Good Enough: Slice of Life 5/31 #SOL20

I am a perfectionist. Once, I wore that epithet as a badge of honour: not only would I get things done, I got them done well. Wait: I got them done *perfectly.* In high school, once I figured out the grades-game, I got straight As. I still smart from a B+ in a grad school course; I still think – literally decades later – that the prof was, well, wrong.

I’ve striven for perfection in pretty much every area of my life (yes, I just looked up the past participle of “strive”) and, while I’ve been able to let go of some things – our house can be, frankly, messy; and my amazing, complicated & complex second child is a regular reminder that there really is no such thing as the perfect parent – academics are still a real bugaboo for me.

And I’m taking this course… the FIFTH since August because I am finally getting the credentials I need to be fully settled in the Ontario teaching system; it’s a lot of hoop-jumping. In case you are wondering – which you really shouldn’t be – I got As in the first four. And not just As; I got a 98 in one of them. Not that I care, mind you… just kidding: I definitely care.

Readers, I got a 100 on the first assignment of this current course. And I have a job and a family. And we are moving on Saturday – that’s in TWO days. And I turned in assignment #2 early because we’re moving on the day it’s due. The assignment involves making a video of myself explaining a text. I sat at my computer, a blue sheet draped behind me, and talked about the text. My eyes are always looking a little down; I fumble to show the book to the camera; my face fills the screen. I know what I’m talking about, but the video itself is not great.

Now we are required to share our videos – I did not know this would happen – and the young teachers in the course have videos that look amazing: visuals and transitions and screenshots. Not one them holds the text up to the camera and accidentally moves it the wrong way. They look so good that it makes my stomach hurt a little.

So I decided to re-film mine. I still have two days until it’s due, and I could definitely learn how to do those video-things. I mean, I know how to use the internet to learn things and also maybe a colleague would help? at lunch? on Friday?

No.

For once in my life I am going to acknowledge that my work is good enough. I will learn nothing more from filming that video again. Until the due date is past, I will repeat this mantra: “this is good enough.”

I just need you to hold me to that.

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15 thoughts on “Good Enough: Slice of Life 5/31 #SOL20

  1. OMG! This is so me! You are good enough, and that video does not need to be re-recorded. You really have a way w/ humor: “just kidding: I definitely care.” And your voice is clear. Good luck w/ the move and the class. Oy! That’s a lot to handle while teaching and parenting.

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    1. I knew there was a reason we were blog-friends. heeheehee. I imagine us meeting in real life, stumbling over cracks in the sidewalk while we talk furiously about politics and novels, cackling over all of our perceived imperfections. Now wouldn’t that be fun?

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  2. Oh boy, I can relate but you are exponentially more busy with life. My favourite line, “ They look so good that it makes my stomach hurt a little.” Reminds me that the power of your writing can be found in the observations that are so precisely described.

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  3. Thank you for a powerful slice! Like so many teachers, I also struggle with getting things perfect. I am, however, learning–slowly–to not let perfect get in the way of good. It’s hard, though. Good luck with that!

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  4. Well. If it helps you, perfectionism is the first trait in Tema Okun’s list of traits of white supremacy culture (from Dismantling Racism), so we can feel that we are doing antiracist work when we valiantly confront it! But oh, I do hear you. Also taking classes this semester, as you know, and I managed to get confused on the due dates in one of them. I missed two assignments. Professor offered me a chance to make them up–only I didn’t see his email until AFTER the window of time he’d given me to make them up. Thought I had the schedule straight. Went to do the next assignment only to find it closed because I STILL didn’t understand the schedule. My son laughs so hard every time I open the gradebook in the class and there are my 3 zeros. I think I would have been so upset by this in the past, but my response now has been more of a shoulder shrug. Not sure what that says about me!

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  5. I’m proud of you! Good enough is good enough. I related to so much of what you wrote. My B was in biology my freshman year… good luck with your move. Don’t give this video a second thought!

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  6. Good enough has become a wonderful mantra for me as I repeatedly ask myself many times a day, “Is this really how I want to be spending my time?” A lot of times, the “no” to that question has me switch gears, lower an expectation or two, and take a segue from achievement to find a pocket of something I WANT to do instead of something I feel compelled to do. Thank you for bringing this constant tension to light in this artful piece.

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  7. Oh, that perfectionism is dangerous. I know this from experience! Good enough sounds like a smart (and perfect mantra).

    Of course, your post had the PERFECT tone to this topic.

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  8. Oh, Amanda. Are we twins separated at birth?? Your first line – instant identification. Guilty as charged. I want whatever I do to be my best and I am harder on myself than on anyone else. I have learned to let it go (cue music: “Let it go! Let it go! That perfect girl is gone!”). So I give you those lyrics. Harder said than done, believe me, I KNOW. 🙂

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  9. Oh, how this hits my soul hard. I have battled this “perfect-fliction” for most of my life. Sigh. It’s a hard one to let go, to be sure. I connect so deeply to hanging on to those tiny/huge moments when something didn’t go my way, those times when we earned less than we thought we deserved. I have had to let so much go, but those “it’s not perfect enough” voices definitely creep into my crazy, little head more than I’d like. I deal with it every day with my writing, but sometimes I’ve just got to do it for the post, perfect or no!

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  10. I like all those parenthetical and dashed asides, especially how those fits and starts and doubling backs all crumble before that decisive “No” in its own paragraph near the end.

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