Perfect is the enemy of good
Published by Beverley Newing on
I’ve had a weird couple of months. Brace yourself for an intense opening paragraph (spoiler alert there are narwhals the other side) - I broke up with my long term partner of 8 years, having fallen in love with someone else (who a relationship wouldn’t work out with). A family member passed away, and I’ve been caught between two locations, helping support other family members with the processes that come after death. If this wasn’t enough, I also changed jobs - something I’m very, very happy about (I’m now accessibility lead at the Ministry of Justice), but this has come with it’s own challenges too, as all job changes do. It’s all been a lot.
I broadly thought I was fine though, until gave a talk at a conference the other day, and had a tech nightmare. My laptop audio input gave out 2 minutes up, so I had to switch to another laptop that didn’t have the right software on. I still don’t know what happened - I’d tested the original laptop out earlier on in the day. The conference organisers were lovely and very supportive, and the audience cheerleaded me through it when I got back online (so many cute goose images were shared), but it took it out of me more than I was expecting (which, given the first paragraph of this blog post, maybe shouldn’t have been unexpected). I sat and cried afterwards for a good half an hour afterwards.
I’ve been doing that thing of running away from problems by running at other things at full speed, and not really looking after myself in the process. My insomnia has been bad lately, with lots of 3ams and 4ams, as a result of this hyperactivity. Heartbreak is painful. My life isn’t where I wanted it to be, right now, and things haven’t gone how I’d wanted. And I wasn’t making the time to sit and just feel how I was feeling, and accept it. The tech nightmare knocked me back into reality a little bit (which I’m grateful for).
I had a lovely long conversation with a friend Saturday, and we talked a bit about depression. I don’t generally tend to identify with ‘perfectionist’ as a label. But I think I do sometimes get caught at an intersection between perfectionism and depression, where I get too depressed to put in the energy to do something that would satisfy a nagging perfectionism. Add insomnia and anxiety on the top of that, and you can get a challenging mix. My coping strategy is normally to throw myself into a lot of things quite hard, and then scapegoat being overwhelmed as the reason for things not being 'perfect' - maybe not the healthiest of life approaches.
This weekend, I had no plans or anyone to hang out with, for the first time in in a long time. And this was super daunting. I normally have a partner to text, and I’m not used to the silence that comes after a breakup. And to be honest, I’ve not been coping well with that. I’m not really used to just sitting with myself and my head.
So this empty weekend, I decided to pick up a sewing project. I’d gotten really in my head lately with sewing. It’d gotten to the point where I wouldn’t start anything, because I told myself I’d mess it up. But I sat down with a cup of tea, and decided I’d take it step by step. That I’d actually read the instructions, make sure I understood them, and double check everything. No assuming I should know how to line something, or make trouser legs, and rush into doing it without the pattern, and then judge myself harshly afterwards - just focus on the instructions, and take it slow.
So, Saturday, I made myself a narwhal jumpsuit! It didn’t go perfectly - the sizing came out too big, so I had to add in some strange darts to the back (and I didn’t look up instructions on how to do that properly so they’re a bit messy). The bodice lining didn’t work out great, and I should have used a different thread colour. But, I mostly followed the instructions, and now have a narwhal jumpsuit that is functional, and fits, and that I love wearing. Following the instructions didn’t entirely stop the negative narrative in my head over the 10 or so hours it took - but there were also moments of peace with it.
And then today, I updated my personal website. Before today, the footer still said 2019! I gave the design a bit of a refresh too. Again, it’s not perfect, but I tried to just get into a flow state and fix the basics. There’s a list of issues I could still list out, but I won’t. I’m happy with what I’ve done, in the time I’ve allocated it, and I like it.
It’s not been a perfect weekend - I’ve got a migraine, didn’t sleep as well as I’d have liked, and am a bit behind on some life admin. But, there have been good bits - I now have a jumpsuit and more up to date website, amongst other things. The majority of it wasn’t staring into space and refreshing my phone, waiting for messages from an ex, or worse, sending off messages to an ex, whilst listening to 'Helium' by Glass Animals, Tove Lo's 'High', or 'Past Lives' by Borns on loop. So I’m pretty happy.
So to sum up, it’s been a rough couple of months, with ups and downs, but I’m doing okay. Some things I wanted din’t happen. But it’s not the end of the world. Being upset, or not always happy, it’s not great, but that’s okay. And I’m learning to find the joy in the every day, rather than focusing on hitting highs that are accompanied with lows. I'm trying to find more stability in myself. It’s not perfect, but it’s healthier, with little joy pockets here and there (like lovely conference attendees sharing goose gifs, phone calls with lovely friends, and narwhal fabric), and that’s great. So here’s recognising and respecting the sad, but also celebrating my cute narwhal jumpsuit and new website updates!
I'm interested in if other people ever feel similarly to the themes in this. How do you approach life? Do you ever feel the same? How was your weekend, and how are you doing?
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Just published a new blog post - 'Perfect is the enemy of good'. Features narwhals, website updates and some reflection on mental health:https://t.co/JPbmv6E1To pic.twitter.com/S9yeNf4Qq6— Beverley Newing (@WebDevBev) June 20, 2021