I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I will never be really really really good at something. I am mediocre at lots of things, kind of good at some. But not perfect.
I am wired for perfection.
I still see my First Grade classroom, a banner strung above the blackboard, above the Alphabet
Good, Better, Best, Never Let It Rest, Until Your Good Is Better and Your Better is Best!
I loved it. I was annoyed with the kids who didn’t get A’s. Why wouldn’t they? This was a small town and I was, indeed, The Best.
I started taking ballet lessons when I was 3. I started piano when I was 4. I learned quickly and was soon in the (small town) newspaper once a year for this or that ballet role or certain achievement. My proud and freckled face always making the page.
Even in college. Perfection. Best. Awards. Special Performances. Special Trips.
I didn’t think it would ever be different.
I didn’t think it would ever be different.
My senior year of college I met a musician who seemed to be the same as me some how – oh he was different, people knew his name, he played gigs. How cool…
Soon I saw his imperfections. He couldn’t keep jobs, he was jealous, he spent all my money and then we had none, he blamed me. This couldn’t be right. But maybe if I tried harder. He called me names, broke things, fought with me for hours about being five minutes late from work. He accused me of having a secret life, searched my phone for clues, made me hate my family….you see where this is going. I hope you see where this is going.
After college I got pregnant. There was no choice. This had to work. ME. The perfect child, could not be the victim of abuse, could not have a child out of wedlock! Not LEAVE. No. This had to work.
It didn’t. I finally left. And for all of you wondering – it got worse as I left.
It got a lot worse.
This, though, is not what I am struggling with today. I am now in my 30s. I am living in a beautiful house with (just enough) room for a baby grand piano. I have a husband, two children, a garden, a peace pole and a little free library out front. We have two decent cars and were able to afford a trip out of the country last year.
What the fuck is my problem?
I struggle to continue writing because all I hear in my head is “Oh poor you. look at all the starving children, the war stricken families, refugees, orphans and childless parents. What place do you have to feel sad?”
I don’t know, honestly. I don’t know what is right.
My husband is not an abusive man, at least, not in the way the biological father of my daughter was/is. My husband is on the Autism Spectrum, has ADD, learning disabilities and he has a higher than average IQ – and he knows it. He has very strong ideas of Perfect. Right. Wrong. Fair. which he holds onto with a greater ferociousness than I hold onto mine. Nonetheless, I disagree with him sometimes – okay, a lot. I am not Perfect for him. He is not Perfect for me. His Autism makes him say and do things that hurt people and he does not realize it. When I tell him about my hurt that he has caused me his response is anger. I shouldn’t be that way – because he isn’t. I shouldn’t want x y or z because he doesn’t. If I just listened to him I would agree with him because it all makes perfect sense to him! This is the sickness that Autism gives.
Our children have disabilities also. Not crazy severe ones that you can tell by looking at them but those invisible ones that eat away at your soul because you secretly know you’re different.
They are difficult. My daughter has ADHD, anxiety and a certain level of autism. My son will soon be diagnosed with the same things. What sets off one child is the stimming of another, and the same for my husband and myself.
We are a tumbleweed of thorns constantly poking the other as we roll through life.
Cue heavy sigh.
I still play the piano. I still dance. They are carved into the core of my soul. I don’t give piano performances anywhere, I can’t play a Beethoven sonatas or Rachmaninoff the way I used to. I fumble through Intermediate pieces, struggling to sight read. I don’t get the solos or the front stage at ballet. In fact I’m the oddity. A 30 something year old woman in a class of 16 year olds trying to be something she once was. They are letting me perform in their recital this year. It’s cute, I guess. And I have been put in the front row for part of it. I’ll have to master the single pirouette, double pirouette, fouette combination by the end of this month or look like a total fool, front and center. I am, however auditioning to become a ballet teacher there. It is the graveyard of everyone who was once good.
I don’t clean the house good enough. I don’t have sex with my husband often enough. I spend too much money on food and “stuff” we don’t need. I drink too much. I don’t get up early enough. I am not raising the kids right. I see the doctor too often. I have too many owl things…..these, you see, are not my words. These are my husband’s. I have lost even my own, imperfect self in the attempt to be perfect for him.
There is so much more I want to say, but this post is too long as it is.
I’ll leave you with a link to a song that makes my soul scream. Sorry about the ad in the beginning, I don’t know any other way to post it.
It’s not even that perfect little girl I thought I was that I want back….
It’s that mediocre me.