Confessions of A Recovering Perfectionist - Unfinished Work

In the spirit of my post, I am displaying the best of my unfinished work!  They deserve a little glory too!

Pattereeka, Goddess of Imperfection & The Incomplete

When I made Pattereeka, she was complete, but then she lost her
arms and broke her neck and I neglected to get around to fixing her.
I decided instead to dedicate her life to all things unfinished and imperfect.
With her asymmetrical breasts, missing arms and well endowed  backside,
she is perfect for her new life's purpose.

I grew up with the message "if you can't do something right, don't do it at all".  Is it any wonder that I became a perfectionist unable to finish my projects!

My hyper-critical eye was quick to spot the tiniest imperfection.  That line isn't perfectly straight, it isn't centered right, it's lopsided.  What started out as spontaneous and fun, ended up unfinished due to it's offending flaw.

Even back in high school, I was busy
perfecting all my projects.  This little
bowl actually started out as a large vase!
By the time I finished eliminating all the
flaws, it became a tiny dish!
I took great pride in making things perfect and would spend countless hours fixing or covering up all things imperfect.  It was my process!  But sometimes, my talent in perfecting the imperfect could not resurrect or repair my work and it would end up unfinished -abandoned.  Or worse yet, destroyed, never to have to be seen with its flaws again!

But after years of working that way, I just didn't have the time or desire any more to keep fixing things instead of creating things.  So I found other ways to channel my creativity.  Not much time would lapse
though before I had to get back to something that involved brushes, paints, pencils and paper.
The turning point came when I started feeling a sense of frustration each time "I had to fix something".  I didn't want to fix it, but I couldn't accept it either - self-doubt started to settle in. 

Waiting for attention...
As any true perfectionist, I had an extensive library of self-improvement books enabling me to get to the bottom of any problem I might have and banish it for good.  So, I thought...

I figured, now that I know how and why I was doing this, there was really no reason to continue this frustrating behavior, right?

The truth I found, was that I wasn't frustrated with my perfectionistic tendency, I was proud of it!  It was one of my best qualities - the willingness to become better at something - what could be wrong with that!

So, how do you get rid of or reform a sense of pride in creating and cultivating perfection.  That goal would turn out to be a life-long project!

Someone would comment, "your handwriting is so perfect - I've never seen such perfectly spaced handwriting".  Well, that just made my day!  I would just be beaming like a little 7-year old, who finally got a compliment from her critical teacher.  Someone recognized and appreciated my efforts! 

I started to have my doubts about whether this could be fixed.

I wanted to accept the mantra of "mistakes are happy accidents".   But, all I was thinking is, "are you kidding me, it's the end of the world for my project!".

Backgrounds interrupted
Avoidance became the way that I chose to deal with my conflict.  Being a creative soul, I would just find other ways to channel my creativity - and that worked for a while. 

I went through a long period of self-reflection and worked on self-acceptance, which really was the core issue, and the day finally came when all of that bottled-up creative energy couldn't be contained any more.  I may write about that another time.  I was faced with the questions, do you really want to live your life without the beauty of art and without a voice to express your vision?  Should something that you love so much, be so difficult?  Can you allow your intuition to be in control and to guide you on a new path, one without the expectation of perfection?  Or are you willing to remain the same?

I kind of like it the way it is, but....
I was finally ready to accept images that came from a deeper place and not question what it was supposed to be.  My artistic style changed dramatically and was far more natural looking to me. 

Of course, that didn't totally get rid of my desire to perfect or my concern about what others might think (which is a whole other topic).  What holds me back now, is that I will find that I like how a project is flowing and then come to a point where I'm worried that if I continue, I will do something to ruin it.  And if it's not that, I will come to a point where I feel that it is finished, but a nagging little voice keeps butting in saying it's not. It's always something!

Now What?
But my desire now to create what needs to be expressed as is, is far greater than my desire to create something perfect.  I create now what is fun and follow my intuition and natural impulses.  If it starts to feel like work or needs fixing, I stop, take a break or use my Daily Doodle Journal to work out what I am feeling.    And yes, I still end up with unfinished work, however, now I accept them as works ahead of their time.  There is a message or a lesson in each one that I need to understand.  And when it is revealed to me, they will be ready to complete, which is why I save them and refer back to them.  I no longer see them as rejects - they are messengers.

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of my unfinished work in all its glory!

Happy Doodling!

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