A Headache and Perfectionism and Quite a Nice Swim

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What is it with me and headaches lately?

Woke up at 3 am with a raging tension headache–radiating from the back of my neck down into my shoulders. Or vice versa. It was brutal. And I still have it. Go away, headache! Don’t you know who I am? I’m Very Important and I have Very Important things to do!

So I took it easy today and worked on being okay with taking it easy today. It’s my first day of this residency. Of course I want to work and make myself feel good about working and workity work write write. I’m a writer and stuff with stuff to get done!

So I thought about this perfectionism of mine, and since I spent so much time lying down, I looked at it. Spent time with it. Fighting perfectionism doesn’t work for me; sometimes I can subvert it, like writing a blog post when I feel like crap but I’m going to write it anyway and probably not edit anything because otherwise I probably won’t do it, but I can’t shoo it off or even judge it, really. It just makes it stronger.

I closed my eyes and visualized my perfectionism and had vision of a tall, skinny, frowning man in a brown suit. His face was fill of disapproval and it was clear that nothing would please him, even something perfect, because it was on to the next thing and make sure it’s perfect.

So I asked him what he needed, and what came to mind was a good meal, a glass of wine, and a very soft throw blanket. Like he was sensory deprived. He needs luxury and he needs not to worry about time. And I felt a wave of compassion for this guy, because I understood that he was this way because of the life he had lived.

This rang true to me, because although I am not one to deprive myself, I do often feel a tinge of guilt when I eat seconds or have extra wine or go to bed without doing yoga. I believe in routines and schedules, but not to extremes. So who am I trying to please? What am I trying to prove? What am I afraid will happen if I don’t do everything right?

At dinner, another writer invited me to go for an evening swim with her. I decided to go even with my throbbing head, and it was totally worth it. A lovely pool–heated even!–and such a tonic for my hyper, overthinking, imaginative, hopefully generative brain.

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Writer and Editor. Pianist and singer. Feminist and proponent of Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. I don't get it either. I wish I could have dinner with Marie Curie.

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