Perfectionism and the impossibility of creating liberally

A personal account of the manifestation of perfection

Ashleigh Tain, Editor-in-Chief

Perfection, in its exterior, is a beautiful thing. It is effortless yet diligent. It manifests products that are pristine and aesthetic. It breeds a notion of attentiveness and creativity. In its interior, it is constant and stubborn. It is controlling and pungent. It fills your senses with chronic consciousness where you cannot function unless mistakes and error are completely extinguished. It unleashes the relentless critique from yourself— the worst form it can possibly assume.

In my experience, I’ve always noted the perfectionism in my pursuits. My thought process resembled that of the paragraph above. That initial sense of oblivion to create cleanly made me feel powerful and hard-working. When I began to embark on my creative pursuits, however, was when it hit me the hardest. Ideas would fill my head and the hunger and adrenaline to manifest them to match. When I sat down to give attention to my thoughts, I found myself unable to piece that sentence; the one that was meticulously composed without effort, one that would establish the overall tone of my piece, one that ignited my ethos. Nothing seemed right. And to find what was right was impossible. It wore away at my confidence and made me doubt my ability to create. I’d have a raving imagination and an eager drive to work towards a product but a blank document and a relentless filter to prohibit content.

I’d have a raving imagination and an eager drive to work towards a product but a blank document and a relentless filter…”

Its integration in creative instincts is what gives it the enhancing— and crippling power to influence. Thus, there is a dosage of perfection in everyone; in every creator. To others, this sense doesn’t always exist in finding a place to start, but instead, deciding how to finish. Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is find the perfect ending.

How I learned to overcome this is still in the works. What I know of its existence is simply that it now coexists with my creative instincts.

There are times when I consciously regard an assignment’s priority as simply completing it, but this sense of perfectionism is always lingering to ensure I create within its criteria. There are times when I convince myself that the best creations happen genuinely and mindlessly. I know that meticulous effort doesn’t always translate to beauty and sometimes is ineffective in broadcasting the target message. But once again, I lose sight of it all when I am deleting and retyping my thoughts. There are times when I consider my audience; being no one, yet everyone and that intimidates my thoughts further.

I write this piece with the intent to reflect my own intentions and recognize the necessity of my progress. I hope to represent the foundation of creative blocks that plague others and further encourage the importance of creation. I hope that in the prospective year, I learn to create more often and more genuinely. And this acknowledgment marks the beginning of that pursuit.