Perfectionistic Tendencies

As the only child of Haitian immigrants (side note: As I write this, I’m making a note to check on the proper usage of immigrant/emigrant), pressure to make them proud was thrust upon me. Making them happy had never been a problem until I wrote my first book at 6 years old. My parents and school librarian marveled at my ability to grasp the concept of a beginning, middle and end with a clear conflict and climax at such an early age. My parents — namely my father — viewed me as a child prodigy in the area of writing. Talk ensued about me skipping a grade; peers envied me as I took second grade reading in first grade; my father strongly encouraged me to write a follow-up story. But, sophomore follow-ups don’t tend to be nearly as good as a debut. I wrote Lila’s Secret Hideout in second grade and poured my heart and soul into the book, which included endless revisions and drafts — with the help of my librarian. My father insisted that Lila’s Secret Hideout was nowhere near as good as my debut, Sarah’s Boots. I spent the rest of my life trying to win another Pulitzer Prize from my father.
I’d continue to fail.

3 thoughts on “Perfectionistic Tendencies

  1. FAIL – what a word – why do we make it such an important part of our lives – with my dad I always FAILED to be skinny – he made my life a living hell because I wasn’t skinny – he picked on me and nagged me and called me names because I wasn’t what he thought I should be and that was skinny – and I have to this day made sure that he (my dad, who’s been dead for 30 years) will never control me being skinny – I will go to my death knowing that he can’t control me in this aspect and he won’t win – I’ll never be skinny (it was the one aspect of my life that he wanted to control more than anything else and couldn’t – ever, ever, ever control)
    Fail – I never failed – he did – he was a rotten father – he should have picked me up and loved me how I was but he didn’t, he belittled me, and mentally abused me – wow, that felt good to let it out – I don’t think I have ever done that before – but don’t ever think that you failed your dad – you did your best and if it wasn’t good enough for him that was his problem – NOT YOURS.

  2. I love the early childhood references. Amazing that we remember such early moments of imagining we’re not good enough. I wanted to ask you if you ever have guest postings. (I didn’t know how to contact you outside of a comment, sorry.) I have a blog that loosely deals with my depression, the recession, gender identity and adoption. Please check it out and let me know if you’d let me have a guest posting on your site.

  3. I have also been to CCEF – i can identify w/ many things you have written – i’ve been searching for some sort of intensive inpatient biblical counseling type place – got a recommendation from CCEF – i’m not sure it is quite long enough (only 3 days) and not many people (you need an “advocate” to go w/ you) is really up to the impulsive suicidal thinking – and up and down and well –
    i’m also ADHD (minus the H part) not been diagnosed bipolar – i’ve not really had the manic high –
    i have four kids – and feel like a total failure as mom – i have a great husband – and i just feel like a major liability issue/problem for him.
    he wanted to commit to a place this summer – which scared me b/c it would have been a secular type thing – and that just gives me visions of “one flew over the cuckoos nest”
    I am not far from Philly – but takes about an hour and 1/2 for me to get to CCEF. (i’m south)
    anyway – wondered as an adult, if you have ever been to a good inpatient program ?
    or – if you have had great help w/ a christian psychiatrist for meds – (i’m on adderall – but not monitored – and i think i need something other or different – but that is scary – )
    anyway – i read you don’t always check your comments – pls email me if you do i would appreciate it .

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