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  • Writer's pictureZolaDee

Freedom from Perfection


I am my biggest critic and my biggest judge.

I try not to be. I go to therapy. I try to be kind to myself. I try to be compassionate. This all works intellectually. I speak my affirmations. I send myself the love I deserve. But at the end of the day when I’ve spent weeks drowning in a new script and I come up for air AND the script is not a masterpiece well…I’m inclined to throw it all away in the trash. Each word. Each sentence can go bye bye. If the script isn't Everything Everywhere All At Once then what the fuck am I even writing for? It’s a twisted way of thinking but for a long time I prided myself on being a perfectionist. The idea of being a perfectionist meant that I have high standards to up hold. I was inclined to only produce "good" art but in actuality I was murdering my creativity.

Perfectionism makes you your own worst enemy. We are tricked into believing that there is a state of being that is “perfect” but in actuality it is a feedback loop of us telling ourselves we aren’t good enough. There are so many things in this world telling you you're not good enough, not worthy enough, not lovable enough, not cool enough. It’s not worth it to become another person rooting against your own existence. Being here, in this present moment, means you are enough. There’s been so much love, upheaval, and colliding atoms to get you to this present moment. Breath in your worth because your worth is inherent in the fact that you exist.

After 28 years on this planet I’m finally getting to the place where I can be comfortable with just letting go and flowing with the process. I just finished my first screenplay a few months ago for two dope Black OG producers in Hollywood. I had never written a feature length screenplay and I had no goddamn clue what I was doing! On top of it all, the movie was also a musical which comes with its own set of challenges. Before I sent in the first draft, I spent many days meticulously tweaking little words here and there. In my head these were just the finishing touches. In actuality I was just fearful of what they were going to say. A fear that was steeped in being found out for not knowing what the hell I was doing. My imposter syndrome was turned up to 110%. Every person I talked to about the movie knew how stressed out I was about it. It was so bad that I almost convinced myself to walk away from the whole project. My reasoning was that if I didn't finish it and I ghosted the producers then it would all just disappear...right? But then a dear friend told me, "Better finished than perfect."

Better finished than perfect...

Better finished than perfect...

Better finished than perfect...

...That phrase rang through my entire being.

That phrase also reminded me of how I've always let perfectionism rule my creativity. When I was in high school I'd sometimes not show my visual art because it wasn't "how I wanted it to turn out." When I'd perform I rarely had performance anxiety. My real anxiety was rooted in the belief that I'd go out on that stage and the performance wouldn't epic enough. That it wouldn't be life changing. That pressure was way too much for a teenage to bear. But still, all throughout my high school years I beat myself and my art up for not being great enough. It kept me from growing in my art practice. That is what perfectionism does. It halts growth. It keeps you stuck in the same patterns of being. Perfectionism is fear by another name. Deep down inside we are scared of our own growth because it’s not familiar. It’s the unknown. Our perfectionism imagines a future or state of being that is so unattainable in the present moment that it gives us this sense of dread when those unattainable goals cannot be reached. And that gives us more more fire and ammunition to throw in the towel and quit.

I am a recovering perfectionist. I remind myself that as much as I want myself or my art to be "perfect", no one and nothing is. I remind myself that in the Japanese art of kintsugi, broken pottery will be repaired back together with powered gold or silver to emphasize its imperfections. If you google kintsugi pottery you'll see the beautiful gold lines zig zagging through the re-assembled pottery. The golf almost looks as if it was originally supposed to look that way. To all the other recovering perfectionists, I hope you can see yourself in this way. I hope you see yourself as a unique creation which includes all your imperfections and cracks. In the imperfections, is where the gold lies.

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