Baby, Bathwater

This is something I repeat to myself on occasions when I feel like packing it all in.

When the perfectionist in me suddenly decides that not only is everything unsalvageable and imperfect, but that we must immediately destroy it all (in case we ever get any bright ideas about trying again).

The perfectionist in me isn’t big on logic.

And when it kicks off like this, I calmly murmur “baby, bathwater” as I coax it down from the high place it’s climbed to, persuade it to drop the flamethrower, and gently lead it back into its pen.

I remind myself, in other words, not to throw away the good, the necessary, because of the inevitable (and sometimes, also necessary) bad.

I know I have a tendency, when I get into a particular frame of mind, to see everything as very black and white. The perfectionist in me is impulsive, quick to anger, and slow to forgive.

Perfectionism tells me to give up, and that all hope is lost. And it can make me forget in an instant the entirety of my history, my life, the things I’ve done well.

It can make the satisfaction of success extremely short-lived too.

“Anyone can do what you just did!” and so on.

I used to believe we were one and the same, and that its voice was mine. I’ve changed my mind about that since.

Even though we’ve been paired –  perhaps for life, and within the confines of my own mind at that – we are not the same. I can hear what it says, now, without agreeing or accepting it as fact. It’s a strange thing, to shush a voice within yourself!

But I choose progress. I choose carrying on. And I choose to dare, and to have the audacity to imagine that I might have something to offer.

And I choose to cry sometimes, and to tell the truth. I choose to accept that sometimes, I will feel awful.

We are never dispassionate observers of our own lives; when bad things happen to us, how else should it feel, but bad? Sometimes prior experience (or even a thorough understanding of the situation) doesn’t help.

Baby, bathwater.

And, as ever, quietly, audaciously, carry on.


2 thoughts on “Baby, Bathwater

  1. Wow! This post could not have come at a better time!
    I have had a terrible couple of days, and the perfectionist in me said “you are a failure! You should know better!” Yes, I should have known better – I should have said to myself “baby, bathwater”.

    Thank you for writing this – it’s beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m really sorry you’ve been having a difficult time – and you are definitely not a failure. I’m so glad you found some comfort in what I wrote, that makes me feel like starting this whole blog has been worth it!

    Thank you as ever for your thoughtful and supportive comments. I hope things turn around for you really soon.


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