practically demands trouble.

In the end, it actually went pretty smoothly. No broken needles. No ripped seams. No crying. However, the elastic puckered a bit, and isn’t perfectly smooth. After I finished the first waist band, and saw the puckering, I literally had to get up and walk away. It seems silly, but it really bothered me.

Squint your eyes, please.
Squint your eyes, please.

After a few deep breaths, I was okay again and regained some perspective. Remember, I’m recovering after all.

However, of infinitely more importance? My daughters love these skirts, puckered elastic and all! I made them extra twirly because that’s the entire purpose of a skirt when you’re a girl between the ages of three and eight, am I right?

Still shot.
Still shot.
Not-so-still shot. A girls gotta twirl!
Not-so-still shot. A girls gotta twirl!

The puckered elastic is still there, but I’m okay with it. I made these for my girls because I love them, and their reactions tell me these poodle skirts are just right, not perfect, but just right. If you squint your eyes just so, that puckering is virtually invisible anyway.

Over the years, I’ve worked to reframe the expectations I have of myself. Instead of perfection, I strive for excellence. I still set the bar high, but do my very best to embrace the outcome of every endeavor with all it’s imperfections.

Imperfections create character, both in antique furniture and in people. I’m learning to fully appreciate all my dings, scratches, and inconsistencies. And that’s the irony. Don’t we all look at our perceived imperfections through a magnifying glass while glancing over others challenges through forgiving, squinting eyes?

Flaws and imperfections are what make us human and relatable. For today, I’m embracing puckered elastic on twirly skirts…tomorrow it will surely be something else.

What do you need to embrace today? Extend yourself some grace today.

Looking ahead,



5 thoughts on “Recovering Perfectionist

  1. Just what I needed to hear today! I, too, am a perfectionist. Maybe I just haven’t had the courage to be a recovering one. Now I do 😉


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