“…Don’t be afraid, don’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance. If the divine, cock-eyed Genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed for just one moment, through your efforts, then Olé. But if not, do your dance anyhow, and Olé to you nonetheless.”
-Elizabeth Gilbert, Your Elusive Creative Genius TED Talk
Perfectionism is the writer’s block of my life.
“I think I’ll clean the house,” I tell myself. Sometimes I say it out loud, confidently. I feel motivated and self-assured when I do so. I feel that nothing can stop whatever I want to do. I know I’m baiting my old enemy, taunting him, and I thrill in the power of supposed victory.
“Door decoration for my kid’s anti-drug week at school? I can do that,” I tell a neighbor. If I say it in public, there is more culpability. The encroaching hesitancy I’ve moved on to will have less power. Strength in numbers, I assure myself.
Maybe I’ll write a book, I think to myself timidly, as if staying quiet will save me. I should know by now there is no safe place when I’m feeling down. He’s been laughing for a while, through all the resistance. He knows the true battles, and that he’s been the ultimate victor.
“What’s wrong?” The few concerned who are left in my life ask me. They don’t understand the reason I’m in bed, or in the closet, or on the couch mindlessly distracting from thought and life.
He’s reclining comfortably in the disused spaces of my mind; the spaces he’s artfully cleared of annoying furnishings like deep feelings, motivations, ambitions, and inspiration.
Nothing disturbs or demands him. He stretches out to watch the video game flashing before his host’s eyes.
“Ah,” he says, sipping brain fluid from a convenience store cup, “Perfect.”